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  • The Sisi Regime: Domestic & Foreign Pressures 

    بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

    Political Follow-up - The Sisi Regime: Domestic & Foreign Pressures

    Despite apparent differences between the United States and Egypt on the issue of "human rights and public freedoms", especially when the US withheld $130 million of the total $1.3 billion allocated to Egypt annually for two consecutive years, the reality is that the US only does so to keep the behaviour of the Egyptian regime in check, especially the military and security institutions, and to maintain a balance between the secular opposition and the regime.

    Egypt's affiliation to the US continues uninterrupted, as evidenced by the recent visit of US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin to Cairo on Wednesday 8 March, as part of a regional tour that included Jordan and Iraq. About a month earlier, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken made a similar visit to President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi. Additionally, CIA Director William Burns also visited Cairo.

    Egypt's significance to the United States lies in its size and weight in the Arab world, as well as its strategic location. Therefore, the US has relied on the army since Abdel Nasser's coup to maintain the regime's loyalty to the US and to achieve its interests and policies, such as supporting the Algerian revolution against French presence, changing some regimes in Libya and Sudan via Abdel Nasser, passing its plans like the First Gulf War, besieging Gaza and containing its resistance factions, maintaining “Israel's” security, ensuring energy transportation routes, preserving freedom of navigation, and preventing Islam from taking power.

    However, the aforementioned does not mean that America does not pressure al-Sisi and his regime, but rather does so continuously to find a balance between him and his competitors, and to keep him obedient to her orders and submissive to her will. One of the most pressing files on al-Sisi's regime is the Gulf aid in light of the economic crisis in Egypt, which has been increasing and escalating since the outbreak of the Russian-Ukrainian war. And despite calls from the International Monetary Fund, which launched its appeal on 10 January to help Egypt, and its demand from what it described as "Egypt's Gulf allies" to fulfil their investment commitments to cover the financing gap, Gulf countries have refrained from financially supporting al-Sisi's regime, especially since the latter has pledged the country's economy to foreign debts and investments through privatisation and massive marginal projects, and made the state's sources of income dependent on external aid linked to dictations and conditions. In its issue dated 19 March 2019, Kuwaiti newspaper Al-Qabas recalled in this regard, according to sources in the Egyptian Central Bank, that what Egypt has obtained from the Gulf countries since 25 January 2011, amounted to 92 billion dollars.

    In this regard, it should be noted that the suspension by President Sisi of the transfer of the islands of Tiran and Sanafir to Saudi Arabia, which was scheduled for July 2022, is not related to the Gulf states' reluctance to provide financial support to Egypt as much as it is linked to “Israeli” stubbornness regarding the US agenda and the Iranian file. Among the pressing issues confronting al-Sisi is the suggestion by the US that it supports some competing forces in the deep state, as revealed in the report by "Africa Intelligence" on 22 February 2023, about a secret meeting between Gamal Mubarak and the then US Ambassador Jonathan Cohen, which was held in Sharm el-Sheikh in March 2022. It is noteworthy that the Court of Justice of the European Union lifted the sanctions imposed on the Mubarak family a month after the ambassador's meeting with Gamal Mubarak. However, all of this does not mean the US is backing down from keeping the military in control of Egypt, even if it brings a civilian agent to power under certain conditions. But it is worth noting that the US has exerted pressure on the issues of freedoms and the economic activity of the military, which controls up to 40% of the financial and economic cycle, in order to reduce its corruption that fuels popular anger, especially since Egypt is suffering from a large deficit in providing goods and services, with the exacerbation of domestic and foreign debts accompanied by a lack of financing and investment, in addition to inflation rates reaching record levels, amid mounting popular anger that warns of an explosive situation, despite repeated discharge of popular frustration through limited and controlled demonstrations.

    It is noticeable that the United States has been harnessing the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to deepen Egypt's reliance on foreign aid and to shackle it with debt, to pressure al-Sisi and the powerbases to introduce structural reforms that promote private sector investment and reduce the role of the state and the army in generating economic activity. Therefore, the IMF officials have been dragging their feet in granting Egypt a new loan and has thrown the ball into the Gulf states’ court. This led al-Sisi to commit to reducing the army's role in the economy under an IMF rescue plan, which gave al-Sisi a new rescue package worth $3 billion to address the crisis of foreign currency shortage, the weakness of the Egyptian pound, and high inflation rates. These were the result of the role of the Egyptian army in the economy and its scattering of public funds in showy projects. Additionally, the US is working through the IMF to increase the role of the private sector in Egypt through direct foreign investment, which represents a colonial tool that controls political decisions and the riches of the masses.

