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The Brotherhood brigades fight alongside the Sudanese army

The first time the existence of the “Shadow Brigades,” affiliated with the Sudanese Islamic Movement, was announced, came during the outbreak of the December 2018 revolution, when the former Secretary-General of the movement, Ali Osman Muhammad Taha, announced his famous saying: “We have shadow brigades that you know.” These brigades, the armed civilian groups, and the armed arm of the organization, which was actually leading the army and the Popular Defense Forces, bowed to the storm of revolution, concealing their military presence, but they continued to communicate and did not cut off their relations with each other, and continued to work to destabilize the civilian transitional government until the October coup ( October 2021, when she appeared in public again and announced her support for him.

When the war broke out between the army and the Rapid Support Forces, they announced themselves and their participation in fighting alongside the army against the Rapid Support Forces, and against what they called “traitors and agents,” who were civilians who contributed to the overthrow of their rule, especially the civilian “Freedom and Change” coalition. He directly announced the formation of a shadow battalion bearing the name “Al-Baraa bin Malik Battalion.”

The “Shadow Brigades” are “Brotherhood” militias that were fighting alongside the army in its wars in South Sudan, Blue Nile, and South Kordofan, in addition to playing hidden roles in liquidating demonstrators and political opponents. They emerged from the notorious Popular Defense Forces.

Al-Burhan during a tour of the Flamingo naval base in Port Sudan last August (AFP)

Control of the army

In addition to the “phalange”, many in Sudan accuse the Islamic Movement of seeking to control the army and transform it from a national army into a “organized army.” In doing so, it followed a series of tricks, which began by referring thousands of national officers to retirement, and even assassinated large numbers of them, then turned to Controlling entry to the Military College, in addition to attracting officers through temptation and threats, and in the end, when the regime of former President Omar al-Bashir fell, Sudan was left with an army governed by the “Ideology of the Brotherhood,” and controlled by the “Security Committee” composed of their members.

According to former Islamic writer Ashraf Abdel Aziz, the current Secretary-General of the Islamic Movement, Ali Ahmed Karti, against whom American sanctions were issued last week, since he was a student at the university, has been devoted to working among the officers and the army, he and two others, Ahmed Muhammad. Ali Al-Fashshawiya and Al-Zubair Ahmed Al-Hassan, who were known at the time as “drivers,” supervised the organization of “Brotherhood officers” within the army.

While he maintained his job among the “drivers,” Karti worked as a coordinator for the Popular Defense Forces, which represented a “Brotherhood” militia that claimed to support the army, which enabled him to strengthen his relationship with the military system, through his relationship with the “Brotherhood Officers” organization, or the Popular Defense Forces. This made his hand over the other security and military agencies stronger.

Abdel Aziz said that Karti, through his supervision of the military organization of the “Brotherhood,” brought many of the people of his region into the army and other regular services, especially the security and intelligence services, which expanded the scope of his control over the military, and he alone became the ultimate commander in the military affairs of the “Brotherhood.”

Ali Karti, Secretary-General of the Islamic Movement in Sudan (Getty)

Authorization on my card

After the fall of former President Omar al-Bashir, Karti was delegated “Secretary-General of the Islamic Movement,” after its leaders, including al-Bashir, were arrested and thrown in prison. The transitional government’s security services did not succeed in arresting Karti, even though he was one of the most wanted people, and he remained in hiding, and it was reported that army leaders loyal to the “Brotherhood” were providing him safe haven. According to Abdel Aziz, the man, in coordination with the military leaders, succeeded in obstructing the efforts of the transitional government, and succeeded in thwarting the “Framework Agreement” by waging the current war.

Abdul Aziz confirms that Karti, after he felt that signing the framework agreement might be the end of his organization’s ambitions to return to power or political life again, moved his brigades to fire the bullet of war to block the way to implementing the framework agreement, so the “Al-Baraa bin Malik” brigade and the mujahideen participating in the fighting appeared in public. With the army now.

Abdul Aziz explains that the “Al-Baraa bin Malik Brigade” is the only remaining Islamist battalion that can fight with the army, but he says: “Through some statements issued by Abdul Raouf Abu Zaid Muhammad Hamza, in which he mentioned that his group (Al-Nusra) is participating in this The war, and the killing of Muhammad al-Fadl Abd al-Wahid, the nephew of former Foreign Minister Mustafa Othman Ismail, in the Armored Corps battles in the Shajara area. He is known for his ongoing relationship with ISIS, and at the same time he holds the position of Secretary of Thought in the Islamic Movement. There are indications of the participation of terrorist organizations in the fighting. On the side of the army.

