Sudan: Manipulating the Game to Get Rid of Sanctions

By Scott Morgan

On July 12th, the Trump Administration was to have decided to make permanent one of the final decisions made by Barack Obama before he left office: the partial lifting of sanctions against Sudan.

One of the criteria that has been used as a major argument to provide redress has been the reported cooperation between Sudan and the United States in the important field of counterterrorism. One cannot read any news account originating from Khartoum or linked to them that has trumpeted this narrative. But there is something amiss in these reports.

Once a year, the US State Department releases a report documenting instances of terrorism around the world and what specific countries are doing to address these issues. This document is submitted to Congress under the auspices of Section 2656f of Title 22 of the United States Code. Fields such as cracking down on money laundering, border security and other issues are addressed. Sudan is part of a special chapter specifically for those rogue nations that are designated as State sponsors of Terrorism.

There has been ample praise lauded upon Sudan by the State Department in the battle against ISIS. This was part of the initiative offered by the United States to Sudan to foster an environment that could generate some Sanctions relief if Khartoum cooperated in the effort to defeat ISIS. It seems that as long as there is an effort to deal with ISIS, the blinders are on to any other terrorist threat such as Hamas or Al-Shabaab that could affect regional stability. After all there is more to stopping terrorism than keeping them out of your country and financing them.

There is a program the the United States supports called PREACT (Partnership for Regional East African Counterterrorism) that was established back in 2009. Key partners of the US in this effort include Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania and Somalia. In the report it has been documented that, in the year 2016, Sudan was an inactive member of this group and did not receive any US assistance for this program. In contrast in 2015 the entry for Sudan lists the country as a full member of this program. So why is Khartoum not active in this program? They have their reasons.

The question must be asked again: if the Sudanese are fully supporting all American Counterterrorism efforts in Africa why are they not active in this effort? Clearly they see a focus in one area and are seeking to exploit this for their own gain. Which is the lifting of sanctions. Another interesting fact is the lack of mention regarding the Muslim Brotherhood as well. They have reportedly set up a base in Sudan reportedly to move against President Al-Sisi. Another country where Sudan is appearing to be getting a Free Pass is Libya. They have shipped Arms through Benghazi in the past. Clearly the eyes of the US cannot be distracted from this can they?

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