The Sudan Circus: Bashir government laying heavy against sanctions

Sudan has been quite vocal about U.S. sanctions and their own diplomacy recently, particularly with the UN assembly going on. A while back the Sudanese government tried to emotionally blackmail the U.S. out of sanctions for fear that it is hurting South Sudan. Then President Bashir attempted to start a diplomatic riff by threatening to travel to New York for the General Assembly, an action that will most likely land him in jail. And to top it off, the Sudanese government is now claiming that sanctions are creating a humanitarian crisis in Sudan.   Why Omar al-Bashir is allowed to have a hissy-fit in New York, despite U.S. sanctions   Considering that the UN assembly is already underway and anyone working or living near Turtle Bay probably hates their life/commute/city right now, this post is a bit late on the news. However, there has been a bit of controversy over whether Sudanese President/indicted criminal Omar al-Bashir would travel, and would be able to travel to the U.S. Most of the media focus has been on the fact that al-Bashir has been indicted by the ICC and there is a very real possibility that should he travel to the U.S. he would be arrested and sent to face justice. One question I got however is if he would be able to travel here under U.S. sanctions. After all, the Government of Sudan is considered blocked property and thus as his visit would constitute an action on behalf of the GoS, any transactions would be blocked. The answer is that good ole Omar would be able to travel to the U.S. despite the sanctions. First, there are generally carve-outs such as those found in 31 CFR 538.515 which allow for transactions for the official business of the Sudanese diplomatic mission, particularly in relation to the UN. More importantly, this is a good time to reiterate that under the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA), travel is also exempt. The legislation forming IEEPA specifically exempts information materials, travel, humanitarian donations and communications. This is often reinforced in each of the regulations under IEEPA (it does not apply to Cuba which falls under the Trading With the Enemy Act however) and is generally found under the prohibitions section (often times referred to as the 200 section) titled exemptions. It is a broad exemption in which the language in the SSR is indicative of language in other regulations: [31 CFR 538.210] (d) Travel. The prohibitions contained in this part do not apply to transactions ordinarily incident to travel to or from any country, including exportation or importation of accompanied baggage for personal use, maintenance within any country including payment of living expenses and acquisition of goods or services for personal use, and arrangement or facilitation of such travel including non-scheduled air, sea, or land voyages. As you can see, the travel exemption covers not only transportation but also housing, reasonable living expenses and buying goods for personal use such as food, drink and a toothbrush. So whichever hotel that wants to shoulder the burden of his arrival can certainly take his money.   Sudan clearly likes throwing stones in glass houses   Last week we debunked how sanctions are hurting South Sudan. This week, the Sudanese justice minister declared that U.S. sanctions were creating a humanitarian crisis in Sudan, something that is most likely untrue for several reasons. 1. The export of food, medicine and medical devices is allowed either through general license or specific license via the Trade Sanctions Reform Act (TSRA). Unlike TSRA dealings with Iran that suffer from problems such as...

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