US and Iran: Time to walk away from an abusive relationship – Al Arabiya English

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We are only a few months into the new “reset” relationship between the US and Iran and the Obama Administration is already seeming like the battered wife who refuses to recognize the bitter reality of her situation.

We see the same patterns of denial: “Iran has turned over a new leaf”; “Iran has promised that it won’t do it again”; “Iran is really so sweet and gentle when you get to know him…”

With each fresh humiliation, Secretary of State John Kerry is forced to resort to ever more tortuous logic to explain away why repeated broken promises are just isolated incidents and why systematic patterns of aggressive behavior, threats and abuse do not reflect the norm.

We learned in recent days that a US diplomat, Chris Backemeyer, has been specifically delegated to go around US firms and convince them to engage with Iran. His “nuclear deal roadshow”, as one news agency called it, is tasked with assuring major companies that both sides are fully committed to the deal; that any future US president won’t reintroduce sanctions; and that Iran is a safe and lucrative market to invest in.

Backemeyer has been bullish about the determination of all parties to go ahead with the deal, saying: “While they may think they can get a better deal, or could have gotten a better deal, walking away from one that’s working isn’t wise.”

Iran’s recent testing of ballistic missiles with a potential nuclear application, in clear contravention of the agreement, certainly raises questions about Backemeyer’s assertion of 100 percent commitment from both sides.

Meanwhile, other parts of the US administration have pointed the finger at Iran for a coordinated campaign of cyber¬ attacks over the past four years against US financial institutions and civil infrastructure. The Iranian individuals were working for the Revolutionary Guards and there is of course zero chance of them being held to account.

“We can tell the world that hackers affiliated with the Iranian government attacked US systems, and we seek to bring them to justice for their crimes,” Assistant Attorney General John Carlin said on 24 March.

Senator Charles Schumer said: “They were saying that we can damage, seriously damage, our critical infrastructure and put the lives and property of people at risk.”

The announcement of the formal implementation of the nuclear deal this January was considerably sweetened by the release of five US prisoners from Iranian jails – widely seen as hostages used to influence US policy.

Details are now emerging of a payment of nearly $2 billion that was transferred to Iran on the day these hostages were released, ostensibly in settlement of a long-standing legal dispute. However, it is hard to avoid the conclusion that this amounted to a ransom payment.

This wouldn’t have been so hard to stomach if Iran hadn’t immediately rounded up and detained another batch of American hostages: Iranian-American businessman Siamak Namazi and his 80-year-old father, as well as Washington resident Nizar Zakka. So much for a new chapter of US-Iranian relations!

This of course brings to mind the manner in which US naval officers as recently as January were forcibly detained while on routine patrol in the Arabian Gulf before being paraded on state TV and coerced into making humiliating apologies.

All the while, Ayatollah Khamenei has kept up a non-stop onslaught of anti-American rhetoric; describing America as Iran’s “enemy par excellence”, accusing US banks and businesses of being insufficiently enthusiastic about doing business with Iran and charging his own nuclear negotiators with having caved in to US pressure.

Re-engagement

Kerry and Obama’s response has been to bend over backwards in demonstrating their absolute commitment to the deal and encouraging American re-engagement with Iran. However, one suspects that even if every US citizen were persuaded to invest their life savings in the Iranian economy, Khamenei would not shift his rhetoric one iota. This arguably means that in the face of Iranian intransigence and hostility, American displays of good intentions simply make the whole enterprise hopelessly one-sided.

Obama’s belief that Iran is a state he can do business with is complicated by what has been described as Iran’s long-standing involvement in international terrorism. In 1996, Iran was said to be responsible for terrorist attacks which killed 19 US military personnel in Khobar towers in Saudi Arabia. CIA personnel have submitted testimonies about Iranian collaboration with Al-Qaeda on several prominent attacks against US interests.

