Thursday, March 5, 2009 at 9:03 AM

Arresting Bashir?! Even more of a pipe dream than finding bin Laden!

Posted by Anthony L. Hall

Yesterday, Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir became the first sitting head of state to have a warrant issued for his arrest.  The International Criminal Court (ICC) issued it pursuant to an indictment against him for war crimes and crimes against humanity, all stemming from the atrocities Arab Muslims perpetrated against black Africans over the past six years in the Darfur region of Sudan.

In fact, reports are that Bashir has orchestrated a campaign of ethnic cleansing that has killed over 300,000 and displaced 2.7 million Darfurians.

Alas, I remain convinced that, just as President George W. Bush had no political or economic incentive to go after Bashir, President Obama has even less.  And it’s hardly worth mentioning that the UN and ICC are utterly powerless in this respect. More to the point, no other world leader has the cajones (or the incentive) to play de facto world sheriff the way Bush did when he went after President Saddam Hussein in Iraq or the way his Daddy did when he went after President Manuel Noriega in Panama.

Meanwhile, Bashir’s contempt for the ICC and its warrant could not be more acute:

The court is only one mechanism of neo-colonialist policy used by the West against free and independent countries.

This is the hackneyed justification Sudanese presidential aide Mustafa Othman Ismail gave when he announced that Bashir would not only ignore the ICC warrant but had actually ordered the expulsion of several international aid agencies from Darfur to reinforce his defiance.

Not surprisingly, the U.S. and EU welcomed the warrant. Unfortunately, Arab states, China, Russia and even the African Union all reinforced my view– that arresting Bashir is just a pipe dream – by expressing patently disingenuous concerns that it will only compromise their efforts to broker peace in Darfur.

But even though I feel obliged to acknowledge this historic event, I do not believe it deserves any further commentary than that which I published over eight months ago when the ICC first indicted Bashir. And it’s noteworthy that this was an update to an even earlier commentary in which I joined the chorus of those pleading to no avail for international intervention in to “Save Darfur.”

Accordingly, here for your edification is Alas, the ICC charging President Bashir of Sudan with genocide means nothing! (published originally on July 15, 2008):

Yesterday, a prosecutor at the International Criminal Court (ICC) charged President Omar al-Bashir with genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes for presiding over the atrocities that have been committed since 2003 in the Darfur region of Sudan.

The ICC is “an independent, permanent court that tries persons accused of the most serious crimes of international concern, namely genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes. The ICC is based on a treaty, joined by 106 countries.”

It is critical to note, however, that neither the United States nor Sudan has ratified this treaty, which means that the only country that would even dare to arrest Bashir on these charges does not recognize the ICC’s jurisdiction. Not to mention that Bashir is savvy enough to know that an ICC arrest warrant – to be executed by the UN – would have all the force of a paper tiger.

(Incidentally, since Sudan has not ratified the treaty either, the only way the ICC can assume jurisdiction over Bashir is on referral from the UN Security Council.)

Frankly, the only reason Bashir has been able to get away with his alleged crimes is that the U.S. has not deemed stopping him a matter of national (economic) interest.

Therefore, this begs the question: What is the point of charging him if the ICC has no power to arrest him?

I submit that the ICC has announced these feckless charges in a vain attempt to assuage the collective guilt of western countries. After all, they did not lift a finger to stop Bashir’s Arab militia from killing over 300,000 black Africans and forcing another 2 million to flee their homes. And this, despite promises by the UN, U.S. and EU that never again would they allow another Rwandan-style genocide to be perpetrated in Africa.

But since I can’t work up enough indignation to write another commentary lamenting their appeasement of this genocidal maniac, I shall suffice to reprise an article dated October 25, 2006 entitled SHOCKING NEWS…not: Bush’s insidious alliance with the genocidal maniacs in Sudan, which explains Bashir’s defiance in the face of these ICC charges:

…The United States is in bed with the government in Khartoum on counter-terrorism issues and therefore we are looking the other way on a genocide.

