Sudanese diaspora in Lebanon hopeful over homeland protests

Sudanese diaspora in Lebanon hopeful over homeland protests
A man flashes the victory sign during a protest to denounce the October 2021 military coup, in Khartoum, Sudan on Sunday. (AP)
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Updated 12 January 2022

Sudanese diaspora in Lebanon hopeful over homeland protests

Sudanese diaspora in Lebanon hopeful over homeland protests
  • Expats confident military rule will end this year
  • ‘Through social media groups, we help protesters morally, financially’

BEIRUT: The Sudanese diaspora in Lebanon is hopeful that protests in their home country will bring change and an eventual transition to democracy in the African country.
More than 60 protesters have died in Sudan amid clashes with security forces, but the Sudanese community in in Lebanon is hopeful that “change is coming.”
On Oct. 25 last year, army chief Gen. Abdel Fattah Al-Burhan led a coup that overturned a power-sharing transition between the military and a civilian administration that had been meticulously formed in the wake of the ousting of Omar Bashir’s regime in 2019.
Unable to participate in the protests with their compatriots, Sudanese in Lebanon have expressed their solidarity with the demonstrations taking place in their homeland, which are aimed at the military rulers of the country.
Yehya Mohammad, a watchman in Beirut since 2012, said that mass protests should lead to a “new and comprehensive constitution” for the country.
Last week, Abdalla Hamdok, Sudan’s civilian prime minister, resigned and warned that the country was at “a dangerous crossroads threatening its very survival.”
He had only just taken his position back on Nov. 21, having originally been ousted along with his government in the October coup.
“The military rule will be toppled just like it did to Hamdok. We want a completely civilian government to rule and that’s why we strongly support the protests,” Yehya told Arab News.
While the expat does not see the protests bringing about a quick fix, he believes that Al-Burhan’s military council will collapse under the pressure of the protests.
“We hope that they step down peacefully, but under the current situation, I doubt it. The military rule will collapse with a loud bang,” he said.
“Through support groups on social media, we try to support the protesters, both morally and financially,” he added.
Hamed Adam, another watchman, agreed that the demonstrations will bring change to Sudan, either this year or in the near future.
“The revolution won’t develop an instant change, but it will bring about a gradual one,” he told Arab News.
The 55-year-old, who has lived in Lebanon for more than 20 years, said that he is confident that the Sudanese people will “have the final say.”
He added: “The power of street demonstrations will bring us change, just like it did when the street protests in 1985 toppled the late president Jaafar Nimeiry. The current military rule will collapse sooner or later under the mounting protests.”
But Abdul Salam Al-Mukhtar, a 48-year-old laborer in Lebanon, is more skeptical about the effectiveness of the protests.
“What is happening is clear degradation and embarrassment. The civilians and the military won’t agree,” he said, adding that he regrets the deaths caused by recent protests.
Al-Mukhtar believes that things are “hopeless” because of the “greed and hunger” of the Sudanese military in maintaining power.
“The people want the civilians to rule. The military have been ruling for more than 40 years and they are corrupt, incompetent and unsuccessful.”
He added that military rule has pushed “educated and competent” citizens to leave the country. “It is an obvious brain-drain strategy,” he said.
His colleague, Ebrahim Ismail, is more hopeful that civilian protests will eventually topple military rule and “put the country back on track.”
Ismail believes that 2022 will be the “year of change” in Sudan.
“The military rule cannot last forever in the administration. We will throw them out, regain power and our uprising will bring freedom, peace and justice to Sudan.”


