Egypt Watch

Sisi’s Egypt confounded in Sudan after Egyptian diplomate murder

The Wall Street Journal has revealed that Egypt supported the Sudanese army’s commander, Abdel Fattah Al-Burhan, in his conflict with the commander of the Rapid Support Forces, Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, generally referred to as Hemetti.

The American newspaper quoted sources it described as well-informed in its report, saying that Egypt had sent warplanes and military pilots to support the Sudanese army.

On the other hand, according to the newspaper, retired Libyan Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar sent at least one plane to transport military supplies to the Sudanese paramilitary Rapid Support Forces. External interference in Sudan’s armed conflict increases the risk of a dangerous escalation in fighting that could expand the conflict and undermine efforts by the United States, the United Nations and others to broker a cease-fire. Sudan enjoys an essential place in the region, and its strategic location on the Red Sea, its access to the Nile River, and its vast gold reserves have always made it coveted by outside powers.

Last Monday, a Sudanese army official stated that an Egyptian fighter jet destroyed an ammunition depot controlled by the Rapid Support Forces. An analyst and consultant on African peace, Cameron Hudson, said it made sense from an Egyptian perspective to get involved in the conflict for fear of a warlord taking over Sudan. Cairo has always supported Al-Burhan, Egypt’s main ally in its dispute with Ethiopia, which is working to expand a giant dam that the Sisi government says threatens Egyptian water security.

The coup led by Al-Burhan, which halted the democratic transition in Sudan in October 2021, received the green light from Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi, according to the newspaper. Also, the Guardian said that Al-Burhan enjoys the support of Egypt, while Hemetti enjoys the help of the UAE and has relations with the Russian Wagner Group. If the violence continues, the newspaper continued, the real danger will be the involvement of an increasing number of domestic and foreign actors, making the conflict even more difficult to resolve.

According to Reuters, the Rapid Support Forces accuse Al-Burhan of enabling Egyptian influence in Sudan and protecting an Egyptian military base. The Washington Post reported serious concern within Haftar’s Libyan National Army leadership that such support from Sisi for Burhan could harm its relations with Egypt. The Egyptian General Intelligence, however, demanded Haftar to stop any support for Hemetti’s forces, and he agreed to that, according to the newspaper. On Monday evening, the General Command of the Sudanese Armed Forces issued a statement saying that the assistant of the Egyptian military attaché in Khartoum, Muhammad Hussein al-Qarawi, was killed while he was driving his car on the main road, on Sayyid Abd al-Rahman Street, by bullets from the Rapid Support Forces. In a later statement, the Egyptian Ministry of Foreign Affairs confirmed the news of al-Qarawi’s death. Sources also said that there is coordination between the two countries to open an investigation into the accident.