[Scott Pelley reporting for 60 Minutes from Darfur, Sudan]

I understand implicitly the geopolitical realities that have allowed President George W. Bush’s (axis-of-evil) enemies in Iran and North Korea to expose the United States as a superpower paper tiger. Until Sunday, however, I was stupefied as to why Sudan has been allowed to do the same.

After all, for over three years now, “the-Big-Man” Arab dictator of Sudan, Omar al-Bashir, has ignored all of Bush’s ultimatums to stop his genocidal campaign to exterminate all black Africans from Darfur.

Moreover, he was not content to defy Bush from the safe haven of the Sudanese capital of Khartoum. Instead, as 60 Minutes reported on Sunday, Bashir and his posse boldly traveled to New York City in September to attend the 61st Session of the UN General Assembly and laughed at Bush as he recited charges of genocide against them during his UN address.

But I was disabused of my stupefaction when 60 Minutes insinuated that these genocidal murderers have been neither defying nor laughing at Bush. Instead, it seems they have been defying and laughing at everyone else in the world who has been pleading with Bush all these years to help save the people of Darfur.

Because 60 Minutes reported probative allegations that, despite his rhetoric condemning them, Bush established an insidious alliance with the Sudanese in the aftermath of 9/11. And this alliance calls for Bashir’s Gestapo to provide “intelligence” on fellow Arab terrorists (as patently absurd and unlikely as that may be) in exchange for complete immunity to perpetrate as much terror within Sudan as their genocidal hearts desire.

Clearly, this puts my serial criticisms of Bush – for being a political and moral hypocrite on Darfur – in a far more sinister light. After all, I had no clue about this alliance when I chastised him in an article dated May 2, 2006 entitled Save Darfur Rally: Full of sound and fury signifying nothing, or in another dated March 14, 2006 entitled Darfur: Thanks for caring America, but you’re already a genocide too late, or in yet another dated December 1, 2005 entitled Help! Ethnic cleansing and forced starvation persists in Darfur.

Unfortunately, it is equally clear that, though bloodied, Bush remains unbowed by criticisms and damning allegations about any aspect of his presidency (especially his war on terror). In fact, the man seems positively immune to them.

Meanwhile, the promise – that “Never Again” will the world stand by and watch the perpetration of another genocide like the one that was executed in Rwanda just over a decade ago – rings hollow in Darfur today. Notwithstanding that this promise was made with absolute conviction by such notable figures as UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, U.S. President Bill Clinton and Holocaust survivor and Nobel Peace Prize winner Elli Weisel.

I’m sorry to say I’m going to sit here with you in two years time and I’m gonna tell you the same sad story. People will say, ‘Ich habe nicht gewusst,’ which is German for ‘I didn’t know.’

[Dr. Ashis Brahma who alone treats 25,000 people in one Darfur refugee camp]

For what it’s worth, however, the UN Security Council passed Resolution 1706 on August 31, which calls for a force of 20,000 soldiers and police to intervene immediately in Darfur. But so far, Bashir has dared them to try….

In fact, such is Bashir’s disdain for the UN that, forget military intervention, he got so fed up with its political meddling that, just days ago, he kicked the UN ambassador out of his country.

Now all that remains is for Bashir to inform the world that his final solution for Darfur is complete and then, without the slightest bit of irony, request U.S. and UN aid to help develop this region of Sudan that he has ethnically cleansed of black Africans….

The NAM principle, which calls for mutual non-interference in the domestic affairs [of member states], has operated as a de facto cover for African leaders to mutually ignore the most egregious abuses of human rights, the ravages of civil war and even the perpetration of genocide on their Dark Continent.

[Non-Aligned Movement (NAM): dominated by rebels looking for a cause – by Anthony L Hall, Caribbean Net News, September 15, 2006]

Related Articles:
Save Darfur Rally
Darfur: Thanks for caring America
Help! Ethnic cleansing and forced starvation persists in Darfur

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