John Prendergast, John Norris, and Jerry Fowler
22 January 2009
The following excerpts are taken from a series of letters to President Obama by the Center for American Progress ENOUGH Project. ENOUGH is a project committed to ending genocide and crimes against humanity. This second installation serves as a guide to ending the crisis of Darfur in Sudan, as well as seeing the way forward for President Obama as the ICC charges proceed against President Omar al-Bashir, US ambassador to the UN Susan Rice begins her tenure, and UNAMID struggles to deploy fully and ensure civilian protection in the Sudan.
During his first month in office, President Obama will face a number of foreign policy tests, challenges, and dilemmas from a variety of hot spots around the world. All are grave, but given the increasing probability that the International Criminal Court, or ICC, will issue an arrest warrant for the Sudanese President, Omar al-Bashir, the situation in Sudan will very quickly demand his attention. ()
A CHECKLIST FOR THE OBAMA ADMINISTRATION
As soon as possible, the new administration should undertake the following:
Appoint the Presidents Special Envoy who will own this issue so that individual can begin working as rapidly as possible, and clearly establish the mandate, role and authority of this envoy within the administration. Providing sufficient authority and support will be vital.
Identify two senior diplomats experienced in peacemaking to be the deputies to the Presidents Special Envoy, one for Darfur and the other for the CPA [Comprehensive Peace Agreement].
Engage with key international actors to develop a practical and escalating menu of options for exerting leverage on the government of Sudan and rebel movements to create an environment conducive to credible negotiations. ()
Work closely with interested parties with leverage in Sudan and the region, especially China, the United Kingdom, France, and key African countries, to coordinate efforts on the peace surge, protection of civilians, and accountability.
By taking these practical steps, President Obama will be well positioned to launch a credible peace surge for Sudan, and work with key countries and the U.N. Security Council to build momentum for the one end-state with which no external country disagrees: peace. ()
As aerial attacks on Darfur by the Sudanese government continue over five years into the crisis and the CPA shows dangerous signs of weakness that could lead to outright collapse, the Obama administration must engage immediately in leading an international peace surge for Sudan. This engagement will clearly demonstrate that the new U.S. administration will exact real consequences on the Sudanese government if its unacceptable policies and behavior continue.
Members of the Obama administration have spoken passionately about their intention to act boldly to end the crisis in Darfur and promote international efforts toward a peaceful future in Sudan. Now they will have the chance to do so at a crucial juncture in Sudans history.