Secretary Clinton gave a speech this morning regarding the US policy in dealing with the Sudan and its president Omar al-Bashir. A major difference in the policy comes via its forceful language and the aspect of counter-terrorism when attempting to address the crisis in the African nation.
The New Republic highlights the US' newly-strong language regarding the ICC's war crimes leveled at Sudan President Bashir and the role of counter-terrorism in this newly-released policy
…the new policy elevates counter-terrorism as one of the three main pillars of our Sudan policy, stating that "the United States has a strategic interest in preventing Sudan from providing safe haven for terrorist organizations. The United States will work with the international community to reduce the ability of terrorists and non-state actors inimical to U.S. interests from developing a foothold in Sudan." It provides no other details, which leaves us guessing as to whether the White House actually has reason to fear that Al Qaeda will reconstitute itself in Sudan, or whether this is some sort of political compromise people who see stability in Khartoum as paramount and human-rights hawks, or what. Intriguingly, the policy explicitly acknowledges the tension between human rights and CT. The only other it has say about terrorism is that "it must be clear to all parties that Sudanese support for counterterrorism objectives is valued, but cannot be used as a bargaining chip to evade responsibilities in Darfur or in implementing the CPA."
Beyond those striking features, the document looks much like one would expect: It continues the Obama administration's engagement policy with Sudan, but the language is quite a bit more unsparing with the Sudanese regime than the policy Scott Gration has been advocating. As the policy is implemented, one suspects that the built-in tension between stability / counterterrorism objectives and pressure to resolve North-South and human rights issues will become an important fault line.
What do you make of the US' new policy? Does the language go far enough? And what do you make of the counter-terrorism angle?