It’s never a surprise when a political act turns out to be a bitter mockery of the humanitarian values it’s supposed to serve.
So the news that civilians in Libya are being bombed by NATO, which intervened in the Libyan civil war to protect civilians, elicits little more than a world-weary sigh from our Roving Eye War Reporter.
REWR, having sent the news but no detailed dispatch home, refers readers to two posts of ours (find them through the research slot): The danger of R2P, March 23, 2011, in which it is explained that R2P stands for Responsibility to Protect, a UN declaration which provided NATO’s pretext; and A siren song from hell, April 1, 2011. They trace the idea of invoking that piece of lethal self-righteousness to three women in the Obama administration:
- Samantha Power, Senior Director of Multicultural Affairs at the National Security Council
- Susan Rice, US Ambassador to the United Nations
- Hillary Clinton, Secretary of State
To show just how NATO action in Libya is making a mockery of the R2P, we quote from a report by Mike McNally at PajamasMedia:
The fighters of Libya’s National Transitional Council, the rebel movement turned temporary government, have launched what they say is a “final assault” on Sirte — hometown of ousted dictator Colonel Gaddafi and one of the last redoubts of his supporters.
Thousands of civilians have fled the town, but thousands more are trapped inside, unable or unwilling to leave. The Red Cross reports that conditions inside Sirte are deteriorating, with people dying in the main hospital due to shortages of medical supplies, fuel, and water; food is also said to be in short supply.
There are no reliable casualty figures, although pro-Gaddafi forces — not surprisingly — are reporting hundreds of civilian deaths caused by both NTC fighters and NATO airstrikes. …
Even if rebel forces aren’t intentionally targeting civilians, the ramshackle nature of the rebel forces and much of their equipment suggests that much of the shelling and rocketing is indiscriminate. Red Cross workers have reported rockets landing among the hospital buildings. …
You could be forgiven for wondering what the NATO forces who are still engaged in Libya plan to do about the situation in Sirte, given that UN Resolution 1973, under which they’re operating, authorizes them to take “all necessary measures” to protect “civilians and civilian populated areas under threat of attack”. …
But far from defending the civilian population of Sirte, NATO warplanes were as recently as Sunday still conducting airstrikes in and around the town in support of the rebels. “Why is NATO bombing us?” asked one man who had fled with his family. It’s a fair question.
NATO had already put a highly elastic interpretation on its mandate under 1973, transitioning swiftly from protecting anti-Gaddafi protesters to flying close air support missions for the rebels.
And adding effective contingents of NATO soldiers to the feeble rag-tag rebel militia for the assault on Tripoli – a fact that NATO has tried to keep under wraps. (See our post Letting Arabs lie, August 24, 2011.)
But even if one takes the view that NATO’s actions from the start of its involvement up to the fall of Tripoli were legally and morally justified, it’s hard to argue that the Gaddafi loyalists besieged in Sirte and elsewhere present an imminent threat to the civilian population in areas now under NTC control. Far from protecting civilians, NATO now finds itself in the position of abetting a humanitarian crisis. Civilians in Sirte face a choice between enduring the shelling and the all-out assault on the town that’s likely within the next few days, and fleeing the city if they’re able. The Red Cross estimates that some 10,000 have fled, but that up to 30,000 more may still be trapped.
So why are NATO and the American, British, and French governments that were so eager to take charge of the “humanitarian” intervention, not doing more to ensure their safety? And where’s the media outcry, along the lines of the reporting which helped to persuade the West to get involved in Libya in the first place? …
At the very least NATO … could arrange the delivery of food, water, and medical supplies …
This is a civil war, and the only crime most of the civilians trapped in Sirte have committed is being on the losing side. Are they now to be denied the protection of the “international community” which a few months ago proclaimed itself so concerned at the loss of innocent life in the country? What happened to the UN’s much-vaunted “Responsibility to Protect”?
Commentators on both left and right raised doubts over NATO’s Libya mission, myself included. The removal of Gaddafi is of course to be welcomed, but while a stable and democratic regime that poses no threat to Western interests may yet emerge, recent events have suggested that outcome is still in doubt.
In doubt? A stable democratic regime in Libya? As in any other Arab country, it’s one of the most unlikely things in the world.
