Aiming at Headlines | Sojourners

Aiming at Headlines

Three years ago, the United States won a profound moral and foreign policy victory when it was instrumental in impelling the blood-stained regime in Khartoum to sign a substantive peace treaty with the main rebel group in southern Sudan. The Comprehensive Peace Agree­ment (CPA) stopped a civil war that had cost 2.25 million lives, and in which Khartoum developed its strategy of using ethnically based proxy militias against civilians—a strategy that is now justly being named as genocide in Sudan’s western province of Darfur.

To get the CPA, the U.S. and allies used a united front of active, on-the-ground diplomacy backed up by real economic and political sanctions. Khartoum agreed to peace, to concrete mechanisms for sharing power and oil wealth, and to elections that—if they actually happen—would bring a democratic government to Sudan (2009) and allow southern Sudan to vote on independence (2011). Similar diplomacy-with-pressure in the 1990s had impelled Khartoum to stop its proxy militias in southern Sudan from taking slaves, and to quit being Osama bin Laden’s home away from home.

These international achievements stand in stark contrast to the disastrous U.S. invasion of Iraq, which started a civil war, has killed thousands of U.S. soldiers and uncounted Iraqi civilians, and will cost more than $1 trillion.

The moral victory of U.S. public concern for Sudan continues. The regime in Khartoum thought we would not care about genocide in Darfur because the victims are Muslim. It was wrong; we do care about the 2.5 million Darfuris driven from their homes, the more than 200,000 slain, the uncounted number raped.

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Sojourners Magazine February 2008
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