By Fatemeh Salehi

Sudan close ties with Qatar escalates Riyadh isolation in Arab world

January 24, 2019

TEHRAN - Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir left Tuesday for a two-day visit to Qatar amid ongoing anti-government protests at home, the state-run Qatar News Agency reported.

President al-Bashir is scheduled to meet with the emirate's ruler, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani to discuss “brotherly relations and ways to bolster them” as well as issues of mutual interest.

This is the Sudanese President’s first trip abroad since the beginning of widespread unrest and internal crisis in Sudan.

Qatar has offered al-Bashir help as he faces protests initially sparked by the country’s economic woes.

In a December 22 telephone call to al-Bashir, Qatar’s ruler stated his country’s readiness to “provide all that is needed” to help Sudan get through its crisis, according to a report by the official Sudanese news agency.

In fact, Sudan is more than willing to go to Qatar than Saudi Arabia to resolve internal crisis, because Khartoum considers Doha’s promise honest and out of goodwill. According to media reports, Qatar has provided $1 billion to Sudan.

Saudi Arabia is enraged by Al-Bashir’s trip to Doha.  The House of Saud has not only helped Sudan to resolve domestic crisis at home but put Khartoum under pressure to pursue its political objectives.

According to Turkish daily newspaper Yeni Safak, some Sudanese officials have disclosed that Sudan was offered bribes by Saudi Arabia and the UAE to cut ties with Iran, Turkey and Qatar.  

As Sudan kept relations with the three states, Riyadh and Abu Dhabi plotted against Khartum and staged protests under the pretext of economic problems.

The tension between Sudan and Saudi Arabia is quite obvious so much so that the Sudanese government summoned Al Arabiya correspondent Saad el-Din Hassan for the second time over coverage of unrest in Sudan.

Recently, the Saudi ambassador to Cairo addressed the issue of Sudanese protestors, saying, “Riyadh cannot care less about the fate of al-Bashir or who would take power in Sudan.” The remark shows the Saudis have already given green light to downfall al-Bashir government.

Sudan is part of the Saud-led coalition against Yemen and has deployed thousands of ground troops to Yemen. The alliance has brought huge military expenditure to Khartoum and played as a factor in the deteriorating Sudanese economic situation.

In a wrap, Saudi Arabia is about to lose a partner and ally, Sudan, which is an important African country in terms of geopolitics and natural resources, making Riyadh more isolated than ever before for its aggressive policies.

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