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Will Obama Finally Pay Attention to Sudan?

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For the past seven months, U.S. diplomacy toward Sudan has veered dangerously in the direction of appeasing Sudan’s ruling National Congress Party (NCP). Since taking power in a 1989 coup, the NCP has engaged in a systematic assault on the Sudanese people. The use of starvation as a weapon in Southern Sudan and the genocide in Darfur have killed nearly two and a half million people. Omar al-Bashir, the country’s president, is the first sitting head of state indicted by the International Criminal Court. Under his rule, the body count continues to climb.

Some of the Obama administration’s recent lowlights have included public and private rhetoric favoring incentives over pressure, talk of lifting longstanding sanctions without demanding anything in return, and a disconcerting lack of emphasis on the need to hold this heinous regime accountable for what this and the previous U.S. administration have declared genocide. Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, and Joe Biden talked tough when they were presidential candidates, but this administration’s day-to-day diplomacy on Sudan has been troubling.

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