John Norris's blog

Obama's Sudan Fumble

For veteran Sudan watchers, the fact that the country's elections are not free and fair does not come as much of a shock.What is more surprising, however, has been the muddled and squeamish posture of U.S. President Barack Obama's administration toward Sudan's election--one that underscores a larger, ongoing struggle to place democracy promotion effectively within the context of U.S. foreign policy more broadly.  Read More »

Sudan Is Still Up to No Good

Sudanese President Bashir

Sudanese leader Omar Hassan al-Bashir is playing a breathtakingly
cynical double game: harboring a notorious Ugandan death cult while
pledging to work for peace in Darfur.  Read More »

Worth Doing Darfur Right

Sudan Special Envoy Gration

An interesting piece on Bloomberg today featured U.S. Special Envoy for Sudan Scott Gration discussing the ongoing Darfur peace talks in the context of upcoming national elections scheduled for April. But it is important to remember that at the end of the day, elections are part of the peace process – not the other way around.  Read More »

A House Divided on Sudan?

Rice and Gration

There were important statements out yesterday from two of the administration’s most pivotal actors on Sudan policy, U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice and Special Envoy Scott Gration. There is great deal of interesting material in both statements, but the comments are most striking in their sheer, sharp, and ultimately disconcerting contrast.  Read More »

A Day Late and a Dollar Short?

UNAMID truck in Darfur

The State Department, somewhat belatedly, has come out and expressed 'extreme concern' about the Government of Sudan offensive in Darfur -- an offensive that has taken place even as diplomats were heralding a deal between the government and the Justice and Equality Movement as a breakthrough.  Read More »

Obama's Peace Prize Speech

The president is a wonderful speechmaker, of that there is little doubt. To his credit, he acknowledged the controversy surrounding him receiving the award, and the uncomfortable body language of directing two wars as he accepts the world’s most important prize for peace.  Read More »

Gration, Reluctantly, On Genocide

Some thoughts on General Gration’s testimony today. There was a palpable and bipartisan level of frustration and anger in all of the members asking questions.  Read More »

Aljazeera Examines Sudan's Interlocking Crises

To continue the discussion about the pros and cons of the Obama administration’s approach to Sudan’s multiple crises, I appeared on Aljazeera yesterday afternoon with Tahir el-Faky of the Justice and Equality Movement and Columbia University professor Mahmood Mamdani.  Read More »

Testing Obama's Sudan Policy

President Obama

Like many such policy reviews, this one looks good enough on paper. But how will we know if this policy is actually working? These are the practical measures by which Obama's new policy will ultimately be judged a success or a failure.  Read More »

Sudan Score Card

Special Envoy Gration

Kicking off to a good start, the policy calls for a comprehensive approach to Sudan's interlinked crises and notes the genuine risk of a return to wholesale warfare in the run-up to a 2011 independence referendum for South Sudan.

Yet in many ways, the policy feels like an uncomfortable compromise between feuding internal approaches, producing something that is neither fish nor foul.  Read More »

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