On Monday, Donald Trump announced that he was accepting a $335 million payoff from the government of Sudan in a successful extortion scheme where Trump would not remove Sudan from the state sponsors of terrorism list kept by the State Department.
That’s not the way it’s been reported, of course, but it’s a more accurate description than most. Sudan–whose presence on such a list cannot reasonably be justified, especially since any rationale for putting it on there in the first place was mooted more than two decades ago–also seems to have agreed to normalize relations with Israel. They’re hoping that an aid package from Washington and the ability to access help from the World Bank and International Monetary Fund–which they cannot do while on the list of state sponsors of terrorism–will give the people of Sudan enough economic relief to blunt their anger at their fledgling government abandoning the Palestinians as the UAE and Bahrain have done.
There are many complications to this deal, owing to decades of bipartisan policy blindness that have created a situation where it is difficult for the United States to cease its policy of collective punishment against the people of Sudan. I explore them in my latest piece for Responsible Statecraft.