Will Expansion of RSF in Darfur Lead to Civil war?

Al-Nour Ahmed Al-Nour

Khartoum – The Rapid Support Forces (RSF) are close to controlling the Darfur region in western Sudan after seizing the army headquarters in El Daein, the capital of East Darfur state. All that is left to extend its influence over the five states is El Fasher, the political and administrative capital of the Darfur region, which the main armed movements have announced that they will defend on the side of the army, to avert the threatens of ethnic conflict and the division of the region on ethnic basis.
Analysts believe that the RSF are not planning to separate Darfur at the current stage, and it is not unlikely that they will form a parallel authority in western Sudan to bargain with it and ensure a political role after the war. If this is not achieved, they will work to strengthen themselves and march towards Khartoum because their ambition is greater than Darfur.
El Daein without confrontations
Last Tuesday, the RSF Forces took control of the city of El Daein, the capital of East Darfur State, becoming the fourth out of the five states in the region to fall under its influence.
The forces said in a statement, “The RSF victories open a wide door to the true peace that the Sudanese aspire to and the building of a homeland worthy of them,” stressing that East Darfur State, along with El Daein, “will remain safe” under its protection.
According to information from tribal sources, the army forces withdrew from the headquarters of the 20th Division according to arrangements made through mediation led by the leader of the Rizeigat tribe, Mahmoud Musa Madibo, to spare Al-Daein the danger of military confrontations between the two parties and harm to the civilians and displaced people who took shelter there.
El-Daein is considered the stronghold of the Rizeigat tribe, to which the leader of the RSF, Mohammed Hamdan Dagalo “Hemedti,” and the majority of his force commanders and fighters belong.
Since late last October, the RSF have taken control of the city of Nyala, the capital of South Darfur state, the city of Zalingei, the capital of Central Darfur state, and the city of El Geneina, the capital of West Darfur state. The city of El Fasher, the capital of North Darfur state, is the only remaining area, it’s fall would fully extend their control over the Darfur region.

Between Khartoum and Darfur
Political analyst Omer Al-Tayeb believes that the RSF Command announced the political and military goals of the war since the second day of its outbreak in mid-April in Khartoum by seeking to arrest the Commander-in-Chief of the Army, Abdel Fattah Al-Burhan, putting him on trial, and controlling the main headquarters of the army, that is, seizing power.
According to what the political analyst told Al Jazeera Net, the failure of the political and military goals in Khartoum prompted the RSF Command to transfer the war to Darfur in order to use it as a pressure card to ensure a political future in the next stage, because it realizes that the integration of its forces has become a reality, and it wants to reserve a political seat on its own , not by proxy through allies.
The same analyst expected that the RSF Command would succeed, using the Darfur card, in returning to Khartoum through the negotiating table after its military project failed to seize power by force. Al-Tayeb believes that regional powers have invested politically and militarily in RSF and will work to give it a political role in the next stage.
Fears of division
Political circles and activists fear a clash between the RSF and armed movements in Darfur in El Fasher on an ethnic basis, as the movements based on non-Arab components consider North Darfur their stronghold and social center of gravity, and have decided to wage any battle to defend it.
The head of the Sudan Liberation Movement and the Governor of the Darfur Region, Minni Arko Minawi, and the leader of the Justice and Equality Movement and the Minister of Finance, Jibril Ibrahim, and the Sudanese Alliance Movement – which was led by the governor of West Darfur state, Khamis Abkar, who the RSF were accused of assassinating – announced their departure from neutrality and their participation in military operations on all fronts.
Minawi said that they would not allow the dismantling of Sudan, and for Darfur to be a gateway to tearing the country apart, and he strongly warned the forces that seek to tear Sudan apart by using foreign circles, mercenaries, and border crossers.
For his part, Jibril Ibrahim says, “We decided to enter the war to defend civilians who are being attacked in Sudan in general and Darfur in particular, where there is ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity, where people are buried alive in El Geneina or chained as in Nyala.” He added, “The danger now is not that the war will spread to Darfur, but rather the division of the country along the lines of the Libyan model, which we cannot allow.”
Ibrahim believes that the RSF are heading to their alternative plan, which is to divide the country after failing to control the capital. He pointed out that after their expansion in the cities of the region, such as Nyala, El Geneina, and Zalingei, they are threatening El Fasher, which shelters displaced people from the areas of Darfur that were affected by the war, vowing to fight to “protect civilians.”
On the other hand, the political advisor to the commander of the RSF, Yousif Ezzat, considered controlling the army’s 20th Infantry Division in El Daein a “major victory” that would not be complete unless all of Sudan was liberated from their grip, by peace or war.
Yousif Ezzat called for protecting Darfur community from division and tribal violence after the people of the region paid a heavy price in lives during the previous decades and defeated the plans of the remnants (supporters of the regime of ousted President Omer Al-Bashir).
He warned in a post on “X” platform , Tuesday, against describing them as “some of the people of Darfur who want to implement old policies for the benefit of the remnants,” and called for not dragging Darfur into new conflicts, and saw that the door to dialogue is still open to spare the region from any form of violence.
Darfurian Dialogue
In the same context, the political researcher on Darfur issues, Ahmed Abdul Karim, believes that the RSF headed towards Darfur after the failure of their plan to control Khartoum, but he pointed out that if they are not able to invest this in returning to negotiations with Khartoum, they will form a rule in Darfur, turning it into a base from which to march towards the capital.
Speaking to Al Jazeera Net, Abdul Karim believes that the Rapid Support attempt to control El Fasher will put it in front of the armed movements and all fighters with non-Arab roots, creating a dangerous tribal division that threatens the outbreak of a civil war.
The researcher adds that the battle of El Fasher will determine the fate of Darfur, but he ruled out the possibility of the RSF being able to rule Darfur alone, due to the social complications and repercussions of the previous Darfur war, where the previous regime used Hemedti’s forces to strike the armed movements, which led to a division between Arab and African groups and the occurrence of war crimes that still continue to occur. It remains in the memory of a large segment of the people of the region.
Abdul Karim stressed that the future of the region cannot be determined by one party, and that there is no choice but to hold a Darfur dialogue in which all components of Darfur participate.

Source: Al Jazeera

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