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How the Democrats Prevented the Normalization Between Sudan and Israel

Al-Qabas, Kuwait, October 4

Surprisingly, it was the Democratic Party that managed to derail the effort to normalize ties between Sudan and Israel by refusing to remove Sudan from the list of states sponsoring terrorism, which was a precondition to such an agreement. Two prominent Democratic senators, Chuck Schumer and Bob Menendez, rejected the agreement with Sudan and objected to granting Sudan immunity from lawsuits filed by families of victims of the September 11 attacks. According to experts, the Democratic Party’s move aims to postpone the US agreement with Sudan, and thus also a possible peace agreement between Sudan and Israel – at least until after November 3, so that President Trump does not achieve any further foreign policy success before the elections. In October 1997, the United States imposed widespread sanctions on Sudan because it believed that al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden was residing at that time in the country. Washington accused Khartoum of providing shelter and training camps for terrorist groups such as the Abu Nidal Organization, Hizbullah and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad. On August 7, 1998, the terrorist organization al-Qaida, headed by bin Laden at the time, carried out attacks on the United States’ embassies in the Kenyan capital Nairobi and the Tanzanian city of Dar es Salaam, killing more than 200 people and wounding thousands. In response, US President Bill Clinton ordered the bombing of targets in Sudan, which were believed to have housed the perpetrators. In a piece published in Foreign Policy magazine, Cameron Hudson, an expert on Sudanese affairs who served in the Barack Obama and George W. Bush administrations, wrote that Sudan could help US and Israeli intelligence and may become the most important partner in the two countries’ fight against terrorism, but in the event that Washington turns its back to the Sudanese government, the latter will be tempted to partner with extremist groups. The goal, therefore, is to prevent Sudan from becoming a failed state that would be plagued by terrorist groups and foreign mercenaries. Ironically, it is the Democrats who are currently preventing the US from aiding Sudan. –Ismail Selim (translated by Asaf Zilberfarb)