US sanctions are an old antidote in new bottles
The army and rapid support were not surprised by the sanctions imposed by the US Treasury on Sudan yesterday, as Washington had earlier threatened the warring forces in Khartoum since the middle of last month with sanctions.
And while political parties and forces minimized the impact of the sanctions on both sides and the country, Foreign Minister-designate Ali al-Sadiq told Asharq Al-Awsat that the sanctions imposed by America on Sudan are affected by the Sudanese people, not the warring forces.
This is not the first time that Washington has imposed sanctions. It previously imposed sanctions that spanned two decades during the era of former President Omar al-Bashir, and they were lifted in 2016 at the initiative of former US President Barack Obama, after talks in which the Director of the Security Service, Lieutenant General Muhammad al-Atta, and the Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces, Lieutenant General Imad Eddin Adawi and then Foreign Minister Ibrahim Ghandour.
During the era of former Prime Minister Abdullah Hamdok, Sudan was removed from the list of state sponsors of terrorism, the attack on the US embassies in Dar es Salaam and Nairobi, and the events of the destroyer Cole, in which Sudan was accused, were settled, and Sudan was reintegrated into the international community.
Sudanese foreign affairs
In his first press statement since the beginning of the war, Ali al-Sadiq, the designated foreign minister, said to Asharq Al-Awsat: “The sanctions affect the people, not the warring parties.” He added that “Sudan’s position on the sanctions was stated in the statements of our ambassador in Washington.”
And the Sudanese ambassador to Washington, Muhammad Abdullah Idris, had announced his government’s rejection of the principle of imposing sanctions, according to what was reported by Arab media, and considered it a poisoned weapon, which had been tried before on Sudan and non-Sudan, affecting peoples and destroying peoples in the Arab and Islamic region, and he said: “We reject the principle of sanctions.” He added, “The United States, as a facilitator (mediator), with what logic does the facilitator impose sanctions on the parties?” He continued, “Have you ever seen a facilitator carrying a bag?”
Idris explained that the institutions on which sanctions were imposed belong to the Sudanese people, and that imposing sanctions on them means punishing the Sudanese people.
He said that the army’s suspension of its continuation of negotiations is conditional on obligating the other party to its commitments, not the Sudanese army, which has fulfilled its commitments to the cease-fire.
Republican Senator Jim Risch directed harsh criticism of President Joe Biden’s administration, commenting on the sanctions it imposed on Sudan, saying that it “represents half a step toward what should happen,” noting that “the sanctions do not hold senior individuals responsible for the catastrophic situation in Sudan responsible.” It happens and that the sanctions do not affect most of the people responsible for the destabilization of the region and the continuous intimidation of the Sudanese people.
“Similar to its policy in response to the civil war in northern Ethiopia, the administration has once again avoided holding senior officials of the warring parties in Sudan responsible,” Rech continues. He added, “We cannot allow a new conflict of this magnitude in Africa to continue without taking transparent and direct decisions against those responsible for the fighting that killed hundreds, injured thousands and displaced millions… These decisions, once again, are far from holding true responsibility.”
Abdel-Baqi Jibril, a development and human rights expert in Geneva, told Asharq Al-Awsat that the punitive measures imposed by the US Treasury Department on Thursday will not have a significant impact in Sudan’s current circumstances. He added, “Sudan’s previous experience with unilateral economic sanctions imposed by the US administrations on the country for twenty years, from the era of President Bill Clinton in late 1997 until their lifting by President Donald Trump in October 2017, has shown that the results of such unilateral sanctions Limited in the best conditions and affected by a few vital sectors,” pointing out that the results and effects on Sudan during the previous sanctions period are the hardship of living and the impoverishment of large segments of the general public, and the most dangerous of all is the increase in the rate of economic and commercial corruption in the country in a way the world has not seen before.
