Editor’s note: The following is an excerpt from The Scramble for Africa: Darfur — Intervention and the USA by Steven Fake and Kevin Funk. Originally published by Foreign Policy in Focus.
Just as the Clinton administration mostly continued its hostility towards Khartoum for the rest of its term, the presidency of George W. Bush did not give any initial indications of a dramatic change in policy. Just six weeks after the September 11 attacks, and subsequent to the declaration of the “War on Terror,” the Bush administration developed a list of countries to target in a five-year plan: Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Iran, Libya, Somalia, and Sudan. Yet it was also largely because of September 11 that relations between Washington and Khartoum began to strike a more conciliatory note. Following the attacks, Sudan began increasing its sharing of “counterterror” intelligence with the U.S. Though Sudan had been attempting to curry favor with Washington by passing along intelligence for several years prior, it was only upon the commencement of the “Age of Terror” that the U.S. government fully appreciated the benefits of this unsavory alliance. Accordingly, Washington began to warm to Bashir’s regime, with Khartoum moving to stop militants from entering Iraq to fight against U.S. forces, and granting U.S. officials access to detained Al-Qaida suspects. The CIA has collaborated with Khartoum’s Mukhabarat intelligence service to spy on Iraqi rebel movements, and reportedly there are daily liaison visits between the two intelligence agencies.