Sudan Joins Iran on US List of Terrorist States Evidence Linking Khartoum's Diplomats to New York Bombing Was Not Key to Decision

Article excerpt

THE United States government is placing Sudan on its list of nations that support terrorism largely because the northeast African nation has become a home base for some of the most dangerous renegades of the Islamic world, including Hizbullah fundamentalists and the notorious Abu Nidal Palestinian terrorist organization.

Sudan is also becoming increasingly close to that old US nemesis, Iran. A high-level Sudanese military delegation traveled to Tehran last summer seeking help in fighting its guerrilla war against rebels in southern Sudan.

Evidence directly linking Sudanese officials to planned attacks on New York targets, including the United Nations, was less of a factor in Secretary of State Warren Christopher's decision to formally condemn the Khartoum government. The full story of the New York plot has yet to be uncovered, and US officials are not yet sure how the conspiracy fits together.

It is possible that the plot contains wheels within wheels - Sudanese diplomats that helped plan terror on their own, perhaps, or with the support of only a few elements of their government.

"I find it a weak linkage" between top levels in Khartoum and the 11 suspects so far charged in the case in New York, says a congressional staff member who nonetheless favors listing Sudan as a supporter of terrorism.

Many members of Congress have long pushed the State Department to judge Sudan as a sort of junior brother to Iran, an Islamic state bent on international interference.

The matter has been under review in the State Department for months. Last weekend, Secretary Christopher finally decided to add Sudan to a list that already includes Cuba, Iran, Iraq, Libya, and Syria.

As of this writing, the public condemnation of Sudan had yet to be made. "We expect an announcement in a matter of days," says an official from State. Sudan warned earlier

Last March, the US warned Sudan that its strengthening relationship with Iran and its role as host to radical terrorist organizations could earn it a spot on the terrorism blacklist.

Unlike most other Arab nations, Sudan does not require Arabs to obtain a visa for entry. As a result, it has become a meeting place for the so-called "Afghanis," radical Muslims who fought in the Afghan war and are now stateless, rejected by their home governments as dangerous sources of instability. …

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