Can Sudan normalize with the US and Israel? – a discussion with Gilad Liberman
After the White House signing of separate normalization treaties on September 15th between Israel and the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain, which Arab nation might be next. Prior to the ceremony on the White House back lawn, Secretary of State Pompeo made a flight to Khartoum from Jerusalem offering a similar deal, which led to a premature announcement of normalization with Israel by the spokesman of the Sudan Foreign Ministry and his immediate firing by the Foreign Minister. Subsequently, the US effort to normalize relations between Sudan and Israel appeared to have collapsed after meetings in Abu Dhabi last week. Both the Chairman of Transitional Military Council (TMC) General al Burhan, a former Bashir regime military leader, and Transitional Sovereignty Council PM Abdallah Hamdok the target of a recent assassination attempt by Bashir allies, rejected financial aid offers offered by the UAE and Israel of $800 million with a contribution of $10 million from Israel. They were seeking upwards of $4 billion in financial aid. The US suggested that a payment of $335 million might release Sudan from the $7.3 billion US court award in 2017 to US victims of Al Qaeda bombings of Embassies in both Kenya and Tanzania in 1998 and the 2000 bombing of the USS Cole in Yemen. US Senators and Members of Congress are calling for additional compensation for 9/11 victims. Sudan is desperate to be lifted from the 1993 US State Department listing as a State Sponsor of Terrorism. At the time Israel was concerned about Sudan’s filtering of weapons to terrorist group Hamas in Gaza. Israel’s air force in 2012 had made massive raids on Sudan underground missile factories made with Iranian cooperation.
The issue the US and Israel must ponder is Sudan capable of transformation to a democratic civilian government when its military leaders were part of a Bashir cabal that perpetrated ethnic cleansing and genocidal crimes against indigenous peoples in Darfur, the Nuba Mountains and the Blue Nile region. Leaders of the notorious Rapid Support Janjaweed Militia, TMC Chairman Deputy Generals al Burham and Deputy Chair Gen Degallo (Hemeti) led Bashir’s forced Arabization in Darfur that continues long past the incarceration of long term Sudan President Bashir in April 2019. The toll in Darfur alone is over 600,000 killed, 5 million dispersed to insecure UNAMID internal displaced persons camps with several hundred thousand dispersed to UN Refugee Camps in neighboring Chad. Will Bashir be transferred to the International Criminal Court at the Hague to be prosecuted under the outstanding 2009 and 2010 indictments? Will former Bashir allies Generals al Burham and Degallo of the TMC deny the formation of a civilian government by 2022 by seizing power in a coup? Is Sudan capable of normalizing in such a fractured dangerously divisive state?
For answers to these and other questions Rod Reuven Dovid Bryant and Jerry Gordon reached out to Israeli Dr. Galid Liberman. Liberman has long been involved in matters concerning Eritrean and Sudan refugees in Israel and blogs on such matters for the Times of Israel. He holds a Phd in neurosciences from Bar Ilan University and is presently a research fellow in imagery at the Harvard Medical School.
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