    It is no secret the Egyptian debt crisis is the most impactful on the Egyptian economy and is a burden on it, making it beholden to foreign powers. One of the most effective methods of framing the movement of the masses and pushing them to revolt is through this crisis, not for the sake of independence or religion, but for the sake of living. This crisis is contained through secular and liberal forces, especially since the Egyptian opposition in all its factions is currently experiencing weakness, fragmentation, and a lack of clarity in vision and programs related to how to deal with the regime and primarily to replace it or overthrow it. This is not only due to the oppression and tyranny it suffers from but also from its self-imposed limitations and intellectual and political decline.

    This opposition could have taken advantage of the domestic crises that the regime is mired in, such as the debt crisis, to continue the popular mobilisation and overthrow the regime. The size of Egypt's foreign debt reached $34.9 billion in 2011 and rose to $157.8 billion by mid-2022, leading to the deterioration of the pound and the worsening of people's suffering.

    By exploring the International Monetary Fund's tackling of the Egyptian economic crisis, it transpires that it is complicit in placing Egypt's future in the hands of the United States and international financial institutions, and in pressuring the regime to make the necessary changes while avoiding its downfall through intermittent support. The International Monetary Fund had previously provided around $12 billion to al-Sisi’s regime after the economic reform agreement in 2016, as well as around $5 billion during the COVID-19 pandemic.

    In order to pre-empt any popular movement and divert attention from the failure of the state's economy and its destruction for the benefit of the US and Europe, and to reduce foreign criticism of human rights, which embarrasses the Biden administration in dealing with al-Sisi’s regime, the latter is trying to escape from this pressing international and domestic situation by sedating the people through the release of some detainees and businessmen, and allowing some opposition figures to return from exile.

    This is in addition to his exploitation of the rapprochement with Qatar, Turkey, and Syria to legitimise his regime. Although the motives for the rapprochement with each country differ, the prevailing factor behind these moves is to obtain economic benefits, including securing a better deal in Eastern Mediterranean gas and obtaining a share in the reconstruction of Libya, in addition to political benefits, including tightening the screws on Egyptian opposition figures in Turkey.

    It is clear from all that has been mentioned that al-Sisi remains in power, and there is no animosity between him and the United States. Instead, he is immersed in implementing its agenda, which aims to calm the regional atmosphere in favour of its international priorities.

    3 Ramadhan 1444h                                            
    25 March 2023


  • The Saudi-Iranian Agreement 

    بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

    Political Follow-up - The Saudi-Iranian Agreement

    It has only been a few days since the United States extinguished the “Israeli” escalation with Iran under the pretext of posing a threat to the region, when the Saudi Press Agency (SPA) announced on Friday 10 March, that Riyadh and Tehran had agreed to resume diplomatic relations, reopen embassies and diplomatic missions within two months. This move is considered a blow to Netanyahu and his extremist government, who have been using the escalation with Iran and the West Bank as an opportunistic policy to impose their agenda, while pushing for US approval to normalise relations with Saudi Arabia and attack Iran's nuclear reactors.

    In the first “Israeli” reaction to the Saudi-Iranian agreement, which received international and regional welcome even from "normalisers", an “Israeli” official considered, in an official briefing, that the agreement between the two parties will affect the possibility of normalising relations between Riyadh and Tel Aviv. While the US response implies standing behind the agreement and freezing the Abraham Accords regarding “Israeli” normalisation with Saudi Arabia under Netanyahu's extremist government, although the agreement was signed through China for reasons outside the context of the event.

    John Kirby, spokesperson for the National Security Council at the White House, stated that the Saudis had informed Washington of their contacts with the Iranians, but the United States did not play a role in the agreement. In reference to the Abraham Accords, he added, "it's not clear that this arrangement affects that or is designed to deal with that, but we obviously continue to support normalisation." This statement undoubtedly represents a message to Netanyahu and his government regarding normalisation with Saudi Arabia, although the US position on this development in the Saudi-Iranian relationship does not end the "Abraham path," but rather regulates and harnesses it to pressure the government and “Israeli” public opinion, subject it to accepting the solutions with the Palestinians according to the American agenda, and regulates the behaviour of conservative Iranian political forces regarding the issues related to Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Yemen, and the expanding Iranian-Russian relationship.

    In this context, John Kirby, the spokesperson for the National Security Council at the White House, affirmed that what mattered to Washington was ending the war in Yemen and stopping attacks on Saudi Arabia. He emphasised that the United States would see if Iran was willing to fulfil its commitments after reaching the agreement with Saudi Arabia.

    It appears from Kirby's words that there is an agreement with the Iranians on regional issues, which is confirmed by the comment of Iranian Foreign Minister, Hossein Amir Abdollahian, who said, "Good neighbourliness policy is pivotal and we continue to work towards more regional steps," and he explained that the return of relations between Saudi Arabia and Iran would open the door for discussions on all issues in the region, including maritime security, energy security, militias, Hezbollah in Lebanon, and the Houthis in Yemen. He pointed out that this was a favourable opportunity to resolve outstanding issues in the region.

