In response to the alarming increase in violence in Sudan, the United States has imposed stringent sanctions targeting the nation’s warring factions and their supporters. This development reflects the Biden administration’s recognition of the escalating conflict as an “unusual and extraordinary threat” to US national security and foreign policy.
On Thursday, President Joe Biden signed an Executive Order reinstating sanctions previously lifted on Sudan for its role as a state sponsor of terrorism and humanitarian abuses. This move freezes Sudanese assets within the US and instructs the Treasury Secretary to identify those responsible for perpetuating the conflict, who will subsequently face sanctions.
The order further mandates the freezing of assets and barring of transactions with US entities for any foreign individuals found to be complicit or engaged in supporting the warring parties, looting, or harming civilians. Individuals identified in this manner will also be prohibited from entering the United States.
This action marks the first US response to the ongoing conflict between the Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) and the Rapid Support Forces (RSF), former allies instrumental in the overthrow of ex-leader Omar al-Bashir. Both factions have resisted transitioning to a civilian-led government.
Since the violence erupted on April 15, the death toll has surpassed 800, with over 300,000 displaced, including 100,000 who have sought refuge in neighboring countries. Four ceasefire agreements have been repeatedly violated as SAF, led by junta leader Gen Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, and RSF’s Mohammed Dagalo “Hemedti” continue to clash in Khartoum.
The newly imposed sanctions threaten to plunge Sudan back into isolation, just two years after it was removed from the list of state sponsors of terrorism.
President Biden’s order asserts that these sanctions aim to deter actions and policies that undermine peace, security, and stability in Sudan, as well as impede the transition to a civilian-led government, perpetuate human rights abuses, and enable the looting of Sudanese resources