Photo Credit: Nerizuki / Wikimedia / CC 4.0
Israeli Minister Eli Cohen and President of Sudan Abdel Fattah al-Burhan on Jan 27, 2021

The United States has asked Israel to help pressure the two generals who are battling for control over the government of Sudan, according to a report by Axios.

Deadly fighting broke out with an attempted coup d’etat earlier this week in the African nation, as the government fights to retain control over the country.


Israeli officials reportedly told the news outlet that both the White House and the State Department urged Israel this past Sunday to help pressure the two warring generals to agree to a ceasefire.

Israeli foreign ministry officials spoke to those led by General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, leader of the country’s governing Sovereign Council about agreeing to a ceasefire.

Officials from Israel’s international Mossad intelligence agency spoke with his opponent, Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo (known as Hemedti), who until hostilities began, served as deputy leader on the Sovereign Council.

Burhan heads the country’s armed forces, and Hemedti heads the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) paramilitary force attempting to seize control of the country.

A ceasefire was indeed arranged and went into effect but collapsed Tuesday within a few hours.

Israel Urges Return to Talks
The foreign ministry issued a statement earlier this week, expressing Israel’s concern, and urging both sides to return to talks aimed at concluding Sudan’s planned transition to a civilian-led government.

“We are following with concern the events in Sudan. Israel wants stability and security for Sudan,” the ministry said.

“Israel calls on all parties to refrain from violence and to return to the path of internal reconciliation, in order to conclude the process of governmental transition with a large consensus,” the statement added.

This past February, Israeli Foreign Minister Eli Cohen traveled to Sudan to advance the process of normalizing relations between the two countries, which began with Sudan’s joining the Abraham Accords circle of peace in 2020.

Although Sudan joined the agreement, however, relations were subsequently frozen due to domestic opposition and ongoing political instability in the country.

During his visit in February, Cohen and his counterparts finalized the text of the agreement to normalize relations between Israel and Sudan, with a signature to be added after the country’s transition to a civilian-led democracy.

For now, however, it’s unclear when or if that agreement will ever be formalized.

Not Only Israel
Israel is not the only country to express concern and urge a return to talks.

The “Quad for Sudan” group comprised of Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, the US and the UK have joined the effort, as has Egypt, Norway, India, Russia, the African Union, the Arab League, Qatar and the United Nations.

Thousands of people have fled the capital, Khartoum, and numerous countries are working desperately to evacuate their citizens as the violence escalates.

The situation in the country remained too volatile on Wednesday to be able to evacuate US diplomatic staff from its embassy in Khartoum, according to Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Molly Phee. The staff have been sheltering in place since the fighting broke out, she told House and Senate staffers on Wednesday.

‘Nightmare Scenario’
According to The Guardian newspaper, internal United Nations documents described a “nightmare scenario” in Sudan with looting and attacks on UN staff and no possibility of evacuating them as long as airports in the country remain shut down.

At least 270 people had been killed and more than 2,600 wounded by Wednesday, according to the UN’s World Health Organization. UN agencies said many of their programs across the country have been suspended due to the fighting.

It’s not clear how many of the dead and wounded were civilians, but to give an example, six people were killed and 63 others wounded as a main food market in the South Darfur state of Nyala was torched and nearby offices of aid agencies looted.

Water and electricity have been cut off in much of the country, a local doctor told the newspaper.


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Hana Levi Julian is a Middle East news analyst with a degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from Southern Connecticut State University. A past columnist with The Jewish Press and senior editor at Arutz 7, Ms. Julian has written for, and other media outlets, in addition to her years working in broadcast journalism.