Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

The Arrest Warrant for Al-Bashir and the Darfur Victims | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
Select Page

Finally and as was expected, an arrest warrant was issued against Sudanese President Omar Hasan al-Bashir. According to the International Criminal Court [ICC], Al-Bashir is charged with committing crimes and genocide against the population of the Darfur province.

Of course, some people supported the move while others opposed it. However, I believe that it is very important to deal with what happened very objectively, so that we may learn a great deal from what happened.

Currently, Darfur turned into a volatile region and home to crime where thugs and armed robbery groups operate. It turned into a place where old scores are settled between the government and its opponents.

Nevertheless, it is important to say that the problem began in 1957. Since then, the province, where 15 tribes live, has suffered four wars between African tribes and between African and Arab tribes.

The silence by successive governments in Sudan toward this deteriorating situation constitutes a clear condemnation of these governments. Accordingly, they are accused of practicing extreme racist policies against the Sudanese Muslim and African population.

Of course, the province, which is adjacent to the borders with Libya and Chad, was affected by the Libyan-Chadian and inter-Chadian conflict, and thus the problems spilled over into this province.

The population of the province is approximately six million, and they consist of nomad and settled tribes. Initially, small problems began among the tribes over grazing and agricultural lands, and the fighting tribes turned into armed militias. Some of them receive explicit government aid and others are fought against ferociously.

Nevertheless, the province has always been neglected and it suffered racial discrimination in education and employment to a point where its residents felt that they were second-class citizens and cannot easily become full citizens.

These problems increased under the rule of the current Sudanese administration, which did not deal with the humanitarian problem with the desired seriousness, responsibility, and credibility.

The current administration was overbearing and it neglected the problem. It used to say that most of the dead were victims of famine and disease, not the victims of liquidation and assassinations by armed factions. This is an excuse worse than guilt itself, because statistics that have been approved by the government indicate that 80 per cent of the dead were victims of malnutrition and diseases.

This fact constitutes an irrefutable condemnation of the government for its failure to secure health services and food supplies for the population of one of the most important regions of its country. Any government that treats its provinces with double standards and sides with one party at the expense of another deserves the punishment that it gets without any mercy.

The fact that the ICC “uses double standards” and turns a blind eye to Israel’s crime against the Palestinians and to the crimes of Bush and the conservatives against Iraq cannot be denied. However, this does not absolve the Sudanese Government of its responsibility and its grave ignoring of its citizens all these years.

And naturally, the ICC will not be seen as competent and will not be regarded with respect so long as Sharon, Olmert, Peres, Baraq, Livni, George Bush, Rumsfeld, and Wolfowitz are not charged with committing crimes against defenseless innocent people. Until this happens, let us look at the lessons learned from a racist iniquity against innocent people. Perhaps, we will benefit from these lessons.