Hemiditi: Mastering the Art of Political Deception
Amgad Fareid Eltayeb
In his recorded agitated speech, which was broadcast on the evening of Monday, September 4, 2023, the commander of the "Rapid Support Forces" (RSF); Mohammed Hamdan Daqlo, also known as Hemiditi, revealed a meeting he had with the commander-in-chief of the Sudanese army, Abdel Fattah Al-Burhan, at the Mouawia Al-Berir farm ten days prior to the outbreak of war. He stated that he proposed a twinning
between the army and the Rapid Support Forces at that meeting in order to address the issue of Sudan's multiplicity of armies and armed formations.
Perhaps Hemiditi's own word would end the debate about the rightness of continuing the declared and hidden political alliances with the Rapid Support Forces and justifying it with their commitment to the framework agreement signed on December 5, 2022, at the end of a muddled political process aimed at ending the October 25, 2021 coup. According to framework signatories, it was an agreement that would have terminated Sudan's multiplicity of armies.
In fact, the framework agreement established the RSF's independence in an unprecedented manner anywhere in the world or in history. RSF became independent from both the leadership of the army and from the executive branch of government, in a way that largely fuelled the ambitions of its owner to maintain this independent presence in a permanent manner - which Hemedti expressed in the aforementioned twinning proposal.
These ambitions have been exacerbated by strong diplomatic backing for the Framework Agreement, in the context of the "Any solution will suit them" diplomacy adopted and continues to be embraced by Western policy directions in Sudan, led by the United States of America. But the current evidence and facts of today demonstrate that poor solutions are not solutions at all. They only set the stage for more catastrophic events to occur, such as the ongoing civil war in Sudan today.
Hemiditi’s growing aspirations for political survival and autonomy were
reinforced by the framework agreement signatories’ bestowal of
complete immunity upon the Army and RSF leaders for their past transgressions. The Agreement mandated that responsibility for these crimes would be attributed solely to the soldiers and officers who were directly involved in committing them.
Furthermore, it is important to point out that the framework agreement failed to address the crucial matter of the significant growth of the economic empire of the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) militia. The stipulation was explicitly articulated that both the army and police would be prohibited from engaging in any economic activities apart from those associated with military industrialization. However, in the instance of the RSF, it regarded the economic activities and dominion of the RSF as the rightful possession of Hemditi and his family, disregarding any mentioning of it. The agreement and its supporters neglected that this commercial empire established and expanded as a result of corruption, political empowerment, and political bribery handed to Hemidit by Bashir to construct his own security army. In reality, it is money looted from the Sudanese people's wealth and rights. The framework agreement and its local and international supporters also overlooked the fact that this financial empire is still being employed in political corruption with unprecedented zeal. And that, aside from the purchase of receivables, it worked directly to finance the buy-in of and recruitment of civil administrations after the dispersal of the sit-in, as well as the financing of the Republican Palace sit-in that paved the way for the October 25, 2021 coup, and was a key factor in undermining economic reform measures and rebuilding the alliance of corruption and tyranny that was readily apparent in the October 25, 2021 coup that ended the transitional period. This is in addition to political corruption and the distribution of bribes and gifts to gain support and silence critics, as well as the purchase of media trumpets both inside and outside Sudan, all of which contributed to the political situation deteriorating to the point where
it is now.
Hemiditi did not stop pointing out the financial influence in his flirtation with those he called "honourable army officers and soldiers," when he talked about guaranteeing their financial rights at retirement - which the state will pay and not Burhan, according to him - if they detil from the army now, while threatening them with court trials and not receiving these rights if they fall into the capture of the Rapid Support Forces.
Hemiditi's constant exhibition of Al-Moez's sword and gold demonstrates a fixation with power that he feels could lead him to a military victory in the ongoing war. However, it is worth emphasizing that the nearly five-month-long conflict has unambiguously demonstrated both forces' inability to reach a military resolution.
Hemiditi's recorded speech highlighted the issue of foreign military aircrafts present at the Meroe base, which he had strategically moved his forces to besiege on April 13, 2023. The fuse that led to the outbreak of war on April 15 was actually that. Hemiditi was arguing about the presence of Egyptian airforce crew at the base. But he deliberately disregarded the fact that this crew was present in a legitimate and public manner, as part of a joint Defense and training agreement between the two countries. Moreover, these air training manoeuvres were not the first one and are conducted periodically on an annual basis and they are announced.
As a matter of fact, Hemiditi failed to address his own foreign military relationships within the same context of foreign military presence. He neglected to address the presence of Wagner elements and the establishment of a training and supply base by Wagner in Umm Dafouk on the Sudanese border with Central Africa. He also skipped any discussion
regarding the military support he receives from foreign countries and the interventions conducted by his forces in Libya. Additionally, Hemditi did not touch upon the issue of gold smuggling and the transportation of arms via aircraft between the airports of Port Sudan and Tartous. Furthermore, he did not provide any explanation for the unilateral closure of the border with Central Africa Republic earlier this year, without coordination or notification to any other state agencies, which was purportedly done to protect the pro-Russian regime from a coup attempt.
Hemiditi is in complete denial of the fact that his RSF militia has been and remains a full-fledged foreign agency framework in the service of external powers seeking only the fulfillment of its owner’s ambitions.
