The “Axis of Evil” behind the Military Coup in Sudan

The rulers of Saudi Arabia, UAE, Egypt and Israel have instigated another putsch

By Michael Pröbsting, 29 October 2021


General Burhan and his clique carried out the recent military coup, first and foremost, in order to smash all (albeit limited) democratic achievements resulting from the Sudanese Revolution in 2019 and to concentrate power in their hands. [1] For this, they needed to remove the civilian bourgeois politicians within the transitional government as those were based partly on mass organizations related with the popular uprising.

However, as we did already note, the Sudanese army command would not have dared carrying out the coup without the support of various regional and global power. The most important factor for this was the backing of the coup by the counterrevolutionary “Axis of Evil” of Saudi Arabia, UAE, Egypt and Zionist Apartheid State.

In the first RCIT statement on the military coup in Sudan, written a few hours after news of this event have spread, we did already point to the likely forces behind this assault on the remaining achievements of the revolution in 2019. Such we wrote: “Albeit no public information has appeared so far on this issue, we have no doubt that the coup has been secretly supported (or even instigated) by Egypt’s dictatorship of General Sisi as well as by the monarchist rulers of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. These powers have very close relations with Sudan’s army command, and it is nearly impossible that General al-Burhan would have moved without approval by his closest ally.[2]

Since then, diplomatic overtones and media reports have strongly confirmed our assumption. Our assumption that this counterrevolutionary “Axis of Evil” is behind the military coup led by General Burhan was fundamentally based on two facts. First, it is well known that Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, General Sisi and Israel constitute a counterrevolutionary axis which try to annihilate all democratic or even semi-democratic achievements which have resulted from the Great Arab Revolution starting in 2011. [3] This is why they instigated the military coup in Egypt in July 2013 [4], supported the reactionary camp of ex-Gaddafi General Haftar in Libya’s civil war [5], invaded Yemen after the popular uprising in spring 2015 [6] and supported the recent coup of President Kais Saied in Tunisia. [7] Hence, it is in the logic of this policy that they would back a like-minded coup in Sudan.

The new rulers would not have acted alone since the Sudan is a poor semi-colonial country which, according to the United Nations, ranks near the bottom on the Human Development and Human Capital Indices. [8] Hence, it is highly dependent on financial support by the wealthy petro-monarchies at the Gulf.


General Sisi, MbS and MbZ: The Killer-Trio


There have been numerous developments which have demonstrated in the past two years the close relations between Sudan’s leading generals and Saudi Arabia’s Mohammed bin Salman, the UAE’s Mohamed bin Zayed and Egypt’s General Sisi. These figures constate a fully-fledged killer-trio as they are responsible for the coup in Egypt, for the invasion of Yemen, the savage killing of the journalist Jamal Kashoggi and many other bloody deeds.

The Associated Press reports: “Burhan has been backed in recent years by Egypt, led by a general-turned-president, and Gulf countries, particularly the United Arab Emirates. He trained in Egypt’s military college and has made multiple visits since 2019 to the Emirates’ de-facto ruler, Abu Dhabi crown prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan.[9]

The journalist Ayah Aman wrote already a few months ago: "There now seems to be an unprecedented strategic partnership between the two countries amid cooperation at all levels aimed at confronting regional threats.[10]

This close relationship has resulted in various projects. “The Egypt-Sudan partnership has meanwhile taken off diplomatically, economically and militarily. On March 31, Egyptian and Sudanese air forces launched joint training exercises.” [11] Add to this "bilateral economic projects such as the railway project, an electrical connection project and others in the fields of transportation, agriculture and irrigation." [12]

Such close relationship between the Sudanese military and the counterrevolutionary “Axis of Evil” has been also recognized by various well-informed bourgeois analysts both in the Arab world as well as in the West. Amani al-Taweel, director of the African program at Al-Ahram Center for Political and Strategic Studies, pointed out that Sudan’s army leaders have strong ties with Egypt as well as Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. [13]

Dr Stephen Zunes, a professor of politics and international studies at the University of San Francisco, said that the limited democratic achievements in Sudan were “obviously something [officials in the UAE, Saudi Arabia, and Egypt] did not want to see succeed. They would find it very much in their interest to see it fail. (…) Whether they actually played a role in this [coup], I have no idea, but there is no question that [those regional powers] are pleased at these developments”.

