Or so we would be led to believe by the New York Times article on Omar al-Bashir’s recent visit to Qatar!
The reason for Arab states’ rejection of the International Criminal Court arrest warrant for Omar al-Bashir is very simple, and should be the nut graf here, not the comparison to Gaza. I’ll try to synthesize it. Here goes:
The reason that the ICC case against al-Bashir exists is that the Security Council referred it to the court. The United States is a member of the Security Council and the lead agitator for this case. However, the United States itself has rejected participation in the ICC. This means that Washington is using a tool whose legitimacy it has rejected, to bludgeon a state it considers an enemy in the Global War on Terror.
Contrary to the picture the Times paints, this is not an incident of half-crazed, inhuman Arab leaders banding together for a corrupt cause. However horrific the war in Darfur has been, and however large a role Bashir played in its perpetuation, Arab leaders reject his indictment because of the political objections I have just described.
Is their comparison to Gaza reasonable? Well, in one month, Israel’s assault killed as many people as died of violent deaths in the first eight months of 2008 in Darfur. And how many people have died as a result of the illegal American invasion of Iraq?
And what of the continuing Afrian Union opposition to the arrest warrant? Seems like it merits at least one sentence in the Times article. You’d think the Arabs were going alone against the entire world with this one. In fact, it looks more like the ICC has become a flashpoint for third-world solidarity.
Just some food for thought. I’m not saying Bashir doesn’t deserve chastising–and the red carpet may be a bit much–but let’s get our explanation of opposition to the ICC correct.