Fierce fighting is taking place in cities across Sudan as rival elements of the armed forces battle for control of the country, leaving over 100 people dead so far. The Party for Socialism and Liberation stands with the country’s mass movement struggling for a more popular democracy.
On one side of the clashes is the regular army of the country led by General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, who has also been functioning as Sudan’s head of state. They are contending with the Rapid Support Forces led by General Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo — a powerful paramilitary group set up by the government in 2013 as part of the country’s civil war.
The fighting has broken out at a crucial moment for the future of the country. Since December 2018, the people of Sudan have been engaged in a massive and sustained uprising that was sparked by spiraling food and fuel prices and quickly evolved into a direct challenge to military rule. Longtime leader Omar al-Bashir was overthrown in April 2019, but the armed forces as an institution remained in control of the country.
From there, a “transitional” administration was set up that included representatives of both the military and some civilian opposition parties, supposedly to pave the way for an elected government. This new government implemented a number of anti-worker economic measures in consultation with the IMF, including a mass privatization plan. It also normalized diplomatic relations with Israel. These policies were fiercely opposed by the people’s movement.
This transitional arrangement came to an end in October 2021 when the army staged a coup and took full control.
All this time, the people continued to take to the streets in huge numbers, defying deadly repression that killed hundreds. They are united around the “three no’s”: no partnership, no negotiations and no legitimacy for military rule. These forces, which include organizations like the Resistance Committees and the Communist Party of Sudan, have refused to take part in any of the transitional arrangements put forward by the armed forces.
In a statement issued after the latest fighting broke out, the Communist Party demanded, “an immediate ceasefire, the exit of armies and militias from cities, and to save the country from the bloody infighting among the generals.” It argued that it was “necessary to expedite the dissolution of all militias, collecting the weapons deployed in cities and rural areas, and rebuilding a unified professional national army.”
The fighting gripping Sudan exploded just as political forces were on the verge of finalizing a new transition agreement. In the face of the determined resistance of the people, the armed forces high command made the calculation that they needed to retreat from overt rule of the country and once again bring civilian forces into the government. One group of mostly conservative parties that were in the opposition during al-Bashir’s rule had taken the military up on their offer and were close to concluding a deal.
One of the last remaining sticking points in the negotiations was the question of integrating the RSF into the structure of the regular armed forces, rather than having it operate according to its own independent chain of command. To do that, an agreement would need to be reached about what rank RSF commanders would have after integration into the army, and on what basis that would be determined. It was in the context of this power struggle that the clashes broke out.
The Sudanese Communist Party wrote in their statement on the crisis that, “The unity of our people, all the patriotic forces, the Forces for Radical Change and the Resistance Committees in support of the goals of the Revolution and restoring peace, security and stability is an urgent task. It is the only basis to end the current crisis, reclaim the Revolution and establish the power of the people.” The steadfastness of the people of Sudan throughout all the twists and turns of the revolution is an inspiration to struggling people everywhere.