Sudanese president charged

Sudanese President Omar Hassan al-Bashir has been charged with genocide and crimes against humanity by the International Criminal Court. From MSNBC:

The action by the prosecutor, Luis Moreno-Ocampo of Argentina, will mark the first time that the tribunal in The Hague charges a sitting head of state with such crimes, and represents a major step by the court to implicate the highest levels of the Sudanese government for the atrocities in Darfur.

Some U.N. officials raised concerns Thursday that the decision would complicate the peace process in Darfur, possibly triggering a military response by Sudanese forces or proxies against the nearly 10,000 U.N. and African Union peacekeepers located there. At least seven peacekeepers were killed and 22 were injured Tuesday during an ambush by a well-organized and unidentified armed group.

I doubt al-Bashir is quaking in his boots.

Wolfowitz on Mugabe

Paul Wolfowitz, “who knows a thing or two about overthrowing tyrants”, tells Foreign Policy that the secret to ousting Zimbabwe’s president is showing his people how much better off they’ll be without him.

FP: What do you think will be the tipping point when Zimbabweans are strong enough to take matters into their own hands?

PW: In some ways—there are some big differences, too—this reminds me of the experience in the Philippines 22 years ago, early 1986, when Ferdinand Marcos tried to steal an election. I was the assistant secretary of state at the time for East Asia. Some people thought we could simply snap our fingers and Marcos would leave, but we didn’t have that kind of power. But what we were able to do, by the kinds of actions we did take and the kinds of statements we did make, was to do exactly what I hope would start to happen in Zimbabwe, which is [to ensure] that the people who are angry because the election was stolen will feel more emboldened to sustain the pressure, and the guys with the guns who are being asked to kill on behalf of the regime will begin to lose confidence.
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At the risk of overdoing the analogy, it certainly didn’t hurt matters 22 years ago that President Reagan offered President Marcos a refuge in the United States, and he left peacefully. I think this is a tougher situation, to be honest. I don’t know where the tipping point is. What I do know is that it seems pretty clear who is the legitimately elected president of the country. It does seem pretty clear who are the people that want to get Zimbabwe onto a positive course.

It’s amazing that this country is one of the very poorest countries in the world, and yet it was once a breadbasket of southern Africa. It shouldn’t be this way. And the more we can get the people who see a better future willing to stand up—and they’re standing up, one has to admire their courage, it’s incredible—and the more we can get the people who are standing in their way to think that maybe it’s not such a good position to be in, we’ll reach a tipping point. You’ll know when you reach it. I don’t think we can sit outside here and put a mark on the wall and say what it is.

Bill Gates and Bono

The Irish Times had an opinion piece today from none other than Bono and Bill Gates. You can read the text here. They have a four point plan:

For a start, we hope that the leaders of every developed nation will resolve to take four crucial steps in 2005. The wealthy world has already committed itself to some of these ideas. Promises made must be promises kept. First: double the amount of effective foreign assistance – possibly through the International Finance Facility, a UK proposal to frontload aid and get it flowing immediately.

A British- and French-backed initiative using the same principles is ready to roll now and could save five million lives by increasing child immunisation. Second: finish the job on poor countries’ debts. They need more than relief – they need full debt cancellation. Third: change unfair trade rules, creating a pathway for poor countries to reach self-reliance. Fourth: provide funding for the Global HIV Vaccine Enterprise, a more aggressive and coordinated approach to developing an HIV vaccine.

Laudable objectives – and serious weight has been added with Bill Gates’ name.