The French website "Media Part" said that the commander of the Rapid Support Forces Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, known as Hemedti, was able to impose himself as a key figure in the political equation in Sudan even before the war, explaining that he succeeded in convincing the West that he is a statesman and an insurmountable addressee.

No one in the world of Western democracies can publicly boast of having good relations with Hemedti, but he is nevertheless largely pampered by them, and his envoys are still secretly received at European embassies.

The website cited the example of lawyer Youssef Ezzat al-Mahri (Canadian national), who was received at the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs and visited London and the Netherlands as an adviser to Hemedti.

According to Mediapart, Hemedti remains determined to present himself as a champion of the rights of the people of Sudan, and a bulwark against the Islamists of the regime of former President Omar al-Bashir.

A strange encounter

The website recalled a meeting it described as strange held in the European Parliament under the title "Promoting Peace and Security in Sudan", organized by Italian members of the Parliament 3 months after the start of the war, and met via video conference with "Sudanese human rights defenders", but everyone focused only on the violations they claimed to have been committed by the regular army, and the attendees did not say a word about the violations committed by the Rapid Support Forces.

This "public relations" operation did not start with the conflict between the RSF and the regular army, but much earlier, and today it is trying to portray a warlord as head of state.

To illustrate this, Mediapart reported that in a previous phone interview, al-Mahri said, "We are committed to a civilian government and to building a national army that represents all Sudanese and will not be controlled by Islamists. We have opened lines of communication with civilians and with Volcker."

Volker Perthes is the UN Secretary-General's Envoy and Head of the Democratic Transition Support Mission, who supposedly facilitated the democratic transition after the 2019 revolution.

Sudanese army commanders have declared their direct rejection of Volker's continued post after accusing him of bias, ignoring the implementation of the mission's mandate and focusing on political issues, neglecting issues related to peace support, assisting in the transition and preparing for elections.

Exciting makeover

What is impressive, however, is the dramatic shift in Hemedti's trajectory, which everyone on the diplomatic scene pretends to believe, and some even seem convinced of.

According to the French website, Hemedti seems to have mastered the "art of transformation," and "he knows how to surround himself with public relations advisers, and he has been able to convince Western advisers that he is necessary for any political settlement."

Sudanese political analyst Kholoud Khair was quoted as saying that "Hemedti is adept at understanding what the international community wants, and he wants to appear as a supporter of democracy," and because European countries want to prevent migrants from crossing the Sudanese border into Libya, Hemedti officially tasked his forces – long ago – to ensure border control.

"What gave Hemedti strong legitimacy was that he declared himself the master of migration between 2016 and 2019 and of course the EU did not forget that," says MSF adviser on migration and refugee issues, Jerome Tubiana.

In order to improve his image, Hemedti admitted since the summer of 2022 that "the coup failed to bring about the desired change and now we are heading for the worse." Regarding the return of soldiers to their barracks without closing the door to a political future, he added, "I have no political ambitions, but reality forced me to exist."


The Mediapart report explained that the man erased his past and became a very wealthy businessman, but he was not satisfied with that, and became more ambitious, and Western embassies were led to him because of diplomacy and their dual obsession with the subject of immigration and Islamists.

They saw it as a realistic political line, and Washington even sees him as "a more talented and capable figure than General (head of the Sovereignty Council Abdel Fattah) Burhan," as stated in a diplomatic document that Mediapart was able to refer to.

France is also in dialogue with Hemedti and his aides, and Mediapart has seen a document describing a "friendly" meeting between French diplomats and Hemedti's brother Abderrahim Dagalo, who spoke about the key role played by the RSF in combating irregular migration, terrorism, drugs, weapons and human trafficking, and regretted that the international community did not appreciate or support these efforts.

Despite all the accusations, Hemedti and his men gained the status of interlocutor for the wealth he spent on his contacts, even trying to establish a special unit to defend human rights.

Hemedti continued the process of creating a "good image," and journalist Renaud Girard of Le Figaro even wrote a column entitled "Don't abandon the Sudanese," concluding that "Hemedti assured the international community of his desire to prosecute Burhan to 'fight Islamism' and establish democracy and the rule of law in Sudan."

"The Americans are talking to Hemedti, they are right, because the important thing is not to leave the Sudanese to their fate," Girrard said.

Hemedti's project of respecting "name and purpose" eventually shattered the rock of the conflict he himself helped ignite, and many of those who today lament the plight of the Sudanese people – from Bashir's supporters to Western countries to regional powers – have been instrumental in making this man believe he has the status of a statesman who can aspire to power.