Sudan’s Sponsorship of Terrorism & Violence

December 2012

  • The United States Government designated Sudan as a “State Sponsor of Terrorism” in 1993. As the Department of State's Patterns of Global Terrorism 1993 report noted: “Despite several warnings to cease supporting radical extremists, the Sudanese government continued to harbor international terrorist groups in Sudan.” The report also highlighted Sudan’s close ties to Iran, noting that the regime provided meeting locations, transit points and safe havens for “Iran-backed extremist groups” as well as a “disturbing relationship with a wide range of Islamic extremists.”
  • In the early-1990s, Sudan provided safe haven to Osama bin Laden and his al-Qaeda network until a change of policy (resulting partially from U.S. pressure) forced the network to leave the country in 1996.
  • In 1997, President Bill Clinton signed Executive Order 13067 blocking Sudanese government property and prohibiting transactions with Sudan.
  • In 1998, the United States military bombed targets in Sudan believed to be associated with the al-Qaeda network
  • After the September 11 attacks, Sudan began to cooperate with the United States Government to diminish the presence of al-Qaeda in Sudan. That cooperation continues today, but the US has not de-listed Sudan as a State Sponsor of Terror because of its close and continuing ties to the Iranian regime.
  • Sudan maintains direct relations with Iranian surrogate groups, primarily Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ), and more recently, the Popular Resistance Committee. According to Country Reports on Terrorism 2010, Hamas and PIJ continue to fundraise in Sudan and maintain a presence there. These groups also use Sudan as a key transit route to facilitate the movement of Iranian-shipped weapons to Gaza.
  • Israel has periodically conducted military operations against Sudanese targets associated with Iranian weapons destined for Gaza.  The most recent was the October 23, 2012 raid on an Iranian weapons factory owned and controlled by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC).
  • The Sudanese regime works closely with a number on international partners and companies to profit from the country’s natural resources. China is one of the regime’s largest arms suppliers. In return for its support, China gains access to Sudan’s oil fields.  
  • In 2003, rebels in Sudan’s Darfur regions took up arms against the regime, accusing the Omar al-Bashir government of neglect. The regime responded with a brutal counter-insurgency campaign. The U.S. Congress to labeled that a campaign a genocide in July 2004.
  • In March 2009, the International Criminal Court issued an arrest warrant for Bashir on charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity in Darfur.
  • Though the conflict officially ended in 2005 with the Comprehensive Peace Agreement, there are approximately 5.6 million internally displaced people in Sudan.