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Sudan’s Appeal to the UN: Allegations of UAE’s Involvement in Paramilitary Support

Photo: Reuters

Sudan, a nation with a labyrinthine history of conflict and political upheaval, has once again surfaced in international headlines as its government seeks the intervention of the United Nations Security Council. The request for an emergency meeting comes amidst escalating accusations against the United Arab Emirates (UAE) for allegedly supporting paramilitary forces in Sudan’s internal conflict. This development marks a significant turn in the ongoing strife that has embroiled Sudan since April 2023, pitting the army led by General Abdel Fattah al-Burhane against the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) commanded by General Mohamed Hamdane Daglo. The roots of the current conflict in Sudan are deeply entwined with the country’s complex political landscape. Following the ousting of President Omar al-Bashir in 2019, Sudan embarked on a fragile transition towards civilian rule. However, the process has been marred by power struggles and violent confrontations. In April 2023, the discord intensified into an outright war, with the Sudanese army and the RSF, a paramilitary group with origins in the Janjaweed militias implicated in the Darfur genocide, clashing with increasing ferocity.

The Sudanese government’s allegations against the UAE are not without precedent. The Gulf nation has been previously accused of extending its influence in various African conflicts, often through the provision of military support to selected parties. In Sudan’s case, the government alleges that the UAE has been supplying the RSF with weapons, funding, and tactical support, effectively bolstering the paramilitaries against the national army. The Sudanese diplomatic source, speaking on the condition of anonymity, highlighted that the alleged support constitutes an act of aggression against the Sudanese people. By assisting the RSF, the UAE is accused of undermining Sudan’s sovereignty and exacerbating the violence that has already claimed numerous lives and displaced thousands.
While the UAE has yet to issue a formal response to the allegations at the time of writing, its involvement in the region has historically been guided by a desire to secure its interests and expand its regional influence. The UAE’s strategic interests in Sudan include economic investments, access to agricultural land, and a geopolitical foothold in the Horn of Africa. The United Nations Security Council, responsible for maintaining international peace and security, is now confronted with the task of deliberating Sudan’s request for an emergency meeting. Should the council agree to discuss the issue, it will need to consider the implications of foreign interference in Sudan’s conflict, the validity of the Sudanese government’s claims, and the broader ramifications for regional stability.
The council’s potential actions could range from issuing condemnations or sanctions against the UAE if the allegations are substantiated, to calling for a ceasefire and initiating a diplomatic resolution process. However, the dynamics within the Security Council, including the influence of veto-wielding permanent members and the UAE’s own diplomatic leverage, could complicate any decisive action. The outcome of this international plea for scrutiny into the UAE’s alleged actions will have significant implications for Sudan. If the Security Council recognizes the legitimacy of the Sudanese government’s claims, it could lead to a shift in the balance of power within the country and potentially alter the trajectory of the conflict.
A formal condemnation of the UAE’s involvement could deter further external interference in Sudan’s affairs and encourage other regional actors to adopt a more neutral stance. Conversely, if the Security Council fails to act or is divided on the issue, it could embolden the RSF and other factions to continue their campaigns, potentially sinking Sudan deeper into turmoil. The request by Sudan for an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council underscores the gravity of the nation’s internal conflict and the complex web of regional and international interests that surround it. The allegations against the UAE, if proven, reveal the pernicious effects of external interference in sovereign affairs and the challenges faced by the international community in addressing such transgressions.
By Cora Sulleyman

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