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Trump could lift sanctions against Sudan

Rex Tillerson–led Exxon Mobil did deals with Sudan in the past

Sudanese President Omar Bashir Associated Press/Photo by Raad Adayleh

Trump could lift sanctions against Sudan

SUDAN: The Trump administration appears ready to permanently lift sanctions against the Islamic regime in Khartoum, according to an Associated Press report citing unnamed U.S. officials. Human rights groups left and right agree: It’s a bad move. Given the extensive lobbying effort by Khartoum (to the tune of $40,000 a month), it’s worth asking who stands to gain. Exxon Mobil? When Secretary of State Rex Tillerson was its CEO, Exxon Mobil did deals with Sudan despite sanctions, according to a Securities and Exchange Commission report. The oil giant also has renewed an oil deal with South Sudan, which requires transit through Sudan to Red Sea ports. President Donald Trump’s recently announced new travel order removed Sudan from the list of banned countries while it added Chad, a move opposed by U.S. military leaders and diplomats. Chad attempted to fine Exxon Mobil $74 billion over unpaid royalty payments while Tillerson was its head.

Sudan’s President Omar Bashir remains the only sitting head of state indicted for war crimes by the International Criminal Court, though attempts to bring him to trial have been abysmal. The World Health Organization (WHO) appears complicit in polishing Sudan’s human rights record, refusing to acknowledge a cholera outbreak now endemic in all 18 states. Last month 18 leading U.S. infectious disease specialists sent a protest letter about the WHO’s silence on “clearly a massive cholera epidemic in Sudan.” Khartoum has made clear its intent to erase Christianity from Sudan, and this year the government has destroyed 25 churches, confiscated church property, arrested pastors—including a Czech aid worker—and expelled believers.

TURKEY: Saturday marks one year in prison for Andrew Brunson, the American pastor who was recently moved to a maximum-security prison and charged with espionage and attempting to overthrow the government. Brunson’s Evangelical Presbyterian Church denomination, where he is a teaching elder and his wife Norine is a member, has issued a call to prayer and fasting this weekend to mark the anniversary and has made available downloadable prayer bulletins.

“It’s as if all our prayers are still out in front of us, unanswered,” the Brunsons’ stateside pastor, Richard White, told me. ”But we remain resolute, trusting that God is Lord and is working larger purposes which we cannot see at this time.”

LIBYA: Families of the 21 Coptic Christians massacred by ISIS are demanding that Libya return the victims’ remains. Authorities located the bodies of the 20 Coptic laborers from Upper Egypt and one Ghanaian last week after arresting the cameraman who filmed the beheadings for ISIS on a beach outside the recently retaken town of Sirte.

NIGER: Al-Qaeda-linked militants ambushed and killed three American Green Berets who were part of what was supposed to be a routine military patrol inside Niger’s border with Mali. The long-running crisis involving militants in Mali largely has been fought by French-backed UN forces with little to no word of U.S. involvement.

FRANCE: In a disturbing video, an imam leading Friday prayers for several hundred Muslims outside a Clichy town hall in Paris chanted the words from the Quran (9:36) urging jihad against non-Muslims: “Fight the infidels without exception, as they fight you without exception, and know that Allah is with the pious.”

NORWAY: With tensions high over a U.S.-led nuclear deal with Iran and North Korea’s weapons buildup, the 2017 Nobel Peace Prize has been awarded to the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons, a Geneva-based nongovernmental organization coalition.

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Mindy Belz

Mindy wrote WORLD Magazine’s first cover story in 1986 and went on to serve as international editor, editor, and senior editor. She has covered wars in Syria, Afghanistan, Africa, and the Balkans, and she recounts some of her experiences in They Say We Are Infidels: On the Run From ISIS With Persecuted Christians in the Middle East. Mindy resides with her husband, Nat, in Asheville, N.C.



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