Last week, Foreign Policy blogger Josh Rogin published an article describing the Obama administration’s tumultuous efforts to resettle on a policy for Sudan (one was put forth last year, but that strategy is all but dead). For some time now, the administration has struggled to identify the appropriate balance of incentives and pressures to be applied toward Sudan’s ruling National Congress Party, or NCP. Based on reports from a recent meeting at the White House, little positive progress has been made. Doubling back on the Sudan policy that the Obama administration promoted last October, Special Envoy to Sudan Major General Scott Gration and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton are now pushing a Sudan policy in which much-needed additional pressures are markedly absent. Reports also indicate that the policy’s focus will shift primarily to the upcoming referenda, a decision that risks putting a resolution to the crisis in Darfur on hold.
Despite these grim developments, one voice can still chime in on the president’s forthcoming decision on Sudan—that of Vice President Joe Biden. Biden has long been vocal about his commitment to Sudan, but was absent from last week’s policy meeting. His influence over President Obama could now play a critical role in the fight for a meaningful Sudan policy.
The reported policy recommendation—heavy on incentives but missing pressures—will be submitted to President Obama for his approval soon. Enough, the Save Darfur Coalition, STAND, and other activist groups are seizing on this moment to ensure that U.S. policy addresses the conflicts in Sudan comprehensively, including the crisis in Darfur, and employs both the pressures and incentives necessary to impact the decisions of the NCP—decisions that are especially important as the January 2011 referenda rapidly approach. There are a variety of ways in which you can help make a difference for Sudan. Check out these actions to influence President Obama to do the right thing on Sudan policy, including one taking place in Washington D.C. tonight.
• Attend STAND’s “Ring the Alarm for Sudan” Vigil
Stressing the immediacy of the issue, tonight, August 17th, STAND is hosting a national vigil for Sudan. In Washington, D.C., members of the community will gather to rally outside of Vice President Biden’s home to show him how instrumental he can be in speaking out for Sudan.
• Sign the Save Darfur Coalition’s Petition
The Save Darfur Coalition has put together a petition that you can sign to be sent to President Obama. The petition advocates for President Obama to say ‘no’ to the current policy recommendation and say ‘yes’ to one that will bring lasting peace to Sudan by utilizing pressures and incentives, and resolving the crisis in Darfur.
• Send Vice President Biden a Message on Sudan
Enough will be hosting a takeover of Biden’s Facebook page. Post this video with a message to his page, reminding him of his commitment to Sudan and encouraging him to weigh in with the President on how important attention to Darfur and inclusion of pressures are to Sudan’s policy.
• Call 1-800-GENOCIDE
Call Genocide Intervention Network’s hotline, 1-800-GENOCIDE where you can be connected to the office of your U.S. representative, senator, the White House, or to a representative from GI-Net for more information.
Photo: U.S. Capitol