Just how phony the claim is (put out by Obama and his henchwomen*) that the Libyan engagement is all about the “responsibility to protect” civilians, is demonstrated by this report published two days ago on July 18, 2011, by Asia News – and nowhere in the West:
Benghazi-based rebels took Brega over night. The town, which is 740 km east of Tripoli, is the country’s main oil hub. The National Transitional Council (NTC) called the fall of the city its greatest victory since the war against Gaddafi began. However, doubts remain about rebel intentions. Human Rights Watch (HRW) has accused them of retaliatory violence against pro-Gaddafi regime civilians. … HRW said rebels looted and torched homes in towns that had fallen under NTC control. In villages south of Tripoli, Gaddafi loyalists were beaten, their houses set on fire.
We have little respect for Human Rights Watch having observed their frequent incapacity or reluctance to tell the truth, but in this case their accusation is backed up by another source:
Tiziana Gamannossi, an Italian businesswoman in Tripoli, told AsiaNews that the rebels’ push is causing fear in the civilian population. …
In her view, NATO is funding and arming violent groups that lack any training or code of honour. …
For Gamannossi, a war that was launched to defend civilians is absurd. The latter watch powerless as their cities and country are torn down amid the silence of western media.
“These days, hundreds of thousands of people have demonstrated against NATO in Tripoli, Zliten, Ajaylat and Sabha, demanding an end to the air strikes. No newspaper has given such news much importance, calling the protests ‘ demonstrations funded by the regime’.”
Last week the 30-member contact group on Libya, including the United States, China and Russia, “formally recognised the NTC as the sole representative of the Libyan people. This will give the council access to about US$200 billion in Libyan government assets held in foreign banks to fund the rebel advance.”
What makes this contact group expect that the people leading the National Transitional Council will be any better for Libyans, or for other states to deal with, than Gaddafi has been?
The answer is, absolutely nothing. They may even be worse.
* Samantha Power, Senior Director of Multilateral Affairs, National Security Council; Susan Rice, US Ambassador to the UN; Hillary Clinton, Secretary of State. See our post A siren song from hell, April 1, 2011.
We have spoken of the Three Harpies of the Obama administration, Hillary Clinton, Samantha Power, and Susan Rice (see our post, A siren song from hell, April 1, 2011). They wanted America to intervene militarily in the Libyan civil war “to protect civilians”, and they got their way, so the US is involved in a costly and ineffective engagement, along with ramshackle NATO; and Libyan civilians continue to be displaced, injured, and killed, often by the “protective” operations of the US and NATO – or the US in NATO, say, since the administration pretends that it has withdrawn from the fray.
Today we liken the three women to three witches, cooking up a lethal brew of global socialism, pro-Islamism, and anti-Americanism, in a steaming pot of self-righteous sentimentality.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, a disciple of the Communist Revolutionary Saul Alinsky, is the most powerful of them by reason of her position in the administration. But she’s probably not the equal of the other two in gathering venomous ideas.
Samantha Power runs Obama’s “Office of Human Rights” and has written a book about genocide. It’s a long grope for a definition of the word. She believes, as the left generally does, that America should only go to war as an act of altruism, never to protect its own interests such as securing oil supplies or punishing attackers, and whenever possible as an instrument of the UN.
As for Susan Rice, the current US ambassador to that evil institution, here’s an account of her by Rick Moran from Front Page:
President Obama’s ambassador to the United Nations, Susan Rice, has long been an advocate for weakening American sovereignty in order to benefit the UN and its anti-American agenda. It is a policy known as “engagement,” where the United States subsumes its own vital interests, abandons its traditional role of leadership in the world community, and … pushes the process of “subcontracting American national security” to the UN.
