A Sudanese politician accused the United Arab Emirates (UAE) of trying to reproduce a scenario of a Yemeni separatist transitional council in Sudan by supporting protesters calling for secession.
Mohamed Ali Al-Jazouli, the head of the State of Law and Development Party in Sudan, underscored the growing secessionist protests in the east of the country following the movements of a tribal leader backed by the UAE, asking: "What is the UAE up to in eastern Sudan, and are its agents in Khartoum aware of this?" as reported the Middle East Monitor.
"Will the UAE re-enact the Yemeni scenario in Sudan, supporting revolutionary legitimacy in Khartoum, working against it in the east, South Kordofan, the Blue Nile and Darfur, and sharing roles with its loyalists here and there?" he added, calling the UAE's move in the country "the project of obliterating identity and dividing Sudan."
Sudan's newly appointed government and rebel leaders agreed earlier this month on a road map aimed at ending war in the country by year end. Rebels and bandits are still active there as well as in the southern provinces of Blue Nile and South Kordofan. The rebels include the Sudan Revolutionary Front, which is an alliance of Darfur rebel groups. It is part of the pro-democracy movement. Another rebel group is the Sudan People's Liberation Movement-North, which is active in South Kordofan and Blue Nile.
With Sudan in turmoil following the ouster of longtime President Omar al-Bashir, the continuation of his foreign policy toward Gulf countries by the military was not well received by the Sudanese people. In May, the chief of the ruling military council Gen. Abdel Fattah al-Burhan and Gen. Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, better known as Hemedti, toured Khartoum's regional allies Egypt, Saudi Arabia and UAE. Al-Burhan met with Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, a former military chief who ousted the country's first democratically elected leader, Mohamed Morsi, in a coup in 2013.
Sudan is part of a UAE and a Saudi-led military coalition fighting Iranian-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen. That marked a dramatic shift by Khartoum, which aligned itself with the Gulf Arab monarchies at the expense of close ties with their archrival Iran. The oil-rich UAE had previously pumped billions of dollars into Sudan's coffers. Al-Bashir had served UAE interests in Yemen, where the Emirates and Saudi Arabia are waging a proxy war against Iran. Al-Bashir deployed troops to Yemen in 2015 as part of a major foreign policy shift that saw Khartoum break its decades-old ties with Shiite Iran and join the Saudi-led coalition.
Sudanese media reports claim that many of the Sudanese troops fighting in Yemen are from the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) paramilitary group. Sudan did not announce the number of troops participating in the war but had affirmed earlier its readiness to send 6,000 fighters to Yemen. Hundreds of Sudanese soldiers and officers are fighting in Yemen and have suffered casualties, raising calls for a withdrawal.