Sudan Isn’t Making Peace with Israel—Yet

August 27, 2020 | Benny Avni
About the author:

On Tuesday, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo made an unprecedent direct flight from Tel Aviv to Khartoum, amid speculation that Sudan would be the next Arab country to make peace with Israel. While the Sudanese government then clarified that nothing of the sort was to happen, its statement on the matter left the possibility open in a way that until recently would have been unimaginable. Benny Avni sees Pompeo’s visit, and even the rumors about peace, as evidence that Sudan, having freed itself of the genocidal dictator Omar al-Bashir, is ready to reconcile with the West:

[Sudan’s] premier, Abdalla Hamdok, said that the current government has no authority to make peace with Israel before an election. Yet [his country’s] location on the shores of the Red Sea would certainly make it a strategic ally for Israel and America.

Sudan, meanwhile, is desperate for foreign aid and Western investment. To start getting that, it needs to be off the State Department’s terror list, where it was placed in 1993 for harboring top terrorists, including Osama bin Laden. Several America-based terror-related lawsuits against Sudan remain pending, while others have been resolved.

Delisting with respect to terrorism goes beyond technicalities. It’s a political issue with wider implication than ties with Israel. As everywhere else in the world, China’s influence in the Middle East is growing. Unless America competes in this new cold war-like struggle, countries like Sudan will fall under Beijing’s spell.

Washington [should try] to make Sudan, once a cruel terrorist state, into an American ally. Delisting and relations with Israel can mark the beginning of a beautiful friendship.

Read more on New York Sun: