Tensions between Sudanese Armed Forces, UAE reach boiling point

Tensions between Sudanese Armed Forces, UAE reach boiling point

Since Nov. 2023, tensions between the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF)—commanded by Gen. Abdel Fattah Al-Burhan—and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) have risen. On Nov. 27, Lt. Gen. Yasser Al-Atta, the assistant commander-in-chief of the SAF, criticized the UAE for behaving like a “mafia state” in a speech at a military headquarters. Less than two weeks later, authorities in Khartoum declared 15 staff members from the Emirati embassy in Sudan persona non-grata, ordering them to leave the country within 48 hours.

Speculation over the UAE’s role in Sudan is nothing new. Sudan has been embroiled in a brutal domestic conflict since Apr. 2023, pitting the SAF against the Rapid Support Forces (RSF)—a paramilitary entity led by Mohammed Hamdan Dagalo, also known as Hemedti.

One major point of contention for the SAF is the UAE’s continued financial, political, and military support for the rival RSF. This support was well-documented even before the onset of the current crisis and has been a significant factor in Hemedti’s battlefield achievements. This context prompts questions about why Burhan only recently chose to take diplomatic action against the UAE.

RSF’s recent battlefield success

The RSF’s recent military and diplomatic strides are noteworthy amidst escalating tensions between Burhan and Abu Dhabi. Last month, the RSF seized control of Gezira State—commonly known as Sudan’s “breadbasket,” giving Hemedti a significant military edge over the SAF. Currently, some experts believe that this move could pave the way for the RSF to attempt to take control of the entire country.

The recent rift between Burhan and Abu Dhabi can be attributed to the RSF’s expanding security presence in areas that it occupies and Hemedti’s recent military breakthroughs, explained Samuel Ramani, an Associate Fellow at the Royal United Services Institute, in an interview with Amwaj.media. These developments are widely perceived to be supported by the UAE. Additionally, the Emiratis are accused of transporting weapons and war materials through Chad into Sudan, ostensibly to provide healthcare for wounded soldiers. However, it is understood that these services are intended for RSF personnel, not those of the SAF, said Ramani. Amwaj.media could not independently confirm the alleged arrangement.

Read more: amwaj.media

Photo: amwaj.media

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