How Khartoum successfully neutralizes US Policy on Sudan through well-meaning US politicians and leaders
Subcommittee Hearing: The Troubling Case of Meriam Ibrahim
Testimony at 2:27:30
Congressman Meadows unwittingly illustrates Omer Ismail’s point regarding the government of Sudan’s strategy for changing US policy on Sudan. They are smart enough not to ask for sanctions or the terrorist designation to be removed, but they have managed to conduct meetings with a US Congressman and religious leader and to create enough of a relationship where a sense of “mutual trust and respect” is established and the hope is born that a relationship can be built that is of “mutual benefit” to both countries.
Rep. Meadows: Mr. Ismail, I want to come to you. You said something earlier that said that your belief is the Sudanese is…they’re wanting something from this. What basis…why would you say that? So you’re saying the release would be predicated on Congress giving them something?
Omer Ismail: Just a speculation on my side that some of the elements inside of the government might see this as an opportunity to gain something from the United States. This government is desperate to get recognition especially from the United States because this is the country that is using all kinds of sanctions against it. This is the country that designated this government to be a sponsor of terrorism and this is the country that is supporting international law in the sense that President Bashir has been indicted by the International Criminal Court and so on and so forth. So, and this is the country where we have a testimony like this from all these wonderful people who are trying to support this woman in need, and this support, I don’t see the support to Meriam Ibrahim only, there are a million Meriam Ibrahims in Sudan that are Christians, that are Muslim, that are practitioners of other faiths that are persecuted daily. The women that were sentenced to 40 lashes or 50 lashes because they’re wearing pants or the women that were, without any kind of respect to the decency of human beings, were considered indecent in public and they were faced with all kinds of threats and harassment. This is a case where the Government of Sudan is trying to see if they can – or at least some elements there – to see that…if we do this, what is it in for us. We have seen from Naivasha and even before that when the negotiations for the peace agreement, when the negotiations for the secession of South Sudan, this government has always…is demanding something. They create obstacles so that when they come and they release these obstacles, somebody would say, “Oh, they did this. They are good, so let us reward them.” And they do just enough to get this monkey off their back that is called the international community and they are not sincere in going the extra mile to make sure that they do this in good faith. Every single step that they have done, be it negotiations with the rebels, be it, you know, letting the South go as they boast - it wasn’t because of them, it is because of the will of the people of South Sudan that they seceded that country. So the government is willing to do everything including incarcerating people or detaining them by force or putting them in house arrest so that they can gain something out of it.
Rep. Meadows: Well, let me comment on that because I’ve…we’ve met with some of the Sudanese officials here in Washington, DC as I know Mr. Perkins has and the relationship is one that I think any relationship has to be built on mutual trust and respect, but negotiating for Meriam’s release with financial or other concessions is not something that is on the table. I think we’ve made that very clear. But I am hopeful that if there is a new day in Sudan that this can be the start – it may be very embryonic, but it could be the start of perhaps a new relationship built on where religious freedoms are not only held up but a relationship that is to both countries of mutual benefit. But to negotiate because there is a woman in prison or being held or thousands of others for small incremental changes is not what this is about.