Home | Comment & Analysis    Wednesday 3 January 2018

Who will pay the price of Sudan Suakin’s concession to International Islamic Movement?


by Hussien Arko Minawi

Following the controversial visit of the Turkish president, Mr Erdogan to Sudan, whole the region turned into media uproar and stirred up all the discontent in the Middle East against Sudan, which suggests the sensitivity of the visit. It was a battle possibly sparks a diplomatic tension in the Middle East and could result in further military polarization over the sensitive conclusions of the visit, in particular, the news that Turkey has been given the right to run the island of Suakin.

It is no doubt that this is just an iceberg of a deep conflict between the main religious trends of political Islam and moderate Sunni, throughout the Middle East and the loser in this battle is Sudan and its people.

In a political sense, it seems inconceivable and a pretty provocative step to hand over a part of your sovereignty to another country whatever the mutual ties between the two countries. However normally what goes in line with the principle of Muslim Brotherhood is that the universality of the Islamic Movement nullifies all claims of sanctity of borders among Islamic countries and practically it’s not often that the geographical and political borders determine natural foreign relations rather than the factor of brotherhood and perhaps this is the premise that makes Omer Al-Bashir believes that his generosity to Turkey of Erdogan is not a taboo and simply interpreted in the context of expansionary policy of Muslim Brotherhood.

On the contrary, the public opinion was that the majority of Sudanese either strongly denounced the step or demanded Erdogan to apologise for the brutal Turkish crimes in Sudan during its colonization. Suakin is not an ordinary place in Sudanese memory, it is an island associated with the colony and resistance. Just uttering the word Suakin, it immediately replays in Sudanese memory the tape of the Turkish occupation of the island or the struggle of Osman Digna against British colonization,which simply interpreted that the public opinion in Sudan is totally against the step and it considers as reoccupation by the same colonizer even if it happens under the pretext of restoration of the sites in the island.

For Saudi Arabia and Egypt, the location of the island is geopolitically very sensitive as long as it is under Turkish control. Both Egypt and Saudi Arabia represent the moderate Sunni Islam in the region and they have already engaged in a bloody conflict with the Shiite led by Iran and a real confrontation with the political Islam of Muslim brotherhood led by Turkey, Sudan and Qatar.

The countries that obvious at the scene in this particular conflict till this moment are Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates on one side and on the other side Turkey, Qatar and Sudan.

In last few days a number of strategists and political analysts have expressed their different views on the crisis. Most analysts think that the main cause of the crisis either due to the expansion of Turkish influence in the region at the expense of Egypt or due to the desperate attempts of Omer Al-Bashir to make breakthrough for the crisis related to his internal and foreign issues at the expense of certain neighbouring countries as seen in disputed Halayeb triangle and the Millennium Dam in Ethiopia. Thus sending troops to Yemen or offering Russia a military base and handover of Suakin to Turkey is a game of trade-off for Al-Bashir’s safe exit out of the crisis, by involving not one or two countries, but a large number of countries in the region. Suakin case is a fatal blow to Egypt and Saudi Arabia because it occupies a very sensitive navigating location for both influential States in the Middle East.

To a certain extent I do agree with what was said in the analysis but from the wider scope of the crisis in this fragile region of the Middle East, the magnitude of the conflict is crystal clear and I think what was not emphasized in the scene is the grand project of political Islam as the Turkish journalist Mr Yosif Ogolo summed up in his statement on a Tv interview.

Mr Yosif Kitab Ogolo has clearly demarcated the boundaries over which the renewed old conflict of Islamic visions will erupt in the volatile region of the Middle East as the ambitions of Turkish model and the empowerment of its ally of political Islam at the expense of the moderate Sunni trend in the region is the main concern.

In a response to a question about a potential Turkish presence on the island of Suakin and the significance of alliance of the three State, Sudan, Qatar and Turkey, Ogolo’s response was very straightforward. He said, “the alliance is against those who want to undermine the Turkish model”.

In his response Mr Ogolo neither stressed on concern about the Turkish sovereignty nor its territorial water and geographical border, his stress was mainly on the Turkish model.

It is not a matter of disclosing a secret if we say currently Turkey is the State that sponsoring the Muslim Brotherhood across the globe and it seems the first regime along with the Sudan and Qatar to protect the interests of the global network of Islamic Movement, each plays a certain role. Sudan organizes, Qatar funds and Turkey leads. This is certainly the model Mr Ogolo meant by his statement.

With a close follow-up of the political Islam and its ups and downs since Hassan Al-Banna till the movement of Mr Erdogan’s visit to Khartoum practically the philosophy of the Muslim Brotherhood has been characterised by two facts of exclusion and expansionary policy and therefore it always in a constant clash with its local community as well as the regional and International world.

The depth of the conflict in the region is understood in the context of Ogolo’s statement, while any other is just sub-conflict resulted from the major Sunni-Sunni conflict.

Since the birth of the idea of Muslim Brotherhood, political Islam has been in constant evolution to reach its ultimate goal of Islamic Caliphate State’ similar to the State of the first century of Islam.

Since its embryonic stage up to the movement, Muslim Brotherhood has passed experiences for reaching statehood. At first, it was just small secret cells then it evolved into civil society organisations, federations, trade unions, financial institutions, political parties and paramilitary units. During this long process of almost eight decades, it also engaged in bloody strife against its own communities or against others in Sudan, Afghanistan, Algeria, Palestine, Somalia and Syria.

In the end, all the experience and the resources gained from the process have been pooled in the mainstream of establishing Islamic State and as a result of the Islamic State in Sudan, Turkey and Qatar have come to fruition.

The late Muslim Brotherhood ideologue Dr Hassan Al-Turabi was one of the architects of the present situation and he was believing in controlling resources if they are to establish a state, so his predecessors follow suit and the next target will be the rich and strategic countries namely Saudi Arabia, Libya and Egypt.

It seems Sudan for the second time on its way to pay a steep price because of Islamists insanity after we lost Southern Sudan as a reaction to their irrational policy. This time the conspiracy is plotted by the global Islamic network after all favourable conditions are created by the NCP regime in Khartoum and if the situation is exploded, most likely Sudan will be the decisive battleground whether it’s diplomatic or economic or harsh battle.

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