Time Magazine refers to this policy — without a hint of irony — as “leading from the back.” … Her vision of what the US’s role in the world should be … includes an open hostility to the state of Israel, a dangerous reliance on the UN to keep Iran from going nuclear, as well as the world body’s inexplicable granting Tehran membership on the UN’s Commission on the Status of Women. …
While one expects a UN ambassador to be an advocate for internationalism, Rice slipped the bounds of reason and waxed poetic in her testimony about the importance of the United Nations to our national security. … Rice claimed that … “the U.N. promotes universal values Americans hold dear.” …
That statement is nonsense. It is beyond rhetorical excess and enters the sublime milieu of self-delusion. Unless she believes that America “holds dear” values like racism, anti-Semitism, corruption, sexism, child rape, and a host of other execrable hallmarks of United Nations actions and policies, then she is either naive or willfully blind to the true nature of the UN. …
In one of the most extraordinary statements ever made by an American official about Israel, Rice bitterly complained last February about having to veto a Security Council resolution condemning Israel and its settlement policy. She deliberately undercut the impact of the veto by saying, “For more than four decades, [Israeli settlement activity] has undermined security … corroded hopes for peace and security … it violates international commitments and threatens prospects for peace.” During her testimony last week, Rice reiterated that sentiment, adding “Israeli settlement activity is illegitimate.”
What angered Rice was that the Security Council vote was 14-1, with countries like Great Britain, France, and Russia co-sponsoring the Palestinian-inspired condemnation. To Rice’s and the administration’s way of thinking, going against international “consensus” — even if inimical to US interests — was a blow to their strategy of “engagement.”
Rice’s statements before the committee on the UN’s massively hypocritical selections for the Human Rights Council can only be termed bizarre. The HRC features such stellar advocates for human rights as Angola, China, Cuba, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, and Saudi Arabia — a rogue’s gallery of thuggish states. After acknowledging that it is difficult to find nations that have good human rights records to serve on the council, Rice seemed proud of the fact that US opposition had kept Iran off the HRC. She chalked that “success” up to the fact that the United States had agreed to join the HRC rather than refuse to participate in such a farce.
What Rice didn’t mention was that in order to get Iran to withdraw its application for membership on the HRC, Washington agreed not to raise a stink when the fundamentalist Islamic Republic that mandates stoning women for adultery wanted to join the Commission on the Status of Women. With no objection from the US, Iran was duly elected to the commission.
Instead of Iran joining the HRC, Libya got the slot. How this can be termed a “success” takes pretzel-like logic — something Rice appears to excel at. …
Rice’s thinking on terrorism has also heavily influenced administration policy. In 1996, she advised President Clinton not to accept Sudan’s offer to turn over Osama Bin Laden because Sudan’s human rights record was so wretched, she thought we shouldn’t have anything to do with them.
Refusing to contaminate her idealistic beliefs with the ample evidence that has been produced to the contrary, Susan holds fast to her conviction that the “cause of terrorism” is “poverty”.
Her steadfast belief that poverty, not radical Islamist ideology, is responsible for terrorism has upended 20 years of American anti-terrorism policy. Rice is the inspiration behind the Obama administration’s de-emphasizing military action against terrorists, while looking for ways to address the “root causes” of the violence. …
It is Rice’s solution to what she considers the “real” causes of terrorism that is of great concern. She supports the transfer of nearly $100 billion every year to UN’s Millennium Development Project for redistribution to poorer nations and their kleptocrat leaders. How this will address the problem of “poverty” in poor countries never seems to get explained. The history of aid to these nations is that the elites end up with most of it while precious little trickles down to the masses. Rice ignores this history — and the reality that America doesn’t have $100 billion for such a cockamamie scheme. …
What isn’t generally known is her advocacy for unilateral American action in cases where the UN fails to act. Along with Samantha Power, the president’s national security advisor, Rice is responsible for pushing through the Security Council a strong resolution authorizing military force against Gaddafi. But when it comes to Darfur and other potential hot spots where the UN refuses to act, Rice has advocated that America go it alone to prevent a humanitarian disaster. … She has … suggested that the US should contribute a percentage of its military to a UN force, under UN command, to intervene where humanitarian crises threaten disaster.
This goes far beyond what most would advocate for when it comes to the Responsibility to Protect doctrine. But it is one more indication that Susan Rice casually sets aside the interests of her own country in order to cater to the whims and capricious agenda of a world body that has proven itself an enemy of the United States.
Because the left hates individual freedom, it hates America. It wants the UN to become the world’s governing body and redistribute wealth from the developed countries to the rest. And it’s making progress towards achieving its terrible aims. The thugocracies that have a permanent seat on its Security Council – Russia and China – are no longer restrained by Western powers. France and Britain are ghosts of the powers they used to be. And as Susan Rice represents an American leadership that does not like America, it looks as if Turtle Bay could actually become the capital of the whole-earth hell that the international left dreams of …
… unless the United States again, and soon, has strong wise men governing it, and they have the will to abolish the United Nations.
