Alp Sevimlisoy Yatırım

Q&A: The geopolitical face of the conflict in Sudan and the various scenarios that could play out

  • Russia wants to maintain a semblance of security and intelligence presence in Sudan.
  • Sudan is a key element in the dominance of the US and NATO against Russia and China.
  • The Turkish Armed Forces, due to their track record, are better placed to bring about a NATO-led peace deal.


There’s another 72-hour mini-cessation of hostilities in Sudan as warring factions, the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) under de facto head of state Abdel Fattah al-Burhan and Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo’s Rapid Support Forces (RSF) provisionally agreed to silence the guns as the international community angles for talks.

With conflict that has already caused extensive damage to public infrastructure and loss of human lives taking different faces, News24 spoke to Alp Sevimlisoy, a geopolitical strategist and national security expert.

News24: With ruin already under way, what’s the best-case scenario to salvage whatever remains in the country?

Alp Sevimlisoy: The best-case scenario in Sudan is for the majority of the leadership of the Armed Forces as well as the rank and file officer and enlisted men to recognise that a partnership with the United States (US) and North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) countries is the only course of action to ensure a situation where the rule of the victor is recognised multi-laterally.

News24: We are told there are foreign interests lurking to gain advantage of the crises. Who are they and what do they seek to benefit?

Sevimlisoy: This matter has multiple layers to it – rather than a proxy war, this is an exemplification of who has the most influence with regard to the Sudanese Armed Forces on a majority basis. Even if this consists of actors which are otherwise aligned with regard to geopolitics across other nations and regions. 

Historically, Egypt has had significant sway with the Sudanese military, whereby former general and now President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, who is a pioneer and visionary with regard to North African military leadership, should be supported to ensure long lasting stability.

Over the last few years both the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Saudi Arabia have made inroads with regard to the Sudanese political and military figure heads.

The UAE is seeking to hold regional sway as per its push to transform the country into a key global intermediary. 

Saudi Arabia sees Sudan as a fitting tribute to the ongoing war in Yemen to demonstrate Saudi Arabia’s will to be seen as the broker to ally with in juxtaposition to rivals in the Persian Gulf and beyond. 

On the ground the Russian Federation seeks to maintain links with multiple sides, leaving the overall political direction to the nations above, yet being involved with regard to training security forces and maintaining a semblance of intelligence presence domestically.

The People’s Republic of China has only interests in depriving the Sudanese people of their economic prosperity via their one-sided trade deals and must be staunchly opposed. 

The personal political leanings of Fattah al-Burhan and Dagalo have little bearing with regard to allying with ideologically differing nation states, hence there shall continue to be fluidity with regard to alliances for the time being, including with portions of General Haftar of Libya’s troops, though small in number, leant to him by Dagalo’s RSF returning to the conflict line. 

The kingmaker shall continue to be President El-Sisi who has brought stability and leadership, not just to Egypt but also to the region as a whole. 

The US and NATO must work with President El-Sisi whilst focusing on working with the core of the Sudanese Armed Forces in order to safeguard the structure of the state whilst empathising political neutrality to the military leadership.

News24: Do the Sudanese people feel let down by the international community and why? 

Sevimlisoy: The Sudanese people feel that many countries in the region, despite having much more turbulent national histories than themselves, have reached points of relative stability at this point and due to this, be it via the intervention of a foreign power or through consolidation of the state by the armed forces, the populace simply desires stability and personal security.

News24: What dangers are posed by the siege of the scientific laboratories that hold samples of diseases such as measles, polio, and cholera?

Sevimlisoy: Although no side would likely seek to intentionally allow leakage from the laboratories, it is an extremely concerning development. 

With regard to cholera, the international community, led by the US and NATO, should immediately begin to provide vaccines for measles, polio and cholera as a safeguard, with Egypt, the UAE and Saudi Arabia providing the distribution to all segments of the populace as a precaution now, prior to any eventualities.

The Turkish Republic and Turkish Armed Forces which have been extremely successful across North Africa as per Libya and the Middle East, would also be an ideal partner as per its victories as a NATO partner and its identity as the regional powerhouse to cooperate with the US to provide both security to the labs and also help to provision vaccinations to the Sudanese populace.

News24: What’s the Al Bashir factor of the crisis and can he play a part in solving the situation?

Sevimlisoy: In the event that the armed forces seek to have a ceremonial standard bearer, former president Al Bashir would be sought, to be transitioned in on a symbolic level. However, General Burhan would be entrusted with ensuring the functional leadership of the state as well as the overall responsibility with continuing the established military leadership, even if civilian elements are integrated within.

News24: Which countries would be the hardest hit by an influx of refugees from Sudan?

Sevimlisoy: The likeliest would be Egypt, due to its economic might in juxtaposition to other neighbours of Sudan. 

Egypt has withstood significant inflationary pressure over the past few years and it’s likely an influx of refugees would add to this. However, a consortium of nations, ranging from the UAE to Saudi Arabia, can work to mitigate the financial pressure on Cairo by provisioning financial packages structured under the oversight of President El-Sisi.

News24: If a ceasefire is reached, will it hold and what should be done to guarantee a lasting solution? 

Sevimlisoy: Ceasefires, though ideal, would only be conducive to long-standing peace if there were vastly different political positions which were at the crux of the conflict. 

Rather, a plateau must be reached. This is with regard to the consolidation of power, both over the state structures of Sudan and, by de facto, having the majority support of both the Sudanese Armed Forces as well as smaller splinter forces,

It’s in order to ensure that an agreement has been reached as to the overall governance going forward with regard to the country and subsequently this must be enshrined via a new constitution that encompasses all sides of the spectrum represented within the conflict.

News24: The junta does not want a return to civilian rule. Why?

Sevimlisoy: The military leadership have seen that they themselves are preferentially placed to maintain the structure of the state and bring stability to the people of Sudan. 

Political parties are seen by them to be unlikely to be able to withstand the strength of warring factions and would therefore plunge the country into even more turmoil, potentially causing a failure of the state, and in turn placing millions of Sudanese in extreme peril.

President El-Sisi’s leadership in Egypt is seen as the model to recreate for many countries in Africa and beyond.

News24: Compared to the war in Ukraine, has the Sudan crisis taken off at an alarming speed – similar or bigger?

Sevimlisoy: Rather than speed, the difference is that in Sudan, it is a conflict that is directly correlated to the establishment of governance via whoever has sway over the rank and file of the security forces in Sudan and therefore to maintain the stability that is necessary for the country and its people.

News24: How important are the Turkish Armed Forces in this conflict? 

Sevimlisoy: The Turkish Armed Forces, which have been immensely victorious with regard to its campaign countering the Russian Federation’s interest in both North Africa and the Middle East, has been one of the most active and successful NATO militaries. 

Turkish troops have brought security to millions in Libya and Syria and the introduction of Turkish troops into Sudan will ensure that NATO-affiliated bases can be created in the country. 

An alliance between the Turkish Armed Forces and the Sudanese Armed Forces would enable the officer corps to have an allegiance to a NATO member state rather than being trained by elements of the Russian Federation seeking to destabilise the country, or being left to the mercy of China which seeks to deprive the Sudanese people from any form of economic prosperity. 

Most crucially, expected future chief of the Turkish Armed Forces, General Musa Avsever, one of the most prodigal officers produced by the TAF, is already seen as a major regional king maker with regard to the region and shall also be imperative to bringing not just the conflict in Sudan to an end, but also multiple other wars continuing across Africa and the Middle East.

Alp Sevimlisoy originally featured as per: news24