Monday, October 19, 2009

You Have Got to Be Kiddng Me

Forget that nasty Darfur stuff! Let's play with Sudan!

WASHINGTON — The Obama administration has formulated a new policy for Sudan that proposes working with that country’s government, rather than isolating it as President Obama had pledged to do during his campaign.

In an interview on Friday, President Obama’s special envoy to Sudan, Maj. Gen. J. Scott Gration, retired, said the policy, to be announced Monday by Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, would make use of a mix of “incentives and pressure” to seek an end to the human rights abuses that have left millions of people dead or displaced while burning Darfur into the American conscience.

General Gration said the administration would set strict time lines for President Omar al-Bashir of Sudan to fulfill the conditions of a 2005 peace agreement that his government signed with rebels in southern Sudan.

Under that agreement, independence for southern Sudan is to be put to a vote in 2011.

“To advance peace and security in Sudan, we must engage with allies and with those with whom we disagree,” said a statement of the policy that was obtained by The New York Times.

General Gration said the administration’s new approach was also intended to prevent Sudan, which once provided refuge to Osama bin Laden, from again serving as a terrorist haven.

During his campaign, Mr. Obama criticized the Bush administration for doing too little to stop the killing.
So that's it. It looks like the realists have been whispering in a few ears, judging by that section I bolded. They want Sudan on the inside, because a few dead people in Darfur (okay, hundreds of thousands) are less important than another "ally" in the we-won't-call-it-a-War-on-Terror.

The justification they've pulled out is that things are getting better, and maybe the Sudanese government should be brought into the fold. But they're getting better because the Darfur people are thoroughly repressed, and the rehabilitation of the Sudanese government is only going to encourage other governments to murder even more minorities.

(But, hey, it's not really genocide as long as they're nobody I know, right?)

Obviously, people are ticked:

But the new administration policy is likely to inflame an already vociferous chorus of criticism.

In advertisements and letters to the White House, legislators, activist groups and Sudanese rebel leaders have accused Mr. Obama of abandoning his promises to make Sudan a priority from his first day in office and to stand tough against President Bashir, whom the International Criminal Court indicted this year for crimes against humanity.

Some critics have expressed outrage over earlier statements by General Gration in which he raised questions about the effectiveness of imposing sanctions and suggested that a series of rewards might work better at getting Mr. Bashir’s government in Khartoum to cooperate.

In the interview, General Gration disagreed with the critics.

Summing up the administration’s approach, he cited what he described as an old African proverb. “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, you have to go with someone,” he said.

“We want to go far,” General Gration said, “and to do that we are going to have to go with Khartoum.”
Why, yes, I'm sure you do want to go far, Mister General Sir. All the way into Darfur.

Mind the bodies.

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