The UN must be destroyed!
Ben Johnson lists what he believes are the real reasons why Obama started the war on Libya. See them all. We quote parts of the two we find most interesting:
It advances fundamentalist Muslim interests.
A West Point study found Libyans made up a large section of Iraq’s foreign jihadists, perhaps as high as 20 percent. Libyan rebel leader Abdel-Hakim al-Hasidi has admitted he fought the Crusader enemy (that’s us) on the hills of Pakistan before personally leading 25 Libyans to the Iraqi front. …
The civil war has reportedly given al-Qaeda the opportunity to steal surface-to-air missiles. ..
Empowering al-Qaeda in the Sahara is a risk the Community-Organizer-in-Chief is willing to take as part of his outreach to the Muslim ummah. Other examples include his limp-wristed approach to Iran, his support for the Muslim Brotherhood in neighboring Egypt, his instruction for NASA administrator Charles Bolden to make Muslims “feel good about their historic contribution to science,” his financing of mosques around the world, his pledge to make a priority of prosecuting anti-Muslim “hate crimes,” his promotion and financing of Al Jazeera broadcasts, and his lawsuit on behalf of a Muslim teacher seeking three weeks leave to make hajj. This is just the latest way of begging the world’s Mohammedans to like him.
Add to that his deliberate distancing of the US from Israel and his obvious personal hostility to the Jewish state – strong enough, we think, to connive at its destruction.
Strengthens the globalist socialists at the UN.
Obama stated Monday night if he had not gone into Libya, “The writ of the United Nations Security Council would have been shown to be little more than empty words, crippling that institution’s future credibility to uphold global peace and security.” He had no trouble ignoring more than a dozen UNSC resolutions about Iraq before that war, but the Left typically genuflects at the altar of the UN and the “international community.” …
American liberals congregate at the UN, because they believe other nations are more enlightened than their fellow citizens and they hope Eurosocialists can save them from American yokels. They often say things like, “America is the only industrialized nation that….” Obama shares this view. He has derided “our tragic history” and said the U.S. Constitution “reflected the fundamental flaw of this country that continues to this day.” He has appointed Supreme Court nominees who believe in placing international law on equal footing with the U.S. Constitution. His UN-worship reached its apogee when he hauled Arizona before the United Nations Human Rights Council over its common sense immigration law, having the people of Arizona judged by the cronies of Cameroon. His first-ever U.S. report to the UNHRC provided a blueprint for socialism, which stated bluntly, “Our commitment to the rights protected in our Constitution is matched by a parallel commitment to foster a society characterized by shared prosperity.” The internationalist Left defers to the UN on domestic and foreign policy, including when to send American troops into harm’s way.
We think a very strong inducement, perhaps the strongest, was the siren song of the three harpies (to mix a couple of classical myths), Samantha Power, Susan Rice, and Hillary Clinton. We hear them singing an ominous lyric along these lines: “Let’s set a precedent for international action carrying out the UN approved Responsibility To Protect, and then we can attack Israel on the grounds that we are protecting the Palestinians.” See our post, The danger of R2P, March 23, 2011.
See also an article by Alan W. Dowd at Front Page, titled A Dangerous Doctrine, from which this comes:
Who at the UN, ICC, Arab League or European Union decides what justifies an R2P intervention? R2P advocates are quick to answer that an R2P intervention can only be triggered by genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing, crimes against humanity or inciting such actions. Of course, all of these are subjective terms. Just ask Armenia and Turkey, Kosovo, Croatia, Bosnia and Serbia, Russia and Chechnya, the people of Sudan. Everyone from Tony Blair to Tommy Franks was accused of war crimes during the Iraq war. Today, Libya’s rebels and Libya’s government, NATO’s leaders and Khadafy’s henchmen, are all accusing each other of war crimes. This isn’t to say that there aren’t genuine cases of war crimes, genocide and the like in the world, but rather that Americans may define these terms differently than the bureaucrats who roam the UN. …
if Khadafy is guilty of violating R2P principles, what about Syria’s Assad, Sudan’s Bashir, Cuba’s Castro, Iran’s Ahmadinejad, North Korea’s Kim? The list could go on and on. In fact, if I made the list, it might include China’s leaders and Russia’s leaders (see Tiananmen, Tibet and Chechnya). If they made the list, it might include the United States or Estonia. If Kosovo made the list, it might include Serbia. If the Serbs made the list, it might include Kosovo. If Pakistan made the list, it might include India. If India made the list, it might include Pakistan. You get the point.
