Al-Burhan removes the political cover from the commander of the Rapid Support Forces..Why did Hamidti keep his military rank?

Khartoum – Days after freezing the assets of his companies and stopping the payment of wages to his forces, the head of the Sudanese Sovereignty Council, Abdel Fattah Al-Burhan, dismissed his deputy and commander of the Rapid Support Forces, Muhammad Hamdan Dagalo (Hamedti), in a move to strip his constitutional legitimacy and lift the political cover for him.

This dismissal comes after the Rapid Support Adviser for Political Affairs, Youssef Ezzat, moved to mobilize support abroad, according to observers who expected that these steps would lead to an escalation of violence in the Darfur region.

Al-Burhan’s decision to dismiss Hamidti from the position of Vice-President of the Sovereignty Council came 35 days after the outbreak of confrontations between their forces, and the army commander classified the Rapid Support Forces as “rebel militias”, which raised questions in political and media circles about the reason for delaying Hamidti’s dismissal from his constitutional position.

Chairman of the Sovereignty Council, Abdel Fattah Al-Burhan, next to him (right) is his deputy, Commander of the Rapid Support Forces, Hamidti (Anatolia – Archive)

blocking any move

In an interview with Al-Jazeera Net, a source in the Sovereignty Council said that Al-Burhan has been busy since the beginning of the war in mid-April, leading the military operation to break the back of the Rapid Support rebels until the objectives of the operation, which entered its final stage, were achieved.

After the army commander took the initiative and became confident of the end of the rebellion, he began arranging the inner house to prepare the stage for the post-war phase, and the removal of the Rapid Support Commander came within the framework of these arrangements, according to the same source.

The source adds that the removal of Hemedti from the Sovereignty Council, and not only the position of its deputy president, strips him of any constitutional legitimacy or political immunity, lifts the political cover for any movement inside or outside the country, and embarrasses any party that tries to deal with him.

Last Thursday, the Sudanese Foreign Ministry protested to the state of South Sudan after receiving Hemedti’s advisor for political affairs, Youssef Ezzat, and allowing him to hold a press conference in Juba after his meeting with the President of South Sudan, Salva Kiir Mayardit.

military arrangements

Within the framework of military arrangements approved by the army command since the beginning of the year, Al-Burhan appointed the members of the military component of the Sovereignty Council to military positions, as Lieutenant General Shams Al-Din Al-Kabbashi was announced as Deputy Commander-in-Chief of the Army, and Lieutenant-General Yasser Al-Atta and Lieutenant-General Ibrahim Jaber as assistants to the Commander-in-Chief of the Army.

Al-Burhan had issued a new structure in the army, reinstated the system of the Commander-in-Chief and the Chief of Staff, and appointed a Deputy Commander-in-Chief and 3 assistants, one of whom was expected to be a representative of the Rapid Support Forces in the Army Command Authority.

According to military sources, the new arrangements removed Hamidati from the equation, and said that the distribution of military sites took into account the geographical dimension. Kabashi hails from the state of South Kordofan, Yasser Al-Atta from the north of the country, and Jaber from West Darfur and belongs to the Rizeigat nationality, to which the Rapid Support Commander is also affiliated.

And regarding Hamidati not being referred to retirement in the army or stripped of his military rank after classifying him as a rebel, military sources say to Al Jazeera Net that Al-Burhan wants to bring Hamidati to a military trial in the event of his arrest, and if he is referred to retirement or stripped of his rank, he will become a civilian figure, pointing out that the actions Crimes committed by the Rapid Support Commander are punishable by death in the Armed Forces Act.

The Rapid Support Commander no longer has any political future or position in the military, according to the same sources. He had no choice but to search for a safe exit after the noose tightened against him and his forces were broken, and large numbers of them fled to the west of the country.

The sources do not rule out that Hamidti will try to leave the country to save himself. Where he owns large funds and investments in Arab and African countries, which are supervised by his younger brother, Hamdan Dagalo.

n This image grab taken from handout video footage released by the Sudanese paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) on April 23, 2023, fighters ride in the back of a technical vehicle (pickup truck mounted with a turret) in the East Nile district of greater Khartoum.  A US-brokered ceasefire between Sudan's warring generals entered its second day on April 26, 2023, but remained fragile after witnesses reported fresh air strikes and paramilitaries claimed to have seized a major oil refinery and power plant.  (Photo by Rapid Support Forces (RSF) / AFP) / === RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE - MANDATORY CREDIT "AFP PHOTO / HO / SUDAN RAPID SUPPORT FORCES (RSF)" - NO MARKETING NO ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS - DISTRIBUTED AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS === - === RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE - MANDATORY CREDIT "AFP PHOTO / HO / SUDAN RAPID SUPPORT FORCES (RSF)" - NO MARKETING NO ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS - DISTRIBUTED AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS ===
Forces belonging to Hamidti, whom analysts believe that Al-Burhan wanted to maintain his military status in preparation for his trial (French)

stage of no return

From his point of view, political analyst Sami Al-Habbani believes that the relationship between Al-Burhan and Hamidti has reached a stage of no return, and he rules out any settlement that would return the RSF commander to the political or military scene.

In an interview with Al-Jazeera Net, Al-Habbani believes that the decisions of the army commander to freeze the balances of the rapid support companies and stop the disbursement of the budget allocated to him, in addition to removing Hamidti from his constitutional position in the Sovereignty Council, diminish his role and lead to discontent among his forces, which will lose their salaries, and he expects that this will lead to an escalation. violence in Darfur.

The analyst explains that what happened in Nyala, the capital of South Darfur state during the past two days, is the protest of the Rapid Support Forces against the suspension of their salaries. It attacked the headquarters of the Bank of Sudan in the city, and the army repelled it, which led to confrontations between them, which resulted in the death of dozens of soldiers and civilians as well, whose homes were hit by shells and shrapnel.

Al-Habbani ruled out that the model of the state of South Sudan would be repeated in Sudan when Riek Machar, the vice president of the state, rebelled against President Salva Kiir Mayardit, and they entered into a bloody war that led to thousands of casualties from the forces of both parties and turned into armed confrontations between their two tribes.

Regional and international pressure pushed Salva Kiir and Machar to a political settlement, under which the latter returned as vice president, shared power, and integrated his forces into the army, but these steps are still faltering, according to al-Habani.


On the other hand, Mesbah Ahmed, spokesman for the Umma Party, the largest party of the Forces for Freedom and Change, described the decision to dismiss Hamidti as a “tactic” and a maneuver by Al-Burhan to put pressure on the commander of the Rapid Support Forces before starting negotiations between the two parties to resolve the crisis within the framework of the US-Saudi initiative.

In an interview with Al-Jazeera Net, Ahmed said that the decision removed Hamidati from the position of Vice-President of the Sovereignty Council and not from the membership of the Council, and that each party will try to use the cards it possesses in confronting the other to achieve the greatest possible political gains.

Ahmed believes that the Jeddah negotiations between the army and the Rapid Support Forces have entered an advanced stage. Therefore, Al-Burhan rushed, more than a month after the start of the clashes, to take decisions against the Rapid Support Forces and their commander, and he could have taken them at the beginning of the crisis.

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