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Last Updated: 02/09/2011
Narratives of streets that do not betray
Ameena Alrasheed Nayel

Ameena Alrasheed Nayel reflects on the protests in Egypt, particularly in light of Egypt's historical relationship to the Sudan.

Long way to go:

The Egyptian uprising has had a profound impact on the Middle East and an unfathomable sway on neighboring Sudan. Historically, the Sudan and Egypt have experienced successive military dictatorships. The leading role that Egypt has played in Sudanese politics reflects the nature and the politics of the repressive dictatorships and regimes that have betrayed the people’s aspirations for democracy and freedom in the Nile valley. The current regime and the succession of Sadat were heavily involved in shaping the course of the Sudanese politics, particularly in interfering with the 19 July movement in Sudan, and in supporting the Jihad war against the Sudanese in the South. Taking the role of the proxy police state of the United States, Egypt has been influencing and monitoring the political situations in the Middle East and in Sudan in particular for long time. In fact, the Egyptian regime through its history worked to serve the interest of imperialism promoted by the United States. Hosni Mubarak regime received annually the 1.8 billion to fulfill and to accomplish the mission assigned by the US and the West.

The impact that Egypt has in shaping the overall political feature and spectrum of political regimes in the whole Middle East region is not difficult to comprehend. The brutal authoritative regimes in Egypt that tormented the Egyptians, silencing them for decades, have viciously suppressed any movement or attempt for change and freedom. After 30 years such regimes are not invincible, but rather anemic in the face of the people’s will.

Not only Egypt, but the whole Arab world will endure the implications of Egypt revolution, a revolution all waited for, a revolution against a belligerent dictator and polices orchestrated by the US and the West. Observing the West losing grounds in the Middle East is one of this revolution’s repercussions. It started in Tunisia and now widely spread to different countries in the region, Jordan, Yemen, and Sudan.

Observers have looked thoroughly once more at the history of the West and the United States in particular in harboring, supporting and planting dictators across the globe, read Marcus, Soharto, Shah Rida Bahlavi, Hosni Mubarak and lately - converted from the rigid Islamic discourse towards one that can secede the country smoothly and build an ally with the US - Omer Albashir, who is not long been pursued by the ICC and the international community. The Sudanese president will cultivate the fruits of his collaboration with the US, in alleviating tendencies, towards prosecuting him by the ICC and the international community. He might possibly be able to evade justice as the American congress promises to lift Sudan from the list of terrorist states. Noam Chomsky understands correctly that the US does not fear Islamism, it collaborates with Islamic groups -Saudi Arabia is an immaculate example - the way it did with Bin Ladin and Taliban, however, they will face the same fate of Hosni Mubarak if encountered with a massive uprising such as the current demonstrations in Egypt. The West and the US fear nationalist secular groups that rummage around change and freedom and that render and rebuff the neo liberal politics and the polices of hegemony of the United States and the West. The squabble between Islamist and the United States political strategies and ideology is a counterfeit row. In the words of Tariq Ali, it is “A clash of fundamentalism (Islamism and Capitalism)”. Precisely because it challenges this false dichotomy of ideology, the triumphs of the Egyptians revolution will reshape the political map of the Middle East and will have a profound impact on the neighboring Sudan.

Egyptian politics has its impact on the Sudanese politics, partly because of the historical relationship between the two countries, and the implications and influence and to some extent the hegemony of the different political regimes. The Egyptian regime helped the dictator Numeri in toppling an opposition uprising and executing its members in July 1971, aided by the British multinational Lonro, serving strategic and imperialistic interests in the region. Noam Chomsky rightly stated that: “A common refrain among pundits is that fear of radical Islam requires (reluctant) opposition to democracy on pragmatic grounds. While not without some merit, the formulation is misleading. The general threat has always been independence. The US and its allies have regularly supported radical Islamists, sometimes to prevent the threat of secular nationalism”(Noam Chomsky 2011).

Following the unfolding events in Egypt, it is clear that the US administration is working with its former ally Mubarak to ensure a transition towards a ‘proper’ representation and replacement of the ailing president. The US and the West, in the process of encountering nationalist secular uprising as the one started in Tahrir Square, are likely to dismiss the public and construct alternative scenarios for the revolution that serve its interests.

While the centre of attention of all the international media and the international community is in Egypt’s Tahrir Square, other issues across the region are yet to be addressed. Uprising and unrest in Yemen and Jordan have received very little attention, while Sudan’s brutal torture of those who are in solidarity with the Egyptian revolution and who took to the streets of Khartoum and other cities calling equally for the removal of the president accusing him of separating the nation under the pressure of the United States has gone practically unnoticed. Paradoxically, the Sudanese regime started torturing those who join the demonstrations from both Northerner and Southerner Sudanese in the cities.

Ironically, in the case of Sudan and the WikiLeak’s documents, and against the prediction of Ocambo the ICC prosecutor, the fact that the Sudanese president has plundered 9 million dollars from the Oil revenue does not seem to need any authentication or denial from the British Authorities or the Lloyd Bank administration, as for the Sudanese themselves, hold more than truth about the wealth and the empire built by the Sudanese president and his family, wives and brothers, people kept an amazing account of that, that makes WikiLeak looks unpretentious in the face of the Sudanese people’s erudition.

The coming days will ascertain how the Egyptian revolution will shape and reshape history for the Middle East, and for Sudan, and will inevitably lead towards alternative discourses in dealing with repressive regimes.

Ameena Alrasheed Nayel is Assistant Professor in the Department of Gender and Peace Education (DGP). All opinions in this article blong to the author and do not necessarily represent the official position of the University for Peace.