    This is also confirmed by the statement of the spokesperson for the Houthi group “Ansar Allah” in Yemen, Mohammed Abdul Salam, who said, "The region needs the return of natural relations between its countries." This is also confirmed by the Secretary-General of the Lebanese Hezbollah party, Hassan Nasrallah, who said, "The agreement is a good thing and is in the interest of the peoples of the region." He added that this agreement "will open up horizons in the entire region, including Lebanon."

    As for the comment of Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan on the agreement in which he said, "The resumption of diplomatic relations between our country and Iran comes from the Kingdom's vision based on preferring political solutions and dialogue", and the comment of Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian who said, "The good neighbour policy pursued by the government of Ebrahim Raisi is moving in the right direction”, they aim to block any “Israeli” military adventure that undermines the strategic balance, jeopardises regional security, and shifts American international priorities as a result of Netanyahu's obsession with power, his fear of prosecution, and his alignment with the extremist right-wing movement.

    This is not separate from the American trend of de-escalation, which was evident in the UAE's early rejection of any military alliance against Iran, despite leading the caravan of normalisation and alliance with “Israel”. This was also reflected in the statements and visits of all senior American officials to the region, including the visit of National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan, CIA Director William Burns, Secretary of State Antony Blinken, White House Coordinator for Middle East and North Africa Affairs Brett McGurk, and the visit of the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Mark Milley, a week ago to north-eastern Syria, in addition to many other security, military and political American officials who oversee the implementation of those visits, which reflect the US determination to restrain the extremist “Israeli” government, and stabilise the region under the current international conditions at the very least. Hence, the meetings of US officials with Netanyahu were lukewarm, and the last of them was the visit of US Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin, who called on Netanyahu to "stop escalation and tension in the West Bank and anything that undermines the two-state solution immediately", in addition to President Biden's comment on the Saudi-Iranian agreement, which implies a warning to the “Israeli” government and his saying, "The better Israel's relations with its neighbours are, the better it is for everyone."

    As for the impact of the agreement on the “Israeli” side, which the US seeks to control, contain, and change its direction by obstructing the normalisation that Netanyahu is trying to use as a lever for his government before public opinion, and through the limited Saudi-Iranian rapprochement, it has been reflected in the opposition's attack on Netanyahu and his extremist government. Opposition leader Yair Lapid described the return of relations between Saudi Arabia and Iran as a "grave and dangerous failure of the Israeli government's foreign policy" led by Benjamin Netanyahu. Meanwhile, former Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett accused Netanyahu's government of "political, economic, and security failure" and added, "We need a broad national emergency government that works to repair the many damages that have occurred." Chairman of the Foreign Affairs and Defence Committee in the “Israeli” Knesset, Yuli Edelstein, also commented, saying, "It is time to sit down, talk, and resolve our differences in order to reunite and unite against the existential threat we face."

    From the overall reactions to the trilateral announcement (Chinese, Saudi, and Iranian) regarding the resumption of Saudi-Iranian relations, which was presented in a way that creates a false independent image of Saudi Arabia, which is actually deeply entrenched in American subservience, it becomes clear that the announcement is chiefly directed at undermining right-wing “Israeli” policies that conflict with US agendas and political priorities under the Biden administration. It also appears to be aimed at curbing any divergent behaviour from Iranian political forces and pushing them towards the American winds in the region.

    As for the context that led the US to pass the Saudi-Iranian agreement through China, amid reports of Russia supplying Iran with Javelin and Stinger missiles, it is a context of containing China, which has announced that the agreement between Saudi Arabia and Iran is a "victory for peace." Passing the agreement through China would bring economic benefits to China in the region, drawing it away from Russia and offering an alternative to Iran at this stage. It also shows China's intervention in the Middle East as a challenge to Europe, which has been hesitant regarding the American estrangement with China. China's intervention in the region justifies American policies and the capitalist class in the United States. China's intervention in the region is also part of its harnessing of American interests, especially since China does not compete with the United States in the Middle East and has no political influence there.

    Furthermore, China is interested in diversifying its sources of energy to avoid falling under Russian influence, especially as India competes with China heavily for Russian energy sources. This explains why the US is silent about India's purchase of quantities of Russian oil and why China is being drawn towards Gulf oil. Therefore, China's mediation in the Saudi-Iranian agreement does not constitute a breach of the American sphere of influence, nor is it considered a turning point in the international system as some may believe. Rather, it represents a common interest for both countries despite the existing disputes between them.

