The September 11 attacks brought a taste of southern Sudan's terror close to home for the Sudan Coalition. This broad-based movement includes the National Association of Evangelicals, the Family Research Council, and the afl-cio.
That day also apparently spurred a shift in U.S. policy toward Sudan that has stalled potentially punitive legislation. Sudan's National Islamic Front regime, which once harbored prime suspect Osama bin Laden, says it will now help bring some of his associates to justice.
The Sudan Coalition has been pressing Congress to maintain provisions in the Sudan Peace Act that would ban from U.S. markets companies that cooperate with Khartoum. Sudan is exploiting newly discovered oil reserves with foreign investment. The country had $500 million in oil revenues last year. That money, in turn, fuels Sudan's military campaign to impose Islamic law nationwide.
In southern Sudan, the rebel Sudan People's Liberation Army continues to fight back, but it has not been easy. Sudan's government has bombed civilian targets, condoned slave raids, and orchestrated mass starvation. More than 2 million southern Sudanese have died. More than 4 million have been displaced since 1983.
While the House version of the Sudan Peace Act supports capital-market restrictions, the Senate version does not. House and Senate versions were about to be reconciled on September 20. But House Speaker Dennis Hastert halted the process, apparently on behalf of the Bush administration.1