World, Middle East

Military takeover raises Israeli concerns on Sudan ties

Future of Sudan-Israel normalization unclear after military takeover

Abdel Raouf Arnaout   | 26.10.2021
Military takeover raises Israeli concerns on Sudan ties

JERUSALEM

The military takeover in Sudan has raised concerns in Israel over the future of normalization of ties between the two countries.

On Monday, the Sudanese military announced a state of emergency and dissolved the government, hours after detaining the country’s prime minister, Abdalla Hamdok, and ministers in his civilian government.

Israeli media said the military takeover will derail Sudan’s access to the US-sponsored normalization agreements, known as Abraham Accords.

There was no official comment from the Israeli authorities on the situation in Sudan, but the Israeli public broadcaster, KAN News, said that Israel was engaged in “several consultations” on the apparent coup in Sudan.

"The recent moves in Sudan are likely to delay Sudan's official accession to the Abraham Accords," the news portal said, citing sources familiar with the deliberations.

Abraham Accords refers to last year’s US-sponsored agreements that saw four Arab countries – the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Bahrain, Sudan, and Morocco – normalize relations with Israel.

KAN News quoted an unnamed senior Sudanese diplomat as saying that the military takeover will not dramatically affect normalization with Israel.

The source argued that the majority of the military leaders in Sudan support the normalization process with Israel and have consolidated their power after dissolving the government and declaring a state of emergency.

However, the diplomat, who KAN said belongs to Hamdok’s camp, warned that "the coup may weaken popular support for normalization.”

“The [Sudanese] people are fed up with military coups,” the diplomat said.

"The army made a huge mistake and it may face an uprising from within,” which will worsen if the US decides “to cut off economic aid that Sudan desperately needs," he said.

Meanwhile, the Jerusalem Post newspaper published an analysis titled: “Will Sudan coup harm Israeli ties?”

The analysis argued that the recent developments in Sudan could “affect Sudan’s relations with Israel because it was one of the countries that joined the path to normalization in the wake of the Abraham Accords.”

For its part, Israeli newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth said that the military takeover in Sudan “is likely to lead to the return of (US) sanctions and postponement or abandonment of the (normalization) agreement completely."

The media outlet noted that the Sudanese military leadership was more supportive of normalizing relations with Israel than the political wing as they were keen to see US sanctions lifted.

"Although the normalization process was slow due to the serious disagreements that plagued the Sudanese leadership, the normalization process scored a few points over the past year, including a visit to Sudan by former Intelligence Minister Eli Cohen, and the visit of a Sudanese security delegation to Israel," it added.

The report said the Sudanese leadership is interested in formalizing relations with Israel to ensure all sanctions are lifted, but warned that Sudanese political forces opposing military rule might undermine this.

According to the newspaper, the West, led by the US, is unlikely to accept a military rule in Sudan and if relations between Washington and Khartoum deteriorate, then Tel Aviv’s relations with Sudan will also be affected.

It noted that US sanctions on Khartoum were gradually being lifted but noted that they might be re-imposed due to the military takeover, a step that may force the Sudanese military leadership to back down from its normalization deal with Israel.

*Writing by Ibrahim Mukhtar in Ankara

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