Erdogan’s vowed military operation returns spotlight to Syrian border towns

Erdogan’s vowed military operation returns spotlight to Syrian border towns
Updated 5 sec ago

Erdogan’s vowed military operation returns spotlight to Syrian border towns

Erdogan’s vowed military operation returns spotlight to Syrian border towns
  • Yeni Safak newspaper: ‘Among the probable targets of the Turkish Armed forces and the (Turkey-backed) Syrian National Army, are Tal Rifaat, Ain al Arab (Kobani), Ain Issa and Manbij’
  • The potential target areas are controlled by the US-backed YPG, which Ankara views as an extension of the PKK, a Kurdish militant group waging an insurgency in southeast Turkey since 1984
ISTANBUL: President Tayyip Erdogan’s pledge to carry out a new military incursion on Turkey’s southern borders has triggered speculation about potential targets, with the Syrian town of Tal Rifaat emerging as a primary goal of any operation.
Two days after Erdogan announced the plan, the pro-government Yeni Safak newspaper said on Wednesday preparations had been made for a new operation to expand “safe zones” already set up in northern Syria, with several goals identified.
“Among the probable targets of the Turkish Armed forces and the (Turkey-backed) Syrian National Army, are Tal Rifaat, Ain al Arab (Kobani), Ain Issa and Manbij,” the paper said.
Turkish control of the towns, which lie on or close to a central stretch of the 911-km-long border with Syria, could extend and deepen its military presence from near the Mediterranean coast along nearly three-quarters of the frontier.
So far, there have been few signs of military movements that preceded Turkey’s last four incursions into northern Syria. Erdogan has said decisions on military operations would be made at a National Security Council meeting on Thursday.
The potential target areas are controlled by the US-backed YPG, which Ankara views as an extension of the PKK, a Kurdish militant group waging an insurgency in southeast Turkey since 1984. Turkey designates both as terrorist organizations.
The YPG has been the main target of several incursions which Turkey has carried out in northern Syria since 2016, seizing hundreds of kilometers of land and pushing some 30 km (20 miles) deep into the country.
YPG spokesman Nuri Mahmoud told Reuters the group took Erdogan’s threats very seriously: “The international coalition, America, and Russia should commit to the pledges that they made to this region. Their presence in our areas must be meaningful, in the sense that it stops the repeated attacks on our people.”
The Yeni Safak newspaper said the most critical target of the latest operation would be Tal Rifaat, some 15 km (9 miles) from the Turkish border, which it said Kurdish fighters used as a base from which to launch attacks in the Afrin, Azaz and Jarablus areas controlled by Turkey and Ankara-backed Syrian fighters.
Tal Rifaat is located north of Aleppo city and just south of Azaz. An operation there alone would not represent a widening of Turkey’s “safe zones” along the border, but would push its forces deeper into Syria.
Dareen Khalifa, an analyst on Syria at the International Crisis Group, said it was unclear whether Erdogan was talking about an operation in Tal Rifaat or further east, but she highlighted the role of the town.
“Tal Rifaat, if anything, can get him what he wants and it would avoid triggering a huge headache. I don’t think the Americans care about Tal Rifaat,” she said.
Most US forces in northern Syria are based further east.
She said Russia, which has forces deployed in the region, had not been addressing his concerns on militant attacks on Turkish-controlled areas from Tal Rifaat, and that Erdogan has been saying for years that Tal Rifaat needs to be captured.
The predominantly Kurdish town of Kobani was touted as another potential target. The YPG’s defeat of Daesh militants there in 2015 helped turn the tide against the group.
“Kobani represents the value of a global victory in the war against terrorism,” YPG spokesman Mahmoud said. “There’s no doubt that our forces will do what is needed to defend” the area.
The YPG, or People’s Defense Units, are a key element of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), the coalition which the United States largely relied on to fight Islamic State.
However, Khalifa played down the prospects of Turkey targeting Kobani.
“I don’t think there’s any interest in getting stuck in Kobani,” she said, pointing to the major demographic changes and reaction that would ensue if the Kurdish population fled.
She said that while United States forces were not in Manbij physically, it is a US zone of influence, so “I expect it to also trigger a US reaction.”
Any attack on Kobani would also risk triggering a strong reaction from Turkey’s Kurds, who make up some 20 percent of the country’s population. The Islamic State attack on Kobani in 2014 led to protests in which dozens died in Turkey.
Mithat Sancar, joint head of Turkey’s pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), warned about the consequences of Erdogan’s plans for fresh military operations.
“We must all see that this will lead again to a bloody vortex in this region and country,” he told HDP lawmakers.
Erdogan’s talk of a military operation has also raised the stakes in Turkey’s row with NATO partners over Finland and Sweden joining the alliance, with Turkey accusing both of harboring people linked to the PKK.
Analysts said the incursion plans reflected his belief that the West would not oppose such operations when it needs Ankara’s support for the Nordic countries’ bid to join NATO.
Erdogan’s announcement was also aimed at bolstering nationalist support as he gears up for difficult elections next year, analysts said. Cross-border military operations have boosted his poll ratings in the past.

