Khartoum’s Favorite British Lobbyist Says US Should Reward Sudan’s Counter-Terrorism Cooperation

By Faith McDonnell Published on November 6, 2018

Sudan’s “British Spin-Doctor,” David Hoile, wrote an op-ed in September promoting the Khartoum regime. Hoile is well-known to advocates for human rights and religious freedom in Sudan. Now, the well-paid defender of Islamist jihadists is back — and he’s joined by U.S. lobbyists. They’re urging the government to remove Sudan from the State Sponsors of Terrorism list.

The lobbyist admits that Sudan kept “bad company” for a few years. But he believes the regime should be rewarded for the two decades of “active cooperation on counter-terrorism.”

Khartoum’s Record

Hoile insists on defending Khartoum, saying it is not guilty of any human rights violations. But we know that the genocidal regime’s crimes include capturing and enslaving black, African indigenous southern Sudanese. It has also made repeated attempts to eradicate those populations — southern Sudan, Darfur, Nuba Mountains and the Blue Nile State. Additionally, it has acted with political and religious repression, particularly persecution of Sudan’s Christians and scorched earth campaigns. As if not enough, its crimes involve aerial bombardment of civilian targets and government-orchestrated starvation.

Khartoum is on the State Sponsors of Terrorism list because it deserves to be. Sudan’s National Congress Party regime still works with terrorists like Hamas, Hezbollah, al-Shabab, al Qaeda and the Islamic State.

Hoile also says there is no evidence to justify Khartoum’s support for terrorism. He says this ignorant of the fact that the Muslim Brotherhood ideology has shaped the nation since the 1940s.

Hoile blames the Clinton administration for wronging the Islamist regime. He claims President Clinton manipulated negative attention on Khartoum to deflect attention away from the Lewinsky scandal. And that’s what led to Khartoum’s undeserved reputation.

But Lord Alton of the British Parliament and advocate for human rights in Sudan, declares:

The Sudanese regime has failed time and again to fulfil its promises to the international community. It must not be rewarded for its bad behaviour. … it has no place among the community of nations, and it richly deserves its place on the list of state sponsors of terror. (Email, October 2018)

Madeleine Albright called Sudan a “back burner issue.” Our Sudan coalition struggled to bring more global attention to the genocide. After meeting with African-Affairs Assistant Secretary Susan Rice, our coalition reflected, “The administration’s emerging policy on Sudan seems to be to give the rebels a little bit of moral, and maybe financial, support, while doing nothing to isolate Khartoum by tarring it as a genocidal regime.” We forced the Clinton administration to acknowledge the reality.

Khartoum Should Not Be Rewarded

Khartoum is on the State Sponsors of Terrorism list because it deserves to be. Sudan’s National Congress Party regime still works with terrorists like Hamas, Hezbollah, al-Shabab, al Qaeda and the Islamic State. In fact, many in these groups were trained in Sudan.

In a June 2017 meeting, the active chief of the National Intelligence and Security Services (NISS) Mohammed Atta al-Moula confided: “It is true Sudan is facilitating financial aid to groups of terrorists. But we tell them that Sudan have [sic] no knowledge of supporting terrorism.” (Atta is now comfortably ensconced in Washington as Charge D’Affaires at the Sudan Embassy, thanks to the lobbying efforts of Squire Patton Boggs, the Atlantic Council, etc.)

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In August, 85 organizations and individuals were concerned that the U.S. might take Sudan off the State Sponsors of Terrorism list. We wrote to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo:

The leaders of Sudan have outlasted and outsmarted several U.S. administrations because they and their counterparts in the Muslim Brotherhood are committed to a long-term vision. They succeed at advancing their agenda because they can count on the U.S. and the international community to focus on short-term gains at the expense of long-term transformational objectives that yield real and sustainable international peace and security.

The letter to Pompeo warns, “If the U.S. removes Sudan from the list of states that sponsor terrorism, a designation that accurately defines the regime, the financial fortunes of the regime (not the people of Sudan) will improve and the U.S. will have empowered a regime guilty … of destroying the lives of millions of people, including American citizens.”

The Trump administration should not let Hoile, or anyone else, affect its clarity about Sudan. Let’s be clear. Khartoum should “not be rewarded” for anything.


Faith J. H. McDonnell works for the Institute on Religion and Democracy in Washington, D.C. She serves as the Director of the IRD’s International Religious Liberty Program as well as its Church Alliance for a New Sudan.

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