Skip to content

de Waal writes real purdy. Save Darfur don’t.

July 29, 2009

EXHIBIT A: The Save Darfur Coalition’s draft letter entitled “Ask tough questions of General Gration”

I urge you to use Thursday’s Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on Sudan as an opportunity to urge Special Envoy Gen. Gration to ensure that the administration’s plan for peace in Sudan follows a two-doored approach:

* Behind Door One: If Sudan permits unrestricted humanitarian access, takes significant steps to secure peace in Darfur, fully implements the Comprehensive Peace Agreement for South Sudan, ensures free and fair elections in Sudan, and removes the indicted President, a clear process toward normalization of relations with the U.S. will be mapped out.

* Behind Door Two: If President Bashir and his party renege on recent humanitarian commitments and continue to undermine efforts at peace, they will face diplomatic isolation, a full U.S. Presidential effort to enact targeted multi-lateral economic sanctions and an effective multilateral arms embargo, and if necessary to stop massive loss of civilian life, targeted military action.

We need bold agenda-setting leadership to make sure that Sudan chooses the most mutually beneficial path, and to prepare real consequences if it does not.

Please ask Gen. Gration hard-hitting questions regarding the pending plan for peace in Sudan including:

1. General Gration, knowing that carrots work best when paired with the potential for sticks, how does the administration plan to generate international support for multilateral sticks should they become necessary?  Will President Obama make this a personal priority?  What is the administration doing to build additional unilateral sticks to complement the use of unilateral carrots?

2. General Gration, given that tomorrow is the two year anniversary of the UNAMID peacekeeping force in Darfur, and given that UNAMID is still only 70% deployed, what is your plan to ensure that UNAMID is fully deployed and more importantly, fully effective once deployed in protecting civilians and carrying out its full mandate?

Thank you.

EXHIBIT B: Alex de Waal’s new and improved letter entitled “Ask useful questions of General Gration”

Dear Senator Kerry,

Ask useful questions of General Gration.

I urge you to use Thursday’s Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on Sudan as an opportunity to urge Special Envoy Gen. Gration to ensure that the administration’s plan for peace in Sudan is designed for the best results in Sudan, not the best soundbites in Washington DC.

Let me use this occasion also to congratulate you on your role in helping to ease the humanitarian access crisis in Darfur over recent months.

Trying to facilitate peace in Sudan is a huge challenge. The odds against success are considerable. A high chance of failure is one of the risks that Gen. Gration accepted when he took on the job. But it would be a true tragedy if the reason for his failure were not to be the fiendish difficulties of Sudan, but the domestic politics of advocacy groups in America.

Let me propose some useful questions for Special Envoy Gration.

* First, does Gen. Gration recognize that the Sudanese conflicts are Sudanese affairs which will be resolved by the Sudanese? And that any attempt at a solution imposed from outside is doomed to fail?

* Second, is the U.S. Darfur policy based on evidence or dogma? Noting that the level of violence in Darfur is now far, far down on the atrocities of 2003-04, and resembles a low-intensity conflict rather than any genocidal onslaught, and that the humanitarian situation remains under control, how does he propose to maintain and build upon this progress? How does he intend to use the opportunities presented by the reduction in the crisis to encourage the parties to reach a political settlement that can allow the grievous wrongs of the recent past to be righted as much as possible?

* Third, what is the U.S. position with regard to the process of exercising the right of self-determination for southern Sudan? Observing that self-determination is enshrined in the CPA, and that a majority of the southern electorate support secession, but that the conditions are not currently in place for an orderly and consensual partition of Sudan, what steps should the U.S. take to help make the run-up to the exercise in self-determination, the vote itself, and the implementation of the result, as consensual, participatory and inclusive as possible?

Finally, you might remind Gen. Gration of Abrahim Lincoln’s words in 1862 after he was widely criticized by Congress for military setbacks. “If I were to try to read, much less answer, all the attacks made on me, this shop might as well be closed for any other business. I do the very best I know how–the very best I can; and I mean to keep going until the end. If the end brings me out all right, what is said against me won’t amount to anything. If the end brings me out wrong, ten angels swearing I was right will make no difference.”


Alex de Waal

First of all, neither has pictures with funny captions, so they both have that working against them right off the bat.  But see how one is merely an extension of SDC’s inexplicable obsession with overusing the phallic terms “carrots” and “sticks” and the other is a concisely fashioned list of thoughtful questions?  de Waal’s message shows that he understands the realities of Darfur; SDC’s policy can be summed up by paraphrasing Monty Hall.  In short, one was written by an adult and the other was written by children.

That said, I’m very disappointed that de Waal did not use more British English, (which evolved from original, real, American English for those of you who don’t know) because I find words like “favourite,” “analyse,” and “centre” so quaint.


Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: