Enough's Daniel Maree co-authored this post.
Last Friday key members of the National Security Council "deputies committee," a highly influential group of policymakers relatively unknown to the public, met to review the administration's policy on Sudan.
Against this backdrop, the Sudan Now Coalition, a group of anti-genocide and human rights organizations, including the Enough Project, ran ads in the Washington Post, Politico, and on Facebook urging the deputies to act on recent statements made by President Obama and Ambassador Rice, as well as the promises made by Secretary Clinton when the administration's Sudan policy was unveiled in October 2009. Click here to view the ads.
The administration hasn't publicized the criteria it is using to assess progress in Sudan. But as tensions surrounding the April national elections rise and the January 2011 referendum on independence for southern Sudan rapidly approaches, Enough and some of our partners came up with a detailed list of benchmarks we think are critically important. Check them out here.
In an open letter sent in advance of their meeting, the Enough Project urged the five deputies to recommend to their superiors and President Obama a course of action "marked by much deeper diplomatic engagement, and backed by more assiduous efforts to build a multilateral coalition of countries willing to impose consequences on those undermining the path to peace in Sudan." Read the full letter here.
While it is uncertain whether the Obama administration will give any public pronouncements about this closed door meeting, we'll be watching for signs that the deputies took an honest look at progress in Sudan - and appreciate the gravity of the situation on the ground. As people living in Sudan will tell you, the United States wields significant influence. It's high time a coalition of countries, motivated by the personal engagement of President Obama and Secretary Clinton, send the strong message to Sudan's leaders that efforts to undermine peace will be met with consequences.
John Prendergast is Co-Founder of Enough, the anti-genocide project at the Center for American Progress in Washington, D.C.
Daniel Maree is a Special Assistant at Enough.