    22 Sha’aban 1444h                  
    14 March 2022


  • Military Escalation with Iran 

    بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

    Political Follow-up - Military Escalation with Iran

    For over a week there has been talk of American and “Israeli” preparations to strike Iran following an unpublished report by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), which includes the discovery of particles of enriched uranium at a rate of 83.7%, slightly less than the 90% needed to produce an atomic bomb, in the Fordow Fuel Enrichment Plant (FFEP) south of the capital, Tehran. It is rumoured that Iran is only 12 days away from reaching the sufficient proportion of enriched uranium to produce a nuclear bomb.

    In this context, the Chief of Staff of the “Israeli” Army, Aviv Kochavi, said his forces had improved their readiness to strike Iranian nuclear targets, stressing that the level of preparedness for an operation against Iran has greatly improved. Meanwhile, two Iranian military commanders have promised to respond to any “Israeli” attack on their country. The army commander, Abdolrahim Mousavi, warned at the end of Iranian military manoeuvres, "The armed forces will respond firmly if any part of Iran is threatened by the Zionist entity.”

    For his part, the Director of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), William Burns, commented on the "worrisome pace" of the Iranian nuclear program, stating that the Iranians only needed a few weeks to reach a 90% enrichment level "if they chose to cross that line." However, he added that the United States did not believe “that the Supreme Leader in Iran has yet made a decision to resume the weaponization program that we judge that they suspended or stopped at the end of 2003." He also expressed concern about the "dangerous" military cooperation between Tehran and Moscow.

    This uproar and exaggeration were raised at the Hartog Conference, attended by several American politicians including former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, which Netanyahu harnessed to emphasise his government's priority to prevent Iran from possessing nuclear weapons, continue the "Abraham Accords", and address the Palestinian issue.

    As is known, the Iranian threat is considered the cornerstone of Netanyahu's political agenda, which aims to settle the Palestinian issue through the "Abraham Accords". This serves as a distraction from internal divisions and protests calling for his removal from office and allows him to rally electoral support by appealing to voters' concerns about "security". Netanyahu has taken advantage of the fact that a team within the deep state in the United States supports the "Abraham Accords" and the "Regional Solution", and that their agendas intersect with his own.

    It is also known that the extremist Netanyahu government, which threatens with its provocations the entire American project in the region, does not enjoy the acceptance of the United States, especially since its escalation may lead the region into a comprehensive war that disrupts the priorities of American policy towards Russia, Europe, and China. Therefore, it is not surprising that America exposes information related to many Israeli military actions against Iran, and thwarts them to prevent escalation, as happened in the “Israeli” operation in Kafar Souseh in Syria recently. It is also not surprising that “Israeli” escalation in the West Bank is opposed, as happened recently in the town of Huwara, which prompted the US State Department to respond to Bezalel Smotrich’s statements calling for its "eradication" as "odious", "disgusting" and "incitement to violence", and called on senior “Israeli” officials to reject and disassociate themselves from them publicly and clearly.

    From reading the statements and the context of the recent escalation, it appears that it falls under America's efforts to contain the policies of the extremist “Israeli” government, and to keep “Israeli” external escalation within the limits of attacks on Iranian sites in Syria, security operations inside Iran, and what is known as the "shadow war", in order to prevent the region from slipping into full-scale war. In addition, there are other objectives that America is pursuing on the sidelines of the recent escalation, including warning Iran against excessive closeness to Russia and China, as indicated by Biden during his visit to Greece, and mentioned by the CIA Director. Therefore, the United States wants to address the behaviour of the Iranian regime and return it to its functional box through launching negotiations with Iran again, which Iran hopes will lead to lifting the sanctions on it, address its economy and the dire living conditions of its people, especially as America has announced more than once that it does not seek to overthrow the Iranian regime but rather wants to control its behaviour.

    If we follow the details of the escalation, we find that America is the one who initiated it through the International Atomic Energy Agency, which may have been instructed to refer the Iranian file to the UN Security Council to limit Russia and China's exploitation of the tension in the US-Iranian relationship, prevent them from expanding within its cracks, and portray them as supporters of the "axis of evil". This is in order to hold the reins of any “Israeli” military action against Iran in these tense international circumstances, especially since “Israel” could not afford to lose American political cover and military coordination beyond its borders. Therefore, America was driven to where Netanyahu wanted it to catch the reins of his movements. The US ambassador to “Israel”, Thomas Nides, stated, "Israel can and should do whatever they need to deal with and we’ve got their back.” However, President Biden expressed his realistic approach to the Iranian file during his visit to Greece, announcing from Athens that "the diplomatic option was still the ideal solution for resolving the nuclear crisis."

