By Micah HalpernI've Been Thinking:
Almost everyone knows that Hassan Rouhani, the new Iranian president, assumed his post yesterday.
But hardly anyone knows that Sudan's President Omar al Bashir was on his way to the inauguration and was forced to return to Khartum.
Saudi Arabia would not permit al Bashir to cross their air space.
That happened despite his having a prior agreement and his using a Saudi charter and non-Sudanese pilots.
The plane took off and entered Saudi airspace and was told it may not proceed. So the pilots circled in Saudi airspace for about an hour as the diplomats tried to resolve the issue. In the end, al Bashir's plane was turned back.
In the Western world al Bashir is a pariah. An arrest warrant has been issued by the International Criminal Court (The ICC). But this is the Middle East and over the last few years he has been a regular and welcome guest in Saudi Arabia. The African Union officially rejected the warrant and it members disregard to ICC decree.
Here's the problem: Sudan has begun to permit Iran the use of their ports. Several times in the recent past Iran has docked its warships in the port of Sudan. This act has become a real public affront to Saudi Arabia.
And so, al Bashir and Sudan are being publicly humiliated for becoming too cozy with Iran.
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