In the excitement stemming from the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain forging a path towards peace with Israel, people have speculated which Arab countries would be next. Sudan has been mentioned and the media has speculated that the United States might remove the country from states sponsoring terrorism to help make such normalization happen.
This is all a terrible idea. Sudan needs Israel, not the reverse.
Geography. The UAE and Bahrain both sit opposite the Persian Gulf from Israel’s nemesis, Iran. The proximity to that country may prove vital in dealing with such leading state sponsor of terrorism which has called for Israel’s destruction. Conversely, Sudan is over one thousand miles in the opposite direction.
Military. Both the UAE and Bahrain have over 5,000 U.S. military personnel stationed in the countries. Neighboring Kuwait and Qatar have a combined 25,000 U.S. military personnel. Coordinating forces against Iran with established U.S. military bases is an obvious advantage in stabilizing the region. Sudan has no such U.S. military presence.
Wealth. The UAE and Bahrain are very wealthy countries, with the GDP per capita of $43,000 (slightly ahead of Israel at $42,000) and $24,000, respectively. This compares to a Sudanese GDP per capita of roughly $977. The investment and trade possibilities with the Gulf states are significant while Sudan will be seeking aid from Israel, not trade with Israel.
Culture. The UAE and Bahrain are far from beacons of democracy with liberal policies, however, they are light years ahead of Sudan. Consider that each gulf kingdom still has the death penalty which Bahrain uses for premeditated murder and treason, and the UAE uses for rape, drug trafficking and armed robbery. Meanwhile Sudan kills people for homosexuality, prostitution and apostasy (converting from Islam) – “offenses” which harm no one.
Since its founding, Sudan has been through a series of civil wars, genocides and crimes against humanity. In total, over 2 million people have been killed in Sudan during some of the most heinous actions since World War II. The country remains an unstable haven for terrorists. Today’s U.S. policy vis-a-vis Sudan is “focused on ensuring that Sudan does not provide support to or a safe haven for international terrorists.“ If that’s the basis for U.S. policy, there is no reason for any party to go out of its way to advance normalization with this failed state.
Should Sudan want to join civilization, it can pay the hundreds of millions owed to the victims of terror, remove the penalty of capital punishment for apostasy and homosexuality, and end its systemic anti-Semitism by recognizing the Jewish State. If not, the U.S., Israel and the world will do quite well without this particular trading partner and vote at the United Nations.
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