    It seems that Iran is in complete harmony with America in deterring Netanyahu from aggression, committing to the rules of the game, and keeping it within the limits of skirmishes that serve all parties, especially since Iranian leaders are fully aware of the game and know that the US withdrawal in 2018 gave them the green light to strengthen their position. Therefore, they are playing the role of the scarecrow to the countries in the region and the “Israeli” public opinion as long as it adds to their national and sectarian influence at the expense of the rival neighbouring countries submerged in the quagmire of subordination to colonial powers.

    In this context, the Director-General of the International Atomic Energy Agency, Rafael Grossi, arrived in Tehran on Friday 3 March and met with the Iranian President, where he confirmed at the end of his visit that Iran had agreed to reinstall surveillance cameras at several nuclear sites and increase the pace of inspections. Meanwhile, the Iranian Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced that Tehran had reached "good understandings" with the International Atomic Energy Agency, which could be the basis for resolving the technical issues related to the return to the nuclear agreement. Iran reaffirmed its commitment to diplomacy as "the best framework for action." This places the recent escalation in the category of media hype and political investment by all parties.

    And among those things is Biden's exploitation of Iran's nuclear violations to criticize Trump's policy and prove the failure of his decision to withdraw from the agreement. In an interrogation session with Congress, Pentagon policy official Colin Kahl responded to a Republican committee member's question about the Biden administration's attempts to revive Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) by saying, "Because Iran's nuclear progress since we left the JCPOA has been remarkable. Back in 2018, when the previous administration decided to leave the JCPOA it would have taken Iran about 12 months to produce one bomb's worth of fissile material. Now it would take about 12 days."

    Meanwhile, Netanyahu took advantage of the escalation to occupy the “Israeli” public opinion with external threats by threatening war, carrying out airstrikes on Iranian sites in Syria, security and military operations inside Iran, escalating with the Palestinians in the cities of the West Bank, and hitting the Palestinians through a plan to train Palestinian security forces to carry out the mission of liquidating the resistance fighters in the West Bank on behalf of his government. This was rumoured to have been discussed in the Aqaba meeting on February 26th between representatives from both the Palestinian and Israeli sides, with the attendance of security officials from Jordan and Egypt, and the White House Coordinator for Middle East and North Africa Security Affairs, Brett McGurk, who attempted to reduce “Israeli” escalation in the current situation by assigning the task of liquidating the resistance fighters on the Palestinian Authority to appease Netanyahu and his extremist government.

    On the other hand, Netanyahu is trying, through this escalation, to secure the approval of the Knesset for an exceptional defence budget, as the ministry of defense has requested an exceptional increase of 10 billion shekels ($2.8 billion) for its budget for the current and next year, as a precaution for the possibility of a war with Iran. More importantly, Netanyahu is attempting to blackmail the Biden administration by threatening war in order to pave the way for him to complete the "Abraham Accords," particularly with Saudi Arabia. He considers that the normalisation process and resulting alliances between Arab countries and “Israel” will provide the best defence against Iran; thus, he emphasised the importance of the "Abraham Accords" and the Saudi openness during his speech at the Hartog conference.

    16 Sha’ban 1444h                                   
    8 March 2023


  • Political Agreement & Power Struggle in Sudan 

    بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

    Political Follow-up - Political Agreement and Power Struggle in Sudan

    After nearly four years since the overthrow of Omar al-Bashir on 11 April, 2019, the situation in Sudan is still worsening day by day, and it is even threatening to turn into a bloody conflict between the Chairman of the Transitional Sovereignty Council and Commander-in-Chief of the Sudanese Armed Forces, Lieutenant General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, and his deputy, Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, also known as Hemedti, the leader of the Rapid Support Forces (RSF).

    Observers of what is happening between the two men can see that al-Burhan seeks to undermine Hemedti’s influence in power. This was evident in al-Burhan's efforts to expand political participation through the "Framework Agreement," and in his explicit call to integrate the Rapid Support Forces within the military establishment under the "Framework Agreement" and the Juba Peace Agreement.

    Although al-Burhan and Hemedti are working according to the American agenda for Sudan and are exchanging roles in controlling the political scene, they are competing for power and influence between them, which was revealed in their conflicting populist speeches.

    The coup staged by al-Burhan against Abdullah Hamdok's government on October 25, 2021, was the sign that revealed the power struggle between him and his deputy. Weeks before al-Burhan stepped down as head of the Transitional Sovereignty Council, the latter led a coup against Abdullah Hamdok's government, and ousted politicians from the Sovereignty Council with the support of Hemedti himself, who carried out a political arrest campaign to make the coup successful.

    Al-Burhan was seeking, through this coup, to overthrow the "Constitutional Declaration" signed between the military council and the Forces for Freedom and Change (FFC), and to expand political participation by introducing groups supportive of his coup in forming the new government, in an attempt to weaken his opponents under the pretext of correcting the course of the revolution. However, Hemedti, who initially supported Burhan, felt the impact of the change on his influence in power and described the coup against the government as a mistake.

