Sudan has been on the list of state sponsors of terrorism since 1993, when the country was a veritable breeding ground of international terrorist.
Osama bin Laden chose Sudan as the headquarters of his al Qaeda terrorist network before being expelled from the country in 1996.The country’s lax banking system provided terrorists a place to stash their money without worrying about the Sudanese government confiscating it.Khartoum’s new transitional authority, however, wants to turn the page from Sudan’s decades-long history as one of the world’s chief terrorist enablers.
The overthrow of Sudanese dictator Omar Hassan al-Bashir last year and his replacement with a military-civilian governing council, which will rule the large African nation until elections in 2022, has provided Sudan with its best opportunity to exist the terrorism list. According to a September 25 report by the New York Times, Sudan’s provisional leaders may be close to seeing their country’s name off the U.S. blacklist.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has been working on a deal with the country’s governing council this year and travelled to Khartoum last month in a first time visit in 15 years by a US Secretary of State to meet with Sudan’s top civilian and military authorities.The deal under discussion entails Sudan’s delisting from the State Department’s terrorism list in exchange for agreeing to compensate victims of the 1998 U.S. Embassy bombing attacks in Kenya and Tanzania $335 million.
Khartoum insists that the money will only be released when Washington assures Sudan that no additional terrorism-related lawsuits are in the pipeline.
The U.S.-Sudan agreement is a straightforward proposition. Washington stops blocking international economic assistance and loans to Sudan, and the Sudanese government agrees to pay up for its involvement in one the worst terrorist attacks against a U.S. diplomatic facility in history.
Colin Clarke, who is a senior research fellow at the Soufan Center, and also a fellow at the Foreign Policy Research Institute, commented that the Trump administration is attempting “to stack and claim foreign policy wins before the election,”
Sudan, the African country has been making improvements on counterterrorism. The State Department’s annual terrorism reports state that Sudan has “taken steps to work with the United States on counterterrorism” and that “the Sudanese government continued to pursue counterterrorism operations alongside regional partners, including operations to counter threats to U.S. interests and personnel.