What is happening in Sudan forces Cairo to search for new ways to defend Egypt at a compassionate time when regional challenges unite against it collectively, which puts it in a critical position.
Egypt did not finish obtaining a military calm and opening the door to a political settlement in Libya until it was surprised by the outbreak of a bitter conflict in Sudan after the army forces clashed with the Rapid Support Forces in one of the bloodiest battles that this country is waging, which represents an essential strategic depth for Egypt in different ways.
There is no link between the two neighboring countries more than what is apparent regarding any two neighboring countries, a neighborhood of 1,200 kilometers, which was earlier a passage for extremist and terrorist organizations to cross until the Egyptian security services managed to control the southern borders after the fall of President Omar Al-Bashir’s regime, which provided safe havens for many One of the extremist elements fleeing from Egypt and other Arab countries.
With the outbreak of fighting and the difficulty of anticipating the extent to which it might end, it has become late for them to attack the Sudanese nationality, as if the country that managed to defeat terrorism in Sinai and spent years to get rid of it, has another date with Libya on the side of Sudan.
The events in Sudan put the Egyptian state at a dangerous juncture, which requires it to deal with it with various tools because security solutions alone will not provide adequate protection for national security, as the two sides of the current war are opening up to many regional and international parties. There is a power struggle that may erupt in Sudan. Russia’s ambitions to acquire a military base in Port Sudan overlooks the Red Sea and represents a vital passage for the Suez Canal.
Its main forces are in a political crisis that hinders the installation of a strong central government. At this time, Sudan will get out of Egypt's balance regarding the Renaissance Dam.
Also, with its economic influence in Sudan, China is looking forward to restoring it militarily and politically through its gateway that connects the north of the African continent with its south and its east with its west.
The United States has recently paid attention to what is happening in Sudan. It has increased its fears of expanding these two forces in light of previous indolence in dealing with the political crisis that broke out in this country four years ago. Its movements took on more dynamic dimensions with the outbreak of the battles than it was in order to avoid finding itself facing a severe strategic challenge.
These facts are not absent from the calculations of the Egyptian administration. It seeks, through its keenness not to break the contract of the military establishment in Sudan, to reduce the effects that the armed bodies deployed throughout it can play, and to allow many forces to put their feet there if the army forces are exhausted in a long war of attrition, with fast support.
Cairo fears that Sudan will turn into a failed state on its southern borders, a challenge no less fierce than what it faced in Libya in the past years when militias, armed groups, and mercenaries spread on its territory after the fall of the regime of Colonel Muammar Gaddafi, and before that in the Gaza Strip controlled by the Palestinian Hamas movement. It almost turned into a security crisis before Egypt reached an understanding with the Brotherhood-rooted movement.
The situation may be more dangerous in Sudan, with the presence of many movements that carry arms and are not limited to their concentration on the periphery, as the current war is raging in the capital, Khartoum, in which the ignition of battles for an extended period leads to fueling various types of civil conflicts.
Egypt’s dilemma stems from its inability to intervene in the conflict directly and the difficulty of remaining silent. Therefore, Egypt received several calls to prevent external interventions that could change the course of the war, which required it to resort to harsh options that it did not like in dealing with regional crises that threatened its national security.
International perceptions and regional movements indicate that Egypt has been excluded from participating, even within the scope of peaceful solutions, based on concerns expressed by local forces in previous periods about any role it plays or could play in Sudan and based on its rhetoric that has always supported the regular armies as they can control security and maintaining security on the unity of states.
It fears that the specter of Libya will recur in Sudan if the process of the collapse of its army sounds like a deja vue. Everyone knows the rest of the story, in this case, where external interventions begin, and then chaos engulfs the country. The rise in restoring its national cohesion that has been difficult and significantly eroded in the past decades due to the civil wars it witnessed that led to To separation of southern Sudan from its north. Darfur is about to face the same scheme.
Cairo’s annoyance seems apparent with attempts to limit the scope of the proposed solutions to the African part (the teams), whether through the mechanism of the African Union, which does not favor Egypt’s participation in it. However, it is at the forefront of the countries that contributed to establishing the Organization of African Unity, now known as The African Union, later, or through the mechanism of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development in East Africa (IGAD), which is far from Egypt.
The events in Sudan put the Egyptian state at a dangerous juncture, which requires it to deal with it with various tools because security solutions alone will not provide adequate protection for national security, as the two sides of the current war are opening up too many regional and international actors.
The two mechanisms enjoy great international support, as Sudan intended to be an African country only, reflecting negatively on any moves Egypt can take. The League of Arab States’ position is marginal, and obstacles have been placed before its involvement in the successive crises of Sudan, which means that Cairo has to wait. It takes a long time for solutions to come from outside it and to deal with what will result from it as a fait accompli, which represents a challenge that reduces its freedom of movement at the regional level.
Cairo’s significant loss comes if the conflict continues for a long time in Khartoum and its main forces enter into a political crisis that disrupts the installation of a strong central government. Sudan will leave Egypt’s balance regarding the Renaissance Dam at that time. Cooperation and coordination with its government are vital in confronting Ethiopian arrogance, as Addis Ababa repeatedly refused to sign a binding agreement on filling and operating the dam in a way that does not harm the interests of Egypt and Sudan.
The Ethiopian Foreign Ministry hinted a few days ago that the file of the Renaissance Dam remains frozen until the crisis in Sudan is over, which indicates a lack of willingness to talk about negotiations that initially were stalled for about two years and forced Cairo to wait for more at a time when Addis Ababa is preparing to begin on a process. The fourth filling of the Renaissance Dam is expected to result in severe damage, unlike the previous three times.
That Cairo searches for new ways to defend its interests at a compassionate time when critical and complex regional challenges converge on it, which have increased with its sometimes exaggerated tendency to distance itself from engagement with its surroundings and its preoccupation with arranging its internal conditions, even though its history says that it faces challenges Big as it expands into the interior, which requires a decisive turn before the parties take over the joints of the solution and the contract in the region, to the detriment of Egypt’s interests.
Muhammed Abu Al-Fadl – Egyptian writer