Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Time to Take Away Sudan's Credit Card

Omar al-Bashir's brutal Sudanese regime certainly has nerve. On Dec. 14, as Bashir's National Congress Party (NCP) thugs violently suppressed the second peaceful demonstration by opposition groups in seven days, the Sudanese minister of finance met with the U.S. Special Envoy to Sudan Scott Gration and urged the United States to lift sanctions on Khartoum and cancel Sudan's foreign debt -- in other words, bailing out the government that brought you such atrocities as Darfur and the decades-long civil war with South Sudan that now ominously threatens to reignite.

While no Western country is rushing to hand out money to Bashir, the international community has disagreed over how to persuade Sudan to end its genocidal ways, and the United States is still the only country to impose sanctions. One unlooked-for upside of the global financial crisis may be that it offers new economic leverage with Khartoum. Following the crash, Sudan now holds roughly $36 billion in external sovereign debt that it is struggling to repay. This debt gives the rest of the world a new opportunity to finally affect the course of Sudanese political reform and even end the conflicts in Darfur and South Sudan, if Western countries are willing to act boldly. Read more >>>>>>>>>>>