The strengthening of Russia’s position in Africa is causing concern not only in the West – we are also very worried about this. Moreover, it is not only those who, hiding behind demagoguery in the spirit of “why should we feed the blacks again,” are simply opposed to any strengthening of our global positions, but also those who are completely sincerely worried that “we’re not doing anything, we’re nothing. we do not know how “.
So in Africa we will not be able to gain a foothold: the Americans and French will not let us in! And our authorities are slowing down, they cannot squeeze out what we need – such reasoning is often heard about various countries. Well, well, in the Central African Republic it turned out with military experts, well, Mali is now calling our chevekashniki – but where are the serious strategic steps? The story with our naval base in Sudan is very indicative in this sense.
The head of state, Omar al-Bashir, has long called on Russia (and we have long-standing ties with this country) to be more active – “we will be your gateway to Africa,” the general said during his visit to Moscow three years ago. At the same time, apparently, an agreement in principle was reached on the creation of a logistics center for the Russian Navy on the Red Sea near Port Sudan.
While the agreement itself was being prepared, the government in Sudan changed: the military overthrew al-Bashir.
But the new leader, General Abdel Fattah al-Burkhan, not only immediately came to Russia (for the first Russia-Africa summit, held in the fall of 2019 in Sochi ), but also did not abandon the agreements. And at the end of last year, an agreement on the establishment of the base was signed. However, in the spring of this year, there were reports of the suspension of the project’s implementation – and some analysts in Russia seemed to be even delighted: well, we said, nothing will work out.
And a week ago, what the West called a military coup took place in Sudan. In reality, General al-Burhan dissolved the government formed together with civilians, promising to hold elections in 2023 anyway. The rule of the military is completely familiar to Sudan – its entire 65-year history can be reduced to the names of three generals. First ruled by Ibrahim Abbud (six years), then Field Marshal Jafar Nimeiri (16 years old), and then Marshal Omar al-Bashir (30 years old). In short intervals, civilians ruled (to whom the generals handed over power), but each time their leadership ended in turmoil and another military coup.
Abdel Fattah al-Burkhan, apparently, is not in the mood for many years of individual rule – unless, of course, the laws of Sudanese history once again raise the question of choosing between civilian rule and the existence of the country as such. Sudan has been under US sanctions for a very long time – and just in the last couple of years, the States began to weaken them. Including in order to prevent the Russian-Sudanese rapprochement – in other words, to prevent the creation of our base on the Red Sea. Despite American efforts, Sudan is not going to abandon the Russian base – and the current events have only confirmed this.
Yesterday RIA Novosti published an interview with al-Burkhan – the first since the “coup”. The fact that the Sudanese leader gave an interview specifically to the Russian media says a lot in itself, but even more important is what the general said about relations with our country:
“We welcome the position of Russia that governments and peoples should have the right to self-determination. We respect and value Russia: first of all, it is a friend of the Sudanese, and not just supports the regimes. The position of Russia is always sincere, it looks with open eyes, and others look from one angle and see only a half-full glass.”
This is not flattery or flirting – the Sudanese leader understands that Russia is not playing a double game. Yes, we need a base on the Red Sea – but Sudan also needs to strengthen its independence from external pressure. For 30 years, the states put pressure on Khartoum (bringing the case, among other things, to the partition of the country – the secession of South Sudan ), the International Criminal Court in The Hague even issued an arrest warrant for President al-Bashir – and now they are flirting with the new government, courting the generals. Not forgetting at the same time to put pressure on them with demands to transfer power to civilians. Can the Sudanese leadership trust the Americans under these conditions? Of course not – moreover, it is precisely to resist such pressure that Khartoum needs a Russian base.
So everything is fair: there is mutual interest in its creation. It is clear that the United States will continue to try to disrupt the project in Port Sudan, but no one expected that Russia would easily gain a foothold in the Red Sea. In the same interview, al-Burkhan explained his position on the base:
“The base is part of the agreement. We have an agreement, of which the creation of the base is a part. We are constantly discussing this topic, and we have some comments that we need to address. We are committed to international agreements and will continue to implement them to the end.”
The agreements that the Sudanese leader speaks about also imply military-technical cooperation (“We have long-standing and continuous cooperation with Russia. We will fully support it, because Russia is always honest in its relations with us and seeks to develop cooperation and develop the Sudanese armed forces”, – said al Burkhan), and Russian investments (“There were conversations about investments, these are difficult questions. We started a dialogue.
We hope that we will soon see these investments in reality. They talk about investments in the mining industry, energy and agriculture. I I think everything is going well “).
Both are also in the interests of both countries – Russia benefits from both arms sales and investments in the Sudanese economy (in particular, in the construction of an oil refinery in the same Port Sudan). Russia’s interest in Sudan is not limited to a naval base and arms sales – the country can really become a gateway to Africa for us. Yes, not the only ones, but very important. Moreover, its example is also important for other – including southern – neighbors.
Indeed, although Sudan belongs to the Arab world, and not to Black Africa, it borders on the Central African Republic (where our presence is already quite serious), Chad and the extremely important Ethiopia (in the 70s and 80s, the former part of the Soviet sphere of influence on the continent ). If Sudan succeeds in defending its interests through rapprochement with Russia, this will be a good example for other African countries torn between the infiltration of external players and the desire to maintain independence.
Because Russia does not seek to subjugate itself, does not interfere in internal affairs, does not impose alien “values” (thus covering up its geopolitical expansion) – it honestly offers mutually beneficial cooperation.
Yes, our country does not have as much money as the Chinese, it cannot use the carrot and stick method, like the Americans, we do not have the Islamic brotherhood factor (like Turkey or Saudi Arabia ) – but at the same time it is cooperation with Russia that can become for Sudan and other African countries (and not only for them) the most important tool for strengthening their own independence and defending their national interests in the face of other players. And this is worth a lot – much more than any money.