Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Darfur Crisis: Pass the Blame

So the "international" community muscled an indictment of Sudanese President Al Bashir through the International Criminal Court. He in turn "defies" the indictment by rallying national sentiment against the "disrespect" of Sudanese national autonomy and, as anyone who knows that regime should have known, he has proceeded to eject foreign/western aid agencies providing what meager help they could to the devastated populations in Darfur. And the result? Western diplomats sanctimoniously blaming Al Bashir for the deteriorating conditions in the Darfur region; a President strutting round the country whipping up more nationalist passion against the "imperialists"; and more avoidable deaths and impoverishment of a people.

Yes, Al Bashir and his soldiers (and Janjaweeds) must bear the primary blame for thousands of children and innocent people dying daily in Darfur. But the governments that brought this indictment of a sitting head of state are also culpable. Why? Because they must have anticipated Al Bashir's response and should have considered whether merely indicting him, when he has near complete control of the state's coercive powers, was in the best interest of the citizens of the Sudan, particularly the Darfur people. The question the "international" community must answer is: What if Al Bashir, to show the extent of his power, sends his soldiers to an even more withering, senseless, military campaign in Darfur? Are the supporters of this indictment willing to wage a counter offensive Bosnia-style, since they cannot really negotiate with an indicted war criminal? That is the question. And that is why they should have listened to the African Union on this matter. It just makes no sense to indict a sitting head of state, if you do not have the will, power or resources to remove him from that seat immediately before he constitutes an even messier nuisance.
Al Bashir no doubt has little care for the Darfur people, but I suppose that his western antagonists did not seriously consider the fate of the Darfur people in all of this. And that is really sad.

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