The announcement of the formal implementation of the nuclear deal this January was considerably sweetened by the release of five US prisoners from Iranian jails – widely seen as hostages used to influence US policy

Baria Alamuddin

A New York court on 9 March ruled that Iran was liable to pay over $10 billion to US victims of al-Qaeda’s 9/11 attacks in a default judgment after Iran failed to submit a defense. Evidence included the findings of the 9/11 Commission that Iran had facilitated the passage of the hijackers through Iranian territory without stamping their passports in order to ensure that these mass murderers could be granted US visas. Iran likewise hosted Al-Qaeda fighters after they fled Afghanistan in 2002. More evidence is expected to emerge.

Documents recovered from Bin-Laden’s Pakistan compound reveal high levels of Iranian collusion with al-Qaeda; working together when their interests converged and agreeing not to obstruct each other’s operations. Should we be surprised that Obama’s Administration has been reluctant to disclose these documents in full?

Sanctions-relief dividend

Meanwhile, Iran is investing the sanctions-relief dividend in redoubling its onslaughts against long-standing US allies in the GCC region. Iranian support for terrorists in Bahrain has become increasingly brazen over past months, with numerous shipments of weapons and explosives originating from Iran being impounded. Most individuals linked to acts of terrorism were found to be trained by Iran and Hezbollah and many of them have sought refuge in Tehran.

This has gone as far as senior figures close to the supreme leader making false claims of sovereignty over Bahrain. As recently as 20 March, the senior Revolutionary Guards commander and Khamenei-ally, General Saeed Qassimi, said in a public speech: “Iran must exert efforts to restore Bahrain as Iranian territory and make it a part of Bushehr province.”

Whether arming Houthis in Yemen, supporting Assad in Syria, sponsoring sectarian cleansing in central Iraq, or using Hezbollah to undermine Lebanese sovereignty; Iran it doing its utmost to thwart US policy objectives in the Middle East, to the point of funding militias which just a few years ago were killing US troops in Iraq; yet Obama still choses to believe that the Islamic Republic is a regime that he can do business with.

Simply by signing the nuclear deal, Iran has not renounced its modus operandi of exploiting terrorism, threats and aggression against its neighbours and enemies to further its agenda. With this deal, the US has simply shackled itself to a state which will dishonor its commitments at every opportunity and which lashes out at those close to it.

Iran is not a bedfellow that will respond positively to America’s professions of faithfulness and good intentions. This is not a relationship which can have a Hollywood-style happy ending.
_______________________
Baria Alamuddin is a journalist and commentator on Middle East current affairs.

Last Update: Wednesday, 30 March 2016 KSA 11:06 – GMT 08:06
Disclaimer: Views expressed by writers in the opinion section are their own and do not reflect Al Arabiya English’s point-of-view.

 

Source: US and Iran: Time to walk away from an abusive relationship – Al Arabiya English

Re-blog: With President Erdogan in Washington, Amnesty Plans Rally to Protest Abuses [Updated] — Human Rights in Turkey

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Re-blog: With President Erdogan in Washington, Amnesty Plans Rally to Protest Abuses [Updated] — Human Rights in Turkey

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Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan is in Washington DC for the next few days as part of Nuclear Security Summit. Please join Amnesty International’s rally to protest continuing human rights abuses in Turkey this Thursday, March 31. Time: 11:30 am Where: Brookings, 1775 Massachusetts Avenue N.W., Washington, DC 20036. Contact: T. Kumar: Mobile: +1-202-997-4567; Email: […]

via With President Erdogan in Washington, Amnesty Plans Rally to Protest Abuses [Updated] — Human Rights in Turkey

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Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan is in Washington DC for the next few days as part of Nuclear Security Summit. Please join Amnesty International’s rally to protest continuing human rights abuses in Turkey this Thursday, March 31. Time: 11:30 am Where: Brookings, 1775 Massachusetts Avenue N.W., Washington, DC 20036. Contact: T. Kumar: Mobile: +1-202-997-4567; Email: […]

via With President Erdogan in Washington, Amnesty Plans Rally to Protest Abuses [Updated] — Human Rights in Turkey

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The Arabs and President ‘Two-Face’ Obama: what went wrong?

