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“Yes, We Have Leverage”: U.S. and International Community Have Tools at Hand to Stop Violent Kleptocrats

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“Yes, We Have Leverage”: U.S. and International Community Have Tools at Hand to Stop Violent Kleptocrats

Posted by Enough Team on June 15, 2017


Enough Project policy report details “playbook” of tools available to policymakers to address corrupt elites, intractable conflicts in Africa

A policy report published today by the Enough Project details how the international community, and in particular the United States, can exert powerful leverage to impact the calculations, behavior, and material position of violent kleptocratic elites in East and Central Africa who are responsible for mass atrocities, famine, and genocide.

Yes, We Have Leverage: A Playbook for Immediate and Long-Term Financial Pressures to Address Violent Kleptocracies in East and Central Africa,” by Enough’s Brad Brooks-Rubin comes as a concrete and constructive response to some policymakers’ doubts and critiques about sanctions and similar policy tools meant to address corrupt leaders, murderous warlords, and seemingly intractable conflicts.

Brad Brooks-Rubin, report author, Policy Advisor at the Enough Project, and Director of Policy at The Sentry, said: “Tools of financial pressure can be extremely powerful when used properly and strategically. Too often, these tools are misunderstood, even by policymakers. This playbook presents options, from complex to deceptively simple, that can change the financial calculations of those involved in mass atrocities in East and Central Africa.”

In the report, Brooks-Rubin, a former official of both the U.S. Department of State and Department of the Treasury, identifies how the perception that the U.S. lacks effective leverage often comes from a lack of understanding about these tools or how best to use them. The report further reveals that almost none of these available tools have been deployed, especially in some of the direst cases, like South Sudan.

John Prendergast, Founding Director at the Enough Project, said: “The United States possesses leverage against those who commit atrocities in East and Central Africa. We know that violent kleptocrats, warlords, and their business networks rely on the U.S. dollar when they move illicit funds. When they do, the U.S. government can act and have a direct impact through modernized sanctions and anti-money laundering measures. These tools have worked against other threats, and it is time they are deployed strategically to advance the cause of peace in East and Central Africa.”

The brief summarizes 15 different options in four sets of tools that can form a playbook to deal with violent kleptocracies in East and Central Africa. These include:

  • Modernized sanctions, including network sanctions
  • Direct anti-money laundering (AML) measures
  • Multilateral AML measures
  • Outreach/Diplomacy/Direct Pressure

Read the full report:

For media inquiries or interview requests, please contact: Greg Hittelman, Director of Communications, +1 310 717 0606[email protected].


The Enough Project supports peace and an end to mass atrocities in Africa’s deadliest conflict zones. Together with its investigative initiative The Sentry, Enough counters armed groups, violent kleptocratic regimes, and their commercial partners that are sustained and enriched by corruption, criminal activity, and the trafficking of natural resources. By helping to create consequences for the major perpetrators and facilitators of atrocities and corruption, Enough seeks to build leverage in support of peace and good governance. Enough conducts research in conflict zones, engages governments and the private sector on potential policy solutions, and mobilizes public campaigns focused on peace, human rights, and breaking the links between war and illicit profit. Learn more – and join us – at