And another bourgeois analyst,” Dr Andreas Krieg, an assistant professor at the School of Security Studies at King’s College London, said: “It does serve Emirati and Egyptian interests to have the last elements of civilian rule removed from that transitional government. What we see now is a proper consolidation of military power in Khartoum. (…) That the [Sudanese] military is now in charge means that the UAE is really in charge by proxy or surrogate.” [14]


Israel Supports the Coup as well


There is also little doubt about Israel’s role since this has been confirmed by Israeli media. As it is well-known Sudan announced not long ago that it would “normalize” ties with the Zionist state, under heavy pressure from the U.S. administration. [15] In February 2020, Israel’s former Prime Minister Netanyahu met in Uganda with General Burhan (the current coup plotter). In January 2021, the Sudanese government signed onto the so-called “Abraham Accords”. [16]

Israel’s leaders always had closer relations with the military personal in Sudan’s transition government then with the civilian politicians. Middle East Eye quotes Dr Jihad Mashamoun, a researcher and political analyst, saying: "The Sudanese military has always been approaching Israel or isolating the civilians from being approached by Israeli officials.[17]

Officially, Israel has kept silent until now. However, Israel Hayom quoted an unnamed Israeli official saying, “that Israel should support (…) General Abdel Fattah Burhan (…) because he was more likely than Prime Minister Abdulla Hamdok to normalise ties with Israel.” The Israeli official added: “In light of the fact that the military is the stronger force in the country, and since Burhan is its commander in chief, the events of Monday night increase the likelihood of stability in Sudan, which has critical importance in the region, and it increases the chances of stronger ties with the US, the West, and Israel in particular.[18]

And the Israeli journalist Barak Ravid tweeted on 25 October that several elements in the Israeli government have been involved recently in one way or another in Sudan’s domestic politics. “This raises big questions about what Israel knew over what is happening now in Khartoum and how much its moves have affected what is happening now.[19]

In this context, it is most likely no accident that, according to Arab media, a senior Sudanese intelligence delegation had visited Israel in early October, i.e. only three weeks before the coup! [20]


Determined to Annihilate the Revolutionary Process


As we mentioned above, the main motivation of the reactionary forces behind the military coup is the desire to smash the process of mass mobilizations and self-organization in Sudan and the whole Arab world. True, the Great Arab Revolution which began in 2011 and which has spread since then to many countries, has experienced various setbacks and defeats. But the revolutionary process is continuing as the ongoing Syrian Revolution [21], the new popular uprisings in Sudan, Algeria, Iraq, Lebanon and Iran since 2019 [22] and the heroic Intifada of the Palestinian people have demonstrated. [23]

There can be no doubt: the seemingly omnipotent rulers in the Middle East are sitting on a volcano which may erupt anytime. They are aware of it. The events since 2011 have shown to them that their domination is not guaranteed and that they could end up like Gaddafi.

This is why they are determined to smash all forms of popular resistance and self-organization. Now they try this in Sudan.


War in the East of Africa?


Let us add, finally, that in the case of Sudan there is also an additional factor. Egypt’s General Sisi supported the coup in Sudan certainly also because he wants to strengthen his position against Ethiopia. Addis Ababa has just finished the construction of the so-called Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam which will dramatically reduce Nile flows and thereby reduce water access for its neighbouring countries in the north.

It is no secret that Egypt’s army has plans to bomb the dam. In October last year, U.S. President Trump caused a diplomatic crisis when he publicly said that Egypt might “blow up that dam”. If Sisi has now a loyal ally in Khartoum, he might become bolder in starting in war in the East of Africa.

