**This is an abbreviated posting as of Tuesday morning. Obligations elsewhere simply do not allow time for a proper job on this. My regrets. LDG**
Sudan goes from bad to worse
The situation in Sudan, specifically regarding the civil war in the Darfur region, may well not be killing as many people this week as in the past, but in the larger scheme of things events have just "killed" any reasonable hope of ending the killing.
The general sequence of events went like this:
The situation on the ground in Darfur has been under fairly steady moderation with UN Peacekeepers (of limited ability) deployed nearby, large numbers of aid agencies attempting to deliver relief, and some amount of media attention to the harm already done; enough that when the rebels (various) or government (incl. paramilitaries) lob bombs or bullets around, someone at least gets the story out. *Not* a good situation, but maybe one on the way in the direction of better...
The International Criminal Court (ICC) handed down a warrant for the arrest of Omar Hassan Ahmad Al Bashir, President of Sudan, on March 3rd. Here is the press release from the ICC.
The ICC has no power to compel the arrest of anyone, anywhere. It can only ask that the individual be brought to their custody.
The al-Bashir regime responded with the banning and confiscation of assets of 13 international aid organizations and 3 local providers, on the claim that those groups assisted the ICC in formulating the indictment leading to the warrant.
As of Sunday, March 8th, al-Bashir was putting on his fourth day of displays of utter contempt for the warrant, this time by appearing at a mass rally of "supporters" in El Fasher, capital of north Darfur. He even brought along some of the diplomatic corps from Khartoum to witness the show. The thing is, he really does have a lot of supporters... most of them Islamist thugs in the same mold as O. H. A. al-Bashir, but don't rule out all the anti-colonialist remnants from ~30 years ago or the opportunist Arab nationalist or two in the pack. It seems to be pretty easy to motivate that crew with claims of the ICC being a "white-man's court", which rather makes moot any discussion of intercultural judicial norms like proscribing genocide or such.
As of late Monday, the 9th, the U.S. Embassy in Sudan has gone public with (as several other nation's Embassies have quietly) notice that the al-Bashir regime isn't guaranteeing the safety of any foreign presence and given the limitation on what diplomats can do announced a withdrawal of non-essential personnel. More, Embassies are advising their nationals to have a plan to get out of Sudan by their own means as the Embassy may shut down without warning.
Thanks for the helpful safety tip there, fellows.
Moreover, thank you especially to Dr. Susan Rice, AFRICA EXPERT and U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations (and her staff), for having pushed for an ICC role in the Darfur conflict resolution for years now...
Congratulations on having excommunicated Henry (IV or V; Holy Roman Emperor), Your Holiness. Damn shame you lack the means or mechanism to have done anything more than made him and his supporters really, really angry. Sure hope you don't mind all the dead Italians.
All notes embedded as links in the text.