US maintains Sudan on list of state sponsors of terrorism


An US State Department report on terrorism says although Sudan is doing more – in Washington‘s view – to fight terrorism, al-Qa’ida (al Qaeda, AQ)-inspired terrorist elements remain in the country, as well as adherents of both the Palestine Islamic Jihad (PIJ) and HAMAS.

It also notes in a mandatory report to Congress published at the end of last month and reviewing terrorism in calendar year 2008 that “various terrorist threats” have emerged against the hybrid UN-AU force in Darfur that includes several hundred South Africans, including the AQ leadership calling for “jihad” against the peacekeepers.

The report expands that state sponsors of terrorism typically provide critical support to non-state terrorist groups. “Without state sponsors, terrorist groups would have greater difficulty obtaining the funds, weapons, materials, and secure areas they require to plan and conduct operations.”

Sudan is the only listed state sponsor in Africa. Others are Iran and Syria.

Of Sudan, the report says: “Sudan remains a cooperative partner in global counterterrorism efforts. During the past year, the Sudanese government continued to pursue terrorist operations directly involving threats to US interests and personnel in Sudan.

“Sudanese officials have indicated that they view their continued cooperation with the United States as important and recognize the benefits of US training and information-sharing.

“Though the counterterrorism relationship remained solid, some hard-line Sudanese officials continued to express resentment and distrust over actions by the USG (US government) and questioned the benefits of the bilateral cooperation.

“Their assessment reflected disappointment that Sudan‘s counterterrorism cooperation has not resulted in its removal from the State Sponsors of Terrorism list. Nonetheless, there was no indication at year`s end that the Sudanese government will curtail its counterterrorism cooperation with the United States.
“Elements of designated terrorist groups remained in Sudan. With the exception of HAMAS, whose members the Sudanese government consider to be ‘freedom fighters` rather than terrorists, the government does not appear to openly support the presence of extremist elements.

“We note, however, that there have been open source reports that arms were purchased in Sudan‘s black market and allegedly smuggled northward to HAMAS,” the report adds.
“The Sudanese government has prevented foreign fighters from using Sudan as a logistics base and transit point for extremists going to Iraq. However, gaps remained in the Sudanese government’s knowledge of and ability to identify and capture these individuals.

“There was evidence to suggest that individuals who were active participants in the Iraqi insurgency have returned to Sudan and were in a position to use their expertise to conduct attacks within Sudan or to pass on their knowledge. There was also evidence that Sudanese extremists continued to participate in terrorist activities in Somalia, which the Sudanese government has also attempted to disrupt.”