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The Arabs and President ‘Two-Face’ Obama: what went wrong?

Much has already been written in response to the collection of interviews with President Obama recently penned by Jeffrey Goldberg for The Atlantic.

Given the unexpected criticism Obama directed towards almost all of his country’s historic allies, it was no surprise that his remarks were received by a mixture of astonishment and severe disappointment.

This was the case not just in Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Pakistan, but even in countries like France, Israel and the United Kingdom.

Of course, the dispute here isn’t about criticisms such as the ones on women’s rights in Saudi Arabia (which many in the kingdom agree with, by the way), but to the unjust comments questioning the efforts of key US allies in fighting terrorism and stabilizing the region.

However – since actions speak louder than words – one could argue that the best response, so far, to Obama’s “free-riders” accusations was yesterday’s Riyadh meeting of military chiefs from over 30 Muslim countries.

The meeting – which is part of the efforts of the newly-established Saudi-led Islamic Military Alliance – discussed a new framework for combatting terrorism through armed, financial, media and intellectual efforts.

Now, Obama – or indeed anyone who believes in “leading from behind” (if such a thing even exists!) – may not grasp the sheer magnitude and importance of this step.

President Obama greeting King Abdullah in 2009. The White House had maintained back then that this wasn’t a “bow”. (Still courtesy: Fox News)

However, given that the US president is due to visit Riyadh next month, one hopes that he would have at least read recent comments made by his own defense secretary, state department, treasury department and Centcom commander on the “crucial” relationship the US enjoys with Saudi Arabia, particularly in areas of security, counter-terrorism and defense.

As for the Saudis, it is perhaps too late – and futile – to try and fix this so-called “Obama Doctrine” during the upcoming visit.

Indeed, nothing said can bring over 200 thousand Syrians back to life, undo the creation of ISIS, or contain the danger which Tehran now imposes on the region (thanks to the divisive nuclear deal which has left Iran – which Obama himself describes as a “state sponsor of terror” – totally unshackled).

To add to this, come January next year, we will have to deal with a new White House anyway. This means that whoever ends up becoming the next US president will have to deal with the harsh realities of our region.

By default, this also means that the next occupant of the White House will need the support and advice of America’s longtime regional allies.

As such, it is more useful for the US’s Arab allies to figure out how they will win the next president’s support in restoring balance to our region. Naturally, having this new Saudi-led Islamic coalition will definitely be helpful on that front.

But what went wrong?

As Obama’s two terms near their end, it is definitely worth finding out how and why we lost his ear.

After all, with a name like Barack Hussein Obama, his family history, upbringing and cultural sensitivity, one could argue that there couldn’t have been a U.S. partner who understands our region better.

We should also remember that the relationship with this current administration wasn’t always so tense. Indeed, Obama is the same American president who – near the beginning of his tenure – bowed to the late Saudi King Abdullah.

Furthermore, according to two sources close to the former monarch, Obama is also said to have kissed King Abdullah’s hand on a later occasion (reportedly telling him that he did so in response to Fox News’s criticism of his bow).

One has to wonder if the waters were poisoned by those in the current administration who are for Iran, or are Muslim Brotherhood sympathizers. This would be incredibly hard to grasp given President Obama’s undisputed intellect and shrewdness.

Or was abandoning the US’s regional allies Obama’s hidden agenda from the beginning?

This could be a possibility; after all, since he was already awarded a Nobel Peace Prize (for no apparent reason, one should add), the argument here would be why bother with a region which will put you at risk, exhaust your resources and where people will still curse you for doing the right thing?

I of course intended for this last set of questions to sound like those that would cross the mind of a reluctant comic book superhero. After all, what we recently discovered about the US president is that he apparently draws his Middle East policy from the 2008 Batman film, The Dark Knight.

(Design by Farwa Rizwan / Al Arabiya English)

According to his interview with the Atlantic, Obama sees the Middle East as the corrupt, crumbling Gotham City. Its leaders are like gang bosses and ISIS are like the sadistic, impetuous Joker, determined to watch the whole world burn.

