You're never going to believe this, but Serbia is saying that they need more time to turn over Ratko Mladic.
It was bad enough that Milosevic died before a verdict had been delivered in his case. At this rate, Mladic will live out the rest of his life without going on trial.
I can't say that I have high hopes for Europe standing firm on their deadline. Let's face it, it would be rather out of character. But if they do cave, they really need to think what message it sends that protecting genocidal maniacs isn't a barrier to joining your club.
Wednesday, March 29, 2006
You're never going to believe this, but Serbia is saying that they need more time to turn over Ratko Mladic.
Friday, March 24, 2006
Sorting through the mail at work one day about 5 years ago, I came across a letter from Iraq. On it was a stamp with an image of Saddam Hussein. The picture was surround by a heart shaped garland of flowers. There was writing in Arabic (I don't know what it said), and in English it said "We say yes Saddam!".
A few minutes ago, I was looking at the massive pile of mail and told our clerks to watch out for cool stamps, because you never know what treasures you might find. I glanced through and found a letter from Saudi Arabia. The message on the stamp is "No For Terrorism". Sure, it would be better if it wasn't just rhetoric on Saudi Arabia's part. But if stamps from the Middle East have to contain political messages, I'll pick the latter over the former any day.
Posted by Bitter Lemon at 4:10 PM
Thursday, March 23, 2006
The "Christian Peacemaker" hostages were freed today by coalition forces in Iraq. I don't care whether or not they acknowledge it, they owe their freedom to the brave British and U.S. forces that rescued them.
What I love about these pacifisty types is that, when push comes to shove, they will abandon their principles. If they don't believe that coalition forces should be in Iraq, then they should have refused to be rescued by them. Now we'll never know how long it would have taken for prayer to turn their captors hearts!
Posted by Bitter Lemon at 10:43 AM
Wednesday, March 22, 2006
Do you have any burning questions about generative grammar or the pro-drop parameter? If so, you won't want to miss the online chat with linguist Noam Chomsky at the Washington Post on Friday. If we're lucky, he might even be convinced to share his views on American foreign policy.
Posted by Bitter Lemon at 12:33 PM
"I shall go on keeping score about this until the last phony pacifist has been strangled with the entrails of the last suicide-murderer."
I've been feeling sort of irritated of late as I keep reading things that imply that, at the 3 year mark, we are now all in agreement that the war was a bad idea.
And that is why we have Hitch.
Posted by Bitter Lemon at 12:55 AM
Tuesday, March 21, 2006
NATO is now saying that they will provide support for a U.N. mission in Darfur. Not actual troops or anything crazy like that. This is hardly worth the risk to Western soldiers! That's why God made Bangladeshis. But if the U.N. force should get a mandate and needs moral support, NATO will be right behind them.
NATO Secretary-General De Hoop Scheffer said he was "quite sure that when that question comes that the NATO allies will stand ready to support that mission in Darfur." Wow, "quite sure" that they will be able to provide some kind of support if given the chance. That's commitment!
Of course, it is all meaningless anyway, since the government in Khartoum says they will continue to oppose the presence of non-African troops in Darfur. And since it has taken three years to get NATO agree in principle to provide support, I'm not holding out hopes that someone is going to start getting tough with Sudan now.
Posted by Bitter Lemon at 11:59 PM
Thursday, March 16, 2006
Eric Reeves explains why things are likely only going to get worse in Darfur (free registration required): Last Friday's decision by the African Union to keep the Darfur mission for another six months revealed just how effective these threats and lobbying efforts had been. Because the African Union reaffirmed its support in principle for an eventual U.N. mission, some at the United Nations sought to put a positive spin on the outcome. But the approving noises from Khartoum suggest how disastrous the decision is. .....
The African Union had committed "in principle" to a handover to the United Nations in January. But the genocidaires in Khartoum used the intervening weeks to remarkable diplomatic effect, pledging to withdraw from the African Union if there were a handover to the United Nations, implicitly threatening to unleash Al Qaeda on Western forces, and lobbying A.U. nations. Egypt weighed in on Khartoum's behalf, creating the prospect that the African Union might split along "Arab" and "African" lines.
Last Friday's decision by the African Union to keep the Darfur mission for another six months revealed just how effective these threats and lobbying efforts had been. Because the African Union reaffirmed its support in principle for an eventual U.N. mission, some at the United Nations sought to put a positive spin on the outcome. But the approving noises from Khartoum suggest how disastrous the decision is.
Posted by Bitter Lemon at 11:51 PM
Wednesday, March 15, 2006
Monday, March 13, 2006
Jan Egeland, U.N. undersecretary for Human Rights, has warned that hundreds of thousands of people in Darfur face starvation if the situation there does not improve and says the region is returning to the "abyss of 2004".
