Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

Al Bashir’s Aircraft and the “Beggars” | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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It seems that every Arab summit is affected by a different event, which becomes a priority regardless of everything before. So today we are facing a riddle; Will Al-Bashir travel to Doha or not? Will his airplane be intercepted in mid-air or not? This is an unprecedented issue to face an Arab President whilst in power.

The issue is also not without embarrassment, even to the country hosting the Arab summit, for Doha is in an unenviable position after the International Criminal Court [ICC] said that it would rely on Qatari [cooperation] in handing over Al-Bashir, while France and other European countries have declared their support for the interception of Al-Bashir’s aircraft in the event of his traveling outside of Sudan.

President Al-Bashir may seek to attend the Arab summit in order to show the solidarity of his position in the face of the ICC decision, but will traveling to Doha be useful for Al-Bashir, or is this [simply] to aggravate the international community? And is the internal [Sudanese] situation calm enough to allow for the President to leave the country under these circumstances?

I believe that there is danger and the risk of escalation should President Al-Bashir attend the Doha Summit, for there are the internal divisions, as well as the international division regarding the attempts to postpone Al-Bashir’s prosecution for one year, or to come to a different settlement with the ICC, but what concerns us here are the internal divisions. For despite Al-Bashir’s talk of the love that he has found internally [in Sudan] the reality is that the [ICC] charge against him has made his internal position a precarious one, especially with the statements of some opposition forces, particularly Hassan Al-Turabi.

And so if this happens, and Al-Bashir arrives at Doha airport without any military aircraft attempting to intercept and arrest him, who can assure him that he will not be attacked by his many opponents inside Sudan [instead], especially since international opinion will not regret seeing Al-Bashir removed from power?

Therefore the issue as a whole is not one of escalation, or the demonstration of coherence in the face of the ICC charge, but the real concern is that of the internal situation inside Sudan. It seems that the Sudanese are convinced that the Arab countries will not provide them with anything, or how else can we explain Khartoum’s rejection of the proposals to hold an international summit for the Darfur crisis? We do not know whether this conviction [that the Arab countries will not provide them with anything] marks the beginning of an absence of political awareness in Khartoum, or if it is part of an increase in confusion

Therefore it must be said that it is not within anyone’s capability to help the Sudanese regime other than the regime itself, and since Al-Bashir ignored almost 20 international resolutions on Darfur over a period of 5 years, it is [therefore] up to him to provide logical and realistic solutions today.

At this juncture we must recall the story of Saddam Hussein, since the time of economic sanctions, and even during the war, what harmed Saddam was two things; stubbornness, and his supports. For his stubbornness blinded him, and his supporters misled him.

I do not think it is useful for officials to say that the Sudanese regime “came to power when the Sudanese people were like beggars” in order to defend the President! This is something that is not worthy of Sudan, or the Sudanese people.

Aggravating the international community, either by making statements, or by attending the Doha Summit, is something that does not benefit anybody. More serious than this is that, [even] if Al-Bashir can guarantee that his aircraft will not be intercepted by anybody, who can guarantee his return to Sudan?