Khartoum quieter on the two month anniversary of the war
SAF halts its offensive
The intensity of fighting in Khartoum subsided over the past two days, based on a lack of reports of clashes from civilian sources, news media, and the warring parties themselves. This could be the result of a deliberate pause on the part of the Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) to consolidate modest gains made since the start of their offensive June 11. Such a pause would allow them to bring up supplies and reinforcements and fortify new positions.
My view is that it also reflects tactical caution on the part of SAF commanders, who are wary of sprawling, fast-moving street fights that favor the RSF because of their superior mobility and the experience of their fighters. SAF therefore prefer to keep their soldiers consolidated and move deliberately according to pre-arranged plans, whereas RSF units operate more autonomously and with considerable discretion.
SAF’s cautious approach, while it avoids risky pitched battles, also has tended to result in RSF seizing the initiative and dominating larger swathes of territory.
Turning to specifics, two new videos give us a better picture of the frontline between SAF and RSF in different areas. The first video shows a white Hilux pickup being shot at on Al Thawra Belnos Street in Omdurman.
Two dead RSF soldiers afterwards were pulled from the vehicle and filmed by local citizens. This occurred only two kilometers from where fighting took place on Al Wadi Street on June 12.
Together the two incidents give a rough picture of the frontline in this part of Omdurman. This latest incident possibly represents an ambush of an RSF reconnaissance team, in a no-man’s-land between the two sides.
The second video (below) was filmed by the RSF on June 13. It confirms what I wrote in my previous article on the Khartoum situation, namely, “SAF do not appear to have broken out very far from their bridgehead in Halfaya.” The video shows, in fact, that SAF have not broken out from the bridge at all.
Geolocated by @mustapro, the first part of the video shows an RSF unit of about 20 men at the Halfaya roundabout. The second part shows the same group at the onramp to the bridge, near a turn in the road, about 500 meters from the riverbank and the bridge. This confirms that the SAF have not advanced even one kilometer into Bahri from Omdurman (or they pushed into Bahri only temporarily before withdrawing).
Another video from nearly the same location days earlier showed a group of RSF fighters performing a Rizeigat dance under an overpass.
The location (marked with a red unit designation in the map below) is a preferred defensive position because the overpass provides protection from airstrikes, and vegetation nearby provide cover to fire on attackers.
Separately, TikTok videos in recent days show SAF troops crouching on the bridge itself. Note that in the video below at least two of the RSF soldiers have sniper rifles.
Two Month Anniversary
Reuters correspondent Nafisa Eltahir wrote yesterday, “The war in Sudan is two months old, with no resolution in sight and instead an intensification, particularly in Kordofan and Darfur, that suggests a deepening, ethnic conflict.”
This seems a fair assessment to me.
I have nothing in particular to add for the occasion of this anniversary, but I’ll share an excerpt from the post I wrote on the one-month anniversary, which was the first post I wrote on this blog. I feel it is just as true now as it was then, if not more so:
The Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) have demonstrated profound military weakness whilst RSF have demonstrated political weakness. SAF cannot even dislodge RSF from the palace and other strategic sites in the capital, let alone annihilate them entirely.
Politically, the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) have not outlined a clear program or objectives. They have a propaganda strategy involving denigrating their enemy and portraying themselves as champions of democracy and liberators, but that is about it.
In connection with this, it’s noteworthy that on the international stage Hemedti has come under virtually no pressure to outline his political demands. What does he want? It is not unreasonable to ask this basic question, yet mediators have failed to do so publicly. In the media, Hemedti has said that Burhan must “surrender or die like a dog.” But does that mean he wants the presidency?
As I wrote only half-jokingly on Twitter, Hemedti's only viable path to power is to become the “Emir of Sudan” through violence.
Hemedti’s failure to articulate a political program or a path toward peace make it difficult for him to draw on popular support domestically or to achieve legitimacy internationally. Although the Rapid Support Forces have key relationships in Russia, the United Arab Emirates, Libya, and the Central African Republic, the RSF cannot count on support from South Sudan, Chad, or Egypt.
Burhan, too, has failed to put forth a proposal for a resolution of the conflict or a political transition, though he has offered to step down if Hemedti would do likewise. This offer is a potential lever in the public discourse that civil actors and mediators have so far failed to exploit…