(Updated September 11, 2017)
It is important to me to once again re-post this 2012 article about 9/11 once again. It is important to me because it is 9/11 again. Unbelievably, 16 years have passed since the largest jihadist attack took place on U.S. soil and we seem to have learned little.
It is also important because the U.S. Government is on the verge of making a disastrous, foolish decision to lift sanctions on the Islamist Republic of Sudan. Reportedly, Sudan’s Foreign Minister, Ibrahim Ghandour, architect of genocide of Sudan’s black, African people groups, is going to be in Washington this Thursday. Is he coming to finalize the lifting of sanctions by the U.S.? A deal with the devil, for sure.
And, appallingly, the U.S. Treasury Department has inflicted sanctions on several leaders of the Republic of South Sudan at the same time contemplating lifting sanctions on the Islamist regime. This is a regime that is currently committing three active genocides: in Darfur, in the Nuba Mountains, and in Blue Nile State.
Read my account below of that day, 9/11/01, and the Sudan connection as we knew it then. I include new annotations in italics within the text. The Sudan connection to global jihad has only become more and more clear in the intervening years — except for those who do not want to see it.
September 6, 2001 in The Rose Garden
Five days before Islamic terrorists commandeered American airplanes and crashed them into the World Trade Center, the Pentagon, and a Pennsylvania field, it was the same kind of beautiful, sunny day in Washington, DC that it was on that horrible day. On that sunny September 6, 2001, former U.S. Senator John Danforth became the first-ever U.S. Sudan Special Envoy, with the mandate of trying to bring peace to that war-torn region.
For decades, the Islamist government of Sudan had been attempting forcibly to Islamize and Arabize all of Sudan. They waged genocidal jihad against those African Christians, Muslims, and followers of traditional religions from the South, the Nuba Mountains, and elsewhere that resisted. Sudan’s so-called civil war had already resulted in the death of over 2.5 million people, mostly civilians, and the displacement of over 5 million.
Danforth was sworn in by President George W. Bush in a White House Rose Garden ceremony. Dozens of people from South Sudan and the Nuba Mountains and their American activist friends, including me, were invited.
Excitement was palpable that day. Since taking office, President Bush had made Sudan a priority. He spoke out against what he called one of the world’s worst humanitarian disasters. He acknowledged the complicity of the Sudanese government and attempted to circumvent their orchestrated starvation of their own people by changing USAID’s methods of food distribution. And he also agreed to appoint a special envoy that would be his personal representative on U.S. Sudan policy.
We were full of hope that the appointment of Jack Danforth could eventually lead to a peace agreement. Such an agreement could bring about an end to the bombing, starvation, slavery, and other methods of jihad being used by the Government of Sudan against its own citizens.
Sudan Regime and Global Jihad — Proven
There were no illusions that this would be easy or quick in coming. The real work was just beginning, as we tried to see a piece of legislation, the Sudan Peace Act, passed in Congress. Everyone was united that day in the appointment of the Sudan Special Envoy. But the State Department was opposed to the stringent measures in the legislation. They particularly disliked an amendment sponsored by U.S. Rep. Spencer Bachus (R-AL) that had already been passed by the House of Representatives, to invoke capital market sanctions against companies doing business with the Government of Sudan.
In the days following the swearing in, Special Envoy Danforth reviewed his portfolio and familiarized himself with the situation in Sudan. We worked in a coalition to strengthen U.S. Sudan policy and pass the Sudan Peace Act with the sanctions intact.
As Congressman Bachus himself told the late heroic journalist A. M. Rosenthal:
Expanding U.S. sanctions in the area of capital markets access specifically targets what is the most significant revenue the Sudanese government has to prosecute the war. Obviously, the United States must send a new message and we must make that message stick. Stop the killing, stop the murder and torture, end the terror, or we end the investment. Can’t have it both ways. It is immoral to finance a war machine you know is wrong. America has to walk the walk.
In addition to opposing the immoral financing of a regime committing terrorism against its own people, we were convinced (I remain so) that the Sudanese regime was complicit in global terrorism and jihad.
Not only “convinced” now, but we actually have the evidence. There have been at least six leaked documents from the Khartoum regime (authenticated within agencies of the U.S. government) connecting the Sudan government to global jihadists including Hamas, the Taliban, al Qaeda, and, YES, the Islamic State (ISIS).
While some members of Congress also believed this and said so at House hearings, successive Administrations (Clinton, Bush, Obama) continued to prefer the fantasy that the Sudan regime was a good faith partner. They downplayed intelligence received from sources on the ground in Sudan pointing to the regime’s connections to terrorists around the world.
Instead, the entrenched careerists in the State Department appear to either be snookered by or cooperating with the Sudan regime by claiming that they have provided “valuable intelligence in the war on terrorism.” You can bet that they have NEVER provided intelligence that did not benefit them more than it benefited us.
