x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 19 January 2018

Crisis begets crisis in Sudan

'Sudan is more important than the ruling regime; its security and stability should outweigh those who crave for power.'

Regardless of who is behind the conflict in Sudan, the whole country is now under threat of sliding into a whirl of endless crises, wrote Tariq Alhomayed in a comment article for the London-based newspaper Al Sharq al Awsat. "It is pointless to delve into the details of the opposition's demands either in the South or in the North, but what is noticeable is the unified action against the Sudanese government nationally and internationally. It is a matter that heralds hard times ahead and proves that the regime has failed in managing the crisis on its own."

This is said not to support the latest demonstrations and the protesters' demands - legitimate yet hard to achieve as they were - but to pinpoint the fact that they can constitute a new contract between the Sudanese leadership and the public. "Unfortunately, the present tumult is a struggle for maintaining power. This is happening at a time the South has made headway in the process of separation. The crisis in the South has been exacerbated by the problems in Darfur province with their implications for the Sudanese regime internally and internationally.  Sudan is more important than the ruling regime; its security and stability should outweigh those who crave for power. It is sad to see this country sunk into such a crumbling situation.

It is not a matter of coincidence that the latest bloody bombings in Baghdad occurred just after the election bill was passed, setting next March as the time for holding elections, noted the London-based newspaper Al Quds al Arabi in its editorial. 

The intention of the bombers was to tell the Iraqi political leadership that the law did not satisfy all Iraqi political forces. The government of Nouri al Maliki rushed to point a finger at fundamentalists and former Baathists living in Syria, a charge that revealed his confusion and called into question the validity of such an accusation, especially since no investigations have been carried out yet. 

The new bombings reveals three facts. First, targeting such critical zones showed cracks in security cracks and a possible conspiracy. Second, the blasts resembled those of last August, which means there are forces inside the ruling alliance that would like to uncover the weaknesses of the government in the run-up to elections. Lastly, al Qa'eda, the main party accused for the successive blasts, may not have been involved because it has never attacked such tightly-secured facilities as ministries. "We can say that the terrorist acts reflected a conflict over power among parties and sects, and they may be a prelude to many more in order to influence the election outcome, or even to bring the whole political process to ruin."

"Prince Khalid Al Faisal, the chairman of the investigation committee into the Jeddah tragedy, has a far wider responsibility than merely to find facts about the disastrous flood. He will have a larger role that encompasses the whole Kingdom," observed the Saudi newspaper Al Watan in its editorial.

The task of the committee today is to address the situation and correct irregularities, because what happened in Jeddah affected both the state and the individual and equally had harmed the kingdom's national project of development.  The committee held its first meetings this week amid great hopes by the public that it would emerge with tangible results. It should be noted that the committee's work will take time, and this is normal.

"It is a great responsibility that is being undertaken by the committee, and everyone strongly believes that Prince Al Faisal is capable of achieving its goals. At the same time, in terms of procedure, accountability and introducing reforms are not tasks that can be undertaken overnight. The real test for its success should lie in its ability to announce the results of its inquiries publicly and with utter transparency. The first step towards addressing the crisis will come by acknowledging its existence, which requires the outcome to be as explicit as King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz in his royal decree."

In its editorial, the Qatari newspaper Al Watan called the new position of the European Union on Jerusalem "insufficient". The EU thought of the Holy City as a "future capital of the two states" within the framework of a settlement to be negotiated later. Earlier proposals explicitly described East Jerusalem as a capital for the Palestinian state, while supporting the two-state solution and rejecting any changes to the 1967 borders, except those agreed upon by the two sides.

"Yet, even though the European statement fell short of fully recognising Palestinian rights, it was a good step forward. It will isolate the US position that is biased toward the Israeli agenda, and it will renew the general hope that the international community is endorsing justice in accordance with principles of international law. The Europeans' latest move will likely to give them a key role in the settlement of the Israeli-Arab conflict, hence breaking the long-standing American monopoly over the issue."

It is interesting to see, however, how the Israelis managed to block the initial European peace plan that reflected a truth that East Jerusalem is a a Palestinian city that has been occupied since 1967. This prompted the Israeli government to express its satisfaction about the EU's position.  * Digest compiled by Mostapha Elmouloudi melmouloudi@thenational.ae