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Jihadists Against Justice By: Joseph Klein
FrontPageMagazine.com | Wednesday, March 11, 2009


Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir and his ruling clique have murdered hundreds of thousands of indigenous black African residents in Darfur and other parts of Sudan.  They have caused millions more to suffer needless famine, disease and broken families as a result of forced displacements. Al-Bashir’s supporters within the Arab League, Iran, Hezbollah, and Hamas deny the gravity of the crimes being committed by Sudan’s Arab Muslim rulers and militia against these defenseless Muslims of another race.  Instead, they do everything they can to deflect the United Nations’ attention toward their customary bogeymen - Western racism, neo-colonialism and Zionism.  Some African regimes have turned a deaf ear to the cries of Sudan’s suffering black population and have bought into this anti-Western line.  China, Sudan’s leading financial partner, has watched out for its own interests in the UN Security Council by protecting the Sudanese regime from any harsh economic measures.

The result is the near paralysis of the United Nations in dealing with the Sudanese problem.  Security Council sanctions have been too weak to have any positive effect.  The UN Human Rights Council has played down the Sudanese government’s mass murder of its own civilians, while continuing to single out Israel for defending its civilians against terrorist attacks.  A joint African Union-UN peacekeeping mission, UNAMID, which took over from an African-only peace force last year, is at slightly more than half strength and has done little to stem the violence.

The only thing that the UN has been able to do effectively in Sudan is to organize a network for getting food, water and medical supplies to the people who desperately need them.   Now even those programs are in serious jeopardy.

The latest outrage from the Sudanese government, which is stymieing the United Nations’ humanitarian programs in the country, erupted in the aftermath of the International Criminal Court (ICC) announcement, on March 4, 2009, that it had finally decided to issue a warrant for al-Bashir’s arrest.  He was indicted on five counts of crimes against humanity (murder, extermination, forcible transfer, torture and rape) and two counts of war crimes (intentionally directing attacks against civilian population and pillaging). 

Al-Bashir’s brazen response to the ICC’s decision compounded the very crimes of which he has already been accused.   He immediately ordered the expulsion of 13 non-governmental organizations (NGOs) relied upon by UN humanitarian agencies to deliver vital humanitarian aid to al-Bashir’s innocent victims.  And his usual apologists lined up to support him.

Senior leaders of Iran, Hamas and Hezbollah even rushed to Sudan’s capital to stand in solidarity with al-Bashir.  They lashed out at the ICC decision, calling it another Western attempt to undermine the sovereignty of a Muslim state.  Back in Teheran, the hard-line cleric Ayatollah Ahmad Khatami used his Friday prayers to absolve the Sudanese government of doing anything wrong and to praise it for standing up against the transgressions of Western colonialists.  For good measure, he added that the ICC should judge the heads of the Zionist regime and “execute them because they are seditious on the land and are fighting against God and the Prophet".

These death cultists do not care that at least 300,000 civilians have died in Darfur alone from the combined effects of war, famine and disease since 2004, according to the UN’s most recent tally.  They do not care that this death toll will go much higher if al-Bashir’s arbitrary expulsion order is not immediately reversed.  The non-governmental organizations being expelled, such as CARE, the International Rescue Committee, Doctors Without Borders and Save the Children, have the most reliable infrastructure for distributing the food, medicines and water that have been gathered by UN humanitarian agencies to all parts of the country where they are needed.  “It was as if their arms and legs were cut off to the extent that they cannot reach the people,” said the UN Secretary General’s spokesperson.

With the loss of these non-governmental organizations, 1.1 million people will go without food aid, 1.5 million will be deprived of any health care and more than 1 million will have no access to water – some within a matter of a few days. 

A closed consultative session of the UN Security Council was called on March 6th to hear a detailed report of this humanitarian crisis by UN Deputy Emergency Relief Coordinator, Catherine Bragg.  According to Ms. Bragg, 40 per cent of the aid workers in Darfur - roughly 6,500 personnel - would be departing in the wake of al-Bahshir’s decision.  Some of the NGOs had to turn over a list of their assets and banking details, while others had their computers, communications equipment and vehicles confiscated.  There have also been reports of arrests and harassment of aid workers.

In a press briefing attended by FrontPage Magazine at UN headquarters in New York, Sudan’s United Nations ambassador Abdalmahmood Abdalhaleem Mohamad dismissed the Security Council meeting and concerns about the looming humanitarian catastrophe in his country as a mere “storm in a tea cup”.   He blamed the whole thing on the NGOs’ “fabrications that were polluting the atmosphere” against the Sudanese government, although he presented no proof of these absurd allegations to either the Security Council or to the assembled press which repeatedly requested hard evidence of his accusations against the NGOs.

As it turned out, the Sudanese ambassador had little to worry about as far as the Security Council was concerned.  The French and British UN ambassadors informed the press, during a break in the meeting, that the Council members could not all agree on a written statement condemning al-Bashir’s expulsion order.  China and Libya (which occupies the presidency of the Council this month) were the leading obstructionists. The result was another stalemate at the United Nations.

In addition to his own public statements requesting a reversal of the expulsion order that have been ignored to date, Secretary General Ban Ki-moon reportedly asked the Arab League to intercede with the Sudanese government to this same end.  That is likely to get nowhere either, since the Arab League supports al-Bashir and has sharply criticized the International Criminal Court’s decision.  They are sending a high level delegation to New York to pressure the UN Security Council into suspending the ICC decision for at least one year, which China and Libya had already insisted on as a condition for supporting any sort of written statement by the Security Council condemning al-Bashir’s expulsion order.

While diplomats dither and Arab and Iranian leaders make apologies for Arab racism against fellow Muslims who happen to be black, the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, ably led by John Holmes, is at least doing what it can to fill the aid gap.  It is working with other United Nations agencies, such as the World Food Programme and the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, to try and replace the expelled humanitarian workers with more UN staff.  Hopefully, some lives will be saved as a result.

Humanitarian relief efforts like this show the United Nations at its best.  The stalemate at the Security Council and the continuing farce of the Human Rights Council show the United Nations at its worst.


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