The extension of the US sanctions for three more months was very disappointing to the majority of the Sudanese people
and at the same time embarrassing to the government of Sudan with raised positive expectation among people to the level of definite lifting of sanctions. To those who know the complexity of procedures in the American steps to impose or lift such sanctions it is not surprising. I am one of them. The exceptionally short extension is positive signal to a total lifting on October 12th. As I mentioned earlier that final political, strategic decisions in America are reached after feeding all variables pertaining to the specific situation in parallel conduits which converge in the Presidential header. In this header meticulous adherence to laws, policies, strategic plans and fulfillment of requisites is applied before issuing the final result or order. It is similar to universities qualifying examination. For example if somebody is to qualify for promotion to other level he must sit in a final examination of 5 subjects. Failure in 4 or more subjects leads to dismissal, failure in 3 subjects leads to repeating the whole year, failure in 1 or t subjects leads to substitute examinations after a short period, if passed the students will be qualified for promotion. The American header found that Sudan did well but not enough in the examination. It passed 3 of the 5 subjects and failed in two. The American leadership believes Sudan didn’t do enough in the issue of reconciling with people by stopping all wars, reaching the displaced people with humanitarian aid, allowing fully fledged freedom and peaceful rotation of power. The other issue, the American believes that terrorism support and human trafficking is not yet radically eliminated albeit the positive reports of the CIA about the genuine and hard work of the NISS of Sudan to do enough in those two areas. In my opinion, this short extension should not be considered as a set-back to the steps of normalization of relations with America which now reached unprecedented level in more than 28 years.
Our leadership should not be disappointed, discouraged or depressed by the unexpected extension of sanctions. It is not all bad, they have to consider the filled part of the cup.
In this part they can see:
1. The vested interest of America to keep Sudan intact way from creative chaos plot in the region. Interests of America are the governing factors in their strategic national plans. Two elements in the American plans are available in Sudan – economic elements and security element. Economic element is bolstered by the abundant resources of Sudan: In agriculture the arable lands are 275 million acres the cultivated is only 44 million acres, only 4 million of which is irrigated, the 40 million are rain-fed. Sudan has 130 million of renewable livestock. Sudan has an abundant supply of water. Underground, it has oil, minerals e.g. gold, copper, iron, titanium, uranium, chrome etc.
The other equally important element is the security of the region. Sudan location right in the heart of Africa and Middle East puts it in the focus of the American interests. Sudan area 1,861,484 square meters. Land boundaries with 7 countries are 6819 km, (CAR 174 km, Chad 1403 km, Egypt 1276 km, Eritrea 682 km, Ethiopia 744 km, Libya 382 km, S. Sudan 2158 km) plus 853 km coast-line with Saudi Arabia. So, Sudan has 2511 km of borders with three Middle East countries – Egypt, Libya and Saudi Arabia. It has 5161 km borders with 5 African countries (sub-Saharan) Chad, CAR, Eritrea, Ethiopia and S. Sudan.
2. They can also see in the filled part of the cup an unequivocal admission by America of Sudan passing successfully three of the examination subjects – cooperation in human trafficking, positive steps in restoring stability to S. Sudan and finally refraining from supporting the Lord Resistance Army.
3. That filled part clearly shows the satisfaction of America with the adamant stand of Sudan in the neutral position in the Gulf crisis in spite of the nascent alliance with KSA and UAE in Yemen war.
So, our leaders should not be dissuaded from continuing the steps of normalizing relations with America nor to be persuaded to abort the hard, genuine and strategic work of the bilateral institutions in the two countries. Try, Try and Try, you will succeed at last.