News / Middle East

Sudan Referendum Has Implications for Egypt, Analyst Says

Pro-separation activists rallying outside Juba airport in southern Sudan where Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir arrives, 04 Jan 2011
Pro-separation activists rallying outside Juba airport in southern Sudan where Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir arrives, 04 Jan 2011

Multimedia

Audio

Southern Sudan on Sunday will begin several days of voting in a referendum to decide whether to secede from the North-based government. Arab nations, particularly neighbors, Egypt and Libya, are uneasy. Neither participated in the Nairobi peace talks which led to the referendum.  Egypt would prefer a loose confederation and had hoped the referendum would be postponed. It blames the government of Omar Bashir for failing to keep the country together and present a more attractive portrait of unity.

Dr. Hamid Eltgani Ali is Assistant Professor of Public Policy at the School of Global Affairs and Public Policy, American University in Cairo.  VOA’s Cecily Hilleary asked him for his assessment of a north-south divide in Sudan.

Listen to the full interview with Dr. Hamid Eltgani Ali:

Hilleary: What is Egypt’s concern if the South does secede from Sudan, as most analysts predict it will.

Hamid Eltgani Ali
Hamid Eltgani Ali

Ali: Because the Sudan is now in flames. Darfur is another hot place, where killing is still going on. It is possible that the Dafuris may ask for the same treatment. They might ask for self-determination - it is possible.  Eastern Sudan is possible. Nuba Mountains is possible. The Blue Nile is possible.  So these are all hot buttons in Sudan. It’s burning.  It is possible that [the country] could disintegrate. The country could run into chaos.

The solution is that, right now, we have a president that has been indicted by the [International Criminal Court]. He is working for his own interests. He is not looking [out] for the interests of Sudan, nor the neighboring countries of the region. So the only option is, they need to put pressure on Bashir to let it go. And he needs to resign not tomorrow, but today.


North Sudan

  • Leader: Omar al-Bashir
  • Capital: Khartoum
  • Economy: Oil (50% revenue); Agriculture
  • Land mass: 1,865,813 square kilometers
  • Population: 34.3 to 36.5 million
  • Religion: Muslim Majority


South Sudan

  • Leader: Salva Kiir
  • Capital: Juba
  • Economy: Oil (98% of revenue); Agriculture
  • Land mass: 640,000 square kilometers
  • Population: 7.5 to 9.7 million
  • Religion: Mainly Christian and Animist

Hilleary: And, if the region were to catch on fire, to continue your analogy, what then for Egypt? Egypt worries, for example, about a possible influx of migrants from Sudan.

Ali: That is also a concern because, today, the Sudanese people are migrants everywhere, and if the countries start disintegrating - and I’m sure there will be a lot of chaos - where the option is? They got to go to Egypt. It’s the closest place. The borders are easy for people to [cross].

The other thing is about the Nile water. It’s a big concern for Egypt. [The] more people there are in the Nile Basin, the less [is] the Egyptian share of the water.  Right now there is a lot of tension in the Nile Basin countries. That is not going to get better at all.

And the other thing is economic interests. That is, Sudan and Egypt could have a good common integration formula, because there is a good food processing industry in Egypt, while Sudan is a very fertile land and very good for the agriculture industry.

So now, those economic interests will be decimated. Now, we are going to see a lot of poverty and misery in Sudan. We have seen just yesterday, the government has already passed its budget and now they held an overnight session and passed a resolution that is undermining the whole macroeconomic of the country.

Now, we see a lot of inflation, a lot of poverty, and if there is poverty in Sudan why would I want to live there? I would just move to Egypt. So Egypt has the right to all these concerns.

NEW: Follow our Middle East reports on Twitter
and discuss them on our Facebook page.

You May Like

Video Experts Warn World Losing Ebola Fight

Doctors Without Borders says world is losing battle against Ebola, unless wealthy nations dispatch specialized biological disaster response teams More

Video Experts: Rise of Islamic State Significant Development in Jihadism

Many analysts contend the group - which grew out of al-Qaida in Iraq - has been rebuilding for years More

US-Based Hong Kongers Pledge Support for Pro-Democracy Activists

Democracy advocates call on Chinese living abroad to join them in opposing new election rules for their home territory More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Larger Than Life Chinese Lanterns Make Southern California Appearancei
X
Elizabeth Lee
September 02, 2014 8:57 PM
Chinese lanterns with a long history are lighting up in 21st century style at the Los Angeles County Fair in southern California. Visitors can see traditional lanterns that hang, but also lanterns in the shape of animals, iconic landmarks and many other objects, all created by artisans from a place in China known for its lanterns. Elizabeth Lee has the details from the fair in the city of Pomona.
Video

Video Larger Than Life Chinese Lanterns Make Southern California Appearance

Chinese lanterns with a long history are lighting up in 21st century style at the Los Angeles County Fair in southern California. Visitors can see traditional lanterns that hang, but also lanterns in the shape of animals, iconic landmarks and many other objects, all created by artisans from a place in China known for its lanterns. Elizabeth Lee has the details from the fair in the city of Pomona.
Video

Video Experts See Rise of ISIS as Significant Development

The Islamic State’s rise seems sudden. It caught the U.S. by surprise this summer when it captured large portions of northern Iraq and spread its wings in neighboring Syria. But many analysts contend that the group - which grew out of al-Qaida in Iraq - has been rebuilding for years. VOA's Jela de Franceschi takes a closer look at the rise of ISIS and its implications for the Middle East and beyond.
Video

Video Israel Concerned Over Syrian Rebels in Golan

Israeli officials are following with concern the recent fighting between Syrian rebels and government forces near the contested Golan Heights. Forty-four U.N. peacekeepers from Fiji have been seized by Syrian Islamist rebels and the clashes occasionally have spilled into Israel. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jerusalem.
Video

Video Ukraine Schools Resume Classes, Donate to Government Forces

A new school year has started in Ukraine but thousands of children in the war-torn east are unable to attend because of ongoing clashes with pro-Russia rebels. In Ukraine's capital, patriotic education has become the norm along with donations to support injured security forces fighting to take back rebel-held areas. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video US Detainees Want Negotiators for Freedom in North Korea

The three U.S. detainees held in North Korea were permitted to speak with foreign media Monday. The government of Kim Jong Un restricted the topics of the questions, and the interviews in Pyongyang were limited to five minutes. Each of the men asked Washington to send a representative to Pyongyang to secure his release. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti has our story.
Video

Video Turkmen From Amerli Describe Survival of IS Siege

Over the past few weeks, hundreds of Shi'ite Turkmen have fled the town of Amerli seeking refuge in the northern city of Kirkuk. Despite recent military gains after U.S. airstrikes that were coordinated with Iraqi and Kurdish forces, the situation remains dire for Amerli’s residents. Sebastian Meyer went to Kirkuk for VOA to speak to those who managed to escape.
Video

Video West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015

A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video Survivors Commemorate 70th Anniversary of Nazi Liquidation of Jewish Ghetto

When the German Nazi army occupied the Polish city of Lodz in 1939, it marked the beginning of a long nightmare for the Jewish community that once made up one third of the population. Roughly 200,000 people were forced into the Lodz Ghetto. Less than 7,000 survived. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, some survivors gathered at the Union League Club in Chicago on the 70th anniversary of the liquidation of the Lodz Ghetto to remember those who suffered at the hands of the Nazi regime.

AppleAndroid