Posted by Kuku on 12:04 PM

Anyone familiar with Sudan knows that the Bush administration has taken a soft (more diplomatic) approach towards the country. It has, in fact, played a critical role in drafting the peace agreement (CPA) and pushed the two parties to end the southern civil war. With regards to Darfur, the furthest the bygone administration had done was to label the conflict "genocide" and had done very little substantially, save on the humanitarian front.

The new administration, headed by Barack Obama, with his obvious link to Africa, has hinted it will take a different approach to Sudan and its ruling party, the National Congress (NCP).

As of right now, we have very little to go by that will tell us what the new administration's policy towards Sudan will be, but we do know what public positions of the persons Obama has appointed to his national security team profess.

The Washington Post has a great article detailing the new administration and the effects it will have on Sudan.

Vice President - Joseph Biden:
Mr. Biden was one of the most vocal senators on taking action in Darfur. He has, on several different occasions during the campaign, called for the use of force, stating that he “would use American force now” if he could. I don’t know if this was a serious policy position or just another campaign promise that would go unfulfilled.

Secretary of State - Hillary Clinton:
Mrs. Clinton is in favor of placing a no-fly-zone, enforced by NATO, which will make it impossible for the Sudanese government to fly over the entire region and bomb civilians and rebels alike. She was also a big proponent of UNAMID.

US Ambassador to the UN - Susan Rice:
Ms. Rice is also in favour of a no-fly-zone. She has also advocated for NATO air strikes against the Sudanese military and the imposition of a naval blockade on Port Sudan, the country’s only water link to the world, and the main port that allows Sudan to export its oil. This would most certainly be a crippling move against the government, and perhaps the entire population, cutting off crucial trade. I am most certain that this option is off the table, as major world powers (China et al.) would not abide by it. She has also recently spoken about the "ongoing genocide" in Darfur, hinting that the Obama administration will keep the label given by the previous administration.

Secretary of Defence – Robert Gates:
Obama has kept Gates, Bush’s current secretary of state to stay on in his current capacity. Gates has not been at all vocal about Darfur, but has said that the US would not provide helicopters to the UNAMID troops in Sudan, citing the current US involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan.

National Security Advisor – James Jones:
Jones is only in favor of NATO playing a support role and not having any sort of heavy military presence in the region.

Only time will tell how the Obama administration will deal with Darfur and other African issues as a whole. He, being of African descent, is expected to do a lot for the Continent. I hope he takes a pragmatic approach, dealing with this issue as a Sudanese issue, a part of the greater national problem, rather than an isolated conflict. If he does not do that, then he will be doing Darfur, Sudan and Africa a great disservice.