Abdel Fattah al-Burhan issued decree Sept. 6. to dissolve paramilitary group
The focus in Sunday shifted from the battlefield Friday to the legitimacy of the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) when army chief Abdel Fattah al-Burhan issued a decree to dissolve the paramilitary.
Al-Burhan’s Sept. 6 decision has sparked speculation regarding the future of the conflict between the warring rivals, according to analysts.
Experts believe the decision to disband the RSF would not affect the course of the war that has been going on since April.
Experts told Anadolu they considered it “a step within the framework of general mobilization.”
“The battlefield alone determines the course of the ongoing conflict,” they said.
With the decision, the RSF, which has been the government’s right arm in fighting the rebellion in Darfur, has no legal presence in Sudan.
The Sudanese parliament passed a draft law in January 2017 affiliating the RSF with the army, after it had been affiliated with the Security and Intelligence Service.
On July 30, 2019, Al-Burhan, the head of the military council at the time, issued a decree amending the RSF law, making it “semi-independent and subordinate to its leader, Abdel Rahim Hamdan Dagalo.”
The RSF was formed 10 years ago in a complex context coinciding with the war in Darfur to fight rebels in the region.
But its presence in Sudanese cities faced widespread criticism locally, as it was classified as an extension of the notorious “Janjaweed militia.”
The government at the time continued to deny that the forces had a “tribal character,” and officials repeatedly emphasized that they were a “national force.”
There are no official estimates of the number of RSF members but they exceed tens of thousands and are deployed in most cities, as well as on the borders.
“The decree to dissolve the RSF will have no real effect,” said writer and political analyst Abdullah Rizk.
Rizk told Anadolu that “this measure will not provide the five-month war with legitimacy it was already lacking.”
“The battlefield is the only law imposer in wars,” he said, noting that “there is no executive body that can put the decree into effect.”
Rizk stressed that “the RSF should be removed from residential areas so that citizens can return safely to their homes.”
“An immediate cease-fire should take place then the two parties can resume negotiations in order to reach a final agreement to stop hostilities and end the war,” he added.
Another writer and political analyst, Amir Babiker, said the effect of the decision to disband the RSF “will not be significant.”
Babikir said Al-Burhan’s decision “does not meet the aspirations of the people.”
Influence meets criticism
Despite criticisms that followed the establishment in 2013 of the RSF, the confidence it gained from ousted President Omar al-Bashir gave it more strength, influence and support, to be one of the strong arms of the regime.
The RSF maintained influence after the fall of Al-Bashir on April 11, 2019, when it participated in the military council that came to power, headed by Abdel Fattah Al-Burhan.
RSF commander, Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, Hemedti, assumed the position of Vice President of the Sovereignty Council in August 2019 after reaching an agreement between the military and the Forces for Freedom and Change, until Al-Burhan dismissed him.
The RSF has been accused of committing human rights violations, especially in Darfur.
Since the beginning of the war between the RSF and the armed forces, thousands have been killed and more than 7 million displaced, especially in Khartoum and Darfur state, according to UN figures.