Moreover, what level of negligence or outright willfulness constitutes “failure to protect”—disproportionate death rates among different ethnic groups, mass-arrests, seizure of property? These sorts of things could be twisted to apply to the United States, especially in a world awash in moral relativism. Before scoffing at this, recall that Belgian lawyers tried to put U.S. commanders in the dock for failing to stop postwar looting in Iraq. One wonders where their outrage was when a bona fide war criminal reigned in Baghdad. But this points out one of the problems with many R2P advocates. They are surprisingly silent on the obvious cases: the Saddam Husseins and Kim Jong Ils and Fidel Castros of the world. It’s difficult to understand why.
It’s only difficult to understand if one is so credulous as to believe that the Left gives a damn for victims of persecution as such. They only weep their crocodile tears over the plight of this or that selected group if doing so suits their agenda: Serb victims? Not interested. Bosnian or Kosovar victims? How terrible, let’s protect them with bombs and diplomatic outrage. Cuban victims? Shrug. Palestinians? Let’s send a “mammoth” force (Siren Samantha’s word) against Israel. Israelis? They’re asking for it by building homes where they shouldn’t be allowed to. Christian victims in Muslim lands? Don’t take any notice. Muslim “victims” in the US? Appalling.
Whatever their motives, it seems that advocates of R2P are opening the door to the further weakening of national sovereignty and the further weakening of the nation-state system—a system which has served America well. It pays to recall that the United States has thrived in the nation-state system. We were born into it, raised in it, grew to master and shape it, and today we benefit from it, sustain it and dominate it. When and if it ceases to be the main organizing structure for the world — if R2P seduces America into taking sides everywhere, weakening the responsibilities and benefits of sovereignty along the way — there is no guarantee that Americans will have the same position and place they enjoy today.
Too mildly imagined! It would be a communist-governed or Islam-governed world. In other words, one total global inescapable hell.
R2P is the doctrine according to which Obama has authorized US military intervention in the Libyan civil war.
Its name in full is “the responsibility to protect”. The UN. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, referring to it as a justification for the use of military force against Gaddafi’s regime in Libya, said that it sets an “international security and human rights norm to address the international community’s failure to prevent and stop genocides, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity.”’
One of its most enthusiastic proponents is Samantha Power, adviser to Obama in the role of Senior Director of Multilateral Affairs [sic] at the National Security Council.
It seems that she and Hillary Clinton (once bitter enemies, now allies) persuaded a hesitant Obama to go to war against Gaddafi in the name of R2P.
Power may be sincerely keen on protecting civilians in Libya. Obama may be too. But there is reason to believe that for Power the attack on Libya in the name of R2P will serve a purpose nearer to her heart. It will provide a precedent for a military intervention she has been advocating for at least eight years.
In an article at Front Page, Chris Queen tells us more about her:
Much of the motivation behind Obama’s Libya policy stems from from the ideology of Samantha Power, the Irish-American, hard-Left humanitarian activist who has been the president’s Director for Multilateral Affairs at the National Security Council since 2009 (and, incidentally, the wife of Obama’s “Regulatory Czar” Cass Sunstein). Power is the woman behind the curtain in terms of Obama’s policy on Libya, but a look at what she advocates reveals a troubling agenda.
Power has advocated a foreign policy that can easily be described as … “humanitarian interventionist.” Power and other activists like her seek to build American foreign policy around merely stepping into situations in the name of preventing genocide and other humanitarian aims. This type of foreign policy relies heavily on international law and multilateralism. …
While this type of foreign policy agenda might in some small way make sense to some people in a situation like the one in Libya, it is absolutely dangerous as the basis for an entire foreign policy. You see, Samantha Power and her supporters have Israel in their sights as a target for American military intervention on humanitarian grounds.
He posts a video clip here of Samantha Power declaring that the US should use military force against Israel to protect the Palestinians from Israel.
And he notes:
In another interview five years later, Power stated that we in the United States brought terrorist attacks on ourselves because of our relationship with Israel.
