Home | News    Wednesday 30 October 2019

Sudan reforms military command structure


Abdel Fattah al-Burhan (SUNA photo)
October 29, 2019 (KHARTOUM) - Lt. Gen. Abdel Fattah al-Burhan Chairman of the Transitional Sovereignty Council, Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, has issued a decree reforming the structure of the Sudanese army.

The army spokesman Amer Mohamed al-Hassan said in a statement on Monday evening that the decree relinquished the system of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and adopted the General Staff system for the structure of the military command.

The Joint Chiefs of Staff advises the head of the state, the defence minister, and the National Security Council on military matters. Its members do not lead combat forces and have no executive command authority over the troops.

The General Staff system is an advisory and operational body alike.

Al-Burhan dissolved the former JCS and appointed the following members of the General Staff: Lt. Gen. Mohamed Osmana al-Hassan as Chief of General Satff, Lt. Gen. Abdallah al-Matari Hamid, Inspector General of the Armed Forces, Maj. Gen. Majdi Ibrahim Osman Khalil as Deputy Chief of Staff for Supply, Lt. Gen. Munawar Osman Munawar is Deputy Chief of the General Staff for Personnel, Lt. Gen. Abdallah al-Bashir al-Sadiq Deputy Chief of Staff for Training and Lt. Gen. Khaled Abdeen Mohammed Ahmed Al Shami, Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations.

Retired Lt Gen. Osman Baliah told Sudan Tribune that the latest decision would address a "set of imbalances" in the structure of the Sudanese armed forces.

"Only now, can be addressed the wrong decision taken by the former Defence Minister of the ousted regime Abdel Rahim Mohamed Hussein. The presence of a joint Chiefs of Staff was not needed in the Sudanese army. It is a system used to organise the big and separate armies, while the Sudanese forces throughout its history were centralized and based on a predetermined hierarchy".

Baliah explained that the former regime had a political agenda to grip its control of the army.

He further pointed out that the recent military reforms taken by the head of the Sovereign Council are based on his military background.

Last September, the Sudanese army spokesman said the reform of the army structure to cope with the new situation in the country after the ouster of the former regime.

He further said that the new structure would include the Rapid Support Forces.

The recent reform will reduce the financial cost of the armed forces, according to Amer Awad Sharif, a former Sudanese army officer.

Sharif said under the General Staff system, the organism tasked with the supplies is under the command of one general who controls the army purchases.

He further added that with the restoration of Chief of General Staff position, the Defence Minister will be a political position allowing the appointment of a civilian in the future as the former control the military command of the army.

In another decision, al-Burhan promoted a Major General Essam Mohamed-Hassan Karar to the rank of the Lt. General and appointed him the commander-in-chief of the land forces. In the same vein, he elevated Major General Essam al-Din Said Koko to the rank of Lt. Gen. and appointed him as the commander-in-chief of the Air Force.

The chairman of the Sovereign Council further appointed Rear Admiral Mahjoub Bushra Ahmed Rahma as commander of the naval forces, and Major General Abdel Khair Abdallah Nasser Darjam Commander of the Air Defense Forces.

In turn, he ordered to retire Lt Gen. Mohamed Ali Mohamed Mahmoud, Vice Admiral Majdi Sayed Omer Marzouk, Lt Gen. Engineer Abdel Rahman Youssef Ali al-Faki, and Major General Najm al-Din Osman Mohamed Osman.

With this reform, observers say that al-Burhan has gone a step further to tighten his grip on the army after the removal of Islamist generals.

Lt. Gen. Awad bin Auf, former defence minister and his chief of staff, Lt. Gen. Kamal Abdel Marouf, resigned immediately after Bashir’s ouster. They were followed by the trio of Lt. Gen. Omer Zein al-Abidin, Lt. Gen. Jalal al-Sheikh and Lt Gen. Police al-Tayeb Babikir. The three general were rejected by the leaders of the protest movement as they wanted to involve the Islamists in the post-al-Bashir government.

On 23 May, the director of military intelligence, Lieutenant General Mustafa Mohammed Mustafa, resigned from the military council.

The coup attempt of 11 July gave al-Burhan another opportunity to remove more Islamist generals from the army including the head of the foiled coup commander of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Lt. Gen. Hashim Abdel Mutallab, the Joint Chief of Staff, General Adam Haroun, the former Deputy Director of Intelligence and the Director of Training Department, Major General Bahar Ahmed Bahar, along with the commanders of the Central Military Area, armored vehicles, special forces, Popular Defence Forces and special task force.

The Director of Military Industrialization, Lt. Gen.l Mohamed al-Hassan Abdallah, a prominent Islamist, was also relieved.


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The Sudan Tribune editorial team.

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