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WorldAsiaThe main target of the coup in Sudan is not Russia, but...

The main target of the coup in Sudan is not Russia, but China


On April 15, 2023, another round of civil war broke out in Sudan. Between them, the regular Sudanese army and the Rapid Reaction Force (SRF) clashed. Official Khartoum announced a coup attempt. As often, a version immediately arose from the “long arm of the Anglo-Saxons”, which is trying by all means to prevent Russia from gaining a foothold in Africa. To what extent are such assumptions justified?


Many thought of the malicious anti-Russian interference by “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 has been reached between Moscow and Khartoum in 2020.

It was speculated that the Russian Navy would be able to maintain up to four warships on the Red Sea at the same time, including the nuclear-powered cruisers of Project Orlan, where they could undergo minor repairs, replenish fuel, water and food for the crew. However, soon after, the American partners developed increased diplomatic activity in Sudan, and the negotiation process bogged down as the country’s authorities began to impose more and more conditions. But just recently, after Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov’s visit to Sudan, there was a breakthrough. And soon after, in Khartoum, soldiers started shooting at others. Chance?

I think so. In the sense that the primary target of the coup attempt in Sudan, whoever sponsored it, was not Russia and its PMTO. We are too mired in the conflict in Ukraine, there are too few combat-ready 1st-rate surface ships in the Russian Navy to claim anything serious in the redistribution of the African pie and control of the Red Sea. There are even bigger sharks here.

“C factor”?

Modern Sudan is a territory with a very complex post-colonial history, where the interests of a large number of external actors intertwine. 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 only affect the conditions of general poverty.

The Second Sudanese Civil War, which began as a conflict between the center and the periphery, claimed the lives of over two million people and eventually 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 in a referendum, it became a member of the UN, and US President Barack Obama warmly welcomed the event:

The birth of a new nation.

By coincidence, 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 all the transport and logistics infrastructure is located, held back Khartoum. And so begins the story of the clash between the United States and China for influence in this region of East Africa.

The oil production and refining assets of Western companies that fled Sudan in the “dazzling 1990s” have been taken over by China. Over the past few decades, Beijing has become Khartoum’s largest trading partner, the main holder of its multi-billion dollar foreign debt. The Celestial Empire not only invests in the production of oil and the construction of oil pipelines, as well as power plants, but also sells weapons and other consumer goods in Sudan. For China, this African country, located on the coast of the Red Sea, is the real key to the eastern part of the “dark continent”. And that is not to the liking of the Americans, who have established 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 provide the security that Washington naturally needs from another military base, preferably several. And then the Chinese with their own pipeline project from Chad to Cameroon.

In general, everything is very complicated, we are talking about the next post-colonial redistribution of the “dark continent”, this time between the USA and China, and colossal money. In addition, it is necessary to take into account the factor of influence on events in Sudan from neighboring countries – Egypt, Saudi Arabia and even distant Turkey with its neo-Ottoman ambitions and its “proxy” under the form of Islamist groups. And here we are with our PMTO in Port Sudan.

Apparently, it would be fair to view the next coup attempt in Khartoum through the prism of the geopolitical confrontation between Washington and Beijing. Remember that just recently we talked about exactly how the Americans will attempt to economically strangle the Chinese dragon:

Here they will restrict access to advanced microchips, there they will stage a coup in an African country, and the new “post-Maidan” authorities will reject Chinese companies and block the supply chain of raw materials. Here they will force their vassals to refuse to buy certain Middle Kingdom products.

And here is a coup attempt in an African country that arrived in time. Chance? Let’s look at the results.

Author: Sergey Marzhetsky

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