Hemiditi mentioned several times in his recorded speech that they are defending themselves and attempting to defend the homeland, restore democracy, and denounce racism, but he did not explain how they defend themselves by occupying houses and expelling residents. He did not explain how their pursuit of democracy is in line with their mass massacres, rapes of women, and looting of property. In his shaky speech, he failed in tackling the alignment between their self-proclaimed condemnation of racism and the forced displacement of the Masalit community, as well as the heinous act of assassinating the highly respected Khamis Abkar, the late governor of West Darfur state and the subsequent public mutilation of his corpse in a celebratory way. Furthermore, he neglected to explain their involvement in the extensive ethnically motivated violence that engulfed both the state and the broader Darfur region.
Hemiditi resides within a realm characterized by a profound disregard for objective truths, steadfastly adhering to an alternative narrative
propagated by himself and other members of the RSF militia. Their concerted efforts aim to impose this narrative upon people, intimidating or blackmailing them into rejecting their own firsthand experiences and perpetually denying the realities that surround them and embrace the RSF narrative.
Hemiditi’s recorded speech untangled the narrative that Taha Osman Ishaq, the representative of the Forces for Freedom and Change, attempted to weave the day before in another interview on the "Al-Jazeera" channel. During that conversation, the guest worked hard to corroborate the Rapid Support Forces' story concerning the framework agreement, the onset of conflict, and the RSF’s stances. He went on to shyly justify the Rapid Support Forces' transgressions when he was asked about it, by stating that these violations are what Sudanese army have been doing in the wars in the south and Darfur.
Taha failed to take into account the fact that the Rapid Support Forces were the army's instrument in inflicting these atrocities. He also failed to consider the fact that criminal acts are never excused one another. Taha went so far in the Whataboutism approach that was practiced by the circles of the Forces of Freedom and Change, the Central Council, in dealing with what is happening in Sudan during this war that the Sudanese in social media launched a hashtag (#Tell_Him_Taha) to remind him of the extent of the violations and crimes of the Rapid Support Forces, which he tried to justify.
The Central Council of the Forces of Freedom and Change did not learn from the mistakes made by the Civil Front to End the War and Restore Democracy. The Forces of Freedom and Change, through its different fronts, issued a statement on Thursday, April 27 announcing the formation of this front. The Forces of Freedom and Change organizations, together
with other Sudanese civic organizations, resistance committees, civil society organizations, and prominent Sudanese individuals, all signed it. But soon the components of this front dispersed into the hands of Sheba, after witnessing multiple resignations from its members and other withdrawals from some of its components, all of which were justified by their objection to its management approach and decision-making in their name. Then came the great catastrophe after the statement issued by the Front in early May, which included fabricating incidents of rape and attributing it to the Sudanese army, in order to equate its mention and condemnation with the documented rape incidents committed by the Rapid Support Forces, which caused a sensation at the time. This fabrication sparked a major scandal that later led to the withdrawal of the statement and the concerned front’s apology for it on May 15, 2023, but it also led to the exposure of its political bias and further withdrawals of its components and personalities, until only the Forces of Freedom and Change organizations remained.
If Hemedti was correct in a single part of his recorded speech, it was the message he addressed to Al-Burhan, declaring (The 1956 state is over, my friend!). Indeed, this state has ended with all of its old institutions, structures, and products, most notably the Rapid Support Forces, which is one of the most horrific products of the state of discrimination and oppression that this state created during the Bashir era in order to practice structural violence against the Sudanese people. Stopping the war will need to get back to the fundamental principles of state creation, the most significant of which are political neutrality and the sine qua non of monopolizing justifiable violence by one apparatus in any society. Any agreement or negotiation aimed at redistributing political or military power among the parties involved in starting this war, and at treating Sudan as though April 15 had never occurred, is bound to fail and will eventually lead to the return of war in a more horrifying form.
Depoliticizing the military institution and the rest of the state apparatus will not be done by adding new politicized pockets to these structures, but rather by removing the politicized pockets that already exist in them. Not to mention that Hemiditi revealed in his emotional recorded speech that his agreement to the merger included in the framework agreement, despite its shortcomings, was just a tactical maneuver, while he sought, in his meetings with Al-Burhan until early April, to ensure the independence of his forces by twinning them with the Sudanese army, not integrating into it. All the talk and stories about negotiating the merger periods, its time periods, and its implementation plans were nothing but maneuvering bids, as Hemiditi revealed, although this was obvious even before Hemiditi’s speech, given the unreasonable, extended periods of time ranging from 22 years suggested by the Militia to 10 years suggested by the Forces of Freedom and Change - Central Council. However, should our true desire be to construct a stable and democratic Sudan, it is imperative that the machinery of the state, along with all its institutions, not be fragmented and distributed amongst warlords as mere spoils of conquest.
"I bring you peace for our time," was the phrase stated by British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain after signing the Munich Agreement with Adolf Hitler in September 1938. This agreement was primarily intended to appease Hitler by approving his annexation of the Sudetenland region of Czechoslovakia in order to maintain what appeared to be stability on the European continent at the time. But the "Agreement About Us, Without Us," as the Czechs called it, ended only six months after its signing, with Hitler occupying all of Czechoslovakia, then the outbreak of World War II in September 1939, and millions murdered in genocidal massacres, gas
holocausts, and battles on a global scale. The events that transpired in Sudan, commencing with the signing of the framework agreement on the 5th of December 2022, and culminating in the eruption of hostilities on the 15th of April 2023, evoke reminiscences of the haunting specter of Munich.
If the Sudanese have not yet imbibed the wisdom of learning from global history, they should now imbibe the lessons of their recent history, lest they find themselves condemned to repeat the errors of the past.