The Trump Administration Prepares the Way for Lifting Sanctions on Sudan

The Trump administration—staffed by fools and arrogant blowhards, and without a functioning Africa Bureau at the State Department, or even an Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs—gives clear evidence of preparing the way for a permanent lifting of U.S. economic sanctions on the genocidal regime in Khartoum, even as that regime continues to deny in highly consequential ways humanitarian assistance to more than two million people in Sudan. This figure includes refugees from Darfur in eastern Chad), South Kordofan (primarily in South Sudan, and Blue Nile (primarily in Ethiopia); the number is much larger if we include Eastern Sudan, where the regime has proved relentless in expelling or excluding international humanitarian organizations—see Appendix A). The UN’s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs indicates that well over two million Sudanese suffer from “Acute Malnutrition”; figures from UNICEF for children under five suggest a malnutrition crisis much, much larger (see | “An Internal UNICEF Malnutrition Report on Sudan and Darfur: Why have these data been withheld?” | September 5, 2014 |

The latest evidence of a determination to lift sanctions comes in the form of an August 28, 2017 statement from Khartoum by Mark Green, Administrator for the US Agency for International Development (USAID):

In particular, we are hoping to see progress on humanitarian access right here in North Darfur. We are at a critical point in Sudan. There is still a need for life-saving humanitarian assistance, and we hope to see a successful resolution to the conflicts in Darfur and the Two Areas.

Today, I will be also visiting internally displaced people, people to whom USAID and its partners are giving critical assistance. I want to underscore—America will not walk away from our commitment to humanitarian assistance, and we will always stand with people everywhere when a disaster or humanitarian crisis strikes, for that is who we are as Americans.

Pious, unctuous words in defending the indefensible decision that is now impending.

Some of those from whom the U.S. is indeed “walking away from our commitment to humanitarian assistance”

What was not said by Administrator Green:

Green made no mention of the vast cholera epidemic sweeping Sudan, now for over a year. Indeed, his USAID cannot bring itself to use the word “cholera,” but rather follows fecklessly the UN’s World Health Organization and Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs—referring to the cholera pandemic as cases of “acute watery diarrhea—this in deference to Khartoum’s insistence that Sudan not be stigmatized by the presence of cholera. No matter that cholera rages in neighboring Yemen and South Sudan and all evidence to date points clearly to a cholera epidemic: the U.S. is content to defer to this brutal regime’s sensibilities.

Failure by the UN and USAID to speak honestly about cholera in Sudan (#Cholera_In_Sudan) makes impossible an adequate international response, including massive supplies of re-hydration equipment; physicians who specialize in infectious diseases, particularly cholera; specialists in cholera epidemiology; and a broad public education program.

More than 3 million people in Darfur who are in urgent need of humanitarian aid; yet according to one highly knowledgeable person from the humanitarian community working in Darfur, with a great deal of experience on the ground, as many as 1 million of these people are still denied humanitarian access by the National Islamic Front/National Congress Party regime. This is why we see constant reports such as the following:

The cholera infection rates are rapidly increasing in East Jebel Marra in South Darfur. Last week, more than 300 new patients were recorded in the locality. Dozens of them died.

“The situation definitely requires intervention by the World Health Organisation (WHO), and other humanitarian organisations,” he said. “Since the outbreak of cholera in the locality on August 22, the number of infections reached 316. Dozens of them died.” Abusharati said that there are no humanitarian organisations or doctors operating in the area. “There are health assistants providing first aid in the areas of Sabi, Rokona, Deribat, Lebei, and Duwa only.” (Radio Dabanga, August 28, 2017 | EAST JEBEL MARRA / KASS / NIERTETI / KALMA)

We may be sure that in his tightly controlled visit and extremely brief visit to North Darfur, Green saw none of this.

Green, during his Military Intelligence-overseen trip to Darfur, saw Zamzam camp in North Darfur, the largest in the state. One wonders whether he has read the various statements by the Khartoum regime about its plans to dismantle such camps, with extraordinarily threatening and destructive consequences. Second Vice-President Hassabo Mohamed Abdelrahman in December 2015—a little over a year and a half ago—gave voice to the regime’s views:

In a speech delivered before the representatives of former rebel groups and IDPs in El-Fasher, North Darfur on Monday, [Second Vice-President Hassabo Mohamed Abdelrahman] said Darfur has “completely recovered from the war and is now looking forward to achieve a full peace, stability and development.”

“IDP camps represent a significant and unfortunate loss of dignity and rights of citizens in their country” he said and called on the displaced “to choose within no more than a month between resettlement or return to their original areas.”

He further reiterated his government’s commitment to take all the measures and do the needful to achieve this goal, stressing that “the year 2016 will see the end of displacement in Darfur.” Abdel Rahman told the meeting that he has just ended a visit to Karnoi and Tina areas in North Darfur, adding the two areas which were affected by the conflict have totally recovered. He said his visit with a big delegation to the two areas “is a message sceptics in the fact that security and stability are back in Darfur”… (Sudan Tribune, December 28, 2015 | El Fasher, North Darfur)

When UNAMID is finished with its current round of deployments, and the U.S. under the callous and ignorant Trump administration has permanently lifted sanctions, we may be sure that Hassabo’s plans will be put into action—often violently.

[ See Assaults on Camps for the Displaced in Darfur: History Makes Clear They Will Increase, August 27, 2017 | ]


Life in the camps is alrea