Sanctions and Sudan, Why Washington Was Right to Lift Its Restrictions (A “Institute of Tomorrow” article published in Foreign Affairs Magazine)

By: Yasir Zaidan

Associate at the Institute of Tomorrow

On October 6, the United States announced that it would lift many of its longstanding sanctions against the government of Sudan. The time for removing the sanctions had come, U.S. officials argued, because Khartoum had lifted some bans on humanitarian aid and had been willing to cooperate with Washington on counterterrorism issues.

In truth, Sudan’s recent progress on those issues has been uneven but real, and the Donald Trump administration was right to remove some of the U.S. restrictions. Doing so will benefit Sudan’s small businesses, which have been languishing for decades without secure access to foreign investors and the international financial system.


The United States first imposed sanctions against Sudan in 1997, citing the country’s support for international terrorism, human rights violations, and meddling in the politics of its neighbors, such as Ethiopia and Eritrea. In 2006, the administration of U.S. President George W. Bush expanded the scope of those sanctions, freezing the assets of some Sudanese officials involved in the conflict in Darfur, a region in the country’s west where security forces and government-backed militias

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