September 29, 2015 (KHARTOUM) – The Sudanese government has renewed its readiness to send troops to Yemen in support of the legitimate government there.
- Pro-government forces loyal to Yemen’s exiled President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi drive armored vehicles in Marib province on September 8, 2015 (AFP Photo/Abdullah Hassan)
Sudan made the largely symbolic move last March of joining the Saudi-led military coalition against Houthi rebels who are accused by Riyadh of being a proxy to Iran in the region.
At the time it was reported that four Sudanese fighter jets were dispatched to Saudi Arabia during the airstrikes launched by the alliance in Yemen which is made up mainly of Arab Gulf states. However it is not clear if Sudanese planes actually took part in the aerial bombardment.
Last week, the Sudanese first vice-president Bakri Hassan Saleh confirmed that his government is poised to send the equivalent of a full brigade to confront the Houthis in Yemen.
Sudan’s ambassador to Cairo and permanent representative at the Arab League (AL) , Abdel-Mahmood Abdel-Haleem, on Tuesday reiterated Sudan’s readiness to meet the military demands of the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen.
He told the Dubai based News24 website that his country is ready to deploy ground forces whenever requested to do so by the coalition, adding “however there is no Sudanese ground troops [in Yemen] at the moment”.
Earlier this month, media reports quoted sources as saying that 6,000 Sudanese troops have joined the fight inside Yemen but Sudan’s military spokesperson later said the troops are at the ready but not yet been sent.
“The martyrdom of several soldiers from the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia and Bahrain indicates that victory is imminent and the restoration of the legitimacy is only a matter of time”. Abdel-Haleem pointed out.
He stressed that there would be no retreat from the military campaign ably led by Saudi Arabia to restore the legitimacy in Yemen, noting that Khartoum is ready to meet the entire demands of the coalition.
Observers believe that economic pressures faced by Sudan caused by multiple military conflicts, US sanctions and the loss of oil due South Sudan’s secession in 2011 prompted the government to reconsider its regional alliances particularly with Iran.
Late last year, Sudanese authorities ordered the closure of the Iranian Cultural Centre in the capital Khartoum and other states and asked the Iranian cultural attaché to leave the country in a move seen as a gesture of goodwill towards the Arab Gulf states.