Executive Intelligence Review
This article appears in the May 29, 2009 issue of Executive Intelligence Review.

U.S. Sanctions Threatening Sudan's
U.S.-Ratified Internal Peace Agreement

by Douglas DeGroot

[PDF version of the Africa section]

May 22—The Obama Administration is continuing to establish a new tone on foreign policy issues, seeking diplomatic solutions while not being confrontational. But will there be real changes of policy that will challenge the framework established by the London imperial financial cartel toward the former colonial sector?

This imperial policy framework is premised on limiting or reducing population growth, and keeping nations in the trap of only being able to provide raw materials for the foreign market. It has been the basis for manipulated conflicts and destabilizations, allowing no possibility of internal economic development.

The latest demonstration of a change of tone was demonstrated May 20 in testimony to a Senate hearing on the continuing crisis in Somalia, by Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Johnnie Carson. He acknowledged that Somalia was going through a new phase of its prolonged internal conflict, in which opposition forces were trying to overthrow the latest Transitional Federal Government (TFG). He called for resolving these problems by developing a comprehensive solution that would promote stability, reconciliation, and economic opportunity in Somalia, without being specific about how this could be carried out.

Other indications of this change in approach are:

  1. bilateral negotiations with Sudan initiated by Obama's Special Envoy to Sudan, Maj. Gen. Scott Gration (U.S. Air Force, ret.), who is holding out the possibility of improved ties with Sudan, including discussion of lifting economic sanctions;

  2. UN Ambassador Susan Rice has somewhat moderated her attacks on the government of Sudan; and

  3. with respect to Zimbabwe, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, while remaining critical of President Robert Mugabe's government, has recognized the significance of the role Mugabe played in Zimbabwe's fight for independence.

If the United States were concerned about stopping the suffering and conflict in Sudan, the rational approach would be to organize large-scale infrastructure projects. This is what was envisioned for Africa by President Franklin Roosevelt, and has long been called for by Lyndon LaRouche.

The ongoing U.S. diplomatic activity with Sudan will provide the test case as to whether the changes in policy will go beyond superficiality, and become a substantial, serious, and positive effort focussed on facilitating the development of the entire nation. Such a change would include normalizing relations with Sudan, and lifting economic sanctions, which are serving to divide the country, and making it very difficult to implement the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA), which settled the 50-year-long conflict between North and South.

The Obama Administration has followed the Bush Administration in not taking Sudan off the list of state sponsors of terrorism, despite the removal from the government of the British-intelligence-controlled Muslim Brotherhood asset Hassan al-Turabi in 1999, when he tried to reduce the post of President to a ceremonial post. Turabi had invited Osama bin Laden to Sudan, and opposed a negotiated peace with the South. After Turabi's departure from government, Sudan cooperated with the United States against terrorism, and made a peace deal with the South.

The normalizing U.S.-Sudanese relations, which had been promised if Sudan signed the CPA, is long overdue. The United States has not kept its word in this matter, opening itself to charges of negotiating in bad faith.

The Darfur Flank Against Sudan

The other flank being used against the Sudanese government, is the insurgency in Darfur. In response to Sudan's commitment to reach a negotiated end to the war with the South, the London-based financial cartel launched what it termed a "rebellion" against the Khartoum government, in Darfur in April 2003, which was run from outside the country. Darfur was already flooded with weapons, because of Libya's efforts to take control of Chad, beginning in 1978. Darfur had been used as a staging base for Libyan-backed opponents of the Chad government. Many refugees from the Chad conflict moved into Sudan, and the influx of population, plus the 1984 drought, fueled conflict in Darfur. In 1987, two years before the government of President Omar al-Bashir came to power, internal conflict in Darfur had already led to entire villages being burned.

The 2003 rebellion, carried out in part by close allies of Turabi, targeted law enforcement and government institutions, greatly reducing government influence in Darfur. Khalil Ibrahim, leader of one of the two main insurgent groups, the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM), is based in the capital of Chad, N'Djamena. Several other JEM leaders live in London. The JEM is based on one clan of the Zaghawa tribe, which also makes up the present government of Chad, though that group only accounts for 5% of Chad's population.

The Zaghawa grouping straddles the border between eastern Chad and western Sudan. The other main insurgent group, the Sudan Liberation Movement (SLM), was the largest of the two insurgent movements, although the British press now claims that the JEM (a British pawn) is larger, or better armed. The SLM is headed by Abdelwahid al-Nur, who lives in Paris. Britain and France are at the forefront in supporting the insurgency. On May 7, the London Economist, a mouthpiece for the City of London financial cartel, revealed the cartel's real desire for Sudan: "Sudan has long seemed inclined to fragmentation and conflict."

