Obama Sudan Policy Aims To End Conflict
Obama’s Sudan strategy is to Engage, not isolate. This is a new strategy towards Sudan, offering incentives if they relieve the plight of their people but threatening tougher sanctions if they fail to establish long term peace. Obama’s policy has three goals: an end to the conflict, human rights abuses and genocide in Darfur; the implementation of the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement between Sudan’s Muslim North and Christian South; and assurance that Sudan does not provide a safe haven for terrorists. An executive order signed in 1997 by President Bill Clinton prohibits a range of U.S. trade with Sudan, including the import of any Sudanese goods and the export to the country of anything except food, clothing and medicine. The original bill was meant to terminate all commercial activities between the two countries. It also prohibits the extension of U.S. credit to Sudan. The Darfur Accountability Act, passed in 2006, under President George Bush, requires the U.S. government to certify to Congress that Sudan is disarming pro-government militias and helping implement peace accords, among other steps, before those sanctions under the executive order can be lifted. The Bush administration’s sanctions aim to squeeze the country’s economy by freezing Sudanese companies out of American financial institutions and curtailing their dollar transactions. In May 2007, Bush imposed new economic sanctions on a total of seven individuals and more than 160 companies owned or controlled by the Government of Sudan. More than 100 companies operated in Sudan have already been blacklisted by the U.S. Treasury Department, among them Sudan’s biggest oil producer, the Greater Nile Petroleum Operating Co. Which pumps about 300,000 barrels a day. The UN Security Council voted in March 2005 to freeze the assets and bar the travel outside Sudan of anyone committing crimes against humanity in Darfur, including officials of the Sudanese government. Hillary Clinton called on Sudanese President Omar Hassan Ahmed al-Bashir to end human rights abuses and war crimes in the province of Darfur.
Hillary Clinton spoke of the genocide that’s taking place in Darfur today. Civilians still fall victim to combat and systematic abuse. Clinton and U.N. Ambassador Susan E. Rice, the architect of the Sudan policy, said peacemaking efforts would be evaluated every three months. The international community has been unable to halt fighting between government-backed militias and rebels in Darfur. A 20 year civil war between Muslims in northern Sudan and Christians in southern Sudan has left 2 million dead and 4 million homeless. An estimated 300,000 people have been killed in the conflict since 2003. The conflict between North and South paved the way for the six-year campaign of rape, expulsion and murder against the residents of Darfur by the government backed Janjaweed militia. President Omar Hassan al-Bashir is, officially, a wanted man. On March 4, the International Criminal Court issued an arrest warrant for the 65-year-old on charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity in Darfur. My question is, “Why does Obama want to make a deal with al-Bashir? A panel of three judges accused al-Bashir of personal responsibility for murder, extermination, rape and other crimes in the country’s western province (See pictures of Darfur descending into chaos.) al-Bashir led a bloodless coup in 1989 known as “the Salvation Revolution” to topple then-Prime Minister Sadiq al-Mahdi. He suspended political parties and trade unions, and instituted Islamic law in much of the country. He Appointed himself President in 1993, returning Sudan to civilian rule, and won a presidential election in 1996 as the only candidate. He’s loosened the country’s economy to take advantage of oil production, and established strong trading ties with China and Russia. He accused Bill Clinton of ordering the 1998 destruction of a Sudanese pharmaceutical plant as a way to distract attention from the Monica Lewinsky scandal. Yes, this is the country that Bill Clinton bombed, remember? See why Hillary Clinton is involved here?
Like many policies, this one makes Obama look good to the media and on paper. Despite U.S. trade sanctions in place against the country since 1997, many well-known American products are widely available. A Coca-Cola and Pepsi are among prominent U.S. brands. Coca-Cola and PepsiCo have both secured export licenses from the Office of Foreign Assets Control of the U.S. Treasury, using legislation that allows blacklisted states to buy U.S agricultural commodities, medicines and medical equipment. Coca-Cola’s syrups are based qualified as an agricultural product. Pepsi brands are produced under “an OFAC license. German products included Siemens AG (capital goods), AgfaPhoto GmbH (capital goods, consumer goods), AutoStar Ltd. (authorized Mercedes Benz dealer for Sudan Automobile Industry), DEUDIAM (diamond tools and machines), KWH (plastic pipe equipment), SMF (liquid goods packaging machines), Vietz (pipeline equipment, welding technology), and WIDOS (plastic welding machines, tools). Germany wants to increase business relations with Sudan. The sanctions will do little to stem Sudan’s oil exports. In recent years, Sudan has emerged as a small but fast-growing oil producer. Sudan now pumps about 500,000 barrels of oil a day two-thirds of them bought by China. Bottom line, Obama is still the Emptysuit running his mouth.
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