Imperialists bloody their hands in Sudan

The civil war in Sudan between the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) and Rapid Support Forces (RSF), the two rival factions within the military coup government, marks its first anniversary on 15 April. The war has returned to the capital, Khartoum, with the RSF having taken almost the entire city. SAF general Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, de facto ruler of Sudan since he assumed power in a coup in October 2021, has moved his government to Port Sudan, 670 kilometres away. 25 million Sudanese people, over half of the population, are reportedly in need of urgent aid with the UN’s aid chief Martin Griffiths referring to Sudan as ‘the place of the greatest suffering in the world’. With the media focus on the Israeli genocide in Gaza, and the war in Ukraine, the Sudanese civil war has become known as ‘the hidden war’.


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Sudan: civil war erupts

Smoke rising over Khartoum, July 2023

On 15 April 2023 civil war broke out in Sudan between the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) and its paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF). Hundreds of people have been killed, hundreds of thousands have fled the country; chaos reigns even in stable regions due to lack of food, water and services, and the outbreak of looting, robberies, sexual violence, and criminality. The imperialists, particularly Britain, the US and Norway, are responsible for the demise of Sudan. Now they have simply evacuated their diplomatic staff, leaving the Sudanese people to fend for themselves. 120 British troops landed at Wadi Saeedna airfield near Khartoum, to take control during evacuations. Thousands of Sudanese people with ties to Britain were simply abandoned.


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Sudan: phoney power sharing agreement

On 5 July 2019 Sudanese protest leaders and opposition parties agreed on a phoney power sharing deal with the military junta that is utterly opposed to the formation of a civilian government. The Transitional Military Council (TMC) which currently rules Sudan has sought to undermine the resistance movement with months of drawn out, deadlocked negotiations in the hope that anger and energy would dissipate and the Sudanese masses woud leave the streets. When this hasn’t worked they have unleashed a rein of terror using killings, rape, torture and beatings to physically remove people. The reason being that the movement has begun to seriously challenge decades of sectarian divisions, racism and women’s oppression and has the potential to develop into an anti-imperialist struggle. This is a major challenge to the status, power and privilege of the military leaders and their backers in the region and further afield in Britain and the US. There can be no power sharing with such reactionary forces – a cabal of mass murderers and war mongers: their interests are completely opposed to that of the Sudanese working class.


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Sudan: the phoenix has risen again

Sudanese community protest in Glasgow, June 2019

Two days before the Transitional Military Council signed the first part of a power-sharing deal with the Forces of Declaration of Freedom and Change in Sudan (FFC) on 17 July, FRFI interviewed Rashid El Sheikh, Sudanese Communist UK and Ireland. Rashid explained the context and significance of the mass mobilisation in Sudan and described the new forces involved.


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Sudan: fighting for the future

On 11 April 2019, Sudan’s military leaders executed a coup against the government, overthrowing president-of-30-years Omar Al Bashir and taking power as the Transitional Military Council (TMC). Mass protests against Bashir’s government had been continuing for months, but the military’s action was in direct response to thousands of people surrounding Sudan’s military headquarters in the capital Khartoum on 6 April. The protesters raised barricades and began a sit-in which continues as we go to press. The movement has rejected the cosmetic changes which the TMC proposes and is fighting for real change. The people of Sudan are showing the way in mass popular and militant action against their government and are facing more violent repression from the military.


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Sudan in revolt

Protest in Khartoum

The ongoing mass protests in Sudan that began in Atbara on 19 December 2018 are some of the longest and most widespread since the country’s independence from Britain in 1956. They were triggered by cuts to subsidies for bread (the nation’s main food staple) and have turned into broader anti-austerity protests, from which a country-wide anti-government struggle has quickly emerged, calling for the overthrow of president Omar al-Bashir. Protesters have set fire to the headquarters of Bashir's National Congress Party (NCP) in two locations, thrown stones at banks, demonstrated outside police stations, gone on strike and marched to the presidential palace to submit The Declaration of Freedom and Change. They have been met with government repression. Security forces have used tear gas and live ammunition to disperse and kill protesters, leaving more than 40 people dead. More than 1,000 have been imprisoned. Bashir has declared a state of emergency.


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US and British imperialism have ruined Sudan

‘If the south goes there will be no more Sudan’ – Malik Agar, Sudan Revolutionary Front ‘rebel’ leader and former governor of Blue Nile state, 2009.

On 28 October 2015, President Obama extended US sanctions on Sudan for the 18th consecutive year as part of a strategy to maintain Sudan in political and economic isolation. Its aim has been to break Sudan up into smaller bite-size chunks so as to deny vital energy resources to strategic rival China, Sudan’s main trade partner. South Sudan, a creation of imperialism which broke away in 2011 has descended into war barely three years after it was formed. The imperialists do not want South Sudan to collapse entirely, and are determined to keep it as a thorn in the side of Sudan regardless of the human cost.


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Imperialism and Sudan: same oil story

Sudan oil fire min

A fire at an oil factory in the area of Heglig in Sudan.

FRFI 181 October/ November 2004

The civil war in oil-rich Darfur, simmering since 1985, escalated into tragedy for millions of people from February 2003 onwards. The conflict is estimated to have killed between 55,000 and 100,000 people and driven up to 1.5 million people from their land. 110,000 people have sought refuge in neighbouring Chad. Whatever is behind the attacks on the people in Darfur, the imperialists, aided by a vapid media and complicit aid agencies, made their own plans long ago, and they did not include averting a humanitarian disaster, preventing genocide or ‘providing security for Darfur’s people’. Just as they did at the end of the 19th century in the rush for gold and diamonds, in a renewed competitive rush to plunder the oppressed nations of the world for their natural resources, especially oil, the imperialists are intent on neo-colonising and controlling Africa’s vast resources. Charles Chinweizu reports.


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Darfur Imperialists vie for Sudan’s oil

Since February 2003 civil war has raged in oil-rich Sudan’s western region of Darfur. As well as being sub-Saharan Africa’s third largest oil producer, Sudan is believed to hold Africa’s largest unexploited oil reserves. Sudan is also strategically placed near the Red Sea and the Horn of Africa. Sudan’s oil industry is dominated by Asian countries such as Malaysia, India and China. French and British oil majors are small-time players and the US non-existent due to self-imposed sanctions.

Fuelling the war are the imperialist nations Britain, France and the US, thwarting all attempts at a peaceful resolution in favour of a militaristic solution. Having failed to get UN backing for a joint NATO-African Union force of 26,000 troops into Darfur, France led an EU force of 3,700 soldiers into eastern Chad in February 2008, under the pretext of ‘protecting refugees’. Their aim is to get their hands on Sudan’s oil and other resources, so choking off the supply of a vital raw material to their strategic rival, China. Understandable concern at the suffering in Darfur is being used by the imperialists to further their ambitions for the region.  Meanwhile, the suffering in the neighbouring Democratic Republic of Congo, where over 6 million have died since 1998 and 1,200 die daily, is ignored – why? The answer is that imperialism is in the Congo using the state’s feebleness and the country’s chaos to loot its mineral riches.


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