There is a bizarre and disturbing story from the Australian outback that is surprisingly relevant to American foreign policy. . . at least when it concerns the Islamic Republic of Sudan. The 2008 story concerned the Peric family in Kuranda, Queensland State. This poor family had the horrifying experience of finding their dog being eaten alive by a fifteen foot python.
The attack on the Aussie family’s dog was not sudden, nor should it have come as a surprise. The danger signals were all there, but the Perics had disregarded them. The only bright spot for the Perics was that they learned their lesson and they learned to have a healthy fear of pythons infiltrating their home.
The Perics had noticed a snake stalking the pup for several days. They had also found the body of their cat – with all the bones crushed. (Do you think there was a steamroller in the neighborhood?) Finally, three or four days before the tragic event, the family had seen the python lying in the dog’s bed! That was a sure sign “that it was out to get it,” a snake expert told them. But who needs an expert? Even you or I could have told them that something bad was on the horizon by observing those danger signals.
So, what does this have to do with American foreign policy? The python insinuated itself into the daily life of the Peric family. Likewise, with aid from American lobbyists, Sudan is insinuating itself into a “normalized” relationship with the United States. And like the python getting to the puppy’s bed to achieve its goal (a tasty meal), Sudan now has a new close proximity to the U.S. government to achieve its goals (more about those later).
Mohamed Atta al-Moula served as the head of Sudan’s National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS) from 2009 to 2018. Before that, he was the deputy head of NISS from 2002-2009. This is the Sudan government’s arm that carries out the crimes of the regime and controls the country through violent oppression. Now Atta has received his (earthly) reward for decades of waging jihad and it is the United States that has made that reward possible.
The Trump Administration has been working to rout out ISIS in Iraq. You may know that the words jihad and terrorism have now returned to a lexicon that had been reduced to the letters “V” and “E” as in Combating Violent Extremism. But you may not know that some within the U.S. government are eager to restore – “normalize” – relations with the Sudan terrorist regime.
My colleagues and I have grown hoarse over the past 20 years or so trying to show not only the U.S. government, but counter-terrorism experts with a myopic Middle East focus, that we underestimate Sudan to our peril. And Sudan’s marginalized people have warned the U.S. for decades that when it comes to terror and global jihad, the country is “the head of the snake.”
On August 22, 2018 a group of us who are Sudanese pro-democracy activists and friends that support them as advocates and regime-watchers attempted to present more danger signals to the U.S. about its engagement with Sudan. Our group of 85 organizations and individuals wrote in a letter to Secretary of State Michael Pompeo:
The leaders of Sudan have outlasted and outsmarted several U.S. Administrations because they and their counterparts in the Muslim Brotherhood are committed to a long-term vision. They succeed at advancing their agenda because they can count on the U.S. and the international community to focus on short-term gains at the expense of long-term transformational objectives that yield real and sustainable international peace and security.
The admittance of Mohamed Atta al-Moula into the United States, into an Embassy a mere 1.5 miles from The White House, is just the latest symptom of that agenda advancing. And it is the latest symptom of unwise U.S. outreach to Sudan. . . But what a symptom! This time the outreach is an in-reach, bringing the head of the snake way too close for comfort.
There are facts about Atta that should be neither overlooked nor dismissed by the Trump Administration – or by long-time members of Congress, who should know better. Here are a few of the facts from our above-mentioned letter:
- As head of NISS, and as Deputy Head of NISS, Atta was responsible for the Ghost Houses, Khartoum’s infamous torture chambers for dissidents, political prisoners, etc.
- NISS controls and facilitates the movement of terrorists in Sudan.
- NISS prevents religious freedom, persecutes and imprisons Christians and moderate Muslims, confiscates and destroys church buildings and other church property.
- NISS controls arms dealers in Sudan and provides support to armed rebel terrorists in the region, including the rebel factions attempting to bring down the Government of South Sudan, jihadists in the Central African Republic, and Joseph Kony’s Lord’s Resistance Army.
