Thursday, March 5, 2009

the ICC gives the JEM a helping hand

Interesting article from AFP on the fallout of the ICC indictment of President Omar al-Bashir. The most telling point, for me, is the final paragraph:

The Justice and Equality Movement, the most active Darfur rebel group which last month signed a deal with Khartoum to pave the way for broader peace talks, said it would not longer negotiate and that it was time to "get rid of Beshir".

The most compelling argument against the indictment was never the one that said that Bashir would retaliate against Darfur's civilian population or the UN, but rather the one that said that the indictment would embolden the rebels who -- free from any ICC judgments against them -- can expand their operations against the Sudanese government. Perhaps this is just a bargaining ploy by the JEM, but given that their raison d'etre is the removal of the regime, it seems wise to take them at their word.

As I've always said, wars end when someone wins or when both sides realize they can't. The JEM has to be convinced it cannot win, and that it should accept a political settlement. Until that happens, the war in Darfur will go on and more people will die, whether or not Omar Bashir or anyone else is brought to the Hague.

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