After weeks of more or less peaceful demonstrations by the quwa al-horeeya w-at-tagheer (Freedom and Change forces) with the exception of an unknown individual(s) shooting at the demonstrators, which was blamed on “deep state” holdovers from the
al-Basheer regime, this past weekend saw the regular Sudanese armed forces open up intense fire on crowds demonstrating. Dozens were killed and hundreds more were wounded.
Most of the talking heads on al-jazeera Arabic have been blaming Egypt, Saudi Arabia (KSA), and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) for the shooting, saying that they pressured the current ruling military junta to squash the protests because they hate the idea of Democracy taking root in any Arab or Islamic country.
As if to direct more hate towards the Sudanese Junta and by extension its regional backers (Egypt, KSA, and UAE), al-jazeera Arabic has been playing clips of the most brutal scenes from the weekend’s slaughter over and over and over again. And, 90% of their news coverage the past several days has been of that recent episode in the Sudan.
Al-jazeera’s website www.aljazeera.net has also reported that the junta has recently made a decision to escalate the situation vis-à-vis the “Freedom and Change forces.”
And, there might be some truth to that contention. Saudi-owned media such as al-hadeth TV, and al-arabiyya TV have reported that the junta has decided to postpone elections possibly for up to nine months.
Previously on this column I reported that there were more than one faction among the protesting groups, that while Egypt and its allies supported the removal of the former clownish (and Islamist) dictator al-Basheer, they also supported at least one of the factions among the protestors. Meanwhile Turkey and the Muslim Brotherhood (MB) supported one of the other factions, which is the hard core Islamist faction.
Therefore, in view of recent developments, I suspect that the “Freedom and Change Forces” as a whole have been taken over by the MB/Turkey-supported faction. This in turn has caused Egypt and its Gulf allies to throw their support behind the current military junta as the lesser of two evils. It isn’t Democracy as such that Egypt and its allies fear so much as it is the possibility of the MB and Turkey gaining control of a key country like Sudan. Egypt’s life blood for the nearly 6,000 years of its history has been the Nile river. And, Sudan controls the entire flow of the Nile as it enters Egyptian territory. Therefore, Egypt must have a strong, stable government in Sudan.
Finally, given the way that al-jazeera has been covering the Sudan issue recently, that would seem to lend strong support to Egypt’s contention that Turkey and the MB (because of Qatar’s and al-Jazeera’s alliance with Turkey and the MB) have gained control of the “revolution,” so best to support the junta regardless of what ever warts it might have in terms of how it goes about squashing the rebellion.
The end result for Sudan, in my view, is a fracturing based on tribal lines in Africa’s largest country in terms of geographical extension. In some of these regions chaos will reign. Some of the vast territories of Sudan can be expected to become excellent staging and training grounds for the likes of ISIS and al-Qaeda or some time to come.
Iran in the past has threatened to close off the Hormouz strait, through which all Gulf oil and natural gas passes, by sinking a ship or two at strategic choke points if is threatened. Iran had never previously specified what sort of ship they would sink whether it would be a military or civilian vessel, an oil tanker, or not, or a foreign vessel, or one of their own that they could sink in the strategically right place to choke off all transport through the straights.
Egypt’s al-ahram has reported that Iran is now specifically threatening to sink American ships if they are attacked. According to this report, Iran is claiming that any military conflict between the U.S. and Iran will result in the global price of oil to rise to more than 100 dollars a barrel. They are also claiming that their missiles can take out any foreign ship that enters the Gulf.
The al-Jazeera website, www.aljazeera.net, has reported that Saudi Arabia is planning to execute three religious scholars. The gist of this article is about a petition that some 80 prominent Muslims in the West have signed begging Saudi Arabia to refrain from executing these three religion scholars.
Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman, the defacto ruler of KSA, has given the impression to the outside world that he thinks that the Islam of KSA, by nature, is a kind, tolerant religion. Perhaps he even believes that fantasy himself. When a reporter once asked him what he’s going to do about “Wahhabism” (the strict, fundamentalist brand of Islam that has dominated the Arabian peninsula since the late 1700s). His answer was “what Wahhabism?”
The implication of that being that he is trying to pretend that “Wahhabism” does not exist, and that any radicalism that has arisen in the KSA is entirely the fault of the 1979 Iranian revolution and the influence it has had on Arab youth (he has said as much).
Bin Salman’s arresting, and executing, radical fundamentalist, or “Wahhabi” preachers should be seen as his attempt to stamp out fundamentalism so that the “Disneyland” form of Islam he believes in will be the only Islam left in the KSA.
FRANCE and ALGERIA
Like Sudan, Algeria has been undergoing and Arabic Spring 2.0 for the past several weeks. And, like in Sudan, the reigning Dictator for life and a handful of his cronies have been forced to step down. Meanwhile, the military officers have assumed control of the administration to keep things running, and to prevent total chaos until elections can be held.
But, like in Sudan, the crowds are chanting that they want elections now, they want a “civilian” government now. They want all vestiges of the old regime (including, apparently, the Military officers) to step down and get out of the way.
According to the al-jazeera article, many in Algeria are complaining about the “pro France” factions in their country. In this regard they blame the military and intelligence personnel for their historical close relationships with the French military and intelligence.
In this context al-jazeera noted that there are six million French citizens who have dual French and Algerian citizenship, and that this huge number has had a profound effect on French elections.
The implication of there being six million with dual citizenship is that these French-Algerian connections would also strongly influence Algerian politics.
Westerners, however, should look at these numbers through a different lens. The six million figure of those with dual citizenship does not count the 2nd and 3rd generation Algerian Muslims who are citizens of France and no longer hold dual citizenship with Algeria. Nor does it count any of the Muslims from other countries who now reside in France. What this means is that the Muslim population of France is likely closer to 15% than it is to 10%. And, they are making their presence felt in very tangible ways, to put it lightly.