- NISS controlled the Janjaweed (killer militia in Darfur), and now controls the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) the latest incarnation of the Janjaweed, which are guilty of attacking and burning villages and crops, killing unarmed citizens, throwing babies into roaring fires, raping men, women, and children, poisoning water wells, etc. These are daily events in the Jebel Marra region of Darfur. And the RSF also conducted such attacks in the Nuba Mountains and Blue Nile State, along with the Sudan Armed Forces.
- In Eastern Sudan, large numbers of NISS-controlled RSF are in place supposedly to “stop” human trafficking, but it is widely reported that the RSF are deeply involved in the trafficking themselves.
This is a sample of Atta’s transgressions against humanity. There are more. But less should suffice. Especially when you add this small detail: according to the U.S. Immigration and Nationality Act, Atta’s involvement in these serious crimes makes him ineligible for a U.S. visa.
To spell it out again, under Atta’s direction, NISS has committed severe violations of religious freedom. NISS has endorsed and supported terrorist activity, commissioned acts of torture and extrajudicial killings, recruited child soldiers, and committed genocide.
To the marginalized and persecuted people of Sudan, Khartoum’s ability to appoint their Torturer-in-Chief to a respected position in the United States is adding insult to their very real injury. To the regime, it is succeeding at bringing the snake that is global jihad terrorism into the very heart of our nation’s capital.
In case you are thinking, “There must be something we are getting from Sudan that makes this obscenity acceptable!” you are correct, in a sense. There is something that we think we are getting from Sudan: Cooperation on Terrorism!
It is once again a case of the United States underestimating Sudan and Sudan snookering the United States. The letter to Secretary Pompeo warns:
The U.S. government seems to believe it has found a reliable source of intelligence in the Sudan regime. The Sudan regime knows what the U.S. wants and it is willing to temporarily and partially cooperate to gain access to financial markets.
The operative words are “temporarily” and “partially.”
Khartoum never gives up intelligence that would be damaging to its long-term agenda of the Islamization and Arabization of Africa. And Khartoum never gives up any intelligence that could not also be provided (more honestly and more completely) by both 1, the marginalized people and the SPLA/M-North of Sudan, and 2, the government of South Sudan. Unfortunately, they don’t have access to $400,000/month lobbyists to make their case like the Islamic Republic of Sudan.
The Pompeo letter asks, “Once Sudan has what it wants, what will be the incentive for it to continue to cooperate with the United States?” It describes “opportunistic relationships” with “a variety of terrorist groups” in Libya, in Mali, Hamas, the LRA, al-Shabab and al-Qaeda, and others in the region. It just might be that these relationships, as well as their joint efforts with ISIS, are deliberate, not just opportunistic. The python does not just stumble upon the puppy’s bed! They are meant to facilitate regional destabilization and the global spread of Sharia.
It’s difficult not to believe that Sudan, and Atta, have a key role in global jihad terrorism. According to a leaked set of minutes from a meeting of NISS in June 2017, Atta reported to the group, including President Omar al Bashir and members of his cabinet, “What is important is that the Americans are not sure that Sudan is supporting terrorism and how it participated in its funding.”
Atta continued, “It is true Sudan is facilitating financial aid to groups of terrorists. But we tell them that Sudan have [sic] no knowledge of supporting terrorism.”
Did you get that?
At this meeting, Atta went on to show his cohorts how Sudan gives the appearance of helpful cooperation, by telling the United States, “If you have information tell us, we are ready to combat terrorism and assure our desire to cooperate with you.”
Helpful, cooperative, friendly Sudan! In that case, how convenient to have the former head of intelligence right here in Washington, DC, so he can brief our agencies all the time!
That is the picture of Sudan and Atta painted by Khartoum’s well-paid U.S. lobbyists, Squire Patton Boggs. It is reinforced by others, such as the Sudan Task Force/normalization team at the Atlantic Council and the State Department.
But keep in mind another picture – the one that accompanies this article. Having the former head of NISS in Washington, DC in spite of his years of genocidal activity and in spite of years of warnings and danger signals is risky and foolhardy. It’s as foolish as ignoring the danger signals when a python is after your puppy.
*With thanks to Deborah Martin, who first told me about the sad fate of the Peric family’s dog.