Mr. Chairman, distinguished members of the Committee, thank you for the opportunity to testify on the vitally important issue of the escalating crisis in Darfur. Let me also take this opportunity to thank you, Mr. Chairman, and many of your colleagues in both Houses and on both sides of the aisle for your committed leadership in trying to halt the ongoing genocide in Darfur. I commend your efforts to enable all the people of Sudan to live in peace, free from persecution on the basis of their race, religion or ethnicity. You have every reason to be proud of your record on this issue, and many of us are counting on you to continue to lead to save innocent lives.
Where’s Plan B?
I feel compelled to begin with a simple observation: today is the 11th of April, 2007. The genocide in Darfur has lasted four years and counting. An estimated 450,000 people are dead. More than 2.5 million have been displaced or rendered refugees. Every day, the situation worsens. One-hundred and one days have come and gone since the expiration of the very public deadline the President’s Special Envoy Andrew Natsios set at my very own Brookings Institution. Last year, on November 20th, Natsios promised that harsh consequences would befall the Government of Sudan, if by January 1, 2007, it failed to meet two very clear conditions. First, Khartoum must accept unequivocally the full deployment of a 17,000 person UN-African Union “hybrid” force. And, second, it must stop killing innocent civilians.