It’s ironic that Khartoum lobbyist David Hoile starts his defense of the genocidal regime of Sudan in his recent Washington Times op ed with a reference to the late Christopher Hitchens’ book No One Left to Lie To.
In the case of pushing the U.S. to remove Sudan from the State Sponsors of Terrorism (SST) list, there are plenty of people left to lie to. People who have never taken the Khartoum regime seriously enough. People who have other nations on their mind when they think of “terrorism,” even those who call terrorism by its real name, “global jihad.” People in the Trump Administration who are preoccupied with fending off attacks from never-say-die Leftists, and so have handed over the issue of Sudan (and South Sudan) to career State people.
And, there are plenty of people to excuse the Khartoum regime. Hoile is just the latest to slither (actually, re-slither) on to the blood money bandwagon. His most recent work for Sudan President Omar al Bashir has been to go after the International Criminal Court (ICC) that has indicted Bashir for war crimes. An article in the Mail & Guardian calls Hoile “Al-Bashir’s British spin-doctor.”
On the U.S. blood money bandwagon (presumably driving on opposite side of the street from the British Hoile and his cohorts) are such lobbyists and apologists for ICC-indicted war criminal Bashir and his Caliphate-building regime as Squire Patton Boggs and the Atlantic Council.
Their Foreign Agents Registration Act statement and supplemental statement show that Squire Patton Boggs had a $40,000 per month contract with the cash-strapped Sudan government. Their efforts to convince the United States to lift sanctions and rehabilitate the reputation of the regime were quite impressive. Particularly their success was impressive considering that at the same time that Squire Patton Boggs was singing their praises, the regime’s Rapid Support Forces militia was attacking villages in Darfur and tens of thousands of Nuba and people from Blue Nile State were and are still living in refugee camps in South Sudan.
Incidentally, the Rapid Support Forces are administered by Sudan’s National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS). The head of NISS, the group that is the secret police, top torturer, and key contact for global terrorism in Sudan, was until recently Mohammed Atta al-Moula. Atta is now happily ensconced in Washington, DC as the Charge D’Affaires at the Sudan Embassy. You earned your money, Squire Patton Boggs!
The learned Atlantic Council in their ivory tower on 15th Street, NW (at least several hundred feet removed from the infamous “K Street” lobbyists) appears to have hands clean of filthy lucre. They merely urge the Trump Administration to normalize relations with Sudan out of the goodness of their hearts and fondness for the apparatchiks of the regime who wine and dine them in Khartoum and teach them old Arabic proverbs that they use to impress their friends and event attendees.
In both cases, though, the U.S. apologists have assured the world that Sudan has renounced its evil ways. Sudan is following the “benchmarks” to righteousness, as laid out for them by the Obama State Department and by erstwhile U.S. Ambassador to the UN, Samantha Power. (Power saw a “sea-change of improvement in humanitarian access” by the Khartoum regime. Which would be hilarious if it were not so tragic: praising a regime for improving access for humanitarian aid to people who would not need humanitarian aid if that regime were not waging genocidal jihad against them.)
At least the U.S. bandwagon mates don’t insist on claiming, as does Mr. Hoile (who the late human rights defender Lord Avebury of the British House of Lords referred to as “Oily Hoilee”) that Sudan just kept “bad company” for a few years. Hoile says Khartoum has never been guilty of the egregious human rights violations with which it was charged.
But something, actually, some things, earned Khartoum the title of genocidal regime and earned Field Marshal Omar his indictment by the ICC. They included capturing and enslaving black, African indigenous southern Sudanese who they refer to as abd the Arabic term they use for both “black” and “slave;” attempting to eradicate those black, African populations of Sudan – think southern Sudan, Darfur, Nuba Mountains, Blue Nile State for starters; political and religious repression – particularly persecution of Sudan’s Christians; scorched earth campaigns; aerial bombardment of civilian targets; and government-orchestrated starvation.
Hoile also says, “there was never any evidence to justify Khartoum being placed in 1993 on the list of countries determined to have repeatedly provided support for acts of international terrorism.” No evidence?
