SUDAN WATCH: ICC's Bashir warrant could result in the disintegration of Sudan and harm Egypt

Saturday, March 07, 2009

ICC's Bashir warrant could result in the disintegration of Sudan and harm Egypt

From GulfNews - Dubai, United Arab Emirates - March 7, 2009 -
Al Bashir warrant may affect Egypt's security
In the wake of the ICC decision, Egypt called on the UN Security Council to suspend the warrant against Al Bashir to allow more time for a political solution.

"This decision is harmful to Egypt's national security as it will most likely trigger chaos in Egypt's southern neighbour (Sudan)," said Hani Raslan, who heads the Sudan Studies Unit at the State-run Al Ahram Centre for Political and Strategic Studies. "This chaos could result in the disintegration of Sudan and consequently affect Egypt's access to the vital waters of the River Nile, which runs through Sudan," he told Gulf News.

Al Bashir is the first sitting head of state ordered arrested by the court since it started work in 2002 to bring people suspected of committing war crimes and crimes against humanity to justice. Al Bashir, accused of committing such crimes in Darfur, has reacted defiantly, saying he will attend a pan-Arab summit conference in Qatar this month.

"The referral of the case to the UN Security Council will further escalate the situation, leading to the emergence of political powers in Sudan, who will tamper with the Nile waters to put political and economic pressure on Egypt to the benefit of certain countries," said Raslan, the Egyptian expert.

He was apparently referring to Israel, with whom some opposition forces in southern Sudan maintain links. He also warned that the repercussions may hamper Egypt's efforts to promote cooperation projects with the Nile Basin countries, including Sudan. In the wake of the ICC decision, Egypt called on the UN Security Council to suspend the warrant against Al Bashir to allow more time for a political solution.

"The arrest warrant is a negative development, which does not serve security and stability in Sudan," Hossam Zaki, the spokesman for the Egyptian Foreign Ministry, said on Thursday. He added that the case against Al Bashir was highly politicised. "This cast a shadow over this issue."

Meanwhile, the Muslim Brotherhood, which is the biggest opposition force against the Egyptian government, lashed out at the arrest warrant against Al Bashir, saying it "exceeds the limits of the law". "This decision is aimed at breaking up Sudan, an eventuality that will greatly harm Egypt," Esaam Al Erian, a prominent official in the banned group, told this newspaper. "The detention of Al Bashir primarily targets Egypt and its interests." The Brotherhood urged the Arab countries to boycott the ICC, describing it as a tool of Western colonialism.

According to Mahmoud Khalaf, a military expert, Al Bashir's instance to attend the Arab summit conference in Qatar would land the Arab countries, particularly the hosting country, in an "embarrassing" situation.

"The current Egyptian efforts to suspend Al Bashir's arrest reflect Cairo's awareness of the potential dangers to be triggered by Al Bashir's downfall, including sparking chaos along Egypt's southern border."

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