Darfur was a big foreign-policy issue during the 2008 campaign, with virtually every candidate promising a decisive approach, but we haven't heard much about it in the news lately. But in a referendum vote scheduled for January, Sudan's population could decide to split the country in two, with North and South forming their own separate nations. With that vote on the horizon, the administration is reportedly considering a shakeup—moving its special envoy, Maj. Gen. Scott Gration (ret.) to cover Kenya instead. The Cable reports:
President Obama's special envoy to Sudan, retired Maj. Gen. Scott Gration, could be on his way to a new job in Kenya as the White House prepares a new approach to Sudan ahead of a January referendum that analysts fear could split the country into two separate nations -- or even spark a new civil war.
The news comes in the wake of a contentious principals-level meeting at the White House last week, in which Gration clashed openly with U.S. ambassador to the U.N. Susan Rice over the direction of Sudan policy.
At the meeting, Rice was said to be "furious" when Gration proposed a plan that makes the January referendum a priority, deemphasizes the ongoing crisis in Darfur, and is devoid of any additional pressures on the government in Khartoum.
According to multiple sources briefed on the meeting, Gration's plan was endorsed by almost all the other participants, including Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and will now go the president for his approval. Rice was invited to provide a written dissent. Vice President Joseph Biden did not attend.