    Al-Burhan's fear of Hemedti increased and competition between them intensified after the Rapid Support Forces doubled in size over the past three years, from 40,000 fighters to 100,000 fighters, and acquired weapons with advanced technology. This is equivalent to the size of the Sudanese army, which has 109,000 soldiers, in addition to the control of the Dago tribe (Hemedti and his relatives) over some Sudanese financial institutions and gold resources in Darfur through what is known as Al-Junaid company, which generates huge wealth for Hemedti, enabling him to enhance his influence in all regions and institutions of the country. His influence increased when part of his forces took control of the western and northern borders of Sudan after the army's influence in these areas decreased. He succeeded in building relationships with local leaders and reconciling with the leaders of the Darfur movements, presenting himself as a representative of the Darfur region and western Sudan, playing the chord of “the centre’s marginalisation of rural areas."

    It is common knowledge that despite the jostling among these agents, including their competition over relations with "Israel," they agree on the agenda that has constitutionalised secularism in the country and excluded the masses from the political scene; and they are also fully committed to their functional roles in serving their masters and implementing their plans. On the backdrop of this competition, Al-Burhan carried out a coup on 25 October to take control of the political leadership of the transitional period. The Constitutional Declaration signed on 17 August 2019 was cancelled and replaced with the "Framework Agreement" document between the Sovereignty Council and the Forces of Freedom and Change on 5 December 2022. This was done under the sponsorship of the "Tripartite Mechanism", namely the United Nations, the African Union, The Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), and the Quartet composed of the United States, Britain, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates.

    This enabled Al-Burhan to divide "the Forces of Freedom and Change" into two factions: one called itself the "Central Council" and the other expressed itself as the "Democratic Bloc". This division within the FFC allowed the United States agenda to contain all political forces, provided Al-Burhan with internal support through the Democratic Bloc, and gave Hamidati a corresponding political bloc in the form of the Central Council. This resulted in a paralysis in the transitional phase.

    Competition and role-playing are also evident in Hemedti's televised speech, in which he emphasised that the Framework Agreement is a "single package that must be implemented in its entirety without fragmentation." This was an attempt by him to buy time and justify his slackness in integrating his forces into the regular army, while consolidating his influence in the civil forces that support him in the Central Council, which aligns with Hemedti in his hostility towards "Islamic movements" and the old regime.

    The Central Council's forces welcomed Hemedti's statements amidst the alignments and battles of statements that he is waging against the army commander Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, who supports expanding the participation base in the agreement, unlike Hemedti, who insists on the parties specified in the Framework Agreement participating in the political process.

    Hemedti’s statements and those of his supporters from the Forces of Freedom and Change - the Central Council came after statements made by al-Burhan on February 16, 2023, in which he mentioned that there are parties, referring to Hemedti and his supporters from the Forces of Freedom and Change, "deceiving people and saying that the army has Islamist elements." He added that this is a "lie, the army does not have Islamists or Muslim Brotherhood members." Although al-Burhan is trying in this statement to put "the Islamists and the old regime" in the same basket to turn the people away from them and neutralise the army away from the people's Aqeedah and the "Islamic movements," he is trying to contain them and make them his supporters. Hemedti had previously accused the "Islamists" of attempting to sow discord between the army and the Rapid Support Forces, stressing that "elements of the old regime will never be able to achieve that."

    In addition to the internal alignment within the military and civilian forces, Sudan is witnessing alignment behind regional axis supervised by the United States, just as is happening in Libya. While Hemedti is aligned with the UAE and Saudi Arabia, Burhan enjoys close relations with Egypt and Turkey.

    Support from regional axis for the internal alignment battle is one of the trump cards in containing the Sudanese political trajectory and legitimising the regime. For example, Egypt contained the former Sudanese intelligence chief, Salah Gosh, who resides in Cairo. This paved the way for Sudanese intelligence agents to visit Washington in December last year.

    Egypt also contained some of the armed movements that did not sign the Framework Agreement and joined the "Democratic Bloc" under the umbrella of the Egyptian initiative, meaning the Sudan Liberation Movement and its leader Minni Minawi, as well as Darfur’s Governor Jabril Ibrahim, who is also the Minister of Finance in the current government.

    Al-Burhan did not settle for using the regional support card in his battle with Hemedti, but also tried to activate the integration of the Rapid Support Forces into the army as a condition for the political solution. Al-Burhan's goal behind this is to withdraw those forces from Hemedti’s control and subject them to the army he leads. Although Hemedti did not object to this superficially, he considered that this issue is part of everything, and therefore he continued to repeat that "the Framework Agreement is one package that must be implemented in full without division," thus exploiting the demands of his supporters from the FFC to remove the military from power as a whole.