In summary, the military coup in Sudan is part of the counterrevolutionary offensive against the popular uprisings in the Arab world. It is the duty of socialists all around the world to support the struggle of the workers and oppressed in Sudan!


Note of the Editorial Board: In our next article we will deal with the position of the imperialist Great Powers on the military coup in Sudan.


[1] The RCIT documents on the Sudanese Revolution in 2019 are compiled at a special sub-page on our website:
[2] RCIT: Sudan: Down with the Military Coup! For committees of action, general strike and popular insurrection to defeat the putschists! 25 October 2021,
[3] We have analyzed this reactionary axis on numerous occasions. See e.g. RCIT: Turkey and the Growing Tensions in Eastern Mediterranean. Theses on the complex contradictions between imperialist and regional powers, the Arab Revolution and the consequential tactics of Marxists, 28 August 2020,
[4] See on this e.g. RCIT: Egypt: Down with the Military Coup d’État! Prepare Mass Resistance! 8.7.2013,; Michael Pröbsting: The Coup d'État in Egypt and the Bankruptcy of the Left’s “Army Socialism”, 8.8.2013,; Yossi Schwartz: Egypt: The U.S. Support for the Military Coup and the Left’s ignorance, 11.7.2013,
[5] See on this e.g. RCIT: Egypt’s Dictator Sisi Threatens to Invade Libya. Defeat the counterrevolutionary bandit Haftar and the powers behind him! 24 June 2020,
[6] See on this e.g. RCIT: Yemen: Another Humiliating Blow for the Saudi Aggressors! 02.10.2019,
[7] See on this e.g. RCIT: Tunisia: Kais Saied’s Coup Aims at Return to Dictatorship! 29 July 2021,
[8] IMF: Sudan. Enhanced Heavily-Indebted Poor Countries Initiative—Preliminary Document, IMF Country Report No. 21/66, p. 14
[9] Samy Magdy and Isabel Debre: Sudan strongman is seen as an insider with powerful allies, 28 October 2021,
[10] Ayah Aman: Egypt, Sudan step up diplomatic action as Ethiopia reaches out to regional players, 24 March 2021,
[11] Sudan takes center stage in US regional strategy, 1 April 2021,
[12] Mohamed Saied: Egypt, Sudan move forward with railway network, 24 March 2021,
[13] Mohamed Saied: Military coup opens new chapter in Sudan's regional ties, 28 October 2021,
[14] Both quotes are taken from Giorgio Cafiero: Sudan's military coup: Is this the end of the democratic revolution? 26 October 2021,
[15] The RCIT, and our comrades in Ocupied Palestine in particular, have published numerous works about the character of Zionist state and the revolutionary program to smash it. See e.g. these two books by our comrade Yossi Schwartz: The Zionist Wars. A History of the Zionist Movement and Imperialist Wars, 1 February 2021,; Palestine and Zionism. The History of Oppression of the Palestinian People. A Critical Account of the Myths of Zionism, April 2019,; see also Michael Pröbsting: On some Questions of the Zionist Oppression and the Permanent Revolution in Palestine, and
[16] See on this e.g. ISL: What's behind the Israel-Sudan Normalization Deal? 24.10.2020,
[17] Sudan coup 2021: Israeli official says military takeover likely to aid normalisation ties, 27 October 2021,
[18] Quoted in: Israeli official voices support for Sudanese military coup in interview, 25 October, 2021,
[19] Rina Bassist: Sudan coup puts normalization with Israel in jeopardy, 27 October 2021,
[20] Rina Bassist: Sudan coup puts normalization with Israel in jeopardy, 27 October 2021,
[21] The RCIT documents on the Syrian Revolution are compiled at a special sub-page on our website:
[22] The RCIT documents on the Second Wave of the Arab Revolution are compiled at a special sub-page on our website:
[23] The RCIT documents on the Gaza War and the Palestinian Intifada in 2021 are compiled at a special sub-page on our website: