By Hassan Hanizadeh
Sudanese President Omar Hassan al-Bashir arrived in Tehran on Monday for talks with high-ranking Iranian officials.
Al-Bashir’s visit to Tehran indicates the significance both Iran and Sudan attach to solving the problems of the Islamic world.
Due to its vast area (over 2.5 million square kilometers) as well as its abundance of natural resources, Sudan has always been a target of the colonial powers.
Sudan offered thousands of martyrs in order to gain its independence, and its lengthy confrontations with the colonial powers have given the country a special status in the field of nationalist struggles.
Later, Sudan’s struggles became a model for Arab and African countries. The colonial powers can still remember the bitter taste of their defeats in Sudan in the 19th century.
Although the colonialists have long since withdrawn from Sudanese territory, their conspiracies against the Muslim Sudanese nation continue. For example, many analysts believe their intrigues brought about the war in southern Sudan, whose inhabitants were previously not separatist.
Historically, the colonialists have tried to take advantage of the ethnic diversity of Sudan to foment ethnic strife in order to undermine Sudan’s efforts to make optimal use of its resources.
Thus, Sudan became embroiled in a series of civil wars, mostly due to the interference of foreign powers.
Totally aware of both the regional and international situations, the Sudanese government, led by President al-Bashir, tried to resolve the conflict in the south through a national and Islamic process. However, due to the interference of the United States and its Western allies, all these endeavors have come to naught.
Gaining control over the country’s natural resources and part of the Nile River in order to pressure Sudan and Egypt, which both depend on the continent’s life-giving river, is the main objective of the Western interference in Sudan’s internal affairs.
Unfortunately, circumstances have prevented the Sudanese government from making optimal use of its natural resources over the past twenty years.
However, some studies suggest that Sudan could become a regional breadbasket if it successfully implemented sustainable development programs, and this is what the West is trying to prevent.
Yet, the wise policy of Sudanese officials has somewhat frustrated these neo-colonialist plots. In addition, the Sudanese government has actually prevented the internationalization of the Darfur crisis, which has been the subject of intense debate in the African Union and the West for years.
Although the United States and Britain have attempted to exaggerate the Darfur crisis, the problem can be managed through humanitarian efforts, without the interference of Western powers.
The Sudanese government has spared no effort to solve the Darfur crisis, but the European Union and the U.S. have exacerbated the regional crisis through their illogical interference.
For all these reasons, Sudan is now in dire need of the support of the Islamic world, and the Islamic Republic of Iran, as a country that enjoys a special status in the Muslim world, can play a significant role in resolving the Darfur crisis and preventing Western interference.
Iran and Sudan should use their religious affinities to promote serious expansion of their political, economic, and trade cooperation. Through investing in Sudanese oil, maritime, and agricultural industries, the Islamic Republic of Iran can help establish a major market in Africa that could boost bilateral relations between Iran and African countries.