During his recent visit to Khartoum on August 25, 2020, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo had hoped to push the Sudanese government toward a rapprochement with Israel, but he left empty‑handed. This comes despite the earlier enthusiasm displayed by General Abdel Fattah al‑Burhan, Chair of the Sudanese Sovereign Council and Commander-in-Chief of the Sudanese Armed Forces, at the surprise meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Kampala, Uganda, in February 2020. That meeting, arranged by the USA, is the only public meeting held between the heads of the two countries to date.
On 31 August 2020, the Sudanese transitional government signed a peace agreement with the armed insurgency movements, in what was considered by the ruling authorities in Khartoum a re-establishment of the Sudanese state and an end to the course of the long civil war that erupted decades ago in the southern and western regions of Sudan.
The domestic balance of power in Sudan after the fall of President Omar al-Bashir obliged the creation of a political system in which there were several different poles of decision-making, both de jure (i.e. constitutionally) and de facto. This state of affairs has greatly influenced foreign policymaking over the last year, with the new reality raising a pressing question: who makes Sudanese foreign policy? Answering this question will help us deal more appropriately with this country – a country of great importance to both Arab and African affairs.
In July 2020, Taiwan and Somaliland announced their intention to establish reciprocal representative offices to broaden their communication with the outside world. A diplomatic victory for both sides, it also represents a paradigm shift that will have repercussions for the Horn of Africa and Somaliland and for major world powers, especially China, which has rejected the move. Meanwhile, the USA has welcomed diplomatic engagement between Taiwan and Somaliland, leading some observers to think that the offices will be established under the auspices of the USA, which is potentially risky for all parties in the region, given the divergent stances on the agreement. The move could result in a transformation in Chinese policy toward the Horn of Africa in particular, and toward Africa in general, during the coming period.
Somalia is on tenterhooks following the approval by Somali President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo of a new elections law, based on the principle of “one person, one vote”. Views among the country’s political forces vary, with the law already having faced a wave of criticism and calls for its reconsideration on the grounds that it is not suited to the current political, economic, and security conditions. The government and the political opposition in Somalia are highly polarized at a time when the country is preparing to hold its first direct elections at the end of 2020. Such polarization has led to further speculation about the future of the elections and of the president’s regime in the coming period.
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