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What is Missing in the Sudan Sanctions
The Treasury Department sanctions on Sudan announced today are an important and long-overdue effort to ratchet up pressure on the Islamist government of that nation to halt the genocide aimed at cleansing the non-Muslim population from Darfur.

The sanctions, part of the much-anticipated and delayed Plan B, target three individuals and 30 companies, cutting them off from doing business through the U.S. banking system and making it illegal for U.S. companies or individuals to do any business with them.

The sanctions were promised last month, only to be postponed at the request of the United Nations, which, despite Sudan's years of reneging on promises, thought the Bashir regime might actually keep its word and stop the murder.

But there is one huge hole in the sanctions regime announced today by President Bush. It is that none of the 30 companies targeted by OFAC in the Treasury Department touch businesses used by the Chinese government to prop up the murderous Sudanese regime.

That is part of the real economic underpinning of the regime, abetted by a Chinese government that cannot see any rationale for imposing conditions on its investments, especially in the energy sector. As a result, China aid and investment has become one of the most corrosive forces on the African continent, a free and almost unlimited supplies of cash for dictators, thugs and murderous regimes.

There are some significant hits on the list, despite appeals that went on to the very end to weaken the sanctions even further by arguing Sudan was helping in the war on terror.

The OFAC actions at least send a stronger message that those responsible for the genocide are known and can be named. In real life, it is difficult to imagine that the targeted individuals-Ahmad Muhammad Harun (minister for humanitarian affairs); Awad ibn Auf (head of military intelligence and security); and Khalil Ibrahim (former rebel leader) have any accounts in the U.S. banking system.

The most significant potential target is Sudatel, the national telecommunications company. This would be particularly effective if the EU decided to join the sanctions regime on Sudan, as by its nature the telecommunications networks deal with the United States and Europe.

Another interesting target is Azza Air Transport Company, an obscure company using Soviet-bloc aircraft to deliver "small arms, ammunition and artillery to Sudanese government forces and the Janjaweed militia in Darfur."

President Bush took an appropriately harsh tone in announcing the sanctions, capturing the Sudanese intransigent stance in stating that:

"Unfortunately, he (Bashir) hasn't met those obligations. President Bashir's actions over the past few weeks follow a long pattern of promising cooperation while finding new methods for obstruction.

"One day after I spoke they bombed a meeting of rebel commanders designed to discuss a possible peace deal with the government.

"In the following weeks he used his army and government- sponsored militias to attack rebels and civilians in south Darfur. He's taken no steps to disarm these militias in the year since the Darfur peace agreement was signed. Senior officials continue to oppose the deployment of the U.N. peacekeeping force.

"The result is that the dire security situation on the ground in Darfur has not changed. And so, today, at my instruction, the United States is taking the steps I announced in April."

The tragedy is that it has taken years to reach the point of beginning to take action against a regime whose direct participation in genocide has been widely documented and officially denounced. Bashir et al must know they have several more years to run before the next shoe drops. And that is a tragedy for the people of Darfur and beyond.

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