President Omar al-Bashir of Sudan has been indicted by the International Criminal Court (ICC) as a war criminal, and there is an international arrest warrant for him. The planning for the 1998 bombings of U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania was done in Sudan under the watchful eye of this mass murderer, who has long practiced genocide.
This same Omar al-Bashir is now apparently a good guy in the eyes of President Donald Trump and his newly found neocon buddies. They recently removed sanctions that had been imposed on Sudan, even though the murder of Christians continues in the Nuba Mountains under al-Bashir’s rule.
The ICC arrest warrant for crimes of mass murder in Darfur and the status of Sudan as a “state sponsor of terrorism” were both still recognized and backed by the United States as recently as May of 2017 under the Trump administration.
Strangely enough, though, even while the unrepentant al-Bashir is being rewarded with the lifting of sanctions, there is a howling chorus of threats against Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, the well-respected Iranian moderate who is desperately trying to liberalize his nation and to integrate it, through trade and other means, with the rest of the world’s nations.
President Trump’s desire is to isolate Iran diplomatically and economically thus destroying the hopes of President Rouhani. The hardline mullahs of Iran who have resisted any move toward liberalization are quiet – because they hope Trump succeeds! The failure of Rouhani will mean more power to the hardliners and less to the people.
Historically, American sanctions, embargoes and diplomatic isolation of nations, used as a means to “stop their aggression,” have in every instance actually increased the power of the despots that were the targets! As one example, Cuba has been the target of American embargoes and sanctions for over six decades. Far from removing the Castro brothers from power, sanctions and isolation enabled them to better control the population of Cuba because of the lack of outside contact and influence.
The history of failure for these tactics is a long one. Beginning in 1939, President Roosevelt moved to stop Japanese aggression by targeting Japanese trade, while at the same time giving financial aid and military equipment to China. Those sanctions and embargoes were increased in 1940 and 1941, and military advisers (Flying Tigers) were sent to China. All trade to Japan was stopped and oil shipments cut off in 1941. Japan’s military aggression against its neighbors apparently was not contained by these moves, as Pearl Harbor was bombed on Dec. 7, 1941.
The sanctions scenario was repeated with North Vietnam and continues with North Korea today. The missile launches and nuclear bomb tests by the Kim regime indicate how well sanctions and embargoes have worked with North Korea.
Meanwhile, the American sanctions against Russia are hurting the European economy and have actually forced some European companies to layoff large numbers of workers. At the same time, Russia and China have built gas and oil pipelines between their two countries so China can buy vast quantities of oil from Russia, thus benefiting the Russian economy. Russia’s trade with other nations who do not honor our sanctions policy has also increased. Another sanction “success”: Russia now exports more wheat than the United States.
This long history of “success” with sanctions has driven President Trump to take the advice of the neocons, and of the Saudi Arabian and Israeli intelligence agencies, and push for more sanctions and embargoes to “change the behavior” of Iran.
If these sanctions are going to work so well on Iran and the mullahs, why is this policy of containment no longer needed to deal with a mass murderer such as Sudan’s al-Bashir?
(In full disclosure I have had dinner at al-Bashir’s home in the Sudan at the invitation of a former congressman who was later indicted for violating the sanctions imposed on that nation. The purpose of my visit was a fact-finding mission to determine the condition of religious minorities in Sudan.)
One of the strangest experiences in my life was shaking hands with President al-Bashir and sensing that he would like nothing better than to kill me at some later date. In his presence the power and confidence of a killer could be felt, as he joked and laughed with the fact-finding team I was with, smoothly assuring us that the non-existent religious freedom in his nation actually did exist.
Apparently, President Trump has found some good in this mass-murdering dictator that I could not find, because he is now on America’s good guy list – despite the fact that he makes North Korea’s Kim Jong-un look like a true humanitarian in comparison. Or maybe this was an understandable step for the Trump administration, since the United States is an ally of Saudi Arabia, and Sudan is giving the Saudi’s military support in their bloody war against the people of Yemen. The Saudi Arabian embargoes and blockades of Yemen have caused tens of thousands of deaths by disease and starvation since 2015. Saudi Arabia has used American-made bombs to flatten hospitals and schools – and even fired American-made missiles into weddings and funerals. All without a word of condemnation from either President Obama or President Trump.
Since the meeting of President Dwight D. Eisenhower and King Saud in 1957 and the Eisenhower Doctrine, America has been committed to being led around on a leash by the corrupt Saudi royalty in return for the U.S. dollar being the benchmark currency for the trade of oil. Should the Saudi royals drop the petrodollar, the value of a dollar would be about what it costs for the Federal Reserve to print it. The United States would be forced to pay off debt owed the Chinese with real money (gold), causing massive inflation.
Any nation wanting off America’s “bad boy list” need only buddy up to the corrupt and murderous rulers of Saudi Arabia.
The leash that ties the United States to Saudi Arabia must be cut. America, energy rich and a military superpower, does not need the stain of the corrupt and murderous Saudi royal family on its national fabric.