Skip to content

Getting Sudan Off the Terror List

With weeks to go before the United States presidential elections, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is racing to make a breakthrough with Sudan that he hopes could also benefit Israel. Sudan’s new civilian-led government is urgently seeking to be removed from the US blacklist of “state sponsors of terrorism”, and is seen by Washington as open to becoming the latest Arab state to recognise Israel – a significant cause for President Donald Trump’s electoral base. “The United States has a once-in-a-generation opportunity to ensure that compensation is finally provided to victims of the 1998 al-Qaeda-backed terrorist attacks on the US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania,” Pompeo wrote in a letter to senators that was confirmed by congressional sources. Sudan is one of four nations listed as a “state sponsor of terrorism” by the US, severely impeding investment as businesses worry of legal risks in dealing with the country. The designation dates back to 1993 when then strongman Omar al-Bashir welcomed armed fighters, including Osama bin Laden, the founder of al-Qaeda, which carried out the embassy attacks that claimed more than 200 lives. Sudan’s removal from the list has been held up by a dispute over a package of some $335m that Khartoum would pay as compensation to victims’ families and survivors of the embassy attacks.