President Trump indicated via a Tweet Monday afternoon that he is removing Sudan from the official terror blacklist as the Arab League nation is inching closer toward normalizing ties with Israel.
The president indicated that Sudan, which has long been on the list based on allegations of providing covert support to Islamic militants that have carried out attacks on Americans, has agreed to set aside $335 million for payments for American victims of terrorism in the region.
For example, Washington would later blame Sudan in part for funding operations related to the deadly al-Qaeda twin bombings of the US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania in 1998, which had killed 224 people, including 12 Americans. Another 5,000 people were injured in the major attacks. Sudan was known have given safe-haven to Osama bin Laden at one point.
GREAT news! New government of Sudan, which is making great progress, agreed to pay $335 MILLION to U.S. terror victims and families. Once deposited, I will lift Sudan from the State Sponsors of Terrorism list. At long last, JUSTICE for the American people and BIG step for Sudan!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 19, 2020
This means Sudan is likely to become the third Arab League member state to normalize ties with Israel, after the UAE and Bahrain inked historic, unprecedented agreements to establish peaceful diplomatic relations and economic cooperation.
The timing is also crucial, given that just weeks before the Nov.3 election, the White House could tout this as a major foreign policy win.
Talks between Sudan and Israel have been underway for some time, but full diplomatic recognition has recently been stalled after Sudan officials accused the US of threatening the country with remaining on the terrorism list if it didn’t accept the normalization deal with Israel.
Sudan has been on the State Department’s list going all the way back to 1993, amid the lengthy rule of strongman Omar al-Bashir, who was toppled by Sudanese Army coup d’état in 2019.
During the post-9/11 ‘war on terror’ Sudan became under even more scrutiny.
Concerning the 1998 embassy bombings, Voice of America has recently detailed that “Leading up to the attacks, the Sudanese government harbored the al-Qaeda militants, providing them with Sudanese passports and allowed them to transport weapons and money across the border into Kenya.”
“Sudan had also given safe haven to Osama Bin Laden leading the U.S. State Department to place the country on a list of state sponsors of terrorism in 1993,” the report underscored.