|Sudan massacres suspect let into Britain|
|A SENIOR Sudanese security official blamed for massacres in the Darfur region of the country was allowed into Britain for medical treatment last week. Salah Abdallah Gosh, director of the national security and intelligence service in Khartoum, obtained a British visa even though a United Nations panel has recommended that he and 16 other officials be banned from travelling abroad. |
Gosh has close links with the CIA, which regards him as an ally in the war on terror. The agency flew him to Virginia last April to discuss intelligence on Al-Qaeda but the trip provoked disquiet in Congress and the State Department and embarrassed President Bush, who has called the Sudanese governments actions in Darfur genocide. The British governments willingness to allow Gosh into the country has astonished critics of the Sudanese regime.
|Sudanese general's visit to the US causes division|
|Plans by the CIA to fly Sudan's intelligence chief to Washington for secret talks aimed at cementing co-operation against terrorism triggered such intense opposition in the Bush Administration that some officials suggested arresting him.|
The row over the visit by Major-General Salah Abdallah Gosh, whose government Washington accuses of committing genocide in the western Darfur region, goes to the heart of a wider dispute about the CIA's alliances with foreign intelligence services.
Critics say dealing with countries such as Sudan sends a signal that the US is not serious about promoting democracy and human rights. Intelligence experts say Washington has no choice but to rely on some governments with questionable human rights records to it in its fight against terrorism. General Gosh's agency has allowed the CIA to question al-Qaeda suspects living in Sudan and detained foreign militants moving through the country on their way to joining Iraqi insurgents. The trip was intended to help strengthen the relationship.
With plans for the visit on the point of collapse, sources said a compromise was struck with opponents of the April 18-22 visit in the state and justice departments: General Gosh was allowed to come, but a scheduled meeting with the CIA director, Porter Goss, was cancelled.
Ted Dagne, a specialist on Sudan with the Congressional Research Service, said State Department officials believed General Gosh's trip would "send a political signal to the [Sudanese] Government that Darfur would not prevent Sudan from winning support in Washington".
Disclosure of General Gosh's visit also angered some in Congress. A Democrat congressman, Donald Payne, told a State Department official who was giving evidence on Capitol Hill last month that bringing General Gosh "to visit Washington at this time is tantamount to inviting the head of the Nazi SS at the height of the Holocaust".
But one senior US official defended the trip. "Mr Gosh has strategic knowledge and information about a critical region in the war on terror. The information he has is of substantial value to law enforcement, the intelligence community and the US Government as a whole," the unnamed official said.
The CIA's relationship with Sudan is especially controversial because of its previous ties to Islamic radicals.
The US continues to criticise Sudan for human rights violations. In September the then secretary of state, Colin Powell, accused Sudan of committing genocide in Darfur. President George Bush reiterated that charge earlier this month.