Bashir and the ICC

My opinion piece is running in The Daily Telegraph today. It is a round-up of the thesis in my book but also points out, with an election days away for which Bashir is a shoo-in, how the international campaign has backfired. This is likely to be the most contentious claim…

Then, last year, the campaign won its second big victory, when the ICC issued a warrant for the arrest of Bashir on war crimes charges. But that, too, is backfiring. Before he was indicted, Bashir told regional leaders and his confidantes that he was ready to step down: after 20 years in office, he was ready for a holiday, and retirement to a smart new villa in the north of Khartoum. Now, fearing arrest by a new regime, he has promised his inner circle that he will fight on. He is not a man to bow to pressure – nor is he the monster of popular imagination. He is certainly a war criminal, but he has shown that he can be pragmatic, as when he signed a ceasefire with rebels in the south in 2005.

I’ve been sitting on this for a while and have debated it several times with different Darfur watchers. It came from three different sources, including Bashir’s inner circle and, second-hand, via a head of state. It may be that he was never going to step down. It is impossible to know exactly what would have happened in different circumstances. However, the sources I spoke to are rock solid on this and I believe it’s another example of how going to the International Criminal Court was a mistake. Bashir has no choice now but to fight on.

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4 responses to “Bashir and the ICC

  1. Pingback: would bashir have resigned? | Siena Anstis

  2. I don’t believe it for a second

  3. Pingback: Sunday Africa Blog Roundup: Sudan Elections, Moussa Dadis Camara, US-Nigeria Partnership « Sahel Blog

  4. Bashir has a pair on him that’s for sure.

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