I am sure that the lights were burning late in Khartoum, as they try to analyze the statements by Hillary on Darfur. In looking at both the written (pages 62-65) and oral testimony by Clinton, it seems clear that the administration is still puzzling through exactly how it will deal with Sudan, and the testimony was designed to leave all options on the table – which is what a good diplomat should do. I was certainly encouraged by Clinton’s blunt recognition that coming up with a means to “repel the militias” has been an important missing element to date. Obama had previously committed to implementing a no-fly zone over Darfur as a candidate, so it was no surprise to see it repeated here. Efforts to improve the United Nations force on the ground are welcome and important but, as we have long argued, insufficient to end the conflict.
I am hoping that the reference to creating ‘sanctuaries’ for civilians displaced by the conflict was simply cited as one of many options rather than a concrete plan. There are few examples of such sanctuaries proving effective in practice.
On balance, a very good performance by Clinton, but the devil truly remains in the details when dealing with Sudan.