The Trump administration has notched up yet another foreign policy accomplishment shortly before Election Day. On Friday, October 23, the president announced that Sudan would begin normalizing diplomatic ties with Israel. The African nation would be the third Arab state to take this step amid growing concerns about Iranian influence.
Sudan Chooses Peace
The new peace accord, which would deepen Sudan’s engagement with the West, follows Trump’s conditional agreement this week to remove the country from the U.S. list of state sponsors of terrorism. Sudan must pay $335 million in compensation to the victims of the 1998 bombings of two U.S. Embassies in Africa, which killed 4,000 people. Although it did not carry out the attacks, the Sudanese government granted asylum to the terrorists responsible.
Washington also offered Sudan $800 million in aid and investments. But the Sudanese government is asking for $3-4 billion.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who has prioritized creating ties with previously hostile nations in the Arab world, told reporters and Trump that this peace deal is a major step. “It is a new world,” he said during a telephone conversation with the American president, conducted in the presence of cabinet staff and the press. “We are cooperating with everyone. Building a better future for all of us.”
Netanyahu has been trying to make peace deals in the Middle East and Africa to counter Iran’s efforts to gain more control over the region. Previously, most Arab nations refused to entertain the idea of a peace deal with the Jewish state until an independent Palestinian state was established. But with the Palestinians losing much of their influence and Iran becoming more of a threat, they have become more amenable to the suggestion.
A Major Paradigm Shift
While the peace accords between Israel and the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain are enormous accomplishments, this new deal with Sudan could mark an entire paradigm shift. In a piece for The Times Of Israel, author Raphael Aren notes that “For one thing, Sudan, as opposed to Israel’s new friends in the Gulf, has a history of military conflict with Israel. And unlike the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain, it has not been long known to clandestinely cooperate with Jerusalem in various areas, including security and trade.” Aren went on to detail the history of military conflict between the two nations:
“Sudan, on the other hand, has been a bitter enemy of the Jewish state since its founding. During the 1948 War of Independence, six Sudanese army companies joined the Egyptians in fighting the nascent Jewish state.
The animosity continued for seven decades. Until 2016, Sudan was a staunch ally of Iran, helping the Islamic Republic smuggle rockets and other weapons to Palestinian terror groups in Gaza. This prompted Israel to repeatedly bomb military facilities in the country, according to foreign reports.”
The normalization of relations between Israel and Sudan could be the beginning of a new trend. The Trump administration indicated that other Arab nations, including Saudi Arabia, are ready to follow suit. If this were to happen, it could entirely change the political and cultural landscape of the Middle East and North Africa. It is the type of change for which many Jews have been waiting for decades. Perhaps they will finally see their dreams come to fruition.
Read more from Jeff Charles.