    Meanwhile, al-Burhan sought to mobilise support for him by freezing the activities of the Empowerment Removal Committee and reinstating members of the former regime in their positions in the civil service through judicial decisions. These steps are additional cards in al-Burhan's hand in his battle with Hemedti, who does not hide his hatred for "Islamic" movements and his support for leftist and liberal forces.

    Abdul Fattah al-Burhan took advantage of the weakness of the civilian component loyal to the commander of the Rapid Support Forces and the signatory to the Framework Agreement, to make the Juba Peace Agreement a parallel and competitive track to the Framework Agreement by signing a new matrix on February 19, 2023, which stipulated timelines for implementing the previous peace agreement, especially with regard to security arrangements and the integration of armed movements into the army, in order to target the Rapid Support Forces and Hemedti's influence in the state. With the multiplicity of platforms (Khartoum, Cairo, and Juba), Hemedti is weakened, and al-Burhan gets rid of the charge of disavowing the end of the transitional period that began on 21 August 2019, and paves the way for elections that give his military and civilian faction the upper hand in governance, and ensure the military's guardianship over power according to the American agenda, especially since al-Burhan was able, a few days ago and under the supervision of the Director of Egyptian Intelligence Abbas Kamel, to push the various civilian forces around the "Framework Agreement" to agree on a new formula that accommodates the political forces that did not sign the “Framework Agreement” due to their reservations.

    In this context, and despite the jostling between the army leaders and the Rapid Support Forces, the Sudanese army has regained the initiative to consolidate its influence through a formal civilian authority, which has formed the "Framework Agreement" to take over governance without military intervention. Each party now uses its loyal civilian forces to establish its power, relying on regional and international support that can ignite disputes between competing forces if necessary.

    The truth is that the military and political leaders who gave up one third of Sudan's lands and three quarters of its oil wealth with the secession of the South, still follow regional and international initiatives to restructure the system in the name of popular revolution. The Framework Agreement, and before it the negotiations over it that lasted several months, was reached through the tripartite mechanism that included the United Nations, the African Union, and the IGAD. All ongoing negotiation workshops to exit the transitional phase are still taking place through what is known as the Quartet Group consisting of the United States, the United Kingdom, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates.

    Although the people of Sudan are predominantly Muslim, only a small number of left-wing communists have realised that governance should be conducted according to Shari’ah law that grants authority to the Ummah, manifested in the election and direct accountability of the ruler or through their representatives in the Shurah Council.

    The decline in Sudan is due to the state's failure to uphold the Islamic Aqeedah that unifies the viewpoint towards governance, imposes unity of the Ummah and state, and refers legislation to the Creator, and does not allow the military to seize power or foreign interference that only weakens Muslims and drives them into conflict and division.

    The solution to Sudan's problem is for the people to impose their will and purify the army and state from agents, and to entrust independent military and political forces to oversee a transitional period that can be agreed upon for a duration of six months to two years. During this period, opportunities are provided to establish parties based on the Islamic Aqeedah of the people, so that their political program is presented to the general Muslim population to reach power and govern on its basis, and to oversee people's affairs accordingly.

    This comes after the political and military forces of the Ummah are gathered around the Islamic idea, and representatives of the Ummah are assembled in the Shurah Council. Then, this council selects candidates for the position of head of state based on the conditions set by Islam for those who assume this position. Afterwards, the people choose their ruler from among those candidates based on a legitimate Bay’ah, in which the head of state commits to govern according to Islam, and the Ummah commits to obey and hold him accountable solely on the basis of Islam. This is not a difficult matter if there is a strong, sincere will and faithful, loyal men.

    11 Sha’aban 1444h                                                      
    3 March 2023


  • Prime Minister Fumio Kishida’s Tour to G7 Countries & the Indo-Pacific’s Region Challenges 

    بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

    Political Follow-up - Outlines
    Prime Minister Fumio Kishida’s Tour to G7 Countries & the Indo-Pacific’s Region Challenges

    Next May, Japan will host the summit of the Group of Seven (G7) major economies in the city of Hiroshima, which was hit by the US atomic bomb in 1945. Choosing Hiroshima as the location for the summit carries an unmistakable message to China and Russia, considering that the bombing of Hiroshima with the atomic weapon was a message directed at the Soviet Union at that time. The aftermath of the bombing led to Japan's surrender and humiliation through the 1951 Security Treaty and the San Francisco Treaty, which turned Japan into a US military base to serve its interests in the Far East to this day.

    However, for the purpose of building an alliance that brings together Western countries to confront and contain "autocrats," as well as its efforts to shed light on China's policies in the Indo-Pacific region, the United States instructed Japanese Prime Minister Kishida to formulate Japan's security strategy and implement it by increasing military spending by about $315 billion over five years until 2027, which means the end of Japan's pacifist policy. The government's statements accentuated the need for Japan's military presence to confront the potential conflict between China and the United States regarding Taiwan and China's attempts to assert its control over the South China Sea, describing it as "the biggest strategic challenge."