Intent on saving the CPA agreement it was negotiating, the Sudan government subdued the insurgency, with no intention of wiping out any of the 89 tribes occupying Darfur. Not long after the government signed the CPA with the South in January 2005, a well-funded foreign public relations campaign was launched, spearheaded by the U.S.-based Save Darfur Coalition (SDC); it charged the government with intending to carry out genocide against the insurgents. The coalition called for international intervention against the government.

Peace Accord in Danger

The foreign-run insurgency in Darfur and the economic sanctions against Sudan are posing a serious threat to implementation of the CPA. For the peace accord to succeed, economic development is crucial.

Indicative of the thinking of some institutional circles around Obama, Witney Schneidman, who was Obama's advisor on Africa during the Presidential campaign, addressed a forum in Washington on May 20. Although not an official spokesman for the Obama Administration, he said that its attitude toward Sudan is to review all policies and relook at the difficult situations. He insisted that there must be full implementation of the CPA, and no return to a North-South war. He said that the Obama Administration is working with the Sudanese government to get it to the negotiating table, and that the issue of sanctions was being discussed.

Schneidman also claimed that aid for infrastructure development was not on the table. During the Clinton Administration, Schneidman was Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs, dealing with economic and commercial issues. During the Obama campaign, he designed an Africa policy which advocated accelerating Africa's integration into the (bankrupt) globalized economy, and deepening "democracy."

Sanctions Are Wrecking the CPA

The U.S.-backed CPA was signed on Jan. 9, 2005. This was followed by the Save Darfur Coalition public relations campaign attacking the government of Sudan. All the money the SDC raised was used to pour out more propaganda—none of it went to help the people of Darfur.

Sanctions had been imposed against Sudan in 1997 for debt arrearages and alleged support of international terrorists—this was the period before Turabi was thrown out of the government.

After the SDC campaign had continued for more than a year, the Bush Administration in 2006 hit Sudan with more economic sanctions, switching the justification from terrorism to the counterinsurgency effort in Darfur. The sanctions were further expanded in 2007.

In October 2006, the U.S. Congress passed the Darfur Peace and Accountability Act, which targeted the Khartoum government, but excluded Southern Sudan, Darfur, some internally displaced persons camps near Khartoum, and border areas between North and South. Despite claiming to support the CPA, which calls for developing a unified Sudan, the United States has two policies toward Sudan: one for the government, and another for certain other designated areas of the country. This apartheid-style approach is sabotaging the CPA, since under the CPA, the government is supposed to make unity attractive to the South.[1]

According to the CPA,

The people of Sudan agree to work together to: establish a democratic system; find a comprehensive solution to the economic and social deterioration of the Sudan; and make the unity of Sudan an attractive option especially to the people of southern Sudan.

The U.S. Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) is in charge of investigating any financial dealings related to U.S. sanctions. If a U.S. company wants to develop a project in the South, OFAC has to approve all aspects of the deal and license the project. No participation by any U.S. economic entity in the sanctioned part of the country can be involved. Logistics for such a project is a nightmare, since goods brought in for the project must come through the part of Sudan which is subject to sanctions. The companies involved in the logistics will be registered in the sanctioned part of the country, making OFAC approval beyond problematic.

To avoid this nightmare, one option is to ship supplies in from neighboring Kenya. This is much more expensive, and undermines national unity between North and South, thereby setting up conditions for secession when this question comes up for election in 2011.

OFAC prohibits, except in the exempted areas of Sudan, any American from concluding any contract, including financing, anywhere in the routing process. Since, according to the CPA, Sudan's Central Bank is the location for budget management for all of Sudan, and since it is located in Khartoum, any transaction that passes through it is subject to compliance with U.S. sanctions.

Sanctions have greatly reduced South Sudan's income, including limiting the market for Sudan's oil, because OFAC monitors dollar-based oil transactions. Sanctions have also prevented American oil companies, with more sophisticated technologies for oil production, from operating in Sudan. Even though a large percentage of the oil is in the South, the oil industry was not exempted there. This has prevented increased oil output, which would be beneficial to the South as well as to the government of Sudan as a whole.

Sudanese sources report that there is now a monthly $250 million budgetary shortfall in the South. As a result, sanctions are giving ammunition to those in the South who want to secede, since this is the only way to avoid the constraints on economic development, which have resulted from the sanctions imposed on the government.


[1] See "U.S. Sanctions on Sudan: Intended and Unintended Consequences," compiled and researched by Executive Research Associates. The full report can be obtained here.

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