As such, Obama could have easily ended his presidency as a Batman-like hero, particularly given the support he enjoyed after his 2009Cairo Speech.

Unfortunately, given the transformation in his stance since then, it is a shame he ended up becoming Harvey ‘Two-Face’ Dent!

Since we’re talking in comic-book comparisons, I’m not sure if Obama has ever been a fan of Spiderman.

However, all I can say is that it’s regrettable that the 44th president of the United States will go down as the commander-in-chief who forgot that “with great power, comes great responsibility!”

Last Update: Tuesday, 29 March 2016 KSA 08:56 – GMT 05:56

Much has already been written in response to the collection of interviews with President Obama

Source: The Arabs and President ‘Two-Face’ Obama: what went wrong?

Sunday, Mar. 27, 2016 – Tenth Wall Defense 4 Human Rights

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Tenth Wall Defense 4 Human Rights

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Celso de Mello serviu de escada para um “movimento” que chama seu colega Teori de “vendido”, “safado” etc. Por Kiko Nogueira

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Source: Sunday, Mar. 27, 2016 – Tenth Wall Defense 4 Human Rights

Egyptian Aak 2016 – Week 12 ( March 21- 27)

Top Headlines 

  • Gag order is imposed on NGO foreign funding case. Monday
  • 10 new ministers appointed in a new Cabinet reshuffle. Wednesday
  • Founder of leading feminist organization officially summoned in NGO foreign funding case. Wednesday
  • Human rights on trial in Egypt as NGO funding case is revived. Thursday
  • Italy doubts Egypt’s claim that a criminal gang were linked to the murder of the Italian student. Friday

Main Headlines

 Monday

 Tuesday

Wednesday

Thursday

Friday

Saturday 

Sunday

 Good Reports

Good Read

From Twitter @Nervana_1

Plus

Finally here are Jason Casper’s prayers for Egypt

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Nervana

Top Headlines 

  • Gag order is imposed on NGO foreign funding case. Monday
  • 10 new ministers appointed in a new Cabinet reshuffle. Wednesday
  • Founder of leading feminist organization officially summoned in NGO foreign funding case. Wednesday
  • Human rights on trial in Egypt as NGO funding case is revived. Thursday
  • Italy doubts Egypt’s claim that a criminal gang were linked to the murder of the Italian student. Friday

Main Headlines

 Monday

 Tuesday

  • Cairo court orders the release of ‘nation without torture’ teen on bail
  • Current and former ministers exchange accusations over the omission of former Vice President Mohamed ElBaradei

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International Women’s Day; The True Stories of Child Marriage Around the World

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Following on from our child bride shoot this morning, we’re teaming up with UNICEF to End Child Marriage and share real life stories from around the world.

Source: International Women’s Day; The True Stories of Child Marriage Around the World

  • INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY; THE TRUE STORIES OF CHILD MARRIAGE AROUND THE WORLD

    15 MILLION GIRLS WILL BECOME CHILD BRIDES THIS YEAR – MARRIED BY THEIR 18TH BIRTHDAYS.

    For most of the brides who read this blog, getting married is an exciting and busy time, planning your best day ever, and imagining your life ahead with your other half.

    But for millions of girls and women around the world, their wedding day isn’t a happy one – instead it marks their childhoods being taken away.

    © UNICEF/UN05222/Dragaj

    15-year-old Afaid Maiga, a Malian refugee, and former child bride living in Mauritania. 

    If you saw our child wedding post this morning, you were undoubtedly shocked. A sweet, innocent girl, who could be your sister, your daughter, your best friend, or yourself, forced into a marriage that’s dangerous, destructive, and disturbing, with an older, often unknown, man.

    But just because this might not be happening to your sister, your daughter, or your best friend, doesn’t mean it’s not happening.

    More than 700 million women alive today were married as children.

    More than 700 million women alive today were married as children. More than one in three (some 250 million) were married before their 15th birthdays.