    What is notable is the linking of Japan's security strategy to NATO member states’ commitment to raise defence spending to 2% of national income. It is no secret that this Japanese policy is an extension of the steps ordered by former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in 2015, which allow US and Japanese forces to "integrate their command structures and raise levels of joint operations," according to the statement of Lieutenant General James W. Bierman, top Commander of the US Marines in Japan, to the Financial Times. He added, “We call that setting the theatre. And we are setting the theatre in Japan, in the Philippines, in other locations.”

    By observing the political events in the Indo-Pacific region, we deduce that the US has escalated tension through a series of provocations, including military manoeuvres and frequent visits by congressional leaders to Taiwan, especially Nancy Pelosi's visit. In addition, Biden announced his readiness to militarily support Taiwan in case of a Chinese invasion, while North Korea continues to launch ballistic missiles towards Japan and "improve its nuclear program." America has also deployed B52 nuclear-capable bombers in the Korean peninsula.

    Preparations for the summit have come amidst the growing Chinese-Russian rapprochement and the NATO summit statement in Madrid which recommended the need to "confront institutional challenges emanating from China" and included it in paragraphs (13 and 14) at the same level of the Russian threat.

    In this context, the first stop of the Japanese Prime Minister in Europe was on 9 January in Paris. It came against the backdrop of France announcing in November of last year its National Strategy Review Report, which Macron interpreted by saying, "We do not believe in domination, we do not believe in confrontation, but we believe in stability," which indicates France's hesitation to support NATO operations outside the Euro-Atlantic region and its pursuit of European strategic independence. Therefore, the Japanese Prime Minister hinted at France's role in the Indo-Pacific region by saying, "The security of Europe and the Indo-Pacific region are inseparable," adding that France is a "leading partner in efforts to build a free and open Indo-Pacific region," which is understood as Japan's efforts to lure and draw France into the US strategy by giving it a role in the Japanese military rearmament and development programs, as it did with Italy and Britain. However, Macron's response was diplomatically vague, reaffirming Paris's continued policy of "coordination on international issues" and condemning North Korea's actions.

    The visit comes a month after Japan, Italy and Britain signed an agreement on the Global Combat Air Programme (GCAP) to develop the next generation of fighters by 2035. This agreement is expected to widen the gap in the French-Italian relationship and distance Italy from the French approach to a European defence system.

    As for the visit to London, it was dedicated to supporting Britain in achieving some economic gains through its previous security agreements with Japan and supporting its efforts to obtain an agreement with the "Trans-Pacific Partnership," which estimates its trade exchanges at more than $10 trillion.

    It is evident that America is harnessing economic agreements as a means to attracting major countries towards its international policies. Italy and Britain are examples of America's encouragement of countries through commercial and military contracts to comply with its policy, which calls for supporting its alliance against China and Russia, which is enveloped in "common values and interests" as stated in the statement of the European Union summit and NATO in early January 2023.

    As for his visit to Canada, it focused on finding solutions to Japan's energy needs, especially liquefied natural gas from Canada, and developing trade, scientific and technical exchanges between the two countries. This is in line with Canada's supportive stance towards the United States' strategy towards China, which was evident through their "shared commitment to a free, open and comprehensive Indo-Pacific region", their commitment to enhancing the international system and improving regional security through Canada's Indo-Pacific strategy and Japan's national security strategy, and the need for coordination between them.

    The Japanese Prime Minister concluded his visit to Washington by holding a summit with President Biden on January 13th, preceded by a statement from Secretary of State Blinken praising the size and scope of the transformation contained in Japan's security strategy and military development program. He confirmed Japan's commitment to developing its capabilities and investing in its potential so that it can take on "new roles," adding that Japan's strategy paralleled the US national security strategy both in the main challenges and in how to effectively address them. It is noteworthy that Japan's new military budget includes the purchase of $38 billion worth of American Tomahawk missiles in addition to F-35 stealth aircraft.

    All of these facts clearly demonstrate Japan's role in supporting and endorsing America's plans in the Indo-Pacific region to contain China, as well as Japan's strong support for the continued US dominance in the international arena. This explains the Japanese Prime Minister's invitation to attend the NATO summit, and also explains the assignment of leadership of the "Asia-Pacific Partnership Group and NATO Alliance" to Japan. These facts also confirm the United States' frantic pace to achieve its strategic objectives in the Indo-Pacific region by raising the level of relationship and coordination between NATO and its allies in that region.

    6 Sha’aban 1444h                                                           
    26 February 2023


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