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President Obama and Sudan: A Blueprint for Peace (Activist Brief)

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President Obama and Sudan: A Blueprint for Peace (Activist Brief)

Posted by Enough Team on April 30, 2009

President Obama and Sudan: A Blueprint for Peace (Activist Brief)

From President Obama's appointment of a special envoy for Sudan to the expulsion of 16 aid groups from Darfur, the past several weeks have brought both welcome first steps and the development of a potential humanitarian disaster to the situation in Sudan. Many activists have grown understandably and increasingly frustrated given the seeming lack of urgency and relative silence from the Obama administration in addressing the looming humanitarian crisis in Darfur. As Enough has recently noted on our blog, we think a quiet approach by the Obama administration may make real sense if it is backed by genuine leverage and sustained pressure, but the clock continues to tick in camps, and the need for genuine and bold leadership from the White House has never been greater. 
In this report, the third in a series of open letters to President Obama, the Enough Project and our partners at the Save Darfur Coalition and the Genocide Intervention Network lay out a detailed blueprint for achieving lasting peace in Sudan. If President Obama is firm in his response to the impending humanitarian crisis, promotes international justice, and works diligently toward a viable long-term peace that includes both Darfur and a reinvigorated Comprehensive Peace Agreement, or CPA, hope remains that peace in Sudan can be achieved. From our own meetings with Special Envoy Gration and key members of the Obama administration, we believe that this administration is willing and able to make the strong and sustained efforts necessary to build an international coalition for peace.  However, these efforts will only be successful if the activist community takes action to ensure that the President himself treats the situation in Sudan as a strategic priority.

This is where you come in.


  • Visit to send a letter to the White House supporting the policy recommendations outlined in the third open letter from the Enough Project, the Save Darfur Coalition, and the Genocide Intervention Network to President Obama spelling out a practical roadmap to end the crisis in Sudan. 
  • Keep the pressure on the Obama administration by calling the White House at 1-800-GENOCIDE. Ask that Special Envoy Gration immediately get the staff and resources he needs to effectively carry out his work.
  • Contact the ombudsmen at major media outlets or write a letter to the editor of your local paper to ask why no questions have been asked about Sudan at the last two Presidential press conferences. For more information on media outreach, visit

A clear global consensus exists for peace in Sudan, even if there is not agreement on the best path to achieve this goal. China, the Arab League, the African Union, the European Union, and the United States all want peace, but little has been done to build the necessary infrastructure to help bring it about. What has long been missing in Sudan is America’s strategic leadership. Learning from the successful lessons which brought about the CPA in Sudan, the Obama administration must lead in constructing a multilateral strategy for peace by establishing an inclusive peace process for Darfur, re-vitalizing implementation of the CPA and the dangerously neglected Eastern Sudan Peace Agreement, and ending Sudan’s proxy war with Chad. 

General Gration and the Obama administration must strike the right balance between incentives and pressures in order to lay the foundation for a political solution to the situation in Sudan. In broad strokes, the United States should present two options to the Government of Sudan:

Behind Door One: if the Sudanese government permits unimpeded humanitarian access, removes the indicted president, and secures peace in Darfur and the South, a clear process toward normalization will be mapped out. Almost all of the incentives for Sudan come in the form of more normal relations with much of the world: the lifting of sanctions, a return to more normal patterns of trade and diplomacy, and the other benefits that would naturally flow from Sudan achieving stability as a result of more equitable power-sharing.

Behind Door Two: if President Bashir and his party remain defiant by continuing to undermine efforts at peace for the country, a series of escalating costs will ensue, including diplomatic isolation, targeted economic sanctions an effective arms embargo, and, if necessary, eventual targeted military action.

If the benefits of Door One and the consequences of Door Two are meaningful, the chance for peace in Sudan increases dramatically. A menu of possible actions resulting in increased leverage over Sudan includes: isolating Bashir, strengthening crucial regional players, expanding economic sanctions and the arms embargo, effectively banning offensive military flights, and many more. The problem has never been about a lack of leverage, but rather the unwillingness to exert it. 

President Obama and members of his 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. If the President himself treats the situation in Sudan as a strategic priority, sets objectives for U.S. policy, builds the necessary leverage, and invests in the diplomacy necessary to achieve an equitable and lasting solution, the administration has the chance to work for peace at a crucial juncture in Sudan’s history.

As outlined in this letter, the opportunities exist to fundamentally change the history of Sudan and bring about an era of peace and stability to a region of the world that has far too long been rife with conflict. President Obama has the tools at hand, but the anti-genocide movement also has an important role to play in order to provide the political will needed to carry out the bold course of action required. 

Take action today by sending a letter to President Obama asking for his urgent leadership to address the immediate humanitarian crisis in Darfur and to achieve long-term peace through a political solution for all of Sudan. Click here to take action by sending a letter to President Obama supporting the policy recommendations outlined in this third open letter, which maps out a practical blueprint for ending the crisis in Sudan. Continue to put pressure on President Obama by calling the White House by dialing 1-800-GENOCIDE to demand additional resources for the special envoy, and urging major press outlets to make sure that Sudan is represented and covered in the press.