    And this isn’t just happening in one or two small parts of the world, it’s happening in countries across Asia, Africa and the Middle East.

    © UNICEF/UNI112030/Slezic

    Madhalsi Sarkar, 17, from India, contacted the Child Helpline when her parents tried to marry her to a 27-year-old man.

    Child brides are at risk of rape, violence, abuse and exploitation. A girl who is married as a child is more likely to be out of school, experience domestic violence and become infected with HIV/AIDS.

    She is more likely to have children when she is still a child herself, and is far more likely to die due to complications during pregnancy and childbirth.

    Child marriage must end.

    The issue of child marriage has gained traction in the mainstream media over the past few weeks with staged social experiments posted on Youtube featuring older men posing with young model brides (in Lebanon & the USA). We’re so thrilled that people are taking notice of this important issue, and we’d like to take the conversation further by shining a light on the real child brides across the world.

    So today, on International Women’s Day, and to mark the launch of UNICEF and UNFPA’s first ever joint Global Program to Accelerate Action Against Child Marriage, we wanted to share some of the real life stories, of real girls who became child brides.

    If you’re a bride or groom reading this, and planning a wedding of your own, choosing your dress or suit, selecting your flowers, and playing with your seating plan, try to keep in mind the millions of child brides in countries around the world  – girls who’d rather be choosing their favourite colours, selecting their subjects in school, and playing with their friends…

    BANGLADESH: RINA BEGUM’S STORY

    © UNICEF/UNI77809/Sheba

    Rina Begum, 14, stands outside her parents’ home, in the northern district of Jamalpur in Dhaka, Bangladesh.

    Rima, whose education was cut short at Grade 6, was taken out of school to marry.

    Her husband beats her and has sent her back to her parents. He hopes to secure additional dowry.

    MOZAMBIQUE: LÚCIA’S STORY

    #endchildmarriage | UNICEF | Bridal Musings Wedding Blog

    © UNICEF Mozambique/2015/Alex Marques

    Lúcia, 15 who is 8 months pregnant and Velasco, 20. 

    In Mozambique, 48 per cent of girls are married before the age of 18. This has major consequences including many girls having to drop out of school and face greater risks during pregnancy and childbirth.

    “I wasn’t sure in the beginning if I wanted this. In the end it wasn’t my decision; everyone convinced me. The family decided this was best,” said Lúcia, 15.

    In the end it wasn’t my decision.

    Shortly after Lúcia’s marriage she became pregnant and 8 months into her pregnancy, she contracted malaria and was forced to stop going to school. “I was very, very ill,” explains Lúcia. “The teacher asked me to stay home as I was sick during class.”

    Traditionally in Mozambique, a “lobolo” (a form of dowry) is paid by the girl’s family when she gets married. Lúcia tells us her lobolo is due to be paid next January.

    Lúcia hopes to return to school after the birth of her baby, with the support of her parents. She would love to be a teacher. However, the family is unsure how she will be able to continue her schooling when the baby arrives.

    The Government Director in Inhambane City, Mozambique explains, “Many families are unaware that when a girl marries young, she is not prepared to be a mother. Often there are issues with her pregnancy, she stops school, and this creates a cycle of illiteracy.”

    IRAQ: DILDA’S STORY

    © UNICEF/UNI155452/Noorani

    Dilda, 17, stands at the door to the rented home she shares with her new husband, 23-year-old Razan, in the city of Sulimaniyah, in Kurdistan Region.

    “I never imagined my wedding day; I was completely devoted to study,” says Dilda. “I wanted to become a doctor. I was very good in school.”

    Dilda’s marriage was an economic necessity for her parents. The family once lived comfortably in Syria, but were forced to flee their homes due to the ongoing conflict. They now are living as refugees in Iraq and struggle to get by with even the basics.

    DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF THE CONGO: FLORENCE’S STORY

    © UNICEF/UNI199292/Dubourthoumieu

    Florence, a 14-year-old student at the Hope Secondary School, in Kinshasa, the capital city of the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

    “My step-mother wanted to marry me off to a man when I was 13. I refused since I was still a little girl and I wanted to study. So she took me to the market and abandoned me there.