We don’t know what arguments she used to Obama, but we think it likely that if she pointed out to him how an attack now on Libya would be useful for future action against Israel, that may have been the very one that persuaded him.
Michael Gerson, a conservative writer, fulsomely praises the Obama administration and the State Department for what he considers a triumph of US foreign policy, a referendum to be held in southern Sudan on its secession.
The Obama administration … is on the verge of a major diplomatic achievement in Sudan. Barring technical failures that delay the vote, or unexpected violence, South Sudan will approve an independence referendum on Jan. 9. Six months later, a new flag will rise, a new anthem will be played. It is a rare, risky, deeply American enterprise: midwifing the birth of a new nation. …
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton had been pushing to elevate the issue to the presidential level, demanding, according to one official, “one team, one fight.” In August, President Obama declared that Denis McDonough, then the chief of staff on the National Security Council and now deputy national security adviser, would coordinate a unified government response. The administration’s common approach, dubbed “the road map,” publicly promised the regime in Khartoum a series of carrots — reviewing its status on the state sponsors of terrorism list, beginning the lifting of sanctions and starting discussions on debt relief — in exchange for allowing the south to go quietly. …
Elements of the regime in Khartoum seem prepared for sullen acceptance of southern independence …
Every diplomatic achievement is rewarded by new complexities. Between the independence referendum in January and full independence on July 9, 2011, a variety of issues — concerning borders, citizenship, security and the distribution of oil revenues — will need to be resolved. … South Sudan will require considerable help to avoid the fate of a failed state — particularly to build its capacity to govern and fight corruption. …
But even partial diplomatic successes are worth celebrating — and this is less partial than most. Assuming the last lap of a long race is completed, southern independence will allow these long-suffering people to govern and defend themselves … And southern sovereignty will permanently limit the ability of Khartoum to do harm in a vast region it has harmed for too long.
The most timely message sent by this achievement concerns the nature of the diplomatic task. It was the intention of recent WikiLeaks disclosures to reveal the names of American diplomats and expose their malign influence in the world. Well, here is a leak of my own. People such as McDonough, Michelle Gavin and Samantha Power [see here and here] in the White House, along with Johnnie Carson, Scott Gration [see here] and Princeton Lyman at the State Department, are employing American power to noble purpose. I mention their names (none of them secret) because they represent how skilled, effective government officials can shape history, improve the lives of millions and bring honor to the country they serve.
This is not only counting chickens before they’re hatched, but celebrating their surpassing excellence before the eggs are even laid.
True, Gerson touches on possible problems and set-backs, some of them potentially disastrous, but his delight overcomes all doubt.
It would be highly desirable for the Christian and animist south to separate from the Muslim north, but will it really be achieved bloodlessly? We should wait to see. And if the south’s independence is achieved, will it be safe from the terrible persecution by the north that it has suffered from for centuries? Will “southern sovereignty … permanently limit the ability of Khartoum to do harm in a vast region it has harmed for too long”, as Gerson so confidently asserts?
And the question should be asked, is it just – or sound policy – for Sudan, ruled by the blood-soaked tyrant President Omar Bashir, to be taken off the list of countries that sponsor terrorism when he himself is one of the most monstrous and persistent terrorists, persecutors, and mass murderers in the world?
One might say that it is worth doing, even if unjust, if it is the price that must be paid for the safety of the southern Sudanese. But will Bashir stick to the deal? The answer is bound up with the question of whether or not the International Criminal Court’s warrant for his arrest, for crimes against humanity and war crimes, will be cancelled. A cancellation is not one of the carrots he’s been offered, and it may not be in the power of the US administration to offer it. But it is what Bashir wants more than anything else.
It’s worth listening to an opinion very different from Gerson’s. Here’s a regional Islamic view, from the current internet issue of the Egyptian newspaper Al-Ahram:
The ICC arrest warrant on Al-Bashir is taking its toll on Sudan on more than one level. It has … impeded a possible solution of the Darfur crisis, for the Darfur insurgents are in no mood to negotiate with a president who’s been indicted as a war criminal. Even before the warrant was issued, Khartoum was having trouble reaching a deal on Darfur. Now the prospects are indeed dire.