The Muslim Brotherhood, founded in Egypt by Hassan al-Banna, emerged in the 1940’s in Sudan from Muslim student groups with the same ideology. In 1964 they united under the Islamic Charter (or Covenant) Front led by the late Dr. Hassan Abdullah al-Turabi.
The Islamic Charter Front called for an Islamic Constitution, Shariah, and the establishment of an Islamic/Arabic nation. The ultimate goal? An Islamic/Arabist Caliphate for all of Africa. And Sudan’s government is still dominated by this ideology regardless of what has been said by American elites who repeat what Khartoum wants them to hear, that the “hardliners” have been “side-lined.” Everything’s coming up roses. . .except, it’s not.
It appears as if Hoile is banking on the Trump Administration’s dislike of all things Clinton to persuade the US government that the Islamist regime has been wronged. Hoile has always purported that it was the energetic actions of President Clinton and his staff attempting to divert attention from such other energetic actions as the Lewinsky scandal and other issues that gave Khartoum its undeserved reputation. On the contrary, Khartoum should be “rewarded” for its “two decades of active cooperation in counter-terrorism,” according to Hoile.
David Alton, the Professor Lord Alton, an Independent Crossbench Peer of the British Parliament’s House of Lords, knows the truth. He has been an advocate for human rights and religious freedom in Sudan for more years than Hoile credits to Sudan’s counter-terrorism efforts. Lord Alton declares:
The Sudanese regime has failed time and again to fulfil its promises to the international community. It must not be rewarded for its bad behaviour. The repression of ethnic and religious minorities continues, albeit in a media vacuum. Journalists, democracy activists and lawyers are jailed, newspapers are confiscated, and opposition politicians are intimidated. So long as Khartoum clings to its exclusionary and extreme Islamist ideology, it has no place among the community of nations, and it richly deserves its place on the list of state sponsors of terror. (In a personal email to me, October 2018)
So much could be said about Hoile’s two decades of activities and apologies for one of the most evil and vicious regimes of all time. They are documented in the publication Africa Confidential. And those of us who struggled to move Sudan from Madeleine Albright’s “back burner issue” assessment to a grassroots campaign against slavery and genocide should feel flattered that Hoile attributes so much opposition towards Khartoum to the Clinton Administration – because if there was, it was because of our efforts.
The fact of the matter is, though, that in a January 2000 memo our Sudan task force reflected, “The Administration’s emerging policy on Sudan seems to be to give the rebels a little bit of moral, and maybe financial, support, while doing nothing to isolate Khartoum by tarring it as a genocidal regime or by preventing it from receiving phenomenal wealth from international investors.” (The movement and the changes in U.S. policy to fight against slavery, starvation, etc. really didn’t take off until the Bush Administration.)
But the reason why Khartoum is on the SST list, and why it was (unfortunate past tense) heavily sanctioned, was because it deserved, and deserves, to be. Sudan’s National Congress Party/National Islamic Front regime works closely with numerous global terrorist groups such as Hamas, Hezbollah, al-Shabab, al Qaeda, the LRA, groups from Libya and Mali, and the Islamic State. In fact, many of members of these groups were trained right in Sudan in one of several terrorist training camps.
According to a leaked set of minutes from a meeting in Khartoum of the NISS and the Presidential cabinet in June 2017, Mohammed Atta declared to the group, “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.”
In August, a group of 85 organizations and individuals were concerned about US engagement with Sudan and the thought that the US might do exactly what Hoile suggests – take Sudan off the State Sponsors of Terrorism list. We wrote to Secretary of State Mike 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 letter to Pompeo warns, “If the U.S. removes Sudan from the list of states that sponsor terrorism, a designation that accurately defines the regime, the financial fortunes of the regime (not the people of Sudan) will improve and the U.S. will have empowered a regime guilty of supporting terrorism, committing genocide and destroying the lives of millions of people, including American citizens.”
The Trump Administration should not let Hoile, or anyone else, on the blood money bandwagon affect clarity about Sudan, or persuade them that Khartoum should be “rewarded” for anything.