For Immediate Release
For Immediate Release
We at Darfur Women Action Group are extremely outraged and disappointment regarding the US’s movement towards rewarding President Omar al-Bashir of Sudan and his genocidal regime. We believe that recent developments in US policy towards Sudan represents a historical mistake and a strategic failure on the part of US diplomacy.
On 28 June 2018, the United States Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) issued a carefully written statement titled “Removal of the Sudan Regulations and Amendment of the Terrorism List Government Sanctions Regulations.” This statement was meant to follow Executive Order 13761, which was signed by President Obama and echoed by President Trump’s administration, ultimately culminating in the removal of US sanctions on Sudan. These sanctions were enacted by President Bill Clinton under Executive Orders 13067 and 13412.
Last week, under Executive Order 13761 the OFAC lifted sanctions on Sudan. Additionally, the OFAC decided to amend the sanctions associated with Sudan’s designation as a State Sponsor of Terrorism, thus weakening the effect of this designation. While the OFAC decision to end sanctions against Sudan was mandated by Presidential order, it still represents a dark history in American foreign policy towards Sudan.
The reasoning behind President Bush’s decision to impose economic sanctions on Sudan and the designation of Sudan as a State Sponsor of Terrorism still holds today. In the mid-1990s, when the designation was first employed, Sudan had notorious ties with prominent leaders of terrorist groups, including Osama bin Laden. More recently there have been credible allegations of ties with al-Zawahiri, and the continued support of Hamas, Solmalian, Al-Shabab, and others terrorist organization. The ruling party of Sudan, the Nation Congress Party, was born out the ideologies of Pan-Arabism, Anti-Zionism, and a radical form of Sunni Islam. President Clinton rightly believed that Sudan’s activities were posing a direct threat to the United States, threating the safety and security of the American people. The US government has provided no evidence to support Sudan’s alleged change of behavior in this regard. Secondly, President Bush imposed sanctions on Sudan as an accountability measure for the genocidal campaign in Darfur.
The change in policy direction may appear to be done as a way to promote US interest in Sudan, however, it ignores the fact that the Sudanese Government has a long track record of committing crimes, breaking internationally bound agreements, and then denying that they have done so. The Sudanese Government has lost its credibility in its dealings with agreements. DWAG’s President and Founder, Ms. Niemat Ahmadi stated that “As Sudanese-Americans, we are too familiar with the regime in Khartoum and its arsenal of lies designed to fool the international community”.The ramifications of the OFAC’s decisions will only provide financial leverage, further emboldening the Sudanese Government to have more capacity to provide further support to terrorist groups in the Middle East, North and West African. Sudan wants to destabilize the region, threatening the interests of the US as well as its national security.
Regarding the economic sanctions put in place in response to the crisis in Darfur, the justification made about an improved situation on the ground was utterly exaggerated, lacking facts and verifiable evidence. DWAG even issued a report “Fact vs. Fiction; Ongoing Genocide and the Faulty Premises of the Washington-Khartoum Thaw” examining the evidence cited by executive Order 13761, ultimately coming to the conclusion that the removal of sanctions was fundamentally based on incorrect and misrepresented facts. The ramifications of this false evidence will be unbelievably devastating, adding to the already deplorable conditions and years of trauma those in Darfur have experienced as the government carries on its extermination of the indigenous African population in Darfur.
The OFAC’s declaration will have an immediate and disastrous impact on the people in Darfur, who have been victims to genocide for over 15 years. This declaration ignores the vitality of accountability for the crimes committed against civilians in Darfur, and in Sudan at large thus inhibiting the ability to bring sustainable peace to Sudan. Genocide is still present in Darfur. In fact, following Executive Order 13761 there was an increase in violence against civilians as well as an increase in offensive governmental military activity.
Sudan has been struggling economically, civilians are struggling to buy basic necessities, and Darfur is the most affected by the economic collapse. The future economic gain will not go towards benefiting citizens, al-Bashir’s regime has already shown no regard for the wellbeing of civilians. This economic gain will go towards buying more weapons and strengthening the political hold of al-Bashir’s regime.
Empowering the Sudanese Government to continue to carry out a genocide is a clear affront to the morals the America people hold so dear. OFAC’s and the US’s policy towards Sudan is clear disregard of the wants of the American people, and the safety of the Sudanese. The US has begun to promote Sudan’s interest over those of the American people, whom they must answer to.
The OFAC’s declaration will have immediate and disastrous effects on the people of Darfur. It will further leave a dark stain on American history, leaving our foreign policy characterized by strategic failure and complacency in the world’s worst crime.