Editor’s Note: Op Ed by Guest Writer, Scott Morgan, Africa and National Security Analyst, Red Eagle Enterprises. Guest contributors speak for themselves and not necessarily for IRD.
According to prominent foreign policy elites in Washington, the concept of formally restoring relations between the United States and the Islamic Republic of Sudan is a project so vast that it has to be completed in phases. (The elites don’t add that it is also a project so appalling that it had to have the help of well-paid lobbyists with no moral qualms about working with genocidairres.)
Phase One of The Restoration, which was keyed into action by the outgoing Obama Administration just before Obama left office in January 2017, resulted in the conditional granting of sanctions relief. That action had to be certified by the incoming Trump Administration in order to be permanently lifted. On October 12, 2017 the Trump Administration did just that, much to the chagrin of various diaspora groups of Sudan’s persecuted and marginalized people, human rights advocates, and anyone that actually has a clue about Sudan’s connections to global jihad for the past 25+ years.
Activists want to prevent Phase Two of the Restoration from going forward while ICC-indicted war criminal Omar al Bashir is still in power and committing genocide in the “three areas” (more policy elite talk) of Darfur, Nuba Mountains, and Blue Nile State. Activists also oppose the removal of Sudan from the State Sponsor of Terrorism list. . . at least while Sudan’s ruling party is one that is working hand in glove with the Muslim Brotherhood, Hamas, the Islamic State, al Shabaab, Boko Haram, and various other jihadist groups. What should they do when even the leading counter-terrorism and anti-jihad experts underestimate the role of Sudan in global jihad?
All of the issues and concerns highlighted and documented by various parties have been thrust aside in the name of diplomacy. Prominent policy elites in Washington are eager to show off their proficiency in Arabic – at least as they have been spoon-fed Arab proverbs by their friends in Khartoum. Why is Khartoum getting a free pass? And there are still other disturbing issues about the Sudan regime that are being overlooked in favor of restoring relationship.
It is well known that several routes that have been traditionally used for trade are being used for nefarious purposes now. Migrants and refugees from the Middle East and North Africa transiting through Sudan in an attempt to reach Europe are being forced into prostitution by Sudanese armed forces. Yet there is no outcry over their victimization.
Even more disturbing: Why is the West turning a blind eye towards Khartoum when it comes to well-founded allegations of the regime’s complicity in the horrific slave trade currently taking place in Libya. The Islamists responsible for this enslavement of black Africans are connected to the group that killed our own Ambassador to Libya, Christopher Stevens, Sean Smith, Glen Doherty, and Tyrone Woods. This is another group that works with the Khartoum regime.
Here is another problem within the country with which so many are eager to “normalize” relations. A number of Christian churches (as many as 40) have been listed for destruction by the Sudan Government. One such church was recently bulldozed out of existence at the end of Sunday services on February 11 in Haj Yousif, outside of Khartoum. After these buildings are destroyed they are replaced either by mosques or bazaars. Pastors and church members have been imprisoned as well. Bashir made it clear in an official fatwa that since South Sudan was “Christian,” there was no excuse for Christians, churches, or anything but Islam remaining in Sudan.
These abuses have been documented both by NGOs that track every such incident and even by U.S. government agencies. It seems, though, that the rights of these people, guaranteed by international law, are being ignored. Thanks to lobbyists painting visions of sugar plums, (aka trade opportunities) the world, including the United States, is more interested in furthering an agenda to restore Sudan to the community of nations, than defending the human rights of Sudanese Christians and Muslims opposed to living under Sharia.
And the world’s newest nation, the Republic of South Sudan, is another area where the international community looks the other way when it comes to the actions of Khartoum. On more than one occasion monitors have documented how the SAF (Sudanese Armed Forces) have sent truckloads of weapons across the border to support one renegade armed rebel combatant general after another. Khartoum’s not-so-hidden agenda is the removal of South Sudan’s president, Salva Kiir Mayardit, from office.
Sudan’s original plan was frustrated when the instigator of the December 2013 coup attempt and ensuing conflict, Riek Machar, was removed from the scene. But they have switched their support, and that of other international actors, to other armed rebel terrorist combatants in South Sudan. Those armed rebels have wreaked havoc, displaced hundreds of thousands, and committed whole-sale slaughter. And oddly enough, the legitimately elected, sovereign government of South Sudan continues to be blamed for it all. Listen to Khartoum much?
The actions of Khartoum cannot be ignored any longer. Bashir wants the return of all of South Sudan’s oil revenue, plain and simple, by any and all means necessary.
South Sudan is not the only location in the region in which Sudan has had a negative influence in recent years. Sudan was accused of shipping weapons to Syria through the Libyan port city of Benghazi. Iranian weapons shipments to Hamas entered Africa through Port Sudan and then transited through Egypt to reach their designation of the Gaza Strip. There was Sudanese support for Seleka as well, when they overthrew the Government of the Central African Republic in 2013. Seleka created a state of anarchy that persists to this very day.
With all of this going on, creating an enormous threat for the region and for the world, one has to ask what possible benefit is it to the United States to keep Bashir in power and normalize relations. Is it just in order to please some Arab States that we are willing to throw Sudan’s marginalized people and the nation of South Sudan to the wolves? The wolves are conning the State Department yet again and the American taxpayers will pay the price.
The policy elites should learn the best Sudanese proverb. It came from the late leader of South Sudan, Dr. John Garang.
“السودان هو مشوه جداً للإصلاح.” Sudan is too deformed to reform.
(Hyperlinks available from the author upon request)