    I didn’t come back, it was a good decision.

    Now, I’m currently in the last year of primary school continuing with my studies. I want to go to high school and then become a tradeswoman”.

    KENYA: AMINA’S STORY

    © UNICEF/UNI114734/Gangale

    14-year-old Amina Hassan* stands in an area for new arrivals in the Ifo refugee camp near the Kenya-Somalia border.

    She is seven months pregnant and arrived in the camp with her mother-in-law and other relatives. They are waiting to register for food and other aid.

    Amina and her family walked for 26 days from their hometown of Dinsor in South-East Somalia, braving lions and hyenas and surviving on food they received from strangers.

    Amina has never attended school and was married off by her parents at age 12. Her husband is still in Somalia, searching for work. 

    *Amina’s name has been changed.

    AFGHANISTAN: ZAIKA’S STORY

    #endchildmarriage | UNICEF | Bridal Musings Wedding Blog 11

    ©UNICEF/Kate Brooks

    Zakia, 16, stands in a shelter for girls and women in Kabul, Afghanistan.

    She escaped a forced marriage to a 25-year-old man in Iran. The shelter works to resolve family problems, so girls and women can go back to their communities, but many challenges remain.

    NIGER: NAFISSA’S STORY

    Photo by Marieke Van Der Velden

    Nafissa was married when she was 16. She has been married for 10 months, becoming pregnant three months after marrying.

    Nafissa’s baby was stillborn. 

    UGANDA: KATUSHABE CHOICE’S STORY

    © UNICEF/UNI87065/Noorani

    Katushabe Choice (20 years old) stands outside her house where she lives with her three children ages 6, 3 and 1, in Busoru I village, a former camp for Internally Displaced People in Bundibugyo, near the Congo border in Western Uganda.

    She got married and delivered her first child when she was only 13 years old.

    Her husband works as a labourer in other people’s farms. When not busy caring for her children, she goes to help her husband in the field.

    © UNICEF/UNI198617/Aggio Caldon

    13-year-old Waad’s father forced her to marry a man she did not know. 

    Wives and mothers, who are also children.

    These are just a tiny sample of the millions of harrowing stories from girls who have both experienced, or are at risk of, child marriage.

    UNICEF works in countries around the world to end this dangerous practice.

    Today UNICEF and UNFPA announced the first-ever global initiative to eliminate child marriage – aimed at protecting millions of girls from losing their childhoods.

    square and rectangles

    Image via UNICEF

    By working with families, communities, governments and young people themselves – UNICEF and UNFPA, will focus on preventing child marriage and helping girls who have already been wed.

    The program will reach six million vulnerable girls from 12 countries in Africa, Asia and the Middle East in its first four years.

    And there is other good news among all the bleak stories.

    UNICEF estimates that if we can speed up the current rate of decline of child marriage, there will be 130 million less women and girls married as children by 2030, and 250 million less women and girls married by 2050.

    When girls are allowed to be girls, everybody wins – UNICEF

    By identifying communities and individuals at risk, educating families and empowering girls, UNICEF’s fight against child marriage is making progress.

    But, more needs to be done.

    #endchildmarriage | UNICEF | Bridal Musings Wedding Blog

    © UNICEF Mozambique/2015/Alex Marques

    “I want to work in business,” Sónia, 16, Mozambique who had to leave school and move in with her husband’s family. 

    Of the world’s 1.1 billion girls, 22 million are already married, and hundreds of millions more are at risk.

    Help us, help UNICEF to #endchildmarriage today, by sharing this post, our video, and our child bride wedding.

    Weddings should be happy occasions, marriage should be a choice, and child marriage should not be happening in 2016.

