Thursday, January 13, 2011

Guess Who Is Siding with Bashir on Sudan Referendum, and Who Isn't?

From the World Tribune, apparently "... Egypt and Saudi Arabia have become the biggest supporters of the regime of Sudanese President Omar Bashir. They said Cairo and Riyad have urged Bashir to stop secession efforts by the south, the source of Sudan's energy resources. Meanwhile, Israel has been quietly supporting the Christian SouthThe sources said Israel has forged links with most of the southern leadership and was prepared to expand trade with any state independent of Khartoum. Khartoum has been designated as a leading backer of the Hamas movement. Israel is likely to forge official diplomatic links with the south and win the opening of the south Sudan market to Israeli business people," Israeli analyst Yisrael Gozanksy wrote in Israel's largest circulation daily, Yisrael Hayom."

Defiant Omar al-Bashir parades through a street in Darfur
Makes sense. Remember how the Arab states protected Bashir from the war crimes charges against Darfur issued by the International Court of Justice? Or how the Arab media remains silent while a woman was flogged publicly in Khartoum for the crime of wearing pants? Or how Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, as president of the African Union accused "foreign forces" including Israel of being behind the Darfur conflict? 

The Economist describes the website of the Muslim Brotherhood as saying that, "the referendum on the future of South Sudan looks rather different from its portrayal elsewhere. The looming partition of Sudan is not...the logical outcome of five decades of civil war. It is the fruition of a century-old Western ecclesiastical plot to close Islam’s gateway into Africa, and the start of a plan to break other Arab countries into feeble statelets so as to grab their riches."

Although most pundits hope that the referendum will proceed peacefully and all participants honor its verdict, it is hard to see how Bashir (frightened though he is by the war crimes charges) and his backers will go quietly into the night and allow South Sudan to begin building its state.

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