For Peace between Israel and Sudan to Succeed, Further American Help Is Necessary

Nov. 20 2020

Because Sudan is currently ruled by a transitional government as it recovers from many years of Islamist dictatorship, there is reason to doubt the longevity of any action taken in Khartoum, the recent normalization with Israel included. But, argue Orde Kittrie and Varsha Koduvayur, the U.S. can help preserve the fragile peace agreement by assisting Sudan as it moves toward democracy, and by aiding its overall stability. They write:

Abdelfattah al-Burhan, the head of Sudan’s military council and the country’s de-facto head of state, said key steps in enhancing relations with Israel will be delayed until they are submitted for approval by a legislative council that has not yet been established. Meanwhile, three Sudanese political parties responded to the joint statement by threatening to withdraw from the coalition backing Sudan’s transitional government.

Unless appropriately bolstered, progress towards Sudan-Israel peace risks stalling or worse. History shows that steps towards peace between Israel and its Arab neighbors can collapse in the absence of sufficient traction. Israel and Lebanon signed a peace agreement in 1983, but Lebanon canceled it a year later. Four other Arab states each at one time had, but then canceled, formal economic or other less-than-full diplomatic relations with Israel—Morocco (1994-2000), Oman (1996-2000), Qatar (1996-2000), and Tunisia (1996-2000).

The extent to which stable Sudanese democracy and comprehensive, lasting Sudan-Israel peace result from the recent U.S.-Sudan rapprochement depends heavily on next steps by Washington to implement two still-pending elements of the multipart agreement it reached with Khartoum in October.

As this process unfolds, Washington may need to be patient with Sudan and to keep Khartoum’s limits in mind. Each additional improved relationship between Israel and an Arab country, including Sudan, is good for the United States and the region. But a cautionary lesson is provided by the five prior Israeli rapprochements . . . which collapsed absent sufficient traction. The current enthusiastic embrace of peace with Israel by the UAE and Bahrain will be much more encouraging to other Arab states if it is not accompanied by a collapsed process involving a weakened Sudanese government giving in to protestors.

Read more at National Interest

More about: Abraham Accords, Israel diplomacy, Israel-Arab relations, Sudan, U.S. Foreign policy

How Israel and Its Allies Could Have a Positive Influence on the Biden Administration’s Iran Policy

Nov. 25 2020

While the president-elect has expressed his desire to return the U.S. to the 2015 nuclear agreement with the Islamic Republic, this should not in itself cause worry in Jerusalem; it has never been the Israeli government’s position that a deal with Tehran is undesirable, only that the flaws of the deal negotiated by the Obama administration outweighed its benefits. Thus Yaakov Amidror, Efraim Inbar, and Eran Lerman urge Israel to approach Joe Biden’s national-security team—whose senior members were announced this week—to urge them to act prudently:

To the greatest extent possible, such approaches should be made jointly, or in very close coordination with, Israel’s new partners in the Gulf. These countries share Israel’s perspectives on the Iranian regional threat and on the need to block Tehran’s path to nuclear weapons.

For Israel, for Iran-deal skeptics in Washington, and for her partners in the region, the first operational priority is to persuade the incoming U.S. national-security team to maintain full leverage on Iran. Sanctions against Iran should not be lifted as a “gesture” without a verified Iranian return to the status quo ante (at the very least) in terms of low-enriched-uranium stockpiles and ongoing enrichment activities.

In parallel, there may emerge a unique opportunity to close ranks with the French (and with Boris Johnson’s government in London) on the Iranian question. On several issues (above all, the struggle for hegemony in the eastern Mediterranean, against Turkey), Jerusalem, Abu Dhabi, and Paris now see eye-to-eye. On Iran, during the negotiations leading to the [deal] in 2015, the position of France was often the most robust. In 2018, President Macron was willing to reach an operational understanding with Secretary of State Pompeo on [key issues regarding the Islamic Republic’s nuclear activities].

Last but certainly not least, it should be clear to the incoming U.S. national-security team that any attempt to negotiate must be, can be, and (as far as Israel is concerned) firmly will be backed by a credible military threat.

Read more at Jerusalem Institute for Strategy and Security

More about: France, Iran nuclear program, Israeli Security, US-Israel relations