after the fall of Bashir, Sudan close the door on support for Hamas

KHARTOUM, Sept. 23 (Reuters) – Sudanese authorities have taken control of lucrative assets Which for year with support for Hamas, shedding light on how the land served as a refuge for the Palestinian militant group below former leader Omar al-Bashir.

The take over of at least a dozen companies that officials say are associated met Hamas, helped accelerate Sudan’s realignment with the West since the overthrow of Bashir in 2019. About the past year, Khartoum has won removal of US state sponsors of terrorism (SST) list and is on Class for relief of more over $50 billion in debt.

Hamas has lost a foreign base where members and supporters could live, raise money, and channel Iranian weapons and funds into the Gaza Strip, Sudanese and Palestinian analysts said.

Seized assets detailed by Sudanese official sources and a western intelligence source show the range of die networking.

According to officials of a task force set up to dismantle the Bashir regime, they include: real estate, company shares, a hotel in An prime Khartoum location, an exchange bureau, a TV station, and more than a million acres of farmland.

Sudan became a center for money laundering and terrorist financing, said Wagdi Salih, a leading member of the task force – the Committee to dismantle the regime of 30 June 1989 and recover public funds.

The system was a big cover, a big umbrella, internally and externally,” he said.

A Western intelligence source said techniques were used in Sudan those are common organize crime: Companies were run by trustee shareholders, rents were collected in cash, and transfers made via exchange offices.

Bashir openly supported Hamas and was kind with its leaders.

“They got preferential treatment in tenders, tax waivers, and they were allowed to move to Hamas and Gaza with no limits,” said a task force member, speaking on condition of anonymity.

ISLAMIC HUB

Sudan’s journey from pariah state to US ally has been gradual. In the decade after Bashir took power in 1989 the country became a hub for radical Islamists, sheltered Osama bin Laden for several years, and was sanctioned by the United States over tyres met Palestinian militants.

Bashir tried later distance himself from hardline Islamism, stepping up security cooperation with Washington. Sudan broke ties in 2016 with Iran and the next year U.S trade sanctions against Khartoum was dropped after Washington die state had accepted support for Hamas had stopped.

But until the fall of Bashir, networking continued die Hamas had supported existence in place.

Hamas Investments in Sudan started with small- large-scale enterprises such as: fast food restaurants before you venture in real estate and construction, according to an official on the task force.

An example was Hassan and Alabed, which started as a cement company and grew into a large real real estate developments.

The task force says it was in An network with about 10 other big companies with interconnect share property connected met Bashir ally Abdelbasit Hamza die large amounts via foreign bank bills.

The largest was Alrowad Real Estate Development, founded in 2007 and noted on the stock exchange of Khartoum, with subsidiaries die have been laundered according to western intelligence source money and traded in currency to finance Hamas.

Hamza was jailed in April for 10 years on corruption charges and sent to the Khartoum prison where Bashir is being held. The task force said he had assets worth up up to $1.2 billion in his name. Hamza’s lawyer, who also represents Bashir, could not be reached for comment.

AN second network, worth up up to $20 million, revolved around the broadcaster Tayba and an associated charity called Almishkat. It was run by two Hamas members who got citizenship and amassed businesses and real estate, according to Maher Abouljokh, the caretaker brought in to manage Tayba. The TV channel was funneling money from the Gulf, laundered millions of dollars, and had clear tyres met Hamas, said Abouljokh.

Contacted by Reuters, Hamas official Sami Abu Zuhri denied the group investments made in Sudan, but acknowledged an impact of Sudan’s political shift: “Unfortunately, there were several measures die the presence of the movement (Hamas) in the country (Sudan) and limited political ties with it,” he said.

NORMALIZATION

Through last year, Sudan was desperate for escape the SST list, a requirement for debt relief and support by international lenders.

Under pressure from the United States, it is joined the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Morocco in agree to normalize ties with Israel – although it has acted slowly to implement the deal.

AN former American diplomat who worked on Sudan under Trump administration said to close down the Hamas network was a point of attention in negotiations with Khartoum. “We were pushing” on an open door,” he said.

The United States gave Sudan a list of companies to shut down, according to one Sudanese source and the Western intelligence source. the Ministry of Foreign Affairs declined until comment.

Many Hamas-affiliated figures went to Turkey with some liquid assets but left behind about 80% of their investments, the task force official said.

Sudan’s transition leaders “view themselves as the exact antithesis” of bashir in regional termssaid Sudanese analyst Magdi El Gazouli. “She want to sell itself as part of the new security order in the region.”

“The coup d’état against al-Bashiri caused real problems for Hamas and Iran,” said the Palestinian analyst Adnan Abu Amer. “Hamas and Iran had to look for alternatives – alternatives die were not there in place because the coup against al-Bashir was suddenly one.”

Reporting by Khalid Abdelaziz and Nafisa Eltahir in Khartoum, John Irish in Paris, Nidal al-Mughrabic in Gaza, Arshad Mohamed in Washington and Dan Williams in Jerusalem; Written by Aidan Lewis and Nafisa Eltahir; Editing by Giles Elgood

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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