Protesters wave the Sudanese national flag during confrontations with the military in Khartoum, Sudan

How Sudan coup may affect normalization with Israel

Analysis: While Sudanese military's goal when signing normalization agreement with Israel was to see U.S. sanctions removed, the recent coup will most likely see these sanctions returned and the agreement delayed or outright abandoned

Liad Osmo |
Published: 10.25.21, 20:54
The apparent military coup in Sudan may have dire consequences on the African state's relations with Israel and the ongoing normalization process.
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  • Sudanese Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok was arrested by the military early Monday alongside several other key officials in his cabinet. Hamdok's government came into power in 2019 after the ousting of dictator Omar al-Bashir — who was a fervent supporter of Iran and a known supporter of anti-Israel terrorist groups.
    3 צפייה בגלריה
    A protester waves a flag during what the information ministry calls a military coup in Khartoum, Sudan
    A protester waves a flag during what the information ministry calls a military coup in Khartoum, Sudan
    Protesters wave the Sudanese national flag during confrontations with the military in Khartoum, Sudan
    (Photo: EPA)
    Though popular with pro-democracy domestic groups, Hamdok has struggled to realize Sudan’s transition into an actual democracy due to ideological rows with the military.
    One such row occurred when Khartoum was offered the option to normalize its relationship with Israel as part of the U.S.-mediated Abraham Accords, and thus effectively eliminating a 1958 law that forbade any diplomatic relations with Jerusalem.
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    ראש ממשלת סודן עבדאללה חמדוק
    ראש ממשלת סודן עבדאללה חמדוק
    Sudanese Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok
    (Photo: Reuters)
    And while the military side of the leadership backed the normalization due to U.S. promises to remove the harsh sanctions imposed on Sudan during the al-Bashir era, the leadership's civic bloc was less enthusiastic about the move, but was ultimately convinced.
    Though slow-going due to chronic disagreements plaguing Sudan’s leadership, the normalization process saw a few high points over the past year, including a visit to Sudan by former Intelligence Minister Eli Cohen, and a visit by a Sudanese security delegation to Israel.
    And while it is too early to truly know what the true consequences of the upheaval in Sudan will do to the normalization process, certain assumptions can already be made.
    The Sudanese military leadership has a clear interest in lifting the sanctions and advancing relations with the U.S. and these steps would be made possible by formalizing ties with Israel.
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    סודן הפיכה שליט צבאי עבד אל פתאח אל בורהאן
    סודן הפיכה שליט צבאי עבד אל פתאח אל בורהאן
    Then-president of the Sudanese Transitional Council, General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan
    (Photo: EPA)
    Opponents of the military leadership could hurt normalization, with the West unlikely to accept the military takeover, which contradicts the agreements reached between the hawkish parties in Sudan, and could further deteriorate relations between Washington and Khartoum, and ultimately with Israel.
    Prior to Sudan's recognition of Israel and the launch of the normalization process, the U.S. had begun lifting sanctions on the African state, but a military coup could stall the process or see the sanctions come back all together.
    Their reimposition, in turn, could see Khartoum backtrack on the U.S.-brokered deal.
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