    Visit UNICEF for more information on how you can help #endchildmarriage

Genocide by ‘Joint Criminal Enterprise’

by @MuhamedSacirbey

“Syria’s future is in the hands of those who must demand the rule of law and accountability for mass graves still consuming today’s innocents.” (Official photo of Tomasica mass graves)

The U.S. government has issued a statement accusing ISIS of genocide, which coincides with the guilty verdict for the leader of another “Joint Criminal Enterprise” by an international tribunal, (ICTY). If the judgment of Radovan Karadzic, “President of Republika Srpska,” will have precedent, then the urgent question is not about the culpability of an individual but to what degree such has effect on the consequences of the crime for which convicted, the remedies available to victims, and indeed the very capacity of the Joint Criminal Enterprise to survive and perpetuate beyond the assignment of guilt for its leader(s). ISIS has similarly been defined as a Joint Criminal Enterprise and beyond the promise of punishment of its leader(s), what are the consequences now in confronting the criminal deeds and what measures will be undertaken to remedy the ethnic cleansing of Christian, Yazidi, Shia Muslim, Turkmen and other minorities who have been targeted and/or resisted ISIS’s reign of terror in Iraq and Syria? The “Genocide Convention,” to which the U.S. is party, carries with it the affirmative obligation to confront the crime while still ongoing and not just to punish the perpetrators after the fact. Without remedying the consequences of the crime, can we conclude that the rule of law has prevailed or justice served, particularly if the Joint Criminal Enterprise, (JCE), survives or perhaps is even given legitimacy?

Obligation to Actively Confront Genocide, Particularly the Veto 5 on Security Council and WITHOUT EQUIVOCATION:

During the genocide committed against Bosniaks — Bosnian Muslims — over two decades earlier, the UN Security Council obfuscated and delayed in order to deflect its obligations and avoid action, particularly those who are vested with privilege and responsibilities of being veto-wielding UN Security Council members. Instead of simply employing the term “genocide” to describe the plan and deeds of the perpetrators, the veto powers imposed semantics as “acts of genocide” or “ethnic cleansing” thus implicitly drawing a distinction and presumably relieving themselves of the obligation to confront.

Washington was perhaps more sympathetic toward the Bosnian Muslim, Bosnian Croat (Catholic) and “the other” victims but unfortunately still evasive in directly confronting the crimes. Those accused of genocide, crimes against humanity and other war crimes as General Ratko Mladic, Serbia’s despot Slobodan Milosevic, as well as the now convicted “President” of the self-proclaimed Republika Srpska continued to be characterized as negotiating partners. This resulted in a flawed Dayton Accords which still reflects the fruits, divisions and spirit of genocide. Worse, it arguably encouraged perpetrators to commit the Srebrenica genocide, years into the conflict after women, men and children were systematically murdered in the first few months from multiple ethnically diverse cities as Foca and Prijedor. Those responsible for the ethnic cleansing have perpetuated a scheme of ethnic/religious delineations including renaming ethnically cleansed towns and denying the crimes. Most recently, the current “President” of Republika Srpska, (now a legitimized entity within Bosnia and Herzegovina), dedicated a student dormitory to be named “Radovan Karadzic” even as the international tribunal was convicting the first “President” of RS for genocide, ethnic cleansing and other crimes against humanity. What lessons are to be drawn by would-be despots and bosses of other JCE’s as well as future students housed in the “Radovan Karadzic Dormitory”?

Dodik at dedication “Radovan Karadzic Student Dormitory”

2016-03-25-1458946797-8230025-3000.jpg

Putin’s Moscow has aligned itself with Republika Srpska, in spirit and deed. Mercenaries from the war 20 years earlier have joined Putin’s war in Ukraine and the annexation of Crimea. The conflict, more accurately the ethnic cleansing, have been employed as inspiration and model for its own adventurism. From the self-proclaimed ISIS Caliphate leader al-Baghdadi to lesser recognized JCE bosses to Vladimir Putin, wrapping oneself in religious and/or nationalist rhetoric has become the avenue for legitimizing the JCE and rationalizing its crimes by theology, ideology, fear and/or warped morality. The failures of some previous government and even bigotry of some its political leaders has fed the counter narrative of the inevitability of religious and ethnic conflict. (See