by: Liad Osmo
Tuesday, 26 October 2021 | The apparent military coup in Sudan may have dire consequences on the African state’s relations with Israel and the ongoing normalization process.
Sudanese Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok was arrested by the military early Monday alongside several other key officials in his cabinet. Hamdok’s government came into power in 2019 after the ousting of dictator Omar al-Bashir, who was a fervent supporter of Iran and a known supporter of anti-Israel terrorist groups.
Though popular with pro-democracy domestic groups, Hamdok has struggled to realize Sudan’s transition into an actual democracy due to ideological rows with the military.
One such row occurred when Khartoum was offered the option to normalize its relationship with Israel as part of the US-mediated Abraham Accords, and thus effectively eliminating a 1958 law that forbade any diplomatic relations with Jerusalem.
And while the military side of the leadership backed the normalization due to US promises to remove the harsh sanctions imposed on Sudan during the al-Bashir era, the leadership’s civic bloc was less enthusiastic about the move, but was ultimately convinced.
Though slow-going due to chronic disagreements plaguing Sudan’s leadership, the normalization process saw a few high points over the past year, including a visit to Sudan by former Intelligence Minister Eli Cohen, and a visit by a Sudanese security delegation to Israel.
And while it is too early to truly know what the true consequences of the upheaval in Sudan will do to the normalization process, certain assumptions can already be made.
The Sudanese military leadership has a clear interest in lifting the sanctions and advancing relations with the US, and these steps would be made possible by formalizing ties with Israel.
Opponents of the military leadership could hurt normalization, with the West unlikely to accept the military takeover, which contradicts the agreements reached between the hawkish parties in Sudan, and could further deteriorate relations between Washington and Khartoum, and ultimately with Israel.
Prior to Sudan’s recognition of Israel and the launch of the normalization process, the US had begun lifting sanctions on the African state, but a military coup could stall the process or see the sanctions come back all together.
Their re-imposition, in turn, could see Khartoum backtrack on the US-brokered deal.
Posted on October 26, 2021
Photo Credit: Ola A .Alsheikh/commons.wikimedia.org
Photo License: Wikimedia
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