Sudan is finally experiencing a relative calm, especially after the ceasefire brokered by Saudi Arabia and the United States between the warring parties – the Sudanese Army led by Abdel Fattah al-Burhan on one side and the Rapid Support Forces led by Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo on the other.
Despite a decrease in the intensity of fierce clashes between the two sides, confrontations have continued to a limited extent in several areas in the Sudanese capital, Khartoum. Heavy weapons clashes have also been reported in El-Obeid, the capital of North Kordofan State.
Meanwhile, Sudan is home to a considerable number of armed movements and militias, making them key players in the ongoing conflict in the country. Some of the major armed movements in Sudan include the Sudan Liberation Movement, the Justice and Equality Movement, and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North.
Positions of the Armed Movements
The armed movements’ positions on the current conflict in Sudan vary. They range from advocating for dialogue and a political solution to the conflict, to resorting to armed force to achieve their demands. Some armed movements are working towards joining the Sudanese government, while others reject joining the government and call for the fulfillment of their demands through negotiations and dialogue.
Although Sudan aspires to achieve security and political stability to foster the country’s development and improve the living standards of its citizens, darker scenarios loom if the conflicting parties refuse to abide by the agreements reached in 2020, when Sudanese parties, including al-Burhan and Dagalo, sat at the negotiating table and agreed on the integration of disparate armed forces into a unified entity under the name of the Sudanese Army.
Dr. Amira Abdel-Halim, an expert in African affairs, stated that Sudan has entered a vicious circle of violence and internal conflicts, allowing for the escalation of security situations in many regions. This is due to the intensifying power struggle without nationalism between competing local political elites and militias.
Previously, there were confrontations between the Sudanese National Army and some armed movements. Additionally, the Rapid Support Forces fought alongside or independently against tribes and armed movements in many areas. This makes the issue of joining a framework agreement, like the one reached in the past, or a similar agreement such as the Juba Peace Agreement, a challenging task.
Obstacles to a Unified Army
The establishment of a unified national army in Sudan faces several obstacles, including:
Administrative and organizational challenges: Establishing a unified national army in Sudan poses significant administrative and organizational challenges. It requires coordinating the efforts of various Sudanese armed forces and restructuring them in a manner that aligns with the desired goal of establishing a unified national army.
Political disputes: Sudan faces internal political disputes that hinder the establishment of a unified national army. Political parties and armed movements in Sudan differ in their views on the role the army should play and the nature of the relationship between the army and the government. The different parties in Sudan must achieve political consensus on the desired goal of establishing a unified national army and its role in maintaining security and stability in the country.
Ethnic and cultural divisions: Sudan faces internal ethnic and cultural divisions that hinder the establishment of a unified national army. Sudanese ethnic and cultural groups differ in identity, interests, and political orientations. The different parties in Sudan must achieve consensus and cooperation to overcome these divisions and build a unified national army that fairly represents all ethnic and cultural groups in the country.
Varied Armed Conflicts: Sudan faces diverse armed conflicts in several regions, making it difficult to achieve security stability in the country and establish a unified national army. This challenge requires strengthening dialogue and negotiations with the armed parties and finding political solutions to the conflicts.
Financial Deficit: The Sudanese government suffers from financial deficits and other economic challenges, making it challenging to finance the establishment of a unified national army in Sudan. The Sudanese government needs to achieve economic stability, enhance investments, and improve tax resources to fund this significant project.