Actor George Clooney is calling on the United States to take action now against a Muslim government in Sudan that is “repressing Christians,” proposing diplomacy and public and financial pressure.
“Join us in pressing for the deployment of a senior U.S. official to work fulltime on Sudan’s peace process with a small team of experts and diplomats to support African and U.N. mediators,” he asks in commentary at Vice.com that is headlined “Sudan’s Silent Suffering Is Getting Worse.”
Clooney contends the U.S. certainly can “rebuild its influence” in Sudan, “and the best way to do that is through the regime’s wallet.”
“The U.S. government must give the Treasury Department the resources it needs to follow the money enabling mass atrocities, and enforce sanctions against complicit actors,” he says.
“Short of military intervention, which is off the table, going after the stolen wealth of the regime’s elite will grab their attention like no other action,” he says in the commentary co-authored by John Prendergast.
The commentary was published a day before a Washington rally Thursday in which Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, also said it’s time to act in Sudan.
Cruz told more than a hundred assembled,”Let us unite people across the world to release Meriam.”
He was referring to the case of Meriam Ibrahim, whose husband is an American citizen. Accused of abandoning Islam, she is in a prison in Khartoum with her toddler and a newborn baby, who was born behind bars.
A petition has been created on the “We the People” White House website urging the Obama administration to take action on behalf of Ibrahim.
Imprisoned since January, her legal case has entered into a lengthy appeal process in Sudan.
The rally in Washington on behalf of Ibrahim was held by the Institute on Religion and Democracy, International Christian Concern and Open Doors.
Cruz said President Obama “should stand up and tell the government of Sudan to release Meriam now.”
Clooney and Prendergast said the Sudanese government, “under the cover of darkness,” is reviving and intensifying “its genocidal strategy in the main war zones of Sudan.”
“No media is allowed. The few aid organizations still permitted to operate there are under strict agreement to do so quietly. And the United Nations mission in Darfur has recently been implicated in a broad institutional cover-up of both the scale of devastation, and of the Sudan government’s direct role in creating the crisis,” they write.
“More than 2.5 million people have already perished in various conflicts in Sudan over the last two decades. It is almost unfathomable that things could get worse, yet today the scale of violence is rising to unprecedented levels.”
Citing prior terror threats, they note the Janjaweed militias attained international notoriety at the height of the Darfur genocide a decade ago.
“The Janjaweed are back with a vengeance under the banner of the regime’s newly launched Rapid Support Forces. These forces are better equipped, centrally commanded, and fully integrated into the state’s security apparatus, with legal immunity from prosecution. This time, Sudan’s regime isn’t even bothering to pretend the Janjaweed 2.0 is not their responsibility.”
They explain the goal of Sudan’s elite is “to maintain power and acquire wealth by any means necessary.”
The regime’s targets include “Muslims who are not aligned with the ruling party’s vision of Islam” and well as Christians.
And there is a reason for America to act.
“It relates to U.S. national interests. First, if you care about terrorism, Sudan formerly provided sanctuary to [Osama] bin Laden and has recently deepened its links to the regime in Iran,” they write.
“If you care about China-U.S. relations, Sudan provides a huge opportunity for Sino-American cooperation on peace efforts there, given China’s $10 billion investment in Sudan’s oil industry. If you care about religious persecution, Sudan is attacking Muslims who are not aligned with the ruling party’s vision of Islam, and the regime is repressing Christians in Khartoum. And if you care about basic human rights, famine threatens parts of Sudan because the regime is blocking humanitarian aid,” they write.
“The situation may sound hopeless – but that is not the case. This is a crisis America can help resolve. On a number of past occasions, the U.S. has used its influence to bring about positive outcomes in Sudan.”
Ted Shoebat, son of terrorist-turned-Christian Walid Shoebat, said Clooney and Prendergast expose how Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir is killing Christians and even other Muslims.
Shoebat said the Obama administration has been on the wrong side.
“Regardless of all these atrocities, Obama still helped Bashir by preventing a revolution that, if successful, would have overthrown his Islamic regime,” Shoebat said.