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Sudan: Crying over Spilt Milk - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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One can only describe the statements made by Sudanese Foreign Minister Ahmed Ali Karti to Asharq Al-Awsat yesterday with regards to the division of Sudan, and his astonishment and confusion about why the West is so hostile towards Sudan – while at the same time saying that he welcomed any US proposal – as being crying over spilt milk.

The Sudanese Foreign Minister linked the issue of Muslims being provoked and the Sudanese regime – not the [Sudanese] state – and supposed that the entire world is conspiring against Sudan simply because the Sudanese regime applies Islamic Shariaa law. The Sudanese Foreign Minister told Asharq Al-Awsat “the only demand we haven’t heard from them is to cease being Muslims.” We do not know whether religions had anything to do with Sudan sheltering Osama Bin Laden or Carlos the Jackal had? Or whether religion has anything to do with Sudan sheltering those that attempted to assassinate the Egyptian president? Or whether religion has anything to do with groups of Sudanese being tortured? Or whether, after all of this – which is just the tip of the iceberg – the Sudanese Foreign Minister is truly surprised with regards to the position that has been taken internationally against the Sudanese regime?

Separation or division is something that is coming to Sudan and everybody has been aware of this, not just today, but for a while; the preparations for this are in full swing, and the Sudanese regime has not exerted genuine effort in order to ensure and protect Sudanese unity and unification. In fact, all of its moves have been tactical with the objective of protecting the Sudanese regime, rather than Sudan itself.

Today we read the Sudanese Foreign Minister saying that the West and particularly certain groups in the US “have a grudge against Arabs and Muslims, and want to enact revenge by dividing Sudan.” Such talk does not move things forward or backwards, and in fact only gives rise to feelings of sadness at the state that Sudan has reached, as well as causing us to fear from the coming days, especially with regards to the dangers that we see around us and our countries being threatened with meeting the same fate as Sudan due to ignorance, poverty, the spread of extremism, and the politicians being preoccupied with the battle of protecting their seats, rather than the battle of protecting the homeland.

Unfortunately the Sudanese Foreign Minister’s talk about an American plot to divide Sudan, and his linking this to the issue of Israeli settlements, is nothing more than over-exaggeration as usual, and an attempt to ignore the reality of the situation, which is that the internal conflict has weakened Sudan and brought division closer. This is something that brings to mind Sudan’s desire – a few years ago – to mediate in order to resolve the Lebanese crisis, while at the same time the entire world was growing increasingly indignant with Sudan with regards to the Darfur crisis! I remember that at the time, I asked a Sudanese official “I do not know how you can ignore the growing international resentment that you are facing as a result of the situation in Darfur, and instead seek to resolve the crisis in Lebanon!” The Sudanese official only smiled at me and offered an unconvincing explanation.

However today, following the Sudanese Foreign Minister’s interview, an observer can only be pessimistic upon reading his response to SPLM demands for the people of southern Sudan not to be labeled “abid” [synonymous with slave in the Arabic language]. The Sudanese Foreign Minister responded to this demand by saying “It is irresponsible and a travesty that SPLM leaders talk about being insulted as “abids” (slaves). Sudan is facing a new historical chapter and they talk about being insulted? People have insulted people in every country, and throughout history. The fact that SPLM leaders are talking about this proves their short-sightedness and lack of confidence in themselves.”

Here we say that there is no hope in a solution to maintain Sudanese unity, since the wound is much bigger than the band-aid.

Tariq Alhomayed

Tariq Alhomayed

Tariq Alhomayed is the former editor-in-chief of Asharq Al-Awsat. Mr. Alhomyed has been a guest analyst and commentator on numerous news and current affair programs, and during his distinguished career has held numerous positions at Asharq Al-Awsat, amongst other newspapers. Notably, he was the first journalist to interview Osama Bin Ladin's mother. Mr. Alhomayed holds a bachelor's degree in media studies from King Abdul Aziz University in Jeddah. He is based in London.

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