War in Sudan (Western Collapse)

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War in Sudan (Western Collapse)
Part of the Middle Eastern Wars
American Cruise Missile
An American cruise missile heading towards strategic Sudanese military targets is launched.
Date 19 August 2015 - 6 January 2017
Location Sudan
  • Both sides claim victory
  • Liberation of South Sudan
  • Regime change unsuccessful
  • Coalition withdrawal from Sudan
  • Reduction of Western influence in the Arab world
Coalition Forces:
  • Flag of the United StatesUnited States
  • Flag of IsraelIsrael
  • Flag of CanadaCanada (2015-2016)
  • Flag of FranceFrance (2015)
  • Flag of AustraliaAustralia
  • Flag of South KoreaSouth Korea (2015)
  • Flag of SpainSpain (2015)
  • Flag of SlovakiaSlovakia (2015)
  • Flag of NorwayNorway (2015)
  • Flag of GeorgiaGeorgia
  • Flag of AlbaniaAlbania (2015)
Flag of SudanSudan

Flag of PakistanPakistan

Flag of IranIran

Flag of the United StatesBarrack Obama

Flag of the United StatesChuck Hagel

Flag of IsraelBenjamin Netanyahu

Flag of CanadaStephen Harper

Flag of SudanOmar Al-Bashir

Flag of SudanBakri Hassan Saleh

Flag of PakistanMamnoon Hussain

Flag of IranAli Khamenei

Phase 1: 1100 aircraft, 47 ships

Phase 2: 950 aircraft, 44 ships

826 aircraft, 71 ships, 90,000 ground forces
Casualties and losses
1846 total (us:1197, is:342, ca:124, fr:102, au:61, sk:11, sp:4, sl:2, no:2, ge:1) ~8500 total (su:~6100, pa:~1500, ir:~900)

The War in Sudan was an armed conflict that took place in Sudan between 2015 and 2017 as a result of Sudan's invasion of South Sudan.

Sudanese invasion of South Sudan

On 2 July 2015, Sudanese special forces entered South Sudan. The country was conquered on July 9th and annexed into Sudan on July 13th. The Sudanese government used South Sudan's decision to shoot down two Sudanese fighter jets to justify the invasion, saying that they were a direct attack on Sudan. The invasion immediately saw widespread condemnation from many countries, mostly Western aligned ones. The United States seeked approval of military action against Sudan by the United Nations Security Council, however Russia and China both vetoed any action, saying they agreed that the invasion was justified. Despite this, the United States formed a coalition of eleven nations that agreed to take military action anyway. United States president Barack Obama said that immediate military action would be to pressure Sudan to withdraw its forces from South Sudan and that coalition forces would discuss regime change once the withdrawal is successful. This coalition however didn't include some of the United States' traditional allies, such as the United Kingdom, Germany and Portugal, who said they would only take military action if it had been approved by the United Nations Security Council.

Military Action begins

On August 19th 2015, the first military action began to pressure Sudan to withdraw from South Sudan. Four US Arleigh Burke-class destroyers deployed in the Red Sea launched Tomahawk Cruise Missiles aiming at key Sudanese military targets in South Sudan. Meanwhile, Canadian CF-18 Hornets began bombing areas in South Sudan with high concentrations of Sudanese troops along with Israeli F-15 Eagles and French Dassault Mirage 2000's. Other coalition forces began bombings of Sudanese military targets over the next few days. After days of heavy military losses, Sudan withdrew from South Sudan on September 8th. This part of the war is known as phase 1.

Regime Change Proposal

After Sudan's withdrawal from South Sudan, some coalition leaders said that Sudan needed to be punished more severely for its aggressions. In an unpopular move, United States president Barack Obama announced that the United States would attempt a regime change in Sudan to oust dictator Omar Al-Bashir, beginning second phase of the war. Obama promised Americans that coalition forces would not commit ground troops and that fighting would only take place in the sea and skies. Only four other coalition members - Israel, Canada, Australia and Georgia - agreed to continue fighting alongside the United States for this. Fighting resumed on September 17th and coalition air forces began bombing Sudan more severely and Tomahawk Cruise Missiles were now being fired at large population centres in Sudan.

Entrance of Iran and Pakistan

Iran and Pakistan, who were unhappy with coalition forces' military action to begin with, warned of consequences if coalition forces proceeded to regime change. When attacks in favour of regime change began, both nations committed ground, naval and air forces. Iran began launching Raad anti-aircraft and anti-ship missiles, which had devastating effects on coalition aircraft. Pakistan comitted anti-aircraft weapons of its own, such as M42 Dusters and other self-propelled guns. 8 Iranian submarines were also deployed in the red sea and proceeded in sinking the USS Barry, killing its entire fleet.

