Finished Summary Islamic Trust Emergency Lecture “Military clash in Sudan: the present situation, background, and prospects”(Apr. 27)


Category: Others

Research Group: B03 Peace BuildingOrganizer

An emergency lecture will be held by Islamic Trust Studies Organizer with Islamic Trust Studies B03 “Trust and Peace Building in Conflict Affected Areas” and The African Studies Center at Tokyo University of Foreign Studies (ASC-TUFS).

On Thursday, April 27, 2023 19:00-21:00 (online)

Lecturers: Abdin Mohamed (Center for Sustainable Development Studies, Toyo University) and Yuko Tobinai (Morioka University)

Moderator: Shinichi Takeuchi (Tokyo University of Foreign Studies)

19:00-19:05 Introduction by Shinichi Takeuchi
19:05-19:25 Lecture 1 “The general condition of Sudan and the background of the military clash” by Tobinai Yuko
19:25-20:30 Lecture 2: “The present situation, background, and prospects of the military clash” by Abdin Mohamed
20:30-20:55 Question-and-answer session
20:55-21:00 Closing address by Hidemitsu Kuroki (ILCAA /SRC, Hokkaido Univ.)

Conditions: Open to the public, Admission Free, Online via zoom (Registration required)
Registration: Registration is available on the following link.
*Registration will close when the prescribed number of participants is reached.

Contact:Islamic Trust Studies Project Office connectivity_jimukyoku[at]
※Inquiries may not be answered after 16:00 on April 27.

Co-organized by X00 Grant-in Aid for Transformative Research Areas (A)“Connectivity and Trust Building in Islamic Civilization” (Area Organizer: Hidemitsu KUROKI (ILCAA/SRC); 20H05823);B03 Grant-in-Aid for Transformative Research Areas (A) “Trust and Peace Building in Conflict Affected Areas” (Principal Investigator: Masako Ishii, 20H05829);The African Studies Center at Tokyo University of Foreign Studies (ASC-TUFS)


In response to the armed clashes in Sudan that suddenly began on April 15, the Islamic Trust Studies project held a special online lecture event entitled, “Military Conflict in Sudan: The Current Situation, Context, and Future Prospects”, as outlined above. Reflecting the public’s strong interest in this topic, nearly 200 people participated. This is a summary report on that event.

After opening remarks by the moderator, Professor Tobinai explained about the circumstances leading up to this recent conflict. Next, the moderator asked Dr. Mohamed Abdin for his opinions about five main points:
(1) Recent developments since the start of the conflict.
(2) Sudan’s paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) and their leader Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, better known as Hemedti.
(3) Sudanese Armed Forces General and de facto leader of Sudan: Abdel Fattah al-Burhan.
(4) Relations with neighboring countries.
(5) Future prospects.
This was followed by a Q&A session with the online audience.

The lectures and comments by Prof. Tobinai and Dr. Abdin produced the following take-aways.

1) The paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) were originally established under former President Omar al-Bashir to curb the rising power of the national army (Sudanese Armed Forces). The RSF grew much larger under the Bashir administration, but also at the encouragement of neighboring and concerned countries (including EU countries seeking to limit the inflow of immigrants).

2) Hemedti recruited mainly from his own tribe, the Rizeigat, with Arabs from Sahel countries such as Chad, Central Africa, Mali, and Burkina Faso joining the RSF. Membership increased rapidly because new recruits enjoyed better conditions than soldiers in the national army.

3) Hemedti holds a stake in Darfur’s gold mines (granted by Bashir), whereas the military also holds stakes across the Sudanese economy.

4) The Sudanese Armed Forces and General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan have close ties to Egypt, while Hemedti and the RSF have the support of the UAE and Marshal Khalifa Haftar in Libya. Nevertheless, both sides have complex inter-relations with their neighbors abroad, so it’s not possible to neatly divide nearby countries into two camps.

5) The pro-democracy forces have been unable to negotiate realistically with the military government. It would be difficult to resolve the many concerns of the military and the RSF all at once. To effectively institute democracy, the nation of Sudan must first be assured of unity.

6) Conditions for the Sudanese people will grow even more dire. The number of internally displaced persons and refugees flowing into neighboring countries will increase. Humanitarian assistance to these people is absolutely necessary, and Japan is expected to contribute to this effort.

7) Given that the RSF was originally established as a check against Sudan’s military, cooperative efforts between Hemedti and Burhan merely functioned as an opportunistic way to suppress those calling for democracy. In other words, there was never any trust between the two sides in the first place. Hence, the current armed conflict was not caused by some breakdown in trust. There are various theories about how the armed conflict erupted this time. But it’s believed that a catalyst for the current conflict was a growing sense of mutual existential threat and a fear that, “if we don’t destroy them, they’ll destroy us”.

Report by Shinichi Takeuchi

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