Tags: Barack Obama | War on Terrorism | sudan | sanctions | barack obama | human | rights

Despite Rogue Regime Status, Obama Loosens Sanctions on Sudan

By    |   Friday, 20 February 2015 10:23 PM

Despite its continued presence on the U.S. terrorism list, its alliance with Tehran, and a long record of human rights violations including murder and mass rape, the Obama administration moved to ease sanctions against Sudan this week.

The Washington Free Beacon reported that Donald Booth, the U.S. special envoy to Sudan and South Sudan, announced that Americans will be permitted to send laptops, smartphones and other communications devices to Sudanese citizens to "facilitate free speech and debate."

A State Department official told the Free Beacon that Washington remains "concerned about freedom of speech in Sudan and urges the Sudanese government to respect freedom of expression and press freedoms."

According to the administration, loosened sanctions are the best way to enhance communication among Sudanese citizens despite concerns about the Khartoum government.

But critics argue that given the fact that Sudan has been ruled by a military dictatorship for more than a quarter century, there is no way to prevent the regime from using the technology to spy on its own citizens.

The critics point to reports like a recent Bloomberg dispatch, which showed how a number of European and multinational firms had provided Iran, Sudan's longtime ally, with location and text-messaging equipment that it used to keep tabs on dissidents and jail them.

Writing in The Washington Post, Smith College Professor Eric Reeves noted recently that leaked minutes from a meeting which included top Sudanese security officials showed Khartoum has forged a "strategic relationship" with Iran and has expanded its support for terrorism.

"My read is that Sudanese telecom management will resemble that of Iran because of their close military and intelligence relationship," said Nicholas Hanlon of the Center for Security Policy, the group's chief Africa analyst.

Hanlon told the Free Beacon that Sudanese opponents of President Omar al-Bashir's regime would not benefit in the long run "if the Chinese and Iranians have outfitted the Khartoum regime for electronic counterintelligence surveillance."

Earlier this month, President Barack Obama stirred controversy by attending the National Prayer Breakfast with Sudan Foreign Minister Ali Ahmed Karti.

"I wonder if they cleared that with the State Department first," former UN ambassador John Bolton opined in an interview with Fox News Channel's Greta Van Susteran. He was referring to the "breach-of-protocol" protests the White House and congressional Democrats made when GOP House Speaker John Boehner invited Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to address Congress without first talking to the White House.

One week after Foreign Minister Karti attended the Prayer Breakfast, Obama's Ambassador to the United Nations, Samantha Power, blasted Khartoum for blocking an investigation into reports that Sudanese soldiers recently raped 221 women and girls in Darfur.

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Despite its continued presence on the U.S. terrorism list, its alliance with Tehran, and a long record of human rights violations including murder and mass rape, the Obama administration moved to ease sanctions against Sudan this week.
sudan, sanctions, barack obama, human, rights, war, terror
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2015-23-20
Friday, 20 February 2015 10:23 PM
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