The Sudanese army and Rapid Support Forces (RSF) were not surprised with Washington’s announcement on Thursday that it was imposing new sanctions on them due to their role in the ongoing conflict in the country.
Sudanese political parties dismissed the impact the sanctions will have on the army and RSF, but acting Foreign Minister Ali Sadiq told Asharq Al-Awsat that the people will bear the brunt of them.
Sudan’s Ambassador to the US Mohamed Abdalla Idris announced that his government rejects the sanctions, saying such an approach had been used before and it had led to the destruction of peoples in the Arab and Islamic worlds.
Moreover, he noted that the US was a mediator in attempting to resolve the conflict, so how could it possibly impose sanctions on the parties it is talking to.
He added that the sanctions have been imposed on companies owned by the people, meaning Washington was collectively punishing them.
Furthermore, he revealed that the army will resume its participation in the ceasefire negotiations once the other party commits to its pledges.
US Senator Jim Risch was scathing of the Biden administration for imposing the new sanctions.
“Thursday’s actions do not even represent a half-step in what needs to happen. The sanctions designations, while positive in their own right, do not openly hold accountable the top Sudanese individuals responsible for the catastrophic situation in Sudan,” he said in a statement.
“The people most responsible for destabilizing the region and ongoing brutality against the Sudanese people remain untouched by US sanctions.”
“Not unlike its policy response to the civil war in northern Ethiopia, the administration once again has avoided holding accountable top-level officials of the warring parties in Sudan,” he stressed.
“We can't let another African conflict of this magnitude persist without taking more transparent and direct action against those responsible for the fighting, which has killed hundreds, injured thousands, and displaced millions. These actions once again come short of real accountability,” he stressed.
Development and rights expert in Geneva Abdulbaqi Jibril told Asharq Al-Awsat that the US sanctions will not have a major impact on the current situation in Sudan.
He cited Sudan’s past experience in dealing with sanctions. Washington had imposed unilateral economic sanctions for two decades on the former regime. They were introduced during the term of former President Bill Clinton in 1997 and lifted in 2017 under then President Donald Trump.
The impact of sanctions is “limited at best” and very few vital sectors are affected by them, remarked Jibril.
The previous sanctions played a major role in impoverishing the people, he noted. They played a direct role in deepening unprecedented economic corruption.
He explained that the American measures at the time forced Sudan out of the world’s banking and financial system, compelling the former regime to use complicated means to meet basic needs.
The former government managed to mitigate the impact of the sanctions and trade embargo by resorting to financing outside the global banking system. This in turn limited the state institutions’ ability to control the movement of funds in the country.
International relations professor in Sudan Salaheddine al-Doma told Asharq Al-Awsat that the sanctions are “very effective.”
The warring parties are well aware that the US is serious about achieving the people’s aspirations in civilian rule because it accomplishes its interests.
If developments go against US wishes, then Russia and China will be able to impose their influence in Sudan, he noted.
Moreover, Washington’s failure to achieve civilian rule in Sudan will have an impact on President Joe Biden’s reelection bid next year, he added.