Sudan could possibly become the third Arab League member state to normalize ties with Israel, after the UAE and Bahrain inked historic, unprecedented agreements to establish peaceful diplomatic relations and economic cooperation.
However, there remains a significant hurdle given the Trump administration is reportedly demanding that the deal with Israel be done as a condition for Sudan being officially removed from the US state sponsors of terrorism list.
Sudan has been on the State Department's list going all the way back to 1993, amid the lengthy rule of strongman Omar al-Bashir, who was toppled by Sudanese Army coup d'état in 2019.
Three Sudanese government officials have told Reuters that Washington pressures over the Israel issue remains too big a hurdle to overcome, and that Khartoum will resist:
Despite over a year of negotiations, Sudan is facing a fresh obstacle to its removal from a U.S. terrorism list that has hindered its economy: a demand that it normalize relations with Israel, three sources familiar with the matter said.
However, three Sudanese government officials told Reuters on Thursday that Sudan is resisting the linkage of the two issues, which comes as U.S. President Donald Trump has been touting himself as a historic peacemaker on the campaign trail.
Sudan's position is that it's fulfilled every prior negotiated obligation to get itself removed from the terrorism list. "Sudan has completed all the necessary conditions," an unnamed Sudanese said on Thursday. "We expect to be removed from the list soon."
But the US administration has been in a media blitz touting its Middle East peace-making capabilities.
As we noted yesterday, the US ambassador to the United Nations, Kelly Kraft, said on Wednesday that another Arab country would join the process of normalization with Israel within the next two days.
How US foreign policy now works: Pompeo asked Sudan to recognize Israel & offered to take Sudan off the terror-supporting list if it agreed--shows how fake that list is. Sudan leaders understood that all is transactional and said OK but give us $3 billion. https://t.co/hnT4EOlRD4— Stephen Kinzer (@stephenkinzer) September 24, 2020
In statements to Al-Arabiya, Kraft said that another Arab nation will conduct a peace deal with Israel and more will quickly follow suit, likely "within the next day or two".
Sudan as well as Oman have topped the list in terms of speculation. Kraft even mentioned Saudi Arabia has a hopeful, which would indeed be monumental. The Gulf regimes have already been in covert cooperation and intelligence sharing with Israel in past efforts to topple Assad in Syria. The "counter Iran and its allies" initiative have brought the unlikely bedfellows into an unprecedented era of contact.
Sudan does indeed look to be next, given Israeli media is reporting that "Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Sudanese Governing Council Chairman Abdel Fattah Al-Burhan will meet soon and are expected to meet in Uganda, the Israeli website I24NEWS reported, citing sources close to the Sudanese Transitional Council."
But it's clearly anything but a done deal given that apart from the thorny Israel issue, Sudan has reportedly demanded last minute $3 billion in US aid as part of the deal.