Sudan Saudi Relations

Turkey has seen cause to find an inroads into Sudan by restoring an Ottoman Era installation Suakin Island. How this issue is resolved will show us to what extent the Saudi Influence will be in Khartoum.

By Scott Morgan


The ouster of Sudanese President Bashir after months of street protests that began after an increase in food prices has led to a modicum of optimism that change will be coming to Khartoum.


There are times when there is a price for the necessary changes to be made in order to restore harmony in a nation that is suffering from mismanagement and other issues. Usually an influx of emergency aid is offered to the nation in transition by other actors which have interests at stake in the country.


Already two key Gulf States Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates have offered new aid packages to Khartoum. This should surprise nobody since they were already providing subsidies to the Bashir Government in an effort to keep that Government afloat.


So what is expected of the new Sudanese leadership by the Gulf States to keep the cash flow coming in? One of the first pronouncements by the Military Council was that the Sudanese Ground Contingent that is on the ground in Yemen supporting the Saudi backed coalition will remain in place and conduct operations against the Houthis. Even though several officers have been replaced in an effort to placate the Opposition the Yemen operations appear to be one constant that will not be changed.


One thing that should be noted is the role played by Saudi Arabia in lobbying the Obama Administration into beginning the process to lift the sanctions program that was in place against Sudan for its support of Terrorist activity and Human Rights violations in Darfur. The lifting of sanctions was organized in such so that it appeared that the relief was being granted by the Trump Administration during the formative part as it began the process of indicating what changes were coming to Washington.


It became clear that despite the machinations of Khartoum, The lobbying efforts of Riyadh and the protests of some within the United States that the lifting of sanctions by the United States did not bring the expected and hoped for Economic Improvement in Sudan that they were expected to. This has to be addressed as a failure by the proponents of such a program.


Another way to look at this can be that here is another instance of the Saudi intervention in Yemen causing problems with another perceived ally. We saw how Congress reacted after the murder of Khashoggi by voting to end US support for Saudi Military Operations. This was later overridden by a Presidential Veto by Mr. Trump. The increase in Military Expenditures were a root cause of the raising of tariffs on foodstuffs that began the protests in December 2018 against then President Bashir.


It should be expected that this relationship between Khartoum and Riyadh will have to be restored. However one cannot realistically expect an issue to be resolved by throwing money at it. Turkey has seen cause to find an inroads into Sudan by restoring an Ottoman Era installation Suakin Island. How this issue is resolved will show us to what extent the Saudi Influence will be in Khartoum

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