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White House: Sudan and Israel to normalize relations

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Israel and Sudan are on course toward normalizing relations as part of a U.S.-brokered deal, the White House announced on Friday.

https://twitter.com/realDonaldTrump/status/1319683876046934016

“President @realDonaldTrump has announced that Sudan and Israel have agreed to the normalization of relations,” tweeted Deputy Assistant to the president, Judd Deere, adding that this move is “another major step toward building peace in the Middle East with another nation joining the Abraham Accords”.

This move comes after the president removed Sudan from the State Department’s list of state sponsors of terrorism this week, and after the Arab nations of Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates formally normalized their ties with the State of Israel last month in a U.S.-brokered deal.

Sudan and other predominantly Muslim countries have treated Israel hostilely for decades because of the ongoing Israeli-Palestinian conflict. This recent diplomatic shift in the Arab world toward reconciliation with Israel symbolizes a changing political dynamic in the Middle East, especially as many Arab nations grow increasingly antagonistic toward Iran.

The first Arab countries to recognize Israel were Egypt in 1979 and the U.S.-aligned Kingdom of Jordan in 1994, each under different circumstances.

Also historically significant is that the removal of Sudan from the state-sponsored terror blacklist marks the end of the authoritarian country’s international isolation. In 1993, the United States imposed sanctions on the landlocked North African nation for aiding terrorist organizations such as Hezbollah, Hamas, and Palestinian Islamic Jihad as well as for sheltering Osama bin Laden, who led al-Qaeda at the time. Additionally, al-Qaeda and the group Egypt Islamic Jihad in 1998 bombed the U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, taking over 200 lives.

Countries placed on this State Department list are prohibited from receiving financial aid from international entities such as the International Monetary Fund, something which the economically impoverished country needs desperately.

Also related to this deal is that Sudan has to compensate American victims of terror attacks that it was involved in and their families in the amount of $355 million. President Trump said on Monday that he would remove Sudan from the terror list if it followed through on this, which it did on Tuesday. Trump then signed an executive order to take it off the list.

Congress has 45 days to rubber-stamp this action, however.

https://twitter.com/realDonaldTrump/status/1318251010595303424

Sudan’s Prime Minister, Abdalla Hamdok, thanked the U.S. president in a tweet for removing Sudan from the state sponsors of terrorism blacklist.

“Thanks to President @realdonaldtrump for signing today the executive order to remove Sudan from #SSTL,” he wrote. “We’re working closely with the US Administration & Congress to conclude the SSTL removal process in a timely manner. We work towards int’l relations that best serve our people.”

There are reports, according to The Times of Israel and Reuters, that a deal may be announced late on Friday.

You can follow Douglas Braff on Twitter @Douglas_P_Braff.

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Trump: Tanks to Ukraine could escalate to use of ‘NUKES’

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ukraine tanks scaled

Former President Donald Trump stated bluntly on Truth Social,  “FIRST COME THE TANKS, THEN COME THE NUKES. Get this crazy war ended, NOW. So easy to do!”

Trump was referring to the escalation of war in Ukraine. He, like many other commentators and lawmakers, are warning that the decision to continue sending weapons – and now tanks – could potentially lead to the use of “nuclear weapons.”

It’s mission creep and it’s dangerous, they say.

Why? Because Russian President Valdimir Putin has indicated in two different speeches that he would use nuclear weapons to defend Russia, if needed. Those warnings are not just bluster but a very real possibility.

And the escalation of war is visible.

Russia launched 55 missiles strikes across Ukraine Thursday, leaving 11 dead. The strikes come one day after the United States and Germany agreed to send tanks to Ukraine in an effort to aide the country. 47 of the 55 missiles were shot down according to Ukraine’s Air Force command.

Eleven lives were lost and another 11 were injured additionally leaving 35 buildings damaged in the wake of the attacks. According to The New York Times, Denys Shmyhal, said in a post on Telegram. “The main goal is energy facilities, providing Ukrainians with light and heat,” he said.

Ukraine is now demanding that they need F-16 fighter jets. In a post on twitter Ukrainian lawmaker, Oleksiy Goncharenko said, “Missiles again over Ukraine. We need F16.”

The US has abstained from sending advanced jets in the chances that a volatile decision could foster more dangerous attacks like former President Trump’s post on Truth referred to. If the US did authorize the decision to lend Ukraine the F-16 jets Netherlands’ foreign minister, Wopke Hoekstra, would be willing to supply them. According to The New York Times, Hoekstra told Dutch lawmakers, “We are open-minded… There are no taboos.”

F-16 fighter jets are complex to work on, they are not the average aircraft that can be learned in a matter of weeks. It can take months for pilots to learn how to fly these birds. European and US officials have the concern that Ukrainian forces could potentially use the jets to fly into Russian airspace and launch attacks on Russian soil.

Western allies are trying to avoid such a provocation, because that could lead to nuclear warfare in reference to what Putin has said he would do to defend his country.

 

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