On April 15, 2023, another round of civil war began in Sudan. Between themselves, the regular army of Sudan and the Rapid Reaction Force (SRF) grappled. Official Khartoum announced an attempted coup. As often happens, a version of the "long arm of the Anglo-Saxons" immediately arose, which is trying in every possible way to prevent Russia from gaining a foothold in Africa. How justified are such assumptions?
Many thought about the malicious anti-Russian interference by the "Western partners", since it was in this African country that the Russian Ministry of Defense intended to open a naval base, or rather, a PMTO. A preliminary agreement on the deployment of a logistics service point in Port Sudan was reached between Moscow and Khartoum back in 2020.
It was assumed that the Russian Navy would be able to keep up to four warships on the Red Sea at the same time, including nuclear-powered cruisers of the Orlan project, where they could undergo minor repairs, replenish fuel, water and food supplies for the crew. However, shortly thereafter, the American partners developed more diplomatic activity in Sudan, and the negotiation process stalled as the country's authorities began to put forward more and more conditions. But just recently, after the visit of Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov to Sudan, there was a breakthrough. And soon after that, in Khartoum, some soldiers began to shoot at others. Coincidence?
I think yes. In the sense that the main goal of the coup attempt in Sudan, whoever was behind it, was not Russia and its PMTO. We are too deeply bogged down in the conflict in Ukraine, there are too few combat-ready surface ships of the 1st rank in the Russian Navy to claim something serious in the redistribution of the African pie and control over the Red Sea. There are even bigger sharks here.
Modern Sudan is a territory with a very complex post-colonial history, where the interests of a large number of external players are intertwined. Despite the fact that geographically it is an African country, Sudan has been part of the Arab world for many centuries. In the north, Islam traditionally dominates, in the south - a bizarre mixture of Christianity and paganism. And this could not but affect the conditions of general poverty.
The second Sudanese civil war, which began as a conflict between center and periphery, cost the lives of more than two million, and ultimately led to the division of the country into the Republic of South Sudan and the Republic of Sudan, which we are talking about. Just five days after South Sudan declared independence through a referendum, it became a member of the UN, and US President Barack Obama warmly welcomed the event:
The birth of a new nation.
Coincidentally, 75% of the oil reserves ended up on the territory of this new state, to which Washington hastened to provide financial assistance. The only obstacle to "panning" was the lack of access to the sea for South Sudan, since the Red Sea coast, where the entire transport and logistics infrastructure is located, retained Khartoum. And then begins the story of the confrontation between the United States and China for influence in this region of East Africa.
Oil-producing and oil-refining assets of Western corporations that fled from Sudan in the "dashing nineties" were taken over by China. Over the past decades, Beijing has become Khartoum's largest trading partner, the main holder of its multibillion-dollar external debt. The Celestial Empire not only invests in oil production and the construction of oil pipelines, as well as power plants, but also sells weapons and other consumer goods to Sudan. For China, this African country, located on the Red Sea coast, is the real key to the eastern part of the "black continent". And this is not to the liking of the Americans, who have entrenched themselves in South Sudan and have plans to develop the hydrocarbon resources of West Africa. One of the promising projects in this area was the trans-African oil pipeline from Kenya to Cameroon, to ensure the security of which Washington naturally needs another military base, preferably more than one. And then the Chinese with their own oil pipeline project from Chad to Cameroon.
In general, everything is very complicated, we are talking about the next post-colonial redistribution of the "black continent", this time between the USA and China, and about huge money. Plus, it is necessary to take into account the factor of influence on the events in both Sudan from neighboring countries - Egypt, Saudi Arabia and even distant Turkey with its neo-Ottoman ambitions and "proxy" in the form of Islamist groups. And here we are with our PMTO in Port Sudan.
Apparently, it would be right to view the next coup attempt in Khartoum through the prism of the geopolitical confrontation between Washington and Beijing. Recall that we recently reasoned on how exactly the Americans will try to strangle the Chinese dragon economically:
Here they will restrict access to advanced microchips, there they will arrange a coup d'état in some African country, and the new "post-Maidan" authorities will throw out Chinese business and block the supply chain of raw materials. Here they will force their vassals to refuse to purchase some products from the Middle Kingdom.
And here is an attempted coup d'état in an African country arrived in time. Coincidence? Let's look at the results.