Jibril says: “Sudan was (at the time) removed from the global banking and financial system, which forced the former National Congress government to use complex methods to meet its necessary needs,” noting that “the previous government managed to reduce the effects of economic sanctions and trade embargoes by resorting to financial transactions.” Outside the global banking system, what limited the ability of state institutions to control public money, especially in the export and import sector… etc., and reduced external control over the sources of financing the country’s purchases and the returns of its foreign sales.
The army has experience
Politicians and experts in the field of political science compared the sanctions imposed by Washington during the era of the Al-Bashir regime, and the sanctions that were imposed on Thursday, noting that the latter is less effective and differs in form and content from the sanctions imposed during the era of the previous regime, as a result of which officials were brought to the Criminal Court. international. They said that the army has experience in dealing with the Office of Foreign Assets Control that extends for more than 30 years, and what is new is that the rapid support companies entered the US sanctions circle.
Salah al-Din al-Douma, a professor of international relations at Sudanese universities, told Asharq Al-Awsat that the sanctions are very useful and the two warring parties know what the sanctions mean and what comes after them, indicating that America is serious about achieving civil rule in the country, because it achieves its interests, and if the opposite happens, then Russia and China They will extend their influence in Sudan. And if America fails to achieve civil rule in Sudan, this matter will have negative effects on the American elections for President Joe Biden.
In March of last year, the United States imposed sanctions on the Central Reserve Forces, under the pretext that they had used excessive force against peaceful demonstrators, which led to deaths and injuries. At that time, the Central Reserve responded that it had not received official notification of the matter, and that it had heard of the imposition of sanctions through the media. .
Military expert Major General Amin Ismail told Asharq Al-Awsat that the sanctions against the army and the Rapid Support Forces are an attempt by the US side to exert a kind of benign pressure on the two parties to the conflict in Sudan in order to bring them back to the negotiating table, stop the war and enter into a truce and a comprehensive ceasefire.
Ismail expected that the sanctions would reach officials and leaders on both sides who are against the armistice and violate the ceasefire, considering that the sanctions are a kind of pressure cards used by America and the current mediation to stop the war in the region that threatens international peace and security, and he said there is a later stage related to political accountability and completing the democratic transition. sponsored by America.
“Quick Support” is the most affected
Human rights expert Serageldin Hamed told Asharq Al-Awsat that the sanctions are an extension of previous sanctions, but for the first time the sanctions are directed to the army and its companies and rapid support as well, and previously they were through the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC). He added: Now the sanctions have come out of the US Treasury and in the end they have the same goal, which is that the parties to which the sanctions were directed cannot deal freely with the cash assets they own if they are in dollars, because the clearing passes through New York, indicating that defense industries companies have experience in Dealing with US sanctions, and it will not be affected much, and it can deal with the euro or something else.
He said, “The sanctions will affect companies affiliated with Rapid Support, such as Al-Junaid, because they deal in dollars and have no experience in dealing with sanctions. Therefore, the one who is affected by the sanctions is Rapid Support, not the army. And he believed that the world is heading towards a very big change in monetary and financial policy, which makes these sanctions have no effect, just as there are new groups that have arisen in the world, and this weakens the impact of the sanctions they impose. He added, “These sanctions are formalities on their face, and they are an expression of a political position rather than sanctions that have a direct impact on the party to whom the sanctions are directed.”
For his part, Abdel-Baqi Jibril explained that the decision of the US Treasury Department is directed at specific institutions as well as specific individuals, as he says in one of its main paragraphs: “We have taken measures against companies and bodies that provide weapons to the two warring parties in Sudan.” It should be noted that the economic sanctions against the previous National Congress government were comprehensive to all commercial sectors with few exceptions, and despite that, they did not achieve the goals set by the successive US governments. He said: “Defining specific institutions in this decision means excluding other sectors when implementing it, and therefore it practically allows the rest of the economic sectors in the country to operate normally, and accordingly, the path of this exception enables the institutions targeted by the sanctions; Such as the Giad Complex for Military Industries and Al-Junaid Commercial Companies to achieve their interests and implement some of their policies through cooperation with other economic and commercial institutions in the country.