As for the self-determination referendum, slated for 9 January 2011, no happy ending is likely to develop. Incensed by the warrant, Al-Bashir’s government may try to disrupt the referendum. Why? Because if they allowed the south to secede, the international community may be emboldened and press harder for the implementation of ICC rulings, or try to coerce the Sudanese government into resolving the problems in Darfur …
The hardliners with Al-Bashir’s party, the National Congress, believe that the secession of the south would be the thin end of the wedge. …
Sudanese Vice-President Ali Osman Taha, who took part recently in discussions concerning Sudan’s future in New York, says that the ICC warrant on Al-Bashir should be rescinded. He also calls for sanctions to be removed and Sudanese debts to be written off.
The international community has so far declined to make such sweeping concessions, but it has offered smaller gestures. … Sudan was told that it may be removed from the terror list within months. But, for now at least, there doesn’t seem to be much hope for the ICC warrant to be cancelled.
There is always the possibility that Sudan may offer concessions on the south in the hope of getting the warrant removed. …
What makes the warrant such a delicate issue is not just that Al-Bashir’s future is at stake. Two other Sudanese have been indicted by the court: Humanitarian Affairs [sic] Minister Ahmed Haroun and Janjaweed leader Ali Abdel-Rahman. … Many other Sudanese officials fear that they would be next. If they allow Al-Bashir to fall, the chances are more heads are going to roll.
Sudanese presidential advisor Ghazi Salaheddin is dismissive of what the international community has so far offered Sudan. …
Sudan is being asked to hold the elections on time without much regard to the referendum’s crucial repercussions or the fact that it may lead to secession and war simultaneously …
In return (for helping with the referendum), Sudan was promised “six export licences for American companies working in agriculture and health,” Salaheddin noted. Then, once the country is divided, the president will still have to turn himself in to the ICC. Not exactly the arrangement Sudan was hoping for.
Salaheddin said that such offers debase the referendum, for they turn it from a matter of principle into a business proposition or worse, a bargaining chip in US foreign policy. …
Sudanese writer Tharwat Qassem maintains that the abrogation of the warrant on Al-Bashir is the sole concern for Sudan’s National Congress. Removing Sudan from the terror list doesn’t mean much. And the lifting of sanctions for Khartoum is beside the point. Also, allowing Khartoum to import agricultural equipment and computers, as Washington did recently, is a joke.
The cancellation of the warrant is the “only carrot the National Congress craves,” Qassem said. But the price for revoking the warrant would be high. For starters, Khartoum will have to promise to facilitate the birth of a new state in south Sudan.
Al-Bashir may be willing to do just that, according to Qassem. “The statements in which Al-Bashir says that the loss of the south is not the end of the world is a step in this direction.”
It is true that the loss of the south may not be the end of the world. But it may mean that Al-Bashir would tighten his hold on power indefinitely. This is something that many lobbyists in the West, including human rights groups, don’t want to see happen. …
So nothing is cut and dried, not even the carrots. The referendum may well go ahead in January, and – just as in Afghan and Iraqi elections – there may be a huge and excited turn-out for it; but what then results is not predictable. There’s too much ominous doubt in Khartoum to allow bragging confidence in Washington, D.C., and Gerson’s applause is premature.
[See also this article at PajamasMedia: the iniquitous rulers of Sudan are already reacting by intensifying the jihad.]
The Obama administration is taking steps that will most likely lead to the US joining the International Criminal Court. It is also ‘developing its relationships’ with a variety of international organizations, some of them economic unions, and some of them positively sinister, such as the Organization of the Islamic Conference – the body chiefly responsible for launching and promoting the Islamization of Europe – and the International Development Law Organization (IDLO) which has a far-left international redistributionist agenda (see here, and here for information on its co-operating Skoll Foundation).
From ThreatsWatch.Org, by Steve Schippert:
Last Thursday, December 17, 2009, The White House released an Executive Order “Amending Executive Order 12425.” It grants INTERPOL (International Criminal Police Organization) a new level of full diplomatic immunity afforded to foreign embassies and select other “International Organizations” as set forth in the United States International Organizations Immunities Act of 1945.
