Follow along with me now. This is not complicated. Russia reached a tentative agreement with the Government of Sudan to build a base for the Russian Navy on Sudan’s coast. Yet the media claims that Moscow is behind the current counter coup by the Rapid Security Force aka RSF, which is trying to replace the Government that reached the agreement with Russia. Here is one example:
The Russian mercenary group Wagner has been supplying the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) paramilitary group in fights against the Sudanese army, according to CNN.
Okay. Let us review some other key facts reported by the media:
Sudan has been without a parliament since a popular uprising forced the military overthrow of longtime autocrat Omar al-Bashir in April 2019. The country has been mired in political chaos since an October 2021 military coup derailed its short-lived transition to democracy.
11 February 2023 — Sudan’s ruling military concluded a review of an agreement with Russia to build a navy base on the Red Sea in the African country, two Sudanese officials said Saturday. They said the deal was awaiting the formation of a civilian government and a legislative body to be ratified before it takes effect.
The agreement allows Russia to set up a naval base with up to 300 Russian troops, and to simultaneously keep up to four navy ships, including nuclear-powered ones, in the strategic Port Sudan on the Red Sea. The base would ensure the Russian navy’s presence in the Red Sea and the Indian Ocean and spare its ships the need for long voyages to reach the area, according to Viktor Bondarev, the former Russian air force chief.In exchange, Russia is to provide Sudan with weapons and military equipment. The agreement is to last for 25 years, with automatic extensions for 10-year periods if neither side objects.
22 February 2022 — Gen. Mohammed Hamdan Dagalo, commander of the powerful paramilitary Rapid Support Forces, held talks with senior Russian officials in Moscow.
Vladimir Putin and Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov are neither stupid nor insane. So why would they support a coup to overthrow a government that had agreed to allow Russia to build a naval base in Sudan on the Red Sea?
Can you think of any countries in the world that might object to Sudan allowing Russia to construct a naval base on the shores of the Red Sea? Hmmmm. I can — the United States and the United Kingdom. Last September, newly arrived U.S. Ambassador to Sudan, John Godfrey, “warned Khartoum not to allow Russia to establish a naval base on its Red Sea coast, saying it would harm the country’s interests.“
General Dagalo, who visited Moscow in February, also happens to be the deputy chairman of Sudan’s Sovereign Council. As such, he represented the Government of Sudan in Moscow, not the RSF (i.e., Rapid Support Force).
Dagalo, also known as Hemeti, said at the time that there were no obstacles to establishing a Russian military base if it would benefit the interests of Sudan, remarks which brought condemnation from the US. . . .
Godfrey told Al-Tayar: “All countries have a sovereign right to decide which other countries to partner with, but these choices have consequences, of course.”
The ambassador added that any such base on the Red Sea would “lead to further isolation of Sudan at a time when most Sudanese want to become closer to the international community”.
Ambassador Godfrey clearly threatened Sudan with adverse “consequences” for cooperating with Russia. Is it in the realm of the possible that Ambassador Godfrey or the CIA Chief of Station offered the RSF some sweetheart deals if the RSF ousted the current Sudanese Government and promised to halt the plans for a Russian base? Why that would be meddling in the internal affairs of a foreign country and we all know that the United States is the last country that wants to tell other countries what to do and who to be friends with. Right?
I am struck by the number of people working at the U.S. Embassy in Khartoum that may need to be rescued — the announced figure is 70. Why so large a presence? Note that the U.S. Embassy in Kiev has 71 persons, not counting the additional military personnel detailed to Ukraine. Sudan is not a major trading partner with the United States. What are those U.S. diplomats doing?
Could it have something to do with the civil war in Yemen? It has been widely reported that Sudan sided with the Government of Yemen against the Iranian backed Houthi rebels. According to the CIA World Factbook:
Sudan joined the Saudi-led coalition that intervened in Yemen in 2015, reportedly providing as many as 40,000 troops during the peak of the war in 2016-17, mostly from the Rapid Support Forces; by 2021, Sudan had reduced the size of the force to about a brigade (approximately 2-3,000 troops)
This raises another explanation for having so many U.S. officers assigned to US Embassy Khartoum. Was the CIA providing paramilitary support, including weapons and training, to the Sudanese personnel fighting in Yemen? My guess is yes. One thing is certain, Sudan was not dipping into its own reserves to train and arm the troops dispatched to Yemen.
A funny thing happened before the latest coup attempt in Sudan — Iran and Saudi Arabia reconciled under the guidance of China and agreed to stop the war in Yemen. Boy, that upset some intelligence bureaucratic apple carts that were busy stirring the pot in Yemen.
Why would Russia want to incite chaos, mayhem and death in Sudan while it is preoccupied with the “Special Military Operation” in Ukraine, preparing for the much ballyhooed Ukrainian counter offensive to capture Crimea, and trying to work some diplomatic magic to bring about a rapprochement between Turkey and Syria? That does not add up.
Maybe, just maybe, the competing factions in the Sudanese military (i.e. RSF vs. the regular Army) decided on their own that the end of the war in Yemen marked an opportunity to seize control and become an important player in a region where U.S. power and influence is waning.
What do you think?