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“FOIAsourcing”: Sudan Beyond the Brink

December 12, 2012
Minni Minnawi, leader of the Sudanese Liberation Movement, shakes hands with George W. Bush on July 25, 2006 in the Oval Office.

Minni Minnawi, leader of the Sudanese Liberation Movement, shakes hands with George W. Bush on July 25, 2006, in the Oval Office.

By September 2004, Secretary of State Colin Powell termed the ongoing violence in Darfur, which had killed at least 50,000 Sudanese and left a million more homeless, genocide. Two years later, the Sudanese government and the Sudanese Liberation Movement (SLM) signed the May 2006 Darfur Peace Agreement in an attempt to end the exponential increase in casualties. While the SLM, the largest Sudanese rebel group, signed the Agreement, many smaller militant groups remained outside the bounds of the treaty, and extensive violence continued.

Despite the ongoing bloodshed, in August 2006 Sudan rejected a UN resolution calling for UN peacekeeping forces in Darfur, saying their presence would compromise Sudanese sovereignty. Shortly thereafter, the top UN official in the country, Jan Pronk, was expelled, and the situation on the ground deteriorated even further.

For our second installment of FOIAsourcing, we are providing five documents recording the U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs, Jendayi Frazer, visit to Sudan during that precarious period in late August 2006. These documents are newly-released through the Freedom of Information Act by the Department of State, and have yet to be analyzed; it is a perfect opportunity for you to tell us – and everyone else – what is significant about the documents. For example, did the U.S. miss an opportunity to compel the Sudanese to accept UN peacekeeping troops?

If you need any help deciphering the Department of State cables, look here.

Document 1

Document 2

Document 3

Document 4

Document 5

For more background, read the Archive’s complete Darfur collection, and explore the documents that provide “blistering assessments” of the policy failures that allowed for the humanitarian tragedy.

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