By removing language from President Reagan’s 1983 Executive Order 12425, this international law enforcement body now operates on American soil beyond the reach of our own top law enforcement arm, the FBI, and is immune from Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA) requests. …
Section 2c of the United States International Organizations Immunities Act is the crucial piece:
Property and assets of international organizations, wherever located and by whomsoever held, shall be immune from search, unless such immunity be expressly waived, and from confiscation. The archives of international organizations shall be inviolable.
Inviolable archives means INTERPOL records are beyond US citizens’ Freedom of Information Act requests and from American legal or investigative discovery. …
Property and assets being immune from search and confiscation means precisely that. Wherever they may be in the United States. This could conceivably include human assets – Americans arrested on our soil by INTERPOL officers.
The importance of this last crucial point cannot be understated, because this immunity and protection – and elevation above the US Constitution – afforded INTERPOL is likely a precursor to the White House subjecting the United States under the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court (ICC). INTERPOL provides a significant enforcement function for the ICC, just as our FBI provides a significant function for our Department of Justice.
We direct the American public to paragraph 28 of the ICC’s Proposed Programme Budget for 2010 …
Additionally, the Court will continue to seek the cooperation of States not party to the Rome Statute and to develop its relationships with regional organizations such as the Organization of American States (OAS), the Arab League (AL), the African Union (AU), the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC), ASEAN [Association of Southeast Asian Nations] and CARICOM [Caribbean Community]. We will also continue to engage with subregional and thematic organizations, such as SADC [Southern African Development Community] and ECOWAS [Economic Community of West African States], and the Commonwealth Secretariat and the OIF. This will be done through high level visits, briefings and, as appropriate, relationship agreements. Work will also be carried out with sectoral organizations such as IDLO [International Development Law Organization] and INTERPOL, to increase efficiency.
The United States is not a party to the Rome Statute – the UN treaty that established the International Criminal Court…
President George W. Bush rejected subjecting the United States to the jurisdiction of the ICC and removed the United States as a signatory. President Bill Clinton had previously signed the Rome Statute during his presidency. Two critical matters are at play. One is an overall matter of sovereignty and the concept of the primacy of American law above those of the rest of the world. But more recently a more over-riding concern principally has been the potential – if not likely – specter of subjecting our Armed Forces to a hostile international body seeking war crimes prosecutions …
President Bush in fact went so far as to gain agreement from nations that they would expressly not detain or hand over to the ICC members of the United States armed forces. The fear of a symbolic ICC circus trial as a form of international political protest to American military actions in Iraq and elsewhere was real and palpable.
President Obama’s words have been carefully chosen when directly regarding the ICC. While President Bush outright rejected subjugating American armed forces to any international court as a matter of policy, President Obama said in his 2008 presidential campaign that it is merely “premature to commit” to signing America on.
However, in a Foreign Policy in Focus round-table in 2008, the host group cited his former foreign policy advisor, Samantha Power. She essentially laid down what can be viewed as now-President Obama’s roadmap to America rejoining the ICC. His principal objections are not explained as those of sovereignty, but rather of image and perception.
[She] said in an early March (2008) interview with The Irish Times that many things need to happen before Obama could think about signing the Rome Treaty.
“Until we’ve closed Guantánamo, gotten out of Iraq responsibly, renounced torture and rendition, shown a different face for America, American membership of the ICC is going to make countries around the world think the ICC is a tool of American hegemony.”
The detention center at Guantánamo Bay is nearing its closure and an alternate continental American site for terrorist detention has been selected in Illinois. The time line for Iraq withdrawal has been set. And President Obama has given an abundance of international speeches intended to “show a different face for America.” …
When the paths on the road map converge – Iraq withdrawal, Guantánamo closure, perceived American image improved internationally, and an empowered INTERPOL in the United States – it is probable that President Barack Obama will once again make America a signatory to the International Criminal Court. It will be a move that surrenders American sovereignty to an international body whose INTERPOL enforcement arm has already been elevated above the Constitution and American domestic law enforcement.
For an added and disturbing wrinkle, INTERPOL’s central operations office in the United States is within our own Justice Department offices. They are American law enforcement officers working under the aegis of INTERPOL within our own Justice Department. That they now operate with full diplomatic immunity and with “inviolable archives” from within our own buildings should send red flags soaring into the clouds.
[An] explanation is due the American public from the President of the United States detailing why an international law enforcement arm assisting a court we are not a signatory to has been elevated above our Constitution upon our soil.