Monday, July 14, 2008

Sudan's leader: War Criminal

In an unpredecented move, the permanent International War Crimes Tribunal will today officially charge the President of Sudan with war crimes. We've known about this since Friday, although the imprimatur comes this morning. It's about damn time -- but it won't do a thing to solve the crisis in Darfur.

It is more than obvious that the neglect and even outright prejudice of the West allowed the situations in the former Yugoslavia and in Rwanda to escalate into the genocides that they became. The same is true for Darfur, especially considering the fact that the civil war there is between rival Muslim factions and not the traditional holy war between Christians and Muslims.

Naturally, Sudan refuses to recognize the legitimacy of the International Criminal Court and is warning any attempts to arrest Omar Hassan al-Bashir will only make things in Darfur even worse; of course Sudan won't allow the joint African Union / UN peacekeeping mission have its full compliment of 45,000 instead of just the 9,000 that are there right now.

Some have warned that this move pretty much shuts the door on any hopes for Darfur as well as any hopes for Sudan as a whole. The fact is, though, Sudan is as failed a state as Somalia has been for nearly two decades; in fact it ranks number one on the list of the worst countries in the world when it comes to an effective functioning central government, just slightly ahead of Iraq, Somalia and Zimbabwe. (Canada, incidentally, is the 10th least worst; the United States is 18th.)

In my opinion, doing nothing isn't helping Darfur. I can't see how picking up al-Bashir could make things any worse; in fact that so many villages in just the last few weeks have been torched on purpose and even more refugees created convinces me it can't get much worse.

We need to take a stand on this, and there is a first time for everything. It is only fitting that al-Bashir is the first given his unapologetic unstabilizing of not just his country but the entire region. The traditional stance of non-interference in another's affairs goes out the window when a leader refuses to recognize even the basic human rights of minorities.

Does that mean George W. Bush is next to be called out? Well, al-Bashir does set the precedent; and it's true that if there had been no war in Iraq, over a half million would not have died. Gitmo, among other suspensions of human rights, violates every rule of the rules of war.

But the chances Dubya will be charged with war crimes is next to nil. After all, America does remain a democracy with a mostly independent judiciary, albeit both still a feeble one at present and there's no indication that the incumbent intends to invoke martial law to prevent either Obama or McCain from assuming the White House next year.

Al-Bashir, on the other hand, intends to stay in power by any means necessary even if it means killing 2 million at a time. I do wonder if the attitude in the US would be different if Katrina had actually killed a million people, rather than just 1000 with 1 million refugees.

Vote for this post at Progressive Bloggers.


Anonymous said...

americas leader..war crimanal
brithish leader..war criminal
Oh i am sorry, we can but they cant....moderate that...

BlastFurnace said...

It is a double standard when one thinks about it. Look up "Panama Deception" on YouTube and you'll see the filmmakers and its narrator, the late Elizabeth Montgomery (Samantha on "Bewitched") make a very strong case for war crimes indictments against the elder Bush in his invasion of Panama.

This movie was made in 1992, won the Oscar for Best Documentary, and it still has not to the best of my knowledge been shown even on cable or on PBS in the US, although it was broadcast in Canada and in most of Europe.

That shows you just how big the coverup is by the media which sold its soul out to the military industrial complex decades ago, just as it did when it failed to report on the human rights abuses committed by Chiquita Bananas and other agrifood businesses (which were also acting as paramilitary wing of the then Colombian government), since such companies were among their biggest advertisers.

The shredders were working overtime at 1600 and Number 10 the moment the 9/11 attacks happened; not that they were part of it of course, but their premeditated plans for Iraq as an excuse were activated the moment the first plane hit.

The fact the UN pulled out its non-essential staff in Sudan yesterday after the indictments were announced shows just how hard it will be to capture al-Bashir.