x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

A new state and new agreements in Sudan

A daily roundup of the region's Arabic press

Results of the Sudanese referendum that would place Salva Kiir at the head of a new independent state in Sudan after July 9 raises questions about the morality of international politics and the politics of big western states, observes the columnist Randa Tqieddin in the pan-Arab daily Al Hayat.

The US administration has implied that it may lift US sanctions on Sudan, and rumour has it that if everything goes according to plan, the African Union would file a request with the UN Security Council to suspend its judicial pursuit of President Omar al Bashir.

As soon as the independence of southern Sudan is officially announced, the new state is expected to witness increasing interest from international oil companies. Although said companies claim that the available quantities aren't enough to transform the south into a big oil country, they will at the least ensure better revenues.

At the same time, north and south Sudan must reach a resource-sharing agreement since most of the Sudanese oil is found in the south, but can only be exported through a pipeline in the Sudanese port in the north. After years of conflict over natural resources, both independent states can now agree to an equitable and legal resource-sharing formula. Such an agreement, however, could have been more beneficial for the Sudanese people as a whole had it been reached before.

The end of a 30-year honeymoon for Israel

The fires of the present revolution in Egypt may spread to nearby Arab countries and might reach Israeli territories, which explains escalating concerns in Tel Aviv, observes the London-based daily Al Quds Al Arabi in its editorial.

The Israeli Chief of General Staff General, Gaby Ashkenazi, eloquently expressed this concern when he stated earlier this week that the Israeli army must prepare for a comprehensive regional war.

The regional war the general refers to would be against radical countries such as Iran and Syria. But it could also be joined against a "new Egypt" should the present uprising succeed in toppling Cairo's ruling regime.

Angry popular protests in various Egyptian cities have not brandished any anti-Israeli or anti-US banners, but it is also true that the demand to bring down the existing regime may establish a new order that would break with previous policies and rewrite Egypt's alliances.

In fact, Israel's concern and talk of reviewing its defence strategy in a way that takes the recent regional developments into consideration is the first success of this revolution. "Israel enjoyed a 30-year honeymoon with Egypt and was able to save an annual $20 billion on its defence budget due to the Camp David Accords. The Liberation Square protesters are now overturning this equation and taking Israel back to the atmosphere of war with the greatest state in the region."

A new age for Egyptian embassies arrives

In an opinion article for the Qatari daily Al Watan, Dr Ibrahim Arafat calls for Egypt's embassies throughout the world to gear up for a new age.

"The political machine in Cairo is working at the rhythm of the streets to create a new order. All decision-making agencies and experts, and more importantly, droves of Egyptians, are confirming that Egypt's political machine will this time yield real results that fulfil the aspirations of its people."

Egypt is on the verge of instituting a credible pluralistic democratic system. Its elections would no longer be staged farces, but genuine and encompassing practices that include all Egyptians, within Egypt and those that reside elsewhere.

Egyptian embassies everywhere could become addresses for a new reality and a platform for the practice of citizenship rights. Expatriate Egyptians' voices weren't taken into account under Mr Mubarak's regime, but their only solace was that their countrymen on the inside weren't heard either.

"Egypt is changing," says the writer. "It is better to seek change than to wait for it, especially because Egyptians scattered around the world run into the millions. Instead of waiting for bureaucratic directives, embassies must start preparing for the upcoming new phase where Egyptians would be standing in line to practice their most essential right: the right to vote.

A state: some deserve it, Palestinians don't

The West's reaction to the results of the referendum in south Sudan, in which 99 per cent of constituents voted for secession from the north, has betrayed the double standards the US and Europe apply in approaching the question of self-determination, stated the Emirati newspaper Al Khaleej in its editorial.

"These countries see the outcome of the referendum as 'historic' because it lays the foundation for a new, independent state in the south of Sudan."

Yet these same countries are not as excited to see the Palestinian people have their own independent state, despite knowing that it will come as no favour to the Palestinians, to whom the right to have a state has been granted under internationally approved resolutions more than 60 years ago.

All western promises to help establish a "livable Palestinian state", as expressed by US president Barack Obama, who once said he hoped to see the Palestinian state represented in the UN General Assembly by September, remain mere froth.

So what one has in the end is an extremely efficient West helping an African country split in half, yet desperately impotent in standing by the rights of Palestinians.

 

* Digest compiled by Racha Makarem

rmakarem@thenational.ae