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Sudan! Really, Mr. Secretary!

Sudan! Really, Mr. Secretary!

Wednesday, 26 October, 2022 - 10:15
Tariq Al-Homayed
Saudi journalist and writer, and former editor-in-chief of Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper

There are many crises around the world, the most prominent of which is the war in Ukraine. We also have many problems in our region, the prominent of which is Iranian terrorism and the mass protests against the repressive Iranian regime. From among all of these crises, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken chose Sudan as the country to write about on Twitter.


In his tweet to Sudan, he said: “Almost one year ago today, the Sudanese military overthrew a civilian-led government and undermined the democratic aspirations of its people.” He then added: “The time is now to end military rule.”


The truth is that the Sudanese people know their country better, and no one is downplaying their priorities. However, the questions for Blinken are: Is the situation in Sudan pressing? Is Sudan stable? Is it occupied or on the path to development?


What we know for sure is that Sudan, regardless of the situation there, is not occupied by Iran or any of its militias. Rather, it is stable. Sudan’s crisis is not pressing like that of the protests in Iran, nor is it like Yemen, which is languishing because of Houthi obstinance.


The Houthis, for example, have been detaining the Yemeni employees of the US embassy in Sanaa since last year. All Blinken has done in response is tweet at the Houthis. He did not put them back on the terrorist lists that the Biden administration had removed them from.


Blinken has avoided the subject of Houthi terrorism as the Houthis continue to procrastinate in extending the humanitarian truce. He has also ignored the Houthi attack on al-Dhabba port in Hadramout with two Iranian-made drones.


Blinken chose Sudan without turning his attention to the Syrian crisis and the suffering of the Syrian people. He did not turn his attention to the Iranian weapons going through Syria to Hezbollah either, nor to Hamas and Bashar al-Assad reconciling.


Blinken chose Sudan among all these crises, overlooking Iranian terrorism, which is corrupting political life in Iraq and Lebanon. He has and continues to avoid Iran in discussing crises and issues.


He avoids Iran as it clamps down on its people and kills Ukrainians with drones. Instead of forming a team to follow up on Iran’s actions across the globe, Mr. Blinken chose to undermine the stability of Sudan.


The reason we find ourselves puzzled by Washington, particularly the Democrats there, is that their message is that being a friend or ally renders you more vulnerable to US provocations and threats to your stability.


The Democrats have demonstrated and continue to demonstrate that they have lost touch with how to operate politically and diplomatically. They have lost their reliability and effectiveness, becoming little more than tweeters. The closer a friend you are to Washington, the more exposed you become to wanton tweets and provocation.


As for the United States’ enemies, first and foremost Iran, they have been engaged through back-door diplomacy and ambiguous messaging since Obama’s term. This is what we see from US Envoy to Iran Robert Malley, whose job has become clarifying and defending his statements because of the noise they create.


By choosing to focus on Sudan, rather than demanding that Hamas end its occupation of Gaza or that the Houthis end their occupation of Sanaa, to give two examples, Blinken tells us that US diplomacy, particularly that of the Democrats, is deeply flawed.


This reminds us of a famous American idiom: With friends (the Democrats) like that, who needs enemies?


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