Fletcher in the News

South Sudan's Independence Declaration a Big Blow for Egypt: World Peace Foundation's Alex de Waal

The National

Alex de Waal

In his first 100 days in office, Egyptian president Mohammed Morsi has drawn attention for spearheading regional efforts to end the crisis in Syria and for forging new economic ties in the Gulf and with China. But he has also been busy quietly repairing ties with a neglected ally in his own backyard, Sudan.

Egypt, under its new Islamist president, sees much to gain from a renewed partnership with its Nile-sharing neighbour, whose government fell out with ousted president Hosni Mubarak after it allegedly sponsored an assassination attempt against him in the mid-1990s for his hard-line stance against Islamists. Sudan was suspected of hosting those who went underground due to persecution in their own countries - Osama bin Laden, the most prominent. …

… Sudan expert Alex de Waal of The Fletcher School at Tufts University called South Sudan's independence declaration a "big blow" for Egypt, and a "major reversal" to Egypt's long-standing policies of preserving the unity of what was Africa's largest nation.

"Egypt is very keen not to see any further instability or fragmentation affecting Sudan and will therefore support the status quo in Khartoum, in the absence of an immediately preferable alternative," said Mr de Waal.

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