April 29, 2005


Official Pariah Sudan Valuable to America's War on Terrorism: Despite once harboring Bin Laden, Khartoum regime has supplied key intelligence, officials say. (Ken Silverstein, April 29, 2005, LA Times)

The Bush administration has forged a close intelligence partnership with the Islamic regime that once welcomed Osama bin Laden here, even though Sudan continues to come under harsh U.S. and international criticism for human rights violations.

The Sudanese government, an unlikely ally in the U.S. fight against terror, remains on the most recent U.S. list of state sponsors of terrorism. At the same time, however, it has been providing access to terrorism suspects and sharing intelligence data with the United States.

Last week, the CIA sent an executive jet here to ferry the chief of Sudan's intelligence agency to Washington for secret meetings sealing Khartoum's sensitive and previously veiled partnership with the administration, U.S. government officials confirmed.

A decade ago Bin Laden and his fledgling Al Qaeda network were based in Khartoum. After they left for Afghanistan, the regime of Sudanese strongman Lt. Gen. Omar Hassan Ahmed Bashir retained ties with other groups the U.S. accuses of terrorism.

As recently as September, then-Secretary of State Colin L. Powell accused Sudan of committing genocide in putting down an armed rebellion in the western province of Darfur. And the administration warned that the African country's conduct posed "an extraordinary threat to the national security" of the United States.

Behind the scenes, however, Sudan was emerging as a surprisingly valuable ally of the CIA.

The warming relationship has produced significant results, according to interviews with American and Sudanese intelligence and government officials. They disclosed, for example, that:

• Sudan's Mukhabarat, its version of the CIA, has detained Al Qaeda suspects for interrogation by U.S. agents.

• The Sudanese intelligence agency has seized and turned over to the FBI evidence recovered in raids on suspected terrorists' homes, including fake passports.

• Sudan has expelled extremists, putting them into the hands of Arab intelligence agencies working closely with the CIA.

• The regime is credited with foiling attacks against American targets by, among other things, detaining foreign militants moving through Sudan on their way to join forces with Iraqi insurgents.

Sudan has "given us specific information that is … important, functional and current," said a senior State Department official who agreed to discuss intelligence matters on condition of anonymity. The official acknowledged that the Mukhabarat could become a "top tier" partner of the CIA.

The regime also cut the deal we demanded for the Christian/animist South. The only remaining stumbling block is protecting the black Muslims in Darfur, not a group with much of a constituency in the West.

Posted by Orrin Judd at April 29, 2005 9:20 AM

It's possible the Bush administration has been using Darfur as a ground to threaten military action and win cooperation from Sudan in the war on terror. When Colin Powell called Darfur 'genocide,' we can guess that Sudan wasn't being as cooperative as they should.

Posted by: pj at April 29, 2005 12:03 PM

Still aren't.

The reality is, Bush is desperate to appease Islam and there is nothing, except perhaps cutting off money to Israel, that he won't do to curry favor.

However, that's the one form of appeasement that might, to an extent, work.

Ironic, huh?

Posted by: Harry Eagar at April 29, 2005 6:12 PM

You don't appease allies, you work with them. The Abrahamic states are natural allies.

Posted by: oj at April 29, 2005 6:15 PM

Still gotta kill some janjaweed, though. Probably a lot of them.

Posted by: jim hamlen at April 30, 2005 8:19 AM


Not likely. They don't seem like they'd seek a fair fight.

Posted by: oj at April 30, 2005 8:34 AM

Life's not fair, especially after you've killed and raped and burned probably 100,000+ people.

Posted by: jim hamlen at April 30, 2005 3:05 PM

Bush will do anything to appease Islam.

If ignoring the murder of a few tens of thousands of farmers is the price, he's already paid.

I wouldn't have his conscience for anything.

Posted by: Harry Eagar at April 30, 2005 7:06 PM

You ignore all of FDR, Stalin's, Ho's, etc., crimes without batting an eyelash, let alone shedding a tear.

The President helped stop the genocide in Darfur and is one of the only leaders pushing to clean up the remaining situation.

Posted by: oj at April 30, 2005 7:11 PM