Egeland said this is "a test case for the world for having no more Rwandas and no more massive loss of innocent lives." Is he even paying attention? If this was a test, the world failed a long time ago. Now he wants Western nations to send more money to support the African Union while they pander to the genocidal regime in Khartoum. And of course, wealthy Western nations will send money, because it somehow eases our guilty consciences. So what if the African Union forces won't be able to prevent the deaths of thousands of people in Darfur. At least we're doing something.
For the past few weeks the world has played a game and pretended that they might finally act in Darfur. Now we've decided to return to status quo and the most Darfuris can expect from the United Nations is the occasional statement about how things are becoming hopeless.
Since the African Union is expected to transfer responsibility in six months time, I predict we'll play this same game again in late July. Am I just being cynical? Let them prove me wrong.
Posted by Bitter Lemon at 10:26 PM
Sunday, March 12, 2006
I've been tagged by Martyloo:
"List seven songs you are into right now. No matter what the genre, whether they have words, or even if they are any good, but they must be songs you’re really enjoying now. Post these instructions in your blog along with your seven songs. Then tag seven other people to see what they’re listening to."
1. The Decemberists -- The Sporting Life.
2. Belle and Sebastian -- Funny Little Frog.
I was rather disappointed by the last album, but I'm loving The Life Pursuit, and so...
3. Belle and Sebastian -- White Collar Boy.
4. Rufus Wainwright -- The Art Teacher.
It's not his best song, but something about it appeals to me of late.
5. Dwight Yoakam -- Little Ways
6. Radiohead -- Where I End and You Begin.
7. Wilco -- Nothing'severgonnastandinmyway (Again).
Having never been part of a community in my life, I can't think of seven bloggers off the top of my head that I actually know, and I ain't tagging strangers (this might be the perfect opportunity for a certain someone who will remain nameless to start the sports blog that will change the face of sports blogging ... whatever that face might be). It will come to me. Why don't we start with Alexandrew. They are busy touring Asia, but this will give them something to think about once they reach the beach...
The previous times I have gone off topic, posting a link to a composite pic of Toronto and my post on Jesus' Birthday, I seem to have made my readers very nervous. Don't worry, I promise I will immediately return to the fun-free self-righteousness that you have all come to appreciate.
Posted by Bitter Lemon at 10:15 PM
Stephen Harper made a surprise visit to Afghanistan today to show his support for the troops. Today's soldiers are continuing our nation's proud military tradition of defending freedom throughout the world. Hopefully the Prime Minister's visit will help Canadians understand the importance of this mission.
Posted by Bitter Lemon at 9:36 PM
Saturday, March 11, 2006
It has been decided that the African Union will continue to oversee peacekeeping operations in Darfur until December. After that, the UN will take over. This 'compromise' will allow Sudan to continue to perpetrate genocide while protecting the international community from actually having to give a damn. So everybody wins!
Kofi is reportedly happy with the agreement. Of course he is, by December somebody else will be Secretary General of the U.N., and the murder of tens of thousands of Darfuris can be somebody else's problem.
Posted by Bitter Lemon at 7:26 PM
Slobodan Milosevic has died in his prison cell in the Hague, apparently of natural causes.
While it is hard to feel sorrow at the death of a genocidal lunatic, this means that his victims will be denied the justice that had already been so delayed. It is more important than ever that Mladic and Karazdic be brought to trial.
Posted by Bitter Lemon at 2:13 PM
Thursday, March 09, 2006
If Rudolf Hoess had become sick in 1943 do you think the British government would have allowed him to visit for medical treatment so that he could return to Auschwitz and get on with the business at hand? Why do I ask? Because the head of intelligence for the Sudanese government, complicit in the deaths of tens of thousands of people in Darfur, was recently given entry into Britain to receive medical care.
Of course, this isn't the first time Salah Abdallah Gosh has received special treatment. Having been a good buddy of Osama's while the al-Qaeda leader was in Sudan, he has since come to be an ally in the war on terror and the U.S. government has lobbied to protect him from sanctions.
I'm not naive enough to pretend that fighting Islamist terrorism won't require Western governments to make deals with some rather unpleasant people. But you have to draw the line somewhere and, call me a pie-eyed idealist, maybe making friends with genocidal killers should be that place.
Posted by Bitter Lemon at 7:22 PM
Wednesday, March 08, 2006
In response to the idea that the United Nations may take over from the African Union, citizens in Khartoum have taken to the streets:
``Death to invaders'' and ``Our country will be their graveyard,'' many in the crowds chanted, some waving automatic weapons in the air. Some carried banners reading ``death to America'' and ``resistance and jihad (holy war).'' Okay, so the world doesn't care that it's a crazy genocidal state. But when citizens of that crazy genocidal state start calling for jihad... maybe, just maybe, it's time to start paying some serious attention.
The situation in Darfur is not just about Darfur. It speaks to a larger political situation within Sudan. We will continue to ignore political crises in Africa at our own peril. But ignore them we will.
Posted by Bitter Lemon at 10:21 PM