Yet another front

June 6, 2006

The Globe and Mail reports on yesterday's worrying developments in Somalia:

An Islamic militia with alleged links to al-Qaeda seized Somalia's capital yesterday after weeks of fighting with U.S.-backed secular warlords, raising fears that the country could fall under the sway of Osama bin Laden's terrorist organization.

The advance unified the city for the first time in more than a decade, and after 15 years of anarchy in Somalia. But it also posed a direct challenge to a fledging United Nations-backed government.

. . . "It is exactly the same thing that happened with the rise to power of the Taliban" in Afghanistan, he said, adding that the extremists are "using the people's weariness of violence, rape and civil war" to gain support for a government based on Islamic law.

The battle between the militia and the secular alliance has intensified in recent months, with more than 300 people killed and 1,700 wounded, many of them civilians.

However, it appears as if not all is lost.  Today the Guardian is reporting that:

Backed by thousands of chanting supporters Tuesday, the Somali capital's largest clan threatened to attack Islamic militiamen who do not leave part of the city they seized this week in a blow to U.S. foreign policy.

Protesters shouted “We don't need Islamic deception!'' and “We don't want Islamic courts, we want peace!'' at a rally called by the Abgal clan. The leaders of the capital's largest and historically strongest clan had controlled northern Mogadishu since 1991.

Now, I understand that it's the Guardian's job to be the anti-American newspaper of record here in the UK, but you'd think that an attempted Islamist takeover of a failed state would be a blow to European foreign policy too.

Of course, I am -perhaps naively- assuming that a coherent European policy on this sort of thing exists.


Never again . . . again

June 3, 2006

Another United Nations' disgrace.

From the BBC:

A former Rwandan media director has been sentenced to six years in prison after admitting inciting violence during the 1994 genocide.

Joseph Serugendo this week agreed a plea bargain at a UN court, under which charges of genocide were dropped.

Serugendo, 53, is terminally ill. He was reportedly unable to stand in court and he remained expressionless as the sentence was delivered.

Some 800,000 Tutsis and moderate Hutus were killed in the 1994 slaughter.

Serugendo is a former technical director of Radio Mille Collines (RTLM), which urged Hutus to murder Tutsis.

Judge Eric Mose at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda said he had taken "note of mitigating circumstances of the accused, notably his health," in the sentence.

The nature of Serugendo's illness was not disclosed but the judge said it was "fatal", according to the AFP news agency.

He becomes the 28th person, including other RTLM staff, found guilty by the ICTR, which was set up to try the ringleaders of the genocide.

He was arrested last year in Gabon and transferred to the ICTR in Arusha, Tanzania.

So, this . . . savage enjoyed freedom for eleven years after committing his crimes.  Then they allowed him to plea bargain, they drop the charges of genocide against him despite (or because of) his confession and sentence him to only six years. 

I hope he has to be carried from his cell before 2012.

If you would like some idea of the role and influence of RTLM in the Rwandan genocide watch the powerful and haunting 2004 film Hotel Rwanda.

That’ll be $100,000 please

June 2, 2006

 From the Economist:

Zimbabwe was due to issue a note worth 100,000 Zimbabwean dollars in an attempt to keep abreast of inflation, now running at over 1,000%. The new note will barely buy a loaf of bread.

Naturally, "President Robert Mugabe blames domestic and foreign enemies for the problems . . ."

I'm going to have to see how that House of Common's vote is comming along.

Motion to indict Mugabe for crimes against humanity

May 31, 2006

Now this is deserves cross-party support.

A motion to indict Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe on charges of crimes against humanity is ready and will be tabled in the House of Commons today.

.  . . Liberal MP Keith Martin, the sponsor of the motion, tabled it at the beginning of May. However, he withdrew the motion in order to rewrite it.

. . . If it passes, the motion would enable the prosecution of the Zimbabwean president in Canadian courts for crimes against humanity.

It's too late for Porta Farm -and many others- but it's about time.

Porta Farm