Coalition Escalation

Upon Iran and Pakistan's entrance in the war on September 30th, coalition forces knew that they had to commit more forces. Canada committed over 90 of its CF-18 fighter jets along with 10 Halifax-class anti-aircraft frigates and the HMCS Athabaskan, a Canadian destroyer used to shoot down enemy aircraft and defend coalition forces from Iranian submarines. This move by Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper was very unpopular and led to his election loss in October. Israel also significantly increased its contributions to the war, deploying 250 F-15E Strike Eagle fighter jets and attacking enemy aircraft with its SPYDER anti-aircraft missiles. The United States added 300 more fighter jets to its war effort as well. Australian and Georgian deployments remained limited however, with Australia only committing 20 of its F/A-18 Hornets for aerial bombings and Georgia only committing 12 Su-25 fighter jets. None of the coalition forces however, put forth as much equipment to its war effort as Pakistan and Iran. Pakistan deployed all of its Zulfiquar-class and Tariq-class frigates, along with PNS Azmat fast attack crafts for the use of anti-ship missiles. It also committed 45 of its 49 JF-17 Thunders, 55 F-16 Fighting Falcons, 142 Dassault Mirages and 160 F-7 Skybolts, all of which are combat aircraft. Iran increased its anti-aircraft missile strikes and succeeded in destroying 24 American, 16 Canadian,  14 Israeli and 2 Australian aircraft before the end of 2015. It also committed 40 F-14 Tomcats, all of its MiG Fulcrums, 15 F-7 Airguards, all of its F-4 Phantoms, 20 HESA Saeqehs and 45 F-5 Tigers to stop coalition aerial bombings.

Canadian Withdrawal

In November 2015, newly elected Justin Trudeau became Prime Minister of Canada. One of the key aspects of his platform was to withdraw Canadian ships and aircraft from Sudan. Through November and December, Canadian CF-18 fighter jets left combat. Most Canadian ships remained in the region for small scale combat until January 2016. The last Canadian frigate withdrew from the Red Sea on February 1st. A total of 124 Canadians had been killed in the war, a number which many Canadians considered to be far too high.

War Rages On

In early 2016, many coalition leaders began pushing for a ground
Sudan War Airspace

Map depicting Sudanese airspace in red and Coalition airspace in blue as of late April, 2016.

invasion to capture Khartoum, the Sudanese capital. Despite this, United States president Barack Obama refused to lead one, as he had earlier promised to his people that no American ground troops would be involved. The increased cruise missile attacks by the United States were unsuccessful, as Iranian anti-missile defence systems had easily taken care of most of them. This forced coalition forces to change their tactics, and they decided to begin a large scale air offensive towards the capital from airspace they had gained control of in Northwest Sudan, where they would begin heavy aerial bombing to force Omar Al-Bashir to surrender his armed forces. This offensive began on March 28th, 2016 and was initially somewhat successful as some American aircraft had reached the capital, proceeding in bombing several government targets. However, casualties were high on both sides and over 1200 civilians were killed by bombings. Iranian and Pakistani Air Forces were successfully able to push back coalition fighter jets and Sudanese airspace was restored as far as 85 miles to the northwest of the capital by April 15th, where the offensive had began. After the failed offensive, the United States resumed cruise missile strikes targeting Khartoum and Israel attempted to weaken Sudanese defenses through anti-aircraft missile strikes against Pakistani, Iranian and sudanese aircraft defending the capital. Australia and Georgia continued small scale airstrikes.

Anti-coalition counter-offensive

Iran, Sudan and Pakistan agreed to launch a large scale counter-offensive in coalition airspace beginning on June 9th, 2016. Their aircraft were able to advance over 150 miles northwest, however many were struck down by Israeli SPYDER anti-aircraft missiles and 48 fighter jets were destroyed. Coalition forces weakened their defenses in this region and Iranian and Pakistani aircraft were able to advance further.

Attack from Red Sea

Coalition forces moved many aircraft to the red sea and began to advance in Northeast Sudan on August 12th, 2016 while bombing coastal military targets such as a Sudanese naval base along with port cities such as Port Sudan. Coalition forces could not advance much further however as they were challenged by Iranian Raad missiles and Pakistani JF-17 Thunders.

Coalition Withdrawal

Coalition foreign ministers began considering withdrawal of forces in Sudan during September 2016 following their failures in Northeast Sudan earlier that month. United States president Barack Obama announced a plan to completely withdraw coalition forces by as late as January 2017 on October 4th, 2016. All other coalition leaders agreed to this plan. The last Georgian forces had left on January 2nd, 2017 while the last Australian forces left a day later. American and Israeli forces left together on January 6th, putting an end to the war.


The War in Sudan resulted in over 10,500 military casualties and over 30,000 civilian casualties. Both sides claimed that they had been successful militarily and claimed victory. Coalition leaders said they had succeeded as they had forced Sudan out of South Sudan and that fighting after that had been punishment for Sudan's actions. Sudan, Iran and Pakistan claimed victory, saying that they had succeeded in preventing coalition forces from ousting Omar Al-Bashir and installing a democratic, pro-Western government. Most historians believe that this war began the West's decreased influence in the Arab world.

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