President Bush has finally gotten around to strengthening the sanctions against the Sudanese government due to their support for the atrocities in Darfur.
Deb Reichman of the Associated Press puts it bluntly:
The sanctions target about 30 companies involved in Sudan's oil industry, and three individuals, including a rebel leader suspected of being involved in the violence in Darfur.
It has taken President Bush nearly three years to match his impassioned rhetoric about what he decries as genocide in Darfur with tougher U.S. action against some of those blamed for the suffering.
Sean-Paul Kelley at the Agonist thinks these new sanctions are "toothless" due to loopholes that allow Sudan to bring in money for their oil by just shifting how they do business slightly.
The director of the Save Darfur Coalition, David Rubinstein, claims that these sanctions are "too late and too little." He urges Bush not to dawdle on determining whether the new sanctions are working or not.
President Bush must not give further months to determine whether these outlined measures work -- the Darfuri people don't have that much time. The president must set a short and firm deadline for fundamental changes in Sudanese behavior, and prepare now to implement immediately further measures should Khartoum continue to stonewall. Further action should include the full range of sanctions authorized in the 2006 Darfur Peace and Accountability Act – including the banning of entry of ships into U.S. ports that have carried Sudanese oil, immediate steps to implement a no-fly zone, and developing contingency plans for any potential security collapse. Such further measures should also include extending proposed UN sanctions beyond the three currently targeted individuals to encompass all those in the Sudanese regime responsible for this genocide, from President al-Bashir on down.
Some other quotes from Reichman's AP article:
John Prendergast, policy adviser to ENOUGH Project, an advocacy group to prevent genocide and mass atrocities: "Three people? After four years? And not one of them the real ringleader of the policy to divide and destroy Darfur? This will not end the crisis in Darfur."
Rep. Tom Lantos, D-Calif., chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee: "They could have sent a stronger message months ago and saved many lives from being disrupted or lost."
When are we going to get a strong leader in this country? De we really have to wait until at least January 2009?