As per a resolution proposed by the United Kingdom, the United Nations Security Council has appealed for a ceasefire in Sudan. The appeal comes in view of Ramadan, the holy month for Muslims, which is anticipated to commence on Sunday. The resolution has urged all conflicting parties in Sudan to strive for a sustainable resolution to the protracted conflict via dialogue, thereby calling for an end to the brutal power strife.

The conflict in question, connecting the army of General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) under the command of General Mohamed Hamdan Daglo, has resulted in a turmoil-ridden Sudan. The UN Security Council’s comprehensive resolution, adopted on a recent Friday, demands an immediate halt to the hostilities in this war-torn country during the revered month of Ramadan.

The coming month carries particular significance; not only does it mark a season of prayer and fasting for Muslims worldwide, but it also provides a potential haven of peace for Sudan in the midst of conflict. The UN’s resolution, unanimously endorsed, sends out a clear signal to Sudan’s conflicted parties. The international community insists on immediate peace, anticipating a ceasefire would act as a bridge towards a more permanent solution to the strife.

The hope behind this ceasefire is two-fold. Firstly, within a humanitarian context, a cessation of hostilities would address the immediate physical and psychological needs of the population trapped amidst fighting. Secondly, a ceasefire could mark the first step towards a peaceful dialogue, thereby feeding into the UN’s broader objective of a robust, sustainable resolution.

Perpetual conflict between General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan’s forces and the RSF, led by General Mohamed Hamdan Daglo, led Sudan into a period of sustained violence and left it teetering on the brink of disaster. In this climate, the resolution brings hope that a ceasefire might represent the first step towards a broader dialogue, wherein the varied parties can negotiate a more lasting peace agreement.

The UN Security Council emphasises the importance of dialogue in conflict resolution. This proposed cessation of hostilities is not seen as an end in itself but as the means to fostering discussion between the warring parties. It serves as a stepping stone for the players in the Sudanese conflict to come to the negotiation table without distraction or threat.

The resolution, proposed by the UK, has been voted in favour by the UN Security Council, marking a substantial step forward in the multinational effort to bring an end to the Sudanese turmoil. The international community has echoed the importance of the ceasefire, expressing collective hope that as the holy month begins, so too will Sudan’s journey towards lasting peace.

Although the ongoing conflict shows no signs of abating, the adoption of this resolution adds a substantial international voice to calls for its resolution. As the world watches, the ball now lies squarely in Sudan’s court. With civilians bearing the brunt of the conflict, it is vitally essential that both sides lay down their arms and engage in meaningful dialogue international arbiters hope will lead to an enduring peace deal.

Thus, in this holy month of Ramadan, the stage is set for Sudan to begin a ceasefire, encouraged by a wider international community, hoping that this will provide respite and lay the foundation for a peaceful dialogue and a more harmonious Sudan in the foreseeable future.

In this momentous time, Sudan and the international community are united in hope, a hope that a ceasefire will make the holy month of Ramadan a time for new beginnings and reconciliation, marking a decisive shift in Sudan’s turbulent narrative.

Image credit: AP Photo/Marwan Ali

Egypt has recently clinched a substantial financial lifeline, securing a deal with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to bolster its economic resilience. This agreement, doubling Egypt’s IMF bailout to a significant $8 billion, follows a series of pivotal economic reforms initiated by Cairo.

One of the critical measures taken by Egypt was allowing its currency, the pound, to undergo a substantial devaluation against the US dollar, plummeting to record lows. This decision, aimed at fostering a more flexible exchange rate regime, was pivotal in unlocking much-needed support from the IMF to stave off what could have been Egypt’s most severe economic crisis in decades.

The devaluation of the pound, by a staggering 40 per cent, coupled with significant hikes in interest rates, was undertaken to alleviate the strain caused by a shortage of foreign currency. It’s worth noting that permitting market forces to dictate the value of the pound was a precondition for Egypt to access additional IMF funds, following a previous $3 billion bailout secured in 2022.

The impact of these economic manoeuvres was palpable as the pound plummeted beyond 50 against the dollar, a stark contrast to its artificial stability around 31 to the dollar for nearly a year. This sharp decline in the official exchange rate brought it more in line with the prevailing black market rates, which had soared to more than twice the official rate.

Despite the inevitable challenges posed by such drastic measures, with an inflation rate hovering around 30 per cent as of January, Egyptian authorities were cognizant of the potential hardships facing their populace. However, the injection of $35 billion into Egypt by ADQ, a prominent Abu Dhabi-based investment vehicle, provided a much-needed cushion for the central bank to navigate the aftermath of currency controls being lifted.

The significance of ADQ’s investment cannot be overstated, as it played a pivotal role in facilitating the IMF deal. With the influx of funds, the currency found a more stable footing, and Egypt’s foreign reserves experienced a notable boost. This, in turn, significantly mitigated the risk of a currency freefall, providing much-needed reassurance to investors and stakeholders alike.

