Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

Where to Now Mr. President? | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Pursuit, detention, and trial are difficult words for anybody let alone a head of state who has ruled with an iron fist since staging a coup against democracy in the country twenty years ago.

It was not the first time that a leader has been summoned to court and will most certainly not be the last; Yugoslavia’s tyrant Slobodan Milosevic, who could not be helped by his relatives and fellow Russians, and ex-Liberian leader Charles Taylor, who is currently imprisoned, are examples of leaders who have been tried.

President Omar al Bashir seems to be the only one who failed to understand from the outset how serious an issue Darfur was as the news agencies hastened to transmit reports about it. It seems that he was the only one who failed to believe that there is a court and continued to deny and mock until a resolution was declared for his arrest.

Khartoum’s way of thinking and its strategy in confronting the tribunal were expected and can be read like an open book. The regime started by lashing out at humanitarian organizations that help migrants from the troubled region hoping that this would pressure the international community to abandon its pursuit of al Bashir. However, this only pushed the international community to persist further.

If any new news were to be leaked by agencies about killings in Darfur, the world would strongly demand that al Bashir faces trial. It would come as no surprise if al Bashir kicked out the forces of the African Union believing that this would further secure him, whilst in fact this would only cause him to lose the small amount of support that he has in the world and would further increase his isolation.

The League of Arab States will not help him as it merely carries out its duties as a mediator. Arab countries are preoccupied with their own concerns and will not lose their negotiating power for the sake of al Bashir. The minority of countries that are claiming to lend him support are using him politically at his expense. Finally, he will have to face the accusations with courage or cowardice rather than challenge them.

The Sudanese regime should first admit that it has committed many mistakes and realise that it does not understand the concept of international order otherwise it would not have found itself in this dilemma. Though the indicators that he might be tried have been visible for three years, al Bashir continued to refuse preventing such horrible massacres. Until the present day it is ignorant of the mechanisms of regional and international political work. As a result, we will watch him bring himself down by committing more mistakes.

Anybody who saw the Iranians flocking to Khartoum will know that there is someone is on the way down in the Sudanese capital. What can the Iranians offer the regime? The Iranians allied with the Sudanese regime beforehand and this ruined Sudan’s ties with other Arabs as well as with its own people. In fact, there is little for al Bashir left to do, and he alone can do it. He must challenge the court by attending the trial, not by fleeing it. He should make a commitment to the court that he will respect it and that he is prepared to appear whenever he is asked. Perhaps he will be allowed to remain in Khartoum until then. He might be found innocent if, from now, he engages himself in preparing for his legal defence rather than hosting the Iranians and terrorist organizations believing that this way he is scaring the world.