The latest argument made for Khartoum is that they are “accepting refugees from the Middle East.” The leaked documents mentioned above, as well as other intelligence received from actual friends of the United States and allies of democracy in Sudan, make it clear who are the ‘refugees’ being welcomed by the great-hearted Bashir and company. They are jihadists and jihadist-sympathizers, part of the Khartoum regime’s agenda of Caliphate-building and Islamizing all of Africa. As one Nubian freedom fighter explains it, “they are building a new Andalusia on the Nile.”
September 11, 2001 at the Rayburn Building
So our Sudan coalition planned a press conference to declare the need for the House version of the Sudan Peace Act in order to stop genocide in Sudan and to help stop global Islamic terrorism. The event was to be in the Rayburn House Office Building at 9:00 A.M. on Tuesday, September 11, 2001.
I was in a cab, almost at the Rayburn Building, when I heard that a plane had crashed into the World Trade Center. In those days, before we could conceive of the evil of which the Islamist agenda was capable, even I, familiar as I was with the atrocities taking place in South Sudan and with persecution of Christians elsewhere in the Islamic world, assumed it was some horrible accident.
In the hearing room, though, things became clear. All the other speakers and Sudan coalition members’ eyes were riveted on the television screen when I got there. News came that a second plane had crashed in New York.
We, who reported on Antonovs dropping bombs on starving civilians waiting for food distribution, and women and children abducted and branded like cattle, had seen this level of monstrousness in Sudan, but never before in our own country.
And now, we see it on a regular basis all over the world, even as it continues in Sudan. Lift sanctions? INSANE.
Not long after, we were ushered out of the room by Capitol Hill police. The congressional offices were all being evacuated and closed. No one knew what was happening.
We surely couldn’t conceive that two more planes full of our fellow citizens would be used against us as weapons by the terrorists.
We would never have imagined how heroic Americans on one plane would precede our valiant military troops in doing battle against Islamic jihad in the cockpit of Flight 93.
In the midst of shock, my only continual thought was that now they would “get it.” Now they would understand what was happening in Sudan.
I’m not sure I even knew what I meant by them “getting” it. I had not yet begun to articulate the problem that I had been gradually noticing with U.S. Sudan policy — that what was taking place was being treated as a humanitarian issue and the root cause was never addressed.
The Root of It All
It was the same root cause that we saw in the suffocating smoke, the desperate jumpers, the burned flesh and incinerated body parts, collapsed towers, and the obscene yawning chasms that indicated that we had crossed a line in history from which we could never return. I think I hoped that the policymakers would now somehow understand that to deal with Sudan’s genocide as a humanitarian crisis was as absurd as to deal with 9/11 as a humanitarian crisis.
Even before we learned the magnitude of 9/11, we understood that this was a deliberate attack on us for who we were and what we represented. No less was this true in Sudan where the regime was attempting to eradicate all those who resisted the imposition of a pure Arabist Islamist identity. But U.S. Sudan policy did not reflect that reality.
It still doesn’t. Every success in U.S. Sudan policy — the passage of the Sudan Peace Act, which led to the North/South Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA), and finally to an independent nation of South Sudan — has happened in spite of the absurdity of negotiating in good faith with a regime that operates through denials and deception.
Failures — to stop the genocide in Darfur, to fully implement the CPA, to protect the people of the Nuba Mountains and Blue Nile and avert starvation — have occurred because the regime has never been held accountable for violating and dishonoring decades of agreements.
Get this: the regime has NEVER been held accountable and now we are contemplating rewarding them for genocide, racism, and complicity in global jihad by lifting permanently the sanctions that President Obama lifted as a last gesture before leaving office?
And to top it off, we punish South Sudan for defending its sovereignty from armed rebel combatants (and the UN). The rebels’ PR machine has sold the world on the most breathtaking lie about the situation.
Leaving D.C. that morning as people flooded out of the city and then remained for hours without moving on every street and highway, I wished we could go back to a time when we were naïve. I wished we had not been rudely awakened to the kind of world that the people of South Sudan knew as reality. I understood the irrevocable nature of what had taken place, and even before U.S. troops set off for battle in Afghanistan and Iraq, I knew that nothing would ever be the same.
Nothing has ever been the same, but in another sense, everything HAS BEEN the same.
View the world today and connect the dots — ISIS, that has taken preeminence as Caliphate builders…Christians, Yazidis, and others massacred and sold into slavery in Iraq and Syria…Copts beheaded on a Libyan beach…Boko Haram and Fulani jihadists trying to eradicate Christianity in Nigeria…Hamas continually waging war against Israel…the Taliban in Afghanistan and increasingly in Pakistan…al Shabaab, Seleka, Hezbollah, Iran… Benghazi, Fort Hood, San Bernardino, Boston, Orlando, Manchester, London, Paris, Barcelona, etc.