The Genocide in Darfur: America Must Do More to Fulfill the Responsibility to Protect

Susan E. Rice
Susan E. Rice Former Brookings Expert, Distinguished Visiting Research Fellow - School of International Service, American University

October 24, 2007

The genocide in the Darfur region of Sudan has lasted for more than four years. As many as 450,000 people have died from the raging conflict in that African nation. More than two and one-half million others have been displaced or have become refugees and the situation is worsening. Yet U.S. policy has coupled generous humanitarian assistance with unfulfilled threats and feckless diplomacy. The situation in Darfur is evolving rapidly. Clearly, the next President will be faced with a different, yet still difficult, situation in Darfur.

The U.S. government should immediately take the following five steps:

i) Impose tougher sanctions on Khartoum:

  • freeze dollar-denominated oil transactions;
  • pursue comparable sanctions in the UN Security Council or, failing that, with the European Union;
  • keep sanctions in place until Sudan allows the full and unfettered deployment and operation of the UN-AU force.

ii) Support efforts to unify the rebel groups and negotiate a durable ceasefire and political agreement to end the conflict.

iii) Speed deployment of the UN-AU force by training, equipping, airlifting, and otherwise supporting the rapid deployment of UN battalions:

  • contribute specialized capabilities and equipment—such as helicopters, night vision capability, command, control, communications, and intelligence (C3I) capabilities—to support the UN mission in Darfur;
  • obtain NATO agreement to deploy its NATO Response Force (NRF) to provide short-term augmentation and a bridging component to beef up the AU force until the full UN-AU hybrid can deploy.

iv) Implement and robustly enforce, with NATO, a no-fly zone. The United States should also signal its readiness to strike Sudanese military and intelligence assets, including aircraft and airfields, if necessary.

v) Finally, Congress should authorize the use of force in order to end the genocide.

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