Egypt’s economic woes were further compounded by external factors, including the recent conflict between Israel and Hamas in Gaza. Given Egypt’s strategic proximity to the besieged strip, it plays a crucial role in facilitating aid delivery and negotiation efforts with Hamas. Moreover, disruptions to foreign currency revenue, stemming from attacks on vessels in the Red Sea by Houthi rebels in Yemen, added to Egypt’s economic challenges.

The magnitude of ADQ’s investment, earmarked for the development of vast coastal expanses along Egypt’s Mediterranean coast, effectively served as a bailout from the Gulf state. This infusion of fresh capital, coupled with a rapid disbursement schedule, provided much-needed relief to Egypt’s foreign currency crisis and helped cement the IMF deal.

In concrete terms, the agreement entailed a staggering $24 billion in fresh investments, complemented by the conversion of $11 billion of UAE deposits into local currency for use in various projects across Egypt. Notably, the initial tranche of $10 billion had already been disbursed, with the remaining funds scheduled to arrive within six weeks, as per Egypt’s announcement.

Egypt’s reliance on IMF support dates back to 2016, making it the fund’s second-largest debtor after Argentina. Previous agreements, such as the $3 billion support package in October 2022, mandated pivotal reforms, including a shift towards a more flexible exchange rate and the privatization of state-owned assets, including those under military ownership.

The Central Bank of Egypt has underscored its commitment to maintaining stability amidst these economic upheavals. In addition to floating the currency, the central bank implemented a significant hike in interest rates, increasing the overnight lending rate to 28.25 per cent and the overnight deposit rate to 27.25 per cent. These measures are aimed at bridging the gap between official and black market exchange rates, while also addressing inflationary pressures.

In conclusion, Egypt’s recent economic reforms, including the devaluation of its currency and securing substantial investments from abroad, have positioned the country on a more stable economic trajectory. While challenges persist, particularly in the face of external geopolitical tensions, the increased IMF support and strategic investments offer a glimmer of hope for Egypt’s economic recovery and resilience.

In a significant ruling, Egypt has sentenced eight members of the Muslim Brotherhood to death for their involvement in the tumultuous events of 2013. This verdict comes in the wake of the military’s ousting of Mohamed Morsi, Egypt’s first democratically elected president.

The Emergency Supreme Court of State Security, located in Cairo, pronounced the death penalty for a number of individuals, including Mohamad Badie, the Brotherhood’s supreme guide.

Badie, who served as the eighth Supreme Guide of the Muslim Brotherhood from 2010 to 2013, was apprehended during the military coup against the Morsi government.

Several of those convicted had previously been sentenced to death in unrelated cases, underscoring the severity of the charges.

The accused were alleged to have conspired to overthrow the government of Abdel Fattah el Sissi, who assumed power following the ousting of Mohamed Morsi. They were also charged with the murder of police officers and the destruction of public property.

The backdrop to these events traces back to July 2013 when leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood organized a massive sit-in at Rabaa al Adawiya, denouncing the coup.

Subsequently, security forces carried out a raid on the square, resulting in the deaths of hundreds in a single day. The authorities termed this operation as a counter-terrorism measure.

Mohamed Morsi, who was incarcerated, passed away in 2019.

A History of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt

The Muslim Brotherhood, founded in Egypt in 1928 by Hassan al-Banna, has been one of the most influential and controversial political movements in the country’s modern history. Initially established as a social and religious organization aimed at promoting Islamic values and social welfare, the Brotherhood gradually evolved into a potent political force.

Under al-Banna’s leadership, the Brotherhood focused on charitable work, education, and social services, garnering support among Egyptians who were disillusioned with colonial rule and sought an alternative vision for their nation’s future.

The Brotherhood’s ideology combined elements of Islamism, populism, and anti-colonialism, resonating with a broad swath of Egyptian society. However, its growing influence also drew the ire of successive Egyptian governments, leading to periodic crackdowns and confrontations.

Despite facing repression, the Brotherhood remained resilient, operating clandestinely when necessary and gradually expanding its organizational reach. By the mid-20th century, it had become a major political player, advocating for social justice, political reform, and the implementation of Islamic law.

The Brotherhood’s rise to prominence culminated in the 2011 Egyptian Revolution, which toppled the long-serving autocrat Hosni Mubarak. In the subsequent elections, the Brotherhood’s political arm, the Freedom and Justice Party, emerged as the dominant force, securing a plurality of seats in the parliament and propelling Mohamed Morsi to the presidency.

However, Morsi’s tenure proved divisive, marked by allegations of authoritarianism, economic mismanagement, and attempts to consolidate power. His ousting in a military coup in 2013 sparked widespread unrest and violence, plunging Egypt into a period of turmoil and political uncertainty.

Since then, the Brotherhood has faced harsh repression, with thousands of its members arrested, and its activities banned. Despite these challenges, it remains a potent force in Egyptian society, with a deep-rooted network of supporters and sympathizers.

