In an interview with the website of the Strategic Council on Foreign Relations, Qassem Mohebali, referring to the announcement of normalization of relations between Sudan and the Zionist regime by the US President, with regard to the reason for the US choice of Sudan to put pressure in this direction, said: The former Sudanese government was under international sanctions and even its president was under the persecution of the War Crimes Tribunal, which has created numerous deprivations for the country. The new government in that country is also faced with severe economic crises.
He added: The Sudanese government is generally poor and sanctions have put the country in critical condition; while the country is also entangled in a civil war. Therefore, in order to overcome this crisis, it needs the support of rich Arab countries such as Saudi Arabia and lifting of the US, European and international sanctions. Despite the fall of Omar al-Bashir, the Americans postponed change in the relations to changes in Sudan’s foreign policy.
Misuse of Trump’s administration of the situation in Sudan
The Middle East and Africa analyst said: The Trump administration exploited such weak points and pressured them that if they want to resolve their problems and take advantage of international help and get rid of the sanctions, they should normalize their relations with Israel. The new group that came to power after Omar al-Bashir no longer had the policies of the past, but it seems that they have inevitably accepted this demand.
Relations with Israel, source of discord and internal strife in Sudan
Referring to the opposition of Sudanese political and popular factions against the decision of the government, Mohebali continued: Although perhaps a large part of the Sudanese society is not yet ready to accept this situation, if it can bring prosperity and wealth to Sudan, perhaps the government might be able to persuade them to accept the decision. However, given that even this policy change is unlikely to help resolve Sudan’s livelihood and economic problems, it is possible that after a while the same decision may become the source of one of Sudan’s internal disputes and conflicts.
Referring to the Sudanese government’s announcement over the necessity of ratification of normalization of relations with Israel by the transitional parliament of the country, he said: In general, and in terms of political issues and public opinion in Sudan, the parliament may vote against this decision. But given the need of the Sudanese government and that it is not possible to overcome the crisis without the help of Saudi Arabia and the Persian Gulf states, the US may force it to make this decision. Because they want the lifting of international sanctions to allow international aid to reach Sudan, therefore they may be forced to do so out of poverty and need.
Sudan awaiting US elections results
Mohebali, meanwhile, added: Perhaps they are seeking to pass this decision to the parliament so that a few more days will be saved and they see what the outcome of the US elections will be. The next administration may not have the Trump administration’s insistence on the normalization of relations. If elected, Biden will certainly support normalization of relations with the Zionist regime, but it seems unlikely that he will make it one of his main conditions and put Netanyahu, the Jewish lobby and the Zionists inside the United States as his priorities. The Sudanese have probably been vigilant and delayed the decision to see what the next US administration will look like.
He explained: If Trump comes to power again, it is natural that they will have to accept it, but if it is not Trump, maybe they make corrections and be able to get through this situation. In particular, the US relations with countries such as Saudi Arabia and the Persian Gulf countries and the Netanyahu government will unlikely be as close to those of the Trump era, and Democrats may further distance themselves with them, causing Sudanese and other countries to breathe a sigh of relief.
Commenting on the outcome of Sudan’s measure, the former Middle East Director-General of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said: Sudan is one of the largest Muslim countries in North Africa and it cannot be said that this decision will be without serious consequences. There are other governments in the region that may join the process.
Probability of new crises in East Africa
Mohebali continued: Of course, the first mistake that Trump made was to oppose construction of a dam in one of the springheads of the Nile River in Ethiopia, and even threatened that Egypt might blow it up. This increased the dispute in that area. It meant that if the Sudanese find better management through relations with the West, new and more serious crises may arise there, as well as new rivalries and rifts in the East African region.
He stressed: In the case of other countries in the North Sahara, which are generally Muslim countries, this trend may continue because they also generally have no favourable economic and social situation and need Western assistance, especially the US and Western and Israeli investments. Israel can take advantage of this opportunity to persuade them to normalize their relationship.
Impact of normalization of Arab relations on US elections
Referring to Trump’s attempts for electoral use of the normalization of Sudan’s relations with Israel and its impact on the US elections, Mohebali said: In terms of prioritization, the issue of foreign policy is on the seventh or eighth place for the voters in the US elections, and especially given the conditions caused by the Corona epidemic and its consequences, it is not a major issue among other American issues. But Trump seeks to inflate the so-called balloon and influence other issues.
He continued: He especially wants to have the vote of the American Jewish community, which is an economically powerful lobby among all American political and social groups, and persuade them not to change their vote. Trump seeks to highlight racial issues and religious beliefs and by addressing these issues influence other economic and social issues, such as immigration, unemployment, public health, and insurance. This is a kind of strengthening populist policies that Trump has tried to use at this juncture and now he wants to take advantage of them in the elections.
Mohebali did not negate impacts of these measures in the elections, but in the meantime said: It cannot be said it can change the votes of those who have made their decision, especially since Sudan plays no specific role in the American society. It might have been different if it were countries like Saudi Arabia, Algeria, Iraq and Pakistan, but Sudan is not known that much in the American public opinion.