Reactions to Bush’s new sanctions

As reactions to President Bush’s announcement to increase sanctions against the Sudan government begin to mount, John Prendergast, Colin Thomas-Jensen and Julia Spiegel of the ENOUGH Project took some time yesterday to respond to the rather toothless nature of this new rhetoric. Not only did they point out what’s wrong with this new initiative they also outlined what we ought to be doing:

We at ENOUGH will continue to hammer home the point that Plan B – punishment – is the right direction, but what is required now is a Plan B with teeth – multilateral, escalating, and biting. This would include:

* Multilateralized Sanctions Against Sudanese Companies Supporting the Regime: The U.S. should work with the UN Security Council to impose sanctions against the Sudanese companies already targeted unilaterally by the U.S. Unless the current U.S. list of 161 is made multilateral, these sanctions will be meaningless. A UN Panel of Experts should also be established to further investigate which companies are conducting the business necessary to underwrite Sudan’s war machine.

* Pressure on International Banks to Stop Doing Business with Sudan: U.S. officials should engage with a number of international banking institutions to strongly encourage them to stop supporting oil transactions with Sudan, with the implication being that if such business continues, then all transactions conducted by those banks with U.S. commercial entities (and those of other countries willing to work with us) would eventually be banned.

* Reinforcement of Divestment Efforts: President Bush should sign an Executive Order putting into law all of the legally possible elements of existing Congressional bills in support of divestment. The executive should be supportive of efforts across the U.S. to pressure university endowments, municipal and state pension funds, and private mutual funds to sell equity holdings in a targeted list of companies whose business bolsters the operations of the Sudanese regime.

* Support for the ICC Indictment Process: The U.S. should provide information and declassified intelligence to the International Criminal Court to help accelerate the process of building indictments against senior officials in the regime for their role in orchestrating mass atrocities in Darfur. The U.S. has the most such intelligence and should come to agreement with the ICC about what information to share.

* Accelerated Credible Military Planning: The U.S. also should develop credible plans for decisive military action, not only to enforce a no-fly zone, but to protect civilians with ground forces without consent from Khartoum should all else fails. This military planning is both a practical necessity, and a means to build and utilize leverage against the regime.

One of the things that I’ve always loved about John Prendergast (and that I’m beginning to love about the ENOUGH Project) is his positive-activist approach to pushing government in the right direction. Which is why it’s not surprising to find a list of steps at the end of the article that everyone can take:

Concerned individuals should also write letters, send emails, set up meetings in home districts, and call 1-800-GENOCIDE to leave a message for President Bush, your Senators and member of Congress to tell them to:

* push for the U.S. to introduce – and diplomatically invest in – a UNSC resolution that imposes targeted sanctions on key leaders and on the companies already sanctioned by the U.S.;

* urge President Bush to provide information and declassified intelligence to the International Criminal Court; and

* call on President Bush to put credible plans in place for a no-fly zone and non-consensual force deployment to protect civilians if the situation deteriorates in Darfur and the Sudanese regime continues to block the UN-led hybrid force.

I would also recommend one additional step which you’re hopefully already taking – educate yourself. Knowing about these issues is no doubt what brings you to a site like this, but continue to read, discuss, debate, and learn. That’s the only “magic bullet” for preventing these kinds of atrocities in the future.

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