As Egypt grapples with the aftermath of Morsi’s overthrow and the broader legacy of the Arab Spring, the fate of the Muslim Brotherhood continues to be a central and contentious issue in the country’s political landscape.

The escalating humanitarian crisis in Sudan, caused by continuing political strife and power struggles, may soon precipitate the largest global hunger crisis, according to the World Food Programme (WFP). The UN organisation dedicated to fighting hunger worldwide emphasised the gravity and urgency of the situation in a recent statement.

Cindy McCain, Director of the WFP, signalled the alarming state of Sudan, invoking the memory of Darfur’s major hunger crisis twenty years ago. “Darfur was the world’s largest hunger crisis, and the world rallied to respond,” McCain recalled. Her comments drew attention to the fact that much like Darfur, the current crisis in Sudan endangers peace and stability in the broader region while threatening millions of lives.

The power struggle between General al-Burhan of the Sudanese Armed Forces and Hemedti, the commander of the Rapid Support Forces (RSF), has resulted in a conflict that has lasted for almost a year. The devastating ramifications of this war are highly evident, with tens of thousands of people dead, the nation’s infrastructure heavily damaged, and the economy spiralling towards a severe collapse.

As if these consequences weren’t dire enough, the conflict has also led to the displacement of an unprecedented number of people. Approximately eight million people have been displaced as a direct result of the hostilities, with this figure augmenting the previously established two million individuals who were compelled to leave their homes prior to the ongoing conflict. This exacerbates the existing displacement catastrophe and escalates it into the world’s most severe.

Sudan’s political turmoil has not just worsened the hunger situation, but it has also posed significant obstacles to the provision of humanitarian aid. The WFP has had to cease operations from Chad to Darfur after the local authorities refused to grant permission for cross-border truck convoys. This lifeline route has facilitated the aid to more than one million individuals in West and Central Darfur since August, and the WFP had plans to amplify this figure monthly to counter the rising levels of hunger and malnutrition in Darfur.

However, with the interruption of aid routes, efforts to assuage Sudan’s escalating crisis look increasingly bleak. The intensifying food security and displacement issues underscore the humanitarian disaster embroiling the country. The warning from the WFP serves as a grim reminder that the nation’s political crisis does not merely threaten Sudan’s stability, but also poses a severe threat to civil life and survival. The international community’s collaborative action becomes all the more crucial in this context.

The standoff between military leaders continues to destabilise Sudan as the region teeters on the brink of a potential hunger crisis. Trapped in the crossfire are millions of Sudanese who bear the brunt of the deteriorating situation. The WFP’s stark warning alludes to the humanitarian cost of political instability and emphasises the urgent need for intervention to mitigate the escalating crisis.

The March edition of the US State Department’s magazine delved into the bilateral relations between the US and Morocco in its “Post of the Month” article.

The feature article reflected on the long-established bilateral connections between the two nations, underscoring the US commitment to enhancing cooperation with Morocco across all spheres.

Emphasizing its geopolitical significance, the magazine underscored Morocco’s pivotal role as a gateway to both Africa and Europe.

“Given its proximity to neighbouring Spain, which lies just 8 miles north of Tangier across the Strait of Gibraltar, Morocco is a vital portal between Africa and Europe,” the magazine noted, highlighting the North African nation’s rich cultural diversity and traditions.

The State magazine also cited statements from diplomats, including the current US ambassador to Morocco, Puneet Talwar, who expressed the country’s robust cooperation and partnership with the US.

“Morocco is proud to stand with us… I think it’s critical that we devote time, energy, and attention to our friends and see how we can advance areas of mutual interest, as well as work with them on the challenges we face,” Talwar remarked.

David Fisher, Political Counsellor at the US embassy in Rabat, also weighed in on the bilateral ties between the two countries, noting the political stability prevalent in the North African nation.

“You won’t find any other country in Africa that’s as stable and as reliable an ally as Morocco,” Fisher asserted.

The US is among the nations that acknowledge Morocco’s sovereignty over its southern provinces in Western Sahara.

Former US President Donald Trump signed the proclamation recognising Morocco’s territorial integrity and sovereignty over its southern provinces in December 2020.

“It’s a real pleasure working here knowing that we’re contributing to furthering and continuing to build our alliance with one of America’s oldest friends, partners, and allies that dates back to the founding of our own nation,” Trump expressed.

The magazine article also underscored the significance of cooperation between the two countries in terms of security and counterterrorism.

Describing Morocco as one of the largest non-NATO allies to the US, the magazine highlighted that the North African country plays a “pivotal role in regional security and counterterrorism efforts.”

This is evident in Morocco’s hosting of joint military exercises with American troops annually.

The military collaboration includes the African Lion, the largest military drill that Morocco has hosted for over 18 years.

“There are more than 100 U.S.-Moroccan military engagements over a year. African Lion just gets most of the attention because it’s the largest,” Fisher commented on this matter.

He described Morocco as a “real beacon of stability.”