Sudan to Remain A National Emergency
On November 3rd, 1997, Bill Clinton exercised his statutory authority as President to block Sudanese governmental assets in the United States, restrict trade between the U.S. and Sudan, and restrict contact between U.S. citizens and Sudanese.
According to Clinton’s letter to Congress, these measures came “in response to the Sudanese government’s continued provision of sanctuary and support for terrorist groups, its sponsorship of regional insurgencies that threaten neighboring governments friendly to the United States, its continued prosecution of a devastating civil war, and its abysmal human rights record that includes the denial of religious freedom and inadequate steps to eradicate slavery in the country.”
Since then, Sudan’s status as a national emergency has been one of the few things that all subsequent administrations have agreed upon. National Emergencies must be renewed yearly by publishing the notice with the Federal Register and transmitting it to Congress.
The state of emergency began during the Second Sudanese Civil War, a conflict from 1983 to 2005 largely between the Sudanese government and the People’s Liberation Army. Since South Sudan voted to break away from Sudan in 2011, the South Sudanese government’s primary concern has been to get oil trade moving following disagreements with Khartoum. Civil war broke out in December of 2013 and continues today.
The conflict stems from a bitter divide between the Dinka and the Nuer. These rival groups have fought over land and water for their cattle for years, but their clashes have usually been concentrated and have not resulted in many fatalities. The conflict came to a head with the dismissal of the former Vice President Riek Machar, a Nuer, by the South Sudanese President Salva Kiir, a Dinka. Soldiers who split their loyalties between Kiir and Machar clashed in the capital following months of growing political tensions.
Based on Clinton’s Executive Order and the continuation of the Second Sudanese Civil War, President George Bush issued the Executive Order 13400 on April 26, 2006, blocking property of persons in connection with the conflict in Sudan’s Darfur region.
Nearly a decade later, on October 31st, 2016, President Obama wrote to the Speaker of the House and President of the Senate to continue the national emergency declared by President Clinton’s Executive Order 13067. Shortly thereafter, President Obama issued an executive order lifting many of the U.S. sanctions on Sudan after finding “that the situation that gave rise to the actions taken in Executive Order 13067 of November 3, 1997, and Executive Order 13412 of October 13, 2006, related to the policies and actions of the Government of Sudan has been altered by Sudan’s positive actions over the past 6 months.”
Now, on October 31st, 2017, President Trump has released a statement saying, in part, “Despite recent positive developments, the crisis constituted by the actions and policies of the Government of Sudan that led to the declaration of a national emergency in Executive Order 13067…has not been resolved. These actions and policies continue to pose an unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security and foreign policy of the United States.”