The commander of the “Al-Baraa bin Malik” battalion, Al-Misbah Abu Zaid Talha, was wounded in armored battles, and he was visited immediately after his exit from the siege by the army commander, Abdel Fattah Al-Burhan, while he was recovering from his injury in the city of Atbara. Abdul Aziz says: “The emir of the Al-Baraa Battalion claims that its number exceeds 20,000 mujahideen, but the truth is that its actual strength does not exceed 2,000 fighters, and it works to attract young people mobilized to fight with the army, to inflate its number.”

Part of previous protests on the anniversary of the overthrow of the deposed President Omar al-Bashir’s regime in April 2019 (AFP)

“Al-Baraa Bin Malik” Battalion

Abdul Aziz attributed what he called “achieving some steadfastness for the army in some areas” to the “Al-Baraa bin Malik Brigade” fighting alongside him, because they are fighting considering the war as a “suicidal” operation for them, and they have no choice but to win it. They harness their media and military machinery to it, and he adds “But recently, disputes have emerged between them and army officers, as an extension of old disputes between members of the Popular Defense and army leaders. Army leaders have begun to feel that there is discrimination between them and army officers, and complain about their attempts to impose their control over the army.” He continued: “These differences have caused In cases of leakage from the army.

For his part, an expert in Islamic groups, who requested to remain anonymous, explained in an interview with Asharq Al-Awsat that the origin of the “Baraa bin Malik Brigade” is the Popular Defense Forces, and that most of its members are former fighters in the famous “Brotherhood” militia, and fought With the army in South Sudan against the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement, led by John Garang Dambior. The expert continued: “After the dissolution of the (Popular Defense) and the abolition of its law, the battalion was content with social work, abandoned combat work, and limited its activity to fraternal meetings, moon nights, meetings, and visits to the families of martyrs.” He added: “There is a part of them that works in civil support against disasters.” And floods, but their communication as an organization did not cease after the fall of the regime.”

Working alongside the “Al-Baraa Battalion” are groups of extremist former fighters, including the “Al-Dabbabin” group, which became famous during the war in South Sudan, and the “Pilots” group who were working in eastern Sudan. The expert says that the activity of the Islamist brigades increased intensively after the war, and that they attracted former fighters, including engineers and technicians who worked on developing weapons in military manufacturing, including “marches,” in the same vein as the Islamic Resistance Movement “Hamas,” who manufacture their own weapons. .

Omar Al-Bashir during his trial in Khartoum (Archives – Asharq Al-Awsat)

“Brotherhood” ideology

The expert believes that the brigades that are fighting now are closer to the Popular Congress Party than the National Congress Party, and are governed by the “Brotherhood” ideology, and their current emir, Al-Misbah, is Abu Zaid Talha. Among its leaders, more than 4 leaders were killed in the fighting on armored vehicles, the most famous of whom is Muhammad Al-Fadl, who is my nephew. Former Foreign Minister Mustafa Othman Ismail. He said that the Islamic jihadist groups were fighting with the army in the “Yarmouk” military factory, and after the “Rapid Support” took control of it, they moved to the armored command in Al-Shajara. He added: “There are no statistics on their numbers, but at the beginning of the war they were about 200, and they increased.” Their numbers are achieved by attracting mobilized youth.”

The expert ruled out that they have direct relations with terrorist jihadist organizations, but he described them as being under their influence, and exchanging information and roles with them. He said: “(Al-Qaeda) and (ISIS) do not fight under their flags because they consider them infidels, but they all agree to wage war over military presence.” Foreigners, and there are no direct relations, but rather mutual influence with each other.”

The expert asserts that they jointly target foreigners, ambassadors, embassies, and those they call “traitors and agents,” and divide them into two groups: “The group of the hostile enemy,” represented by foreign organizations, embassies, ambassadors, and humanitarian aid agencies, and the “agents group,” which for them represents the Rapid Support Forces and the civilian forces. Most notably “Freedom and Change” and the United Nations organizations that seek democracy and civil rule.

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