Egypt pledges to help Libya reconstruction

Egypt pledges to help Libya reconstruction
Updated 25 May 2022

Egypt pledges to help Libya reconstruction

Egypt pledges to help Libya reconstruction

CAIRO: The head of the Egypt-based Arab Organization for Industrialization said it will “participate with its various companies and factories in the initiative to rebuild Libya.”

Abdel Moneim Al-Terras added: “The Egyptian state believes in the necessity of carrying out its national duty to support the brothers in Libya.”

He said: “Delegates from the Egyptian government had conducted exploratory visits in Libya … to determine the priority sectors in which Egyptian companies can work, as part of the reconstruction plans.”

Libyan Deputy Prime Minister Ali Faraj Al-Qatrani said reconstruction is a priority for his government, which will support all companies wishing to take part.

Meanwhile, the Egyptian Syndicate of Engineers signed a cooperation protocol with the Libyan General Syndicate of Engineering Professions.

Tarek Al-Nabarawy, chairman of the Egyptian syndicate, said the protocol includes exchanging experiences.


Egypt, Qatar discuss cooperation in health sector

Egypt, Qatar discuss cooperation in health sector
Updated 25 May 2022

Egypt, Qatar discuss cooperation in health sector

Egypt, Qatar discuss cooperation in health sector

CAIRO: Khaled Abdel Ghaffar, Egypt’s acting minister of health and population, discussed with his Qatari counterpart Hanan Mohamed Al-Kuwari cooperation between the two countries in the health sector.

The meeting was among others held by Abdel Ghaffar on the sidelines of the 75th session of the World Health Assembly in Geneva.

He and Al-Kuwari discussed investment opportunities in Egypt’s health sector through the construction of advanced health facilities on par with international standards, as well as developing and raising the efficiency of medical units, centers and hospitals. They also reviewed achievements in Egypt’s health sector.

Abdel Ghaffar stressed the importance of developing a plan to raise the efficiency of medical cadres working in the health sector in Egypt and Qatar, as well as providing training programs for nursing teams and radiology technicians. He invited Al-Kuwari to visit Egyptian health facilities.


Turkey says normalization of Israel ties will help resolve Palestinian conflict

Turkey says normalization of Israel ties will help resolve Palestinian conflict
Updated 25 May 2022

Turkey says normalization of Israel ties will help resolve Palestinian conflict

Turkey says normalization of Israel ties will help resolve Palestinian conflict
  • Mevlut Cavusoglu: Two countries agreed to ‘re-energize’ relations in many areas

ISTANBUL: Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said on Wednesday that the normalization of ties between Turkey and Israel will have a “positive impact” for a “peaceful” resolution to the Palestinian conflict.
In a news conference after talks with his Israeli counterpart, Cavusoglu said the two countries agreed to “re-energise” relations in many areas, including resuming talks on civil aviation.


76 people missing after migrant boat sinks off Tunisia

76 people missing after migrant boat sinks off Tunisia
Updated 25 May 2022

76 people missing after migrant boat sinks off Tunisia

76 people missing after migrant boat sinks off Tunisia

TUNIS: Seventy six people were missing after a crowded boat of migrants sank off Tunisia on Wednesday, the International Organization for Migration said, as the numbers risking the dangerous crossing to Europe increase.
The IOM said 24 people had been rescued from the boat, which had departed from the beaches of Zawara in Libya and sank off the coast of Sfax.
In recent months, dozens of people have drowned off the Tunisian coast, with an increase in the frequency of attempted crossings from Tunisia and Libya toward Italy.
Hundreds of thousands of people have made the perilous Mediterranean crossing in recent years.