Is the Peace Deal with Sudan Still On?

On the heels of last week’s landmark peace deal with the United Arab Emirates, it sounded as if Israel was on the cusp of a peace deal with Sudan today, another Arab nation that has previously considered Israel an enemy. Haidar Badawi, a Sudanese Foreign Ministry official, said yesterday that his nation is “looking forward to concluding a peace agreement with Israel.” 

Today, he was unceremoniously removed from office, as Sudan’s Foreign Minister designate, Omar Kamaruddin Ismail, was “astonished” by Badawi’s comments, saying he had spoken out of turn, according to The Jerusalem Post. The confusion came from a statement from Israel Intelligence Minister Eli Cohen, who said Israel and Sudan would likely sign a deal like the one Israel just signed with the UAE within the next year. 

But while Sudan’s leadership backtracked on Badawi’s comment, that doesn’t mean the deal is dead—we may just have to wait a bit longer before it takes shape. Sudan is shifting toward the direction of Western ideals and is seeking to be removed from the U.S. list of nations with state-sponsored terrorism, The Jerusalem Post reported. Such a peace deal with Israel would concurrently strengthen Sudan’s relationship with the U.S.

While it’s disappointing to see the peace deal isn’t as imminent as originally hoped, all factors seem to be pointing to an eventual deal between these two former enemies. Sudan fought against Israel in the 1948 Arab-Israeli War and the 1967 Six-Day War, and its historical cooperation with Hamas and Hezbollah has only increased its hostility toward Israel in recent decades. But the nation seems to be shifting away from this history by these indications of peace talks being in the works. 

U.S. support for Israel seems to be the greatest reason for Sudan’s softened stance, as it closed the offices of Hamas and Hezbollah in the country last December to undo its designation as a state sponsor of terrorism by the U.S. Regardless of the reason, if Sudan follows through on its publicly-declared intention to formalize peace agreements, that would make two peace deals for Israel with its former enemies in a short period of time. This could be an extraordinary time of peace and progression in their region, and if it means Hamas and Hezbollah lose ground in the Middle East, that’s a huge added benefit.