Reprehensible Strongman Bashir Removed From Power, Killed Over 300,000, Now Needs Hague Trial

It is nearing 2:30 A.M., and due to the news being reported tonight on the BBC, I am most alert and in the office.  One of the most reprehensible strongmen in the world is being ousted from power.

The village of Um Zaifa in Darfur burns after an attack by government-sponsored militia on December 12, 2004

This blog, from its early years, has had one person on the world stage, more than any other, placed in the cross-hairs of history.  Sudanese President Omar Hassan al-Bashir is a brutal war criminal and butcher of the people in Darfur.  More than 300,000 people died in Darfur according to the United Nations. I have long called on the world community to right the wrongs from Darfur, and to have a not-to-be-missed response to his atrocities.

In December 2010 President Obama said of al-Bashir, “There can be no lasting peace in Darfur—and no normalization of relations between Sudan and the United States—without accountability for crimes that have been committed.” 

Let me be more blunt.

Omar al-Bashir needs to rounded up and carted off and tried for crimes against humanity.  A decade ago the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague issued an arrest warrant for al-Bashir, accusing him of war crimes, and crimes against humanity in Darfur.  If anyone doubts that fact look at the rape victims, the corpses, the burnt villages, and photos of the refugee camps.

As a high school freshman in 1977 I recall being drawn to the argument, made by the-then new American President Jimmy Carter, that human rights had to be a central feature to our foreign policy.  These decades later I am still a staunch believer in that point of view.  If anything, recent history has proved the correctness of the ‘Carter Doctrine.’  Tonight I am mindful, one way or another, that justice eventually arrives and brings its means to the job at hand.

Tonight it is reported that al-Bashir is stepping down—or more correctly being forced to remove himself from power.  Sudan has been rocked by months of anti-government protests.   The monster will be the second leader in the region to quit amid nationwide protests this month, as Algerian President Bouteflika also found it time to abandon his national thievery.

Now there must be a worldwide commitment to ensure that humanity has its day in court.  al-Bashir must stand trial in The Hague, and in so doing will allow for the victims and their families to have the justice they need.  And justice the world demands.

History Waits, Justice Delayed, President Omar al-Bashir Smiles

While I understand the larger needs and goals (in this case referendums on southern independence in Sudan) comes before emotional satisfaction, there still should be some way to better convey feelings over the madman, President Omar al-Bashir.

This is how the paper reported it this morning when President Obama spoke about the need for al-Bashir to face justice.

Without naming him, Mr. Obama said Mr. Bashir must face justice.

“There can be no lasting peace in Darfur—and no normalization of relations between Sudan and the United States—without accountability for crimes that have been committed,” Mr. Obama said.


I know, I know. 

President Obama had no more pleasure limiting his remarks than I do in reading them.  And yet somewhere there needs to be a time to drop the diplomatic speak and call the  mass murderer out for what he is.

President Omar al-Bashir needs to rounded up and carted off and tried for crimes against humanity.   

Meanwhle history waits and justice is delayed.

Kenya Slaps World In Face, Welcomes Genocide Maker Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir

This story was buried on the last page of section one in my morning paper.  It was a story that merited more attention, given the savage nature of Sudan’s ruler.  I often wonder how those in power can sleep after aligning themselves with slugs such as President Omar al-Bashir.  If Kenya would have stood tall and arrested the Sudanese President and sent his sorry ass to the Hauge the world would be reading about the actions of a brave African nation.  Instead the world was subjected to a sad and telling story about the failure of Kenya being able to stand up to its duties, and its failure to become a real part of the world community.

Sudan’s president, who faces charges of genocide in connection with massacres in Darfur, attended the signing of Kenya’s new constitution Friday at the invitation of the government here, deepening tensions between this East African nation and the International Criminal Court.

The court has issued an arrest warrant for Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir. As a signatory of the treaty establishing the international court, Kenya is required to take Mr. Bashir into custody and turn him over to the Netherlands-based court to stand trial.

But on Friday, President Bashir sat with other dignitaries and heads of state at a ceremony celebrating the adoption of a new Kenyan constitution that aims to curb corruption, impose new checks on executive power and reduce ethnic tensions.

Clad in a dark suit, Mr. Bashir joined in releasing white doves—symbols of peace—to mark the occasion.

Political analysts said Kenya’s welcome of Mr. Bashir at such a pivotal time is a sign of Nairobi’s desire to bolster ties with Sudan, Africa’s largest country and one with which Kenya shares a border. It is also intended to serve as a pointed message to Western powers that it won’t be pushed around.

When is comes to morals and ethics no one considers it being ‘pushed around’ if the right thing is done.   Either one stands on the correct side of history, or one stands on the wrong side. 

Kenya made a decision. 

It was the wrong one.

Sudan, Election. Change?

And on it goes….

It was all supposed to turn out so differently. The election was sold as the mechanism for “democratic transformation” in Africa’s largest country. It is an integral part of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA), signed between the Muslim north of the country and the Christian and animist south in 2005. The CPA brought an end to Africa’s longest-running civil war—which had cost 2m lives and forced millions to flee their homes, often to the black belt around Omdurman and Khartoum—and was designed to resolve the country’s problems at a stroke.

A root cause of Sudan’s terrible civil conflicts has been the concentration of wealth and power in the centre at the expense of the regions: the south and also Darfur, where a full-scale rebellion erupted in 2003. It was hoped that the elections, which are being held at local, state and federal level, would make the rulers more responsive to the needs and wishes of the ruled. But this is not a prospect that particularly appeals to the two parties that have ruled Sudan since 2005, the NCP in the north and the SPLM in the semi-autonomous south.

Mr Bashir and his NCP, who seized power from Sudan’s last democratically elected government in a coup in 1989, have for the past ten years been concerned mainly with enjoying the country’s oil wealth. This has come courtesy of the Chinese, who buy most of it. Unsurprisingly, the Sudanese leaders are determined by one means or another to remain in control.

The SPLM, for its part, is focused on an entirely different election: the referendum on southern secession that was promised as part of the CPA. This is due to take place in the south next January. Should most southerners vote for independence, as they are expected to, Africa could have its first new state for almost 20 years—ruled by the SPLM.

Determined to get to the referendum without upset, the SPLM has been accused throughout the election of suppressing any opposition to its rule. Its leader, Salva Kiir, is contesting only the presidency of south Sudan, thus demonstrating that his party is now bent entirely on consolidating its position in its own backyard.

Yet even though the election may be a charade, it could have positive results. If Mr Bashir gets his way at the vote, he may be more inclined to let the south leave Sudan peacefully. This event will profoundly change the map of east Africa. It may even alter the politics of north Sudan in ways that, for now, are hard to imagine.

It is also true that despite the government’s restrictions on opposition campaigning, the Sudanese have been able to speak openly about political matters for the first time in years. The sight of opposition politicians on television, even for just 20 minutes, denouncing Mr Bashir for corruption and misgovernment has been a revelation. Now there is hunger for more discussion and more politics.

Concerns About Obama’s Sudan And Darfur Policy

Many around the world have been waiting to see how the Obama White House would address the issue of Sudan.  For me this is the top of the pile for international ‘must deal with’ issues considering the death and destruction  that has plagued Darfur.  While President Obama has many pressing foreign policy decisions to consider, the moral aspect to the Darfur crisis places this one in a special category that deserves unique attention.

Like many others I share the concern that a far too nuanced reaction has developed in the guise of a tough policy to this troubled area.  If a weak policy is born it  does not serve the people in Sudan, and will not address the call of history to right the horrors that were committed in Darfur.  I had hoped, like many others, that UN Ambassador Dr. Susan Rice’s views would prevail, and a policy with teeth would result.  She correctly called the actions in Darfur “genocide” and was ready to invest the full weight of  American policy into this nation.  But then President Obama’s Special Envoy to Sudan, Maj. Gen. Scott Gration (ret.) acted in ways to show he was reluctant to apply that pressure.  He labels the matter in Darfur as “remnants of genocide.”  I say potato you say…..

So now we will have a policy that will engage Khartoum in talks.  That can be done with rouge nations for sure.  But when it comes to Sudan who is led by a wanted war criminal it is easy to see why this nation, and the way we deal with it, must be handled different from others around the globe.  The only way to deal with Sudanese President Omar Hassan al-Bashir is to grab him by the nuts and twist.  And while he have a hold of him throw into the Hague!

I am very concerned that for whatever reason the Obama White House may not have a firm grip on the issues that are confronting Sudan.  I am very uneasy that we have not addressed the needs of Darfur, or the call of history.

What Motivates And Guides Caffeinated Politics?

I was reminded this past week that with over 2,500 posts on this blog, there are some over-riding themes and principles that are repeated over and over.  I thought it might be fun to think of the guiding issues and principles found on this blog, and write them down.

…. The process of governing is more important than the politics of any issue.  In addition a  fair and orderly atmosphere both in electing officals, and creating legislation is required to insure a fair and equal playing field.

….Campaign money, and the ever-consuming need for more and more of it,  pollutes the political process, and undermines the enactment of sound public policy.

…. The Supreme Court (both state and national) requires the highest and most ethical standards applied to applicants.  In the states, it is more appropriate to appoint justices through the merit selection process than to have elections for the judiciary.

…. Drunk driving is a most troubling  problem that will require tough-minded legislators being more interested in doing what is right, than  carrying alcohol for the Tavern League.

…. Tough anti-smoking laws are just common sense.

…. Going with principle (Dubai deal) is more important than following the prevailing political mood.

…. Torture is wrong, and spawns more terrorists while undermining a nation’s moral code.

…. Darfur needs the world.  Sadly, history will severely judge the  majorityfor not caring.

…. Preventive wars are a waste  of a nation’s  treasured resources.

….Israel needs to stop the illegal settlement policy, and Palestinians should have, must have, and will have a homeland to call their own.  When it comes to Israel the tail must stop wagging the dog.

….Polar bears are needing us to care more about them, and to reach an understanding about the need to address climate change.

…. Gun control is needed to insure the safety of the citizenry.  Strict regulations on the manufacture, sale, registration, and usage is the means for a safer nation.

…. Marriage matters, for all.   Period.

…. Cheating on a partner, married or otherwise, is smarmy and wrong.  Getting preachy about this issue is still OK.

…. Books are some of our best friends.

…. Just because a singer is older does not mean that they have less value or creative ability.

…. History is in need of more study and understanding, not only in our schools, but also with the average citizen of this nation.

….Never underestimate the lack of humor from Mormons.

…. Never underestimate the damage one Bishop (Molrino) can cause.

…. When it looks like it is a slow news day check in on the antics of Sarah Palin and the Clampetts of Palinland.

…. Newspapers are the foundation for long-form investigative reporting, and an essential ingredient to democracy.

….Journalists are as vital to the nations democracy and well being as our soldiers, sailors. and air force.

….Radio and TV personalities should be considered guests in our house, and when they offend should be rejected from our premises. 

…. Elvis is still The King.

…. So is Roy Acuff.

…. The Grand Ole Opry is a national treasure, and true slice of Americana.

Child Drawings Of Darfur Powerful Historical Documents

When I heard that a young nephew of mine listed black as his favorite color, I knew that it told a great deal about his home life.  Likewise when one looks at the way the children of Darfur depict their life and experiences around them in drawings, it paints a childhood of pain and distress.


One young artist named Aisha said: “It is very kind to send us food, but this is Africa and we are used to being hungry. What I ask is that you please take the guns away from the people who are killing us.”

The International Criminal Court is accepting supporting evidence of children’s drawings of the alleged crimes committed in Darfur.

Click the link above to see more from the BBC on these children, and their lives in Darfur.

“Fight Against Impunity Is Inseparable From The Search For Peace In Darfur”


The International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague has issued an arrest warrant for Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir, accusing him of war crimes and crimes against humanity in Darfur.

Most of the world reaction to this decision, though not unanimous, has been forward leaning, and morally correct.

Some of the reactions tried to tie peace in Darfur, and a more restrained approach to dealing with President Bashir, into one stream of thought.  I reject that approach outright.  To be honest, I did not include those type of comments below as it is so damn infuriating.  There is mounting realization that the two are not compatible.  If anyone doubts that fact look at the rape victims, the corpses, the burnt villages, and the refugee camps.  Then tell those in Darfur they should temper their need for justice, and strive only for peace.  I think we can have both, and with a committed world community we can.  We must.  We will.


This is a great day for all humanity and for international justice.

It is also a victory for us in the Justice and Equality Movement because the decision comes after much effort by many activists since the beginning of this crisis in 2003 to try President Bashir and his regime for their crimes in Darfur, for the killings and the displacement.


The AU’s position is that we support the fight against impunity; we cannot let crime perpetrators go unpunished.


This is another victory for humanity in Darfur.

The SLA-Unity calls for al-Bashir to resign and hand over power to the first deputy.

The movement announces that its military has to work and co-operate with the International Criminal Court, and take the necessary steps to bring the Sudanese president to international justice.


The United States believes those who have committed atrocities should be brought to justice. We urge restraint on the part of all parties including the government of Sudan. Further violence against civilian Sudanese or foreign interests must be avoided and will not be tolerated.


We support the independent process that has led to this decision, which we fully respect. We have consistently urged the government of Sudan to co-operate with the court over existing arrest warrants. We deeply regret that the Government has not taken these allegations seriously or engaged with the court, and we repeat today our call for its co-operation.


France earnestly requests that Sudan co-operate fully with the ICC to implement the decisions taken by the judges in line with the obligation placed upon it by Security Council resolution 1593.

The fight against impunity is inseparable from the search for peace in Darfur as it is in the rest of the world… There can be no other solution than a political one to the Darfur crisis.