photo by jon nicholson

news - Don't Remove Sudan From the Terrorism List

february 23rd, 2018


Note: This op-ed originally appeared on U.S. News and was written by John Prendergast.

After removing long-standing comprehensive sanctions against the government of Sudan, the United States is considering next steps on the path to full normalization of relations, driven by the U.S. intelligence community's belief that such a development would enhance U.S.-Sudan intelligence cooperation. However, moving at this time towards normalization ignores critical developments and new circumstances that affect core U.S. national security interests.

Sudan has entered a new moment where a spiraling economic crisis – fueled by decades of grand corruption and gross economic mismanagement – has come to a head, sparking ongoing popular protests which have led to fatalities and the imprisonment of opposition leaders, protesters, journalists and other independent voices. Capital flight has intensified as regime kleptocrats capitalized on the removal of U.S. sanctions to move their money out of Sudan.

This regime is a classic case of state hijacking by a small group of political, military and commercial allies who have repurposed governing institutions to privatize the natural resource wealth of the country, from gold to oil to the gum arabic that goes in our sodas, candy bars and cosmetics. The state budget has been reduced to funding internal repression and war-making, while nearly everything else is stolen. The financial chickens have finally come home to roost, as inflation spikes, the currency devalues and hunger deepens.

This is a moment of reckoning for the Khartoum regime. To accelerate U.S.-Sudan normalization with this imploding economy and increasing repression as an intensely volatile backdrop would be severely ill-timed at best and harm U.S. interests at worst.

Furthermore, there are other extremely troubling policy directions being taken by the government of Sudan that should give further pause to normalization. First and most alarmingly, even while sharing some intelligence with the CIA, the Sudan regime has maintained extensive ties with active extremist organizations and clerics within Sudan. Some call for jihad; others recruit or advocate for the Islamic State group or al-Qaida, against an historical backdrop that includes being implicated in – and held liable for – the bombings of U.S. embassies and the USS Cole as well as hosting Osama bin-Laden for years.

To read the full article, click here.

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