Post by regular Stand contributor, Alexa Huffman
The New York Times are reporting that “Obama Drops Plans to Isolate Sudan Leaders”
Originally in Obama’s campaign, he promised to have a tough crackdown on Sudan, isolating the government and introducing tougher sanctions, which would pressure Sudan to end the crisis in Darfur. Now Obama has decided to go for a softer approach. The new plan is to offer more incentives to work at normalizing relations with President Omar al-Bashir, who has been charged with war crimes over the conflict in Darfur. Secretary of State Hilary Clinton, US Ambassador Susan Rice, and Major General Scott Gration, Obama’s special envoy to Sudan will reveal the plan on Monday.
The three have been bickering about whether to ease up on Khartoum, and it seems Gration, who has been advocating for a more appeasing approach to the Khartoum government has gotten his way. However, the concessions to Khartoum are dependant on the government working to resolve the conflict in Darfur. Gration insists there will be a strict timeline for the peace deal, failing to state that the Sudan government did not follow the original peace deal timeline. Then again, he also wanted the description of what was happening in Darfur changed to “remnants of genocide.”
Why are we going in circles? Obama criticized George W. Bush for not taking action against the Sudan government, yet this new policy bears remarkable similarities to Bush’s approach. The Obama administration has labeled the conflict in Darfur as an ongoing genocide, yet is too wrapped in the politics and the international relations at present moment. The National Congress Party in Darfur is a regime that craves power, not human interests. Easing up the pressure is like not disciplining children; it just teaches Khartoum that they can get away with what they want, stalling and avoiding peace. As evidence shows, they will continue the violence if their assets are not taken away. They need a shout from the United States that this is not acceptable, that the United States will cut off their resources with sanctions. Then change will happen.
This is not making the United States look good. It makes it seem like the Western World opt out of doing what is right in order to avoid a messy clash with Sudan. Meanwhile there are millions of Sudanese displaced from their homes, and hundreds of thousand have been killed.
This is the President who promised in his campaign to help end what was happening in Darfur. This is the President who won the Nobel Peace Prize. I believe that we should show, through letters, emails, and phone calls, what a little pressure can do to advocate change. Let’s promote the Peace Prize winner to make peace, keep his promise, and push for the change needed in Darfur. The people of Sudan do not need to suffer any longer.