The United States is removing Sudan from the state sponsor of terror list after Sudan pays $335 million in compensation for terror victims. What does this mean for the Arab world and Israel?
Negotiations between the US and Sudan yielded an agreement and announcement of a $335 million payment for victims of the 1998 bombings of two US embassies on the African continent.
- The payment is part of a thawing relationship between the US and Sudan after last year’s military coup that removed longtime Sudanese dictator Omar al-Bashir, and is considered the final requirement for the United States to remove Sudan from the list of state sponsors of terrorism.
- Sudan was held liable for their harboring of al-Qaeda in the planning and execution of the attacks. The payment is compensation towards victims of the attacks and their families.
- While Sudanese officials pressed the United States not to link the removal of their terror-sponsorship status to Sudan’s formal recognition of Israel, it is expected to occur in the coming weeks.
- President Trump and Sudanese Prime Minister Hamdok both tweeted celebrations of the announcement, which may also pave the way for financial aid from the United States and the United Arab Emirates.
- Action by Congress is required: In order for the payment to be released from escrow, Congress must pass legislation that effectively provides immunity to Sudan.
- A handful of Democratic senators, including Senators Chuck Schumer and Robert Menendez, have said that while the push for normalization of relations with the African nation is a positive step, any legislation that provides absolution should not disadvantage compensation claims made by victims of the September 11th 2001 terrorist attack.
- Ishaan Tahroor writes in the Washington Post that the power shifts in Sudan have been swift, leaving the current regime fragile as the UE and Saudi Arabia provided financial support for the current regime. He notes a Haaretz article suggesting the Trump Administration is strongarming Sudan on the push for normalization of relations with Israel, and it threatens the pro-democratic forces in Sudan and jeopardizes long-term peace with Israel as hostility towards Israel remains high in Sudan.
- CNS News frames the move as the latest in a string of foreign policy wins for President Trump in the run-up to the election, citing the administration’s agreements between Israel, the UAE, Bahrain, and Kosovo.
- Herb Keinon writes in the Jerusalem Post warns that while formal relations may be established, do not expect it to be a warm relationship, as anti-Israel sentiment held by the now-deposed Sudanese dictator still simmers.
© Dallas Gerber, 2020