Dear Members of Congress,
Your quick response to the calls for freedom and justice inside Sudan reflected lessons learned from decades of engagement in addressing the genocides in southern Sudan, Darfur and the Nuba Mountains and Blue Nile. Those lessons learned meant that the approach to Sudan this time must be comprehensive, it must address the root cause of the crisis, and it must have a financial impact on those imposing their will at great cost to the people of Sudan.
With the signing of the agreement between the military council and the Forces of Freedom and Change, it is important to recall another set of critical lessons. First, the Bashir regime, which the military council is an extension of, never honored the agreements it signed unless - the second lesson - it was forced to by the international community. It is important to remember that even when forced to comply, the regime managed to manipulate agreements to their advantage and not for the benefit (and often to the detriment) of the people of Sudan.
I am referring, in particular, to the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA). Under great pressure, the regime honored secession of southern Sudan while utterly disregarding the goal of the CPA, democratic transformation of the state, and every other component of the CPA such as upholding the principles of the agreement and fulfilling the rights of the citizens of Abyei, the Nuba Mountains and Blue Nile. Subsequently the regime undermined peace in South Sudan and it never honored later agreements for Darfur, the Blue Nile and the Nuba Mountains.
The vision, hearts and minds of the military council have not changed overnight. The military council has been pressured by the people of Sudan and the international community to cooperate. They are counting on history to repeat itself. They are expecting the international community to lose interest or to focus on their own short-sighted interests (such as the war on terror or curbing immigration) to allow compromises that maintain the status quo. This time, with your help, it can be different and the people of Sudan can experience the genuine change that millions have suffered and died for.
Signing an agreement should not take the pressure off the military council but only increase it. The goal is not a signed agreement but rather genuine freedom, justice, and equal citizenship. Until the people of Sudan truly enjoy a new Sudan, your vigilance and support are still required.