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Sudan changing allegiance?

Reader comment on item: The "Middle East Cold War" Reaches Morocco

Submitted by Michael S. (United States), Sep 24, 2014 at 15:53

"The recent move to shut down the Iranian cultural center and expel its diplomatic mission is likely not because it represents ideological or sectarian concerns as declared, but rather economic motivation. Such a move will appease rich Saudi Arabia and UAE axis, which may help to ease the economic and banking embargo."

-- http://www.sudantribune.com/spip.php?article52422

Concerning recent allegations that the Sudanese were supporting the Qatari-backed rebels in Libya:

"According to a statement from the Libyan authorities, a Sudanese military plane which had stopped for refuelling in Kufra, in south-western Libya, on its way from Sudan to the Libyan capital, Tripoli, was found to be carrying ammunition which the Libyan authorities alleges was destined for armed groups in Tripoli. The Sudanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs swiftly rejected the allegation, and claimed that the plane was in fact only bringing supplies to the joint Libyan-Sudanese-Egyptian border force.

"The incident illustrates how fragile relations between Sudan and its two north African neighbours—Egypt and Libya—are at the moment. In 2011 Sudan did supply arms to armed groups involved in the uprising and conflict in Libya that overthrew Colonel Muammar Qadhafi. At present, the internationally recognised Libyan government, led by Abdalla al‑Thinni, has relocated to the remote eastern town of Tobruq, after it ceded control over Tripoli to Libya Dawn, a coalition of pro-Islamist militias. The Sudanese government would probably be inclined to favour those groups, if it were not afraid of antagonising Egypt and Saudi Arabia. For that reason it is unlikely to openly take sides in the troubles in Libya."

-- http://country.eiu.com/article.aspx?articleid=1532307737&Country=Libya&topic=Politics&subtopic=Forecast&subsubtopic=International+relations&u=1&pid=1232285507&oid=1232285507&uid=1

"...where is the best place for IS loyalists to emerge in Egypt? The quick answer is the Sinai Peninsula, but the correct one is Upper Egypt. Upper Egypt already has weapons, hard-line Islamists and very little government control."

-- http://www.el-balad.com/1163281#sthash.TSyIgIEr.dpuf

My take on this is that strife-torn Sudan is looking to join the Saudi-Egyptian bloc. Have they been accepted into the fold? That will probably depend on how the Sudanese cooperate with Egypt concerning the Nile River waters -- an issue going back some 5,000 years. Let's see how that's doing...

"September 23, 2014 (KHARTOUM) – The Water ministers of Sudan, Egypt and Ethiopia have signed an agreement to form the committee of national experts on the Ethiopian renaissance dam at the end of their fifth round of talks in Addis Ababa."

-- http://www.sudantribune.com/spip.php?article52509

The words that stuck out to me were "fifth round", which means that these negotiations have been going on, unsuccessfully, for some time; and are likely to continue for some time. The real trouble will come, when severe drought hits Sudan and Egypt, and the Ethiopians decide to keep the water for themselves. (This may be the stuff of Isaiah 19).

Meanwhile, Egypt's President al-Sisi has been TRYING to reach out to Sudan, and the two countries are opening a land crossing between them; however, as Al Monitor notes,

"... This is despite concerns that Omar al-Bashir's Islamist regime in Sudan preferred the Muslim Brotherhood, which saw several of its members flee to Sudan after Mohammed Morsi's ouster..."

-- http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2014/09/egypt-sudan-land-port-rapprochement.html

Also, concerning Sudan's connection to Muslim-Brotherhood-affiliated HAMAS seems unlikely to break soon:

"Sudan, a desperately poor country, is also under intense pressure from Saudi Arabia and other members of the Gulf Cooperation Council, the market for most of Sudan's exports, to cut ties with Iran and Hamas . . . but there is no evidence that Bashir, who seized power in a 1989 coup, has lost his revolutionary fervor or his affinity for the likes of Hamas . . . he is likely to try to come up with some kind of compromise by appearing to distance himself from Iran, while working behind the scenes to maintain ties with the terrorists in its orbit."

-- http://www.lignet.com/InBriefs/Sudan-Closes-Iranian-Cultural-Centers#ixzz3EGSKJ4cL

We'll see how this pans out. In the meantime, I will take the (Egyptian-allied) Libyan ouster of Sudanese diplomats at face value and assume there is still bad blood between the two camps. For the moment, then, I'll put Sudan in the Turkish camp, where the other Muslim Brotherhood and Jihadi groups tend to hang out.

Submitting....

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Note: Opinions expressed in comments are those of the authors alone and not necessarily those of Daniel Pipes. Original writing only, please. Comments are screened and in some cases edited before posting. Reasoned disagreement is welcome but not comments that are scurrilous, off-topic, commercial, disparaging religions, or otherwise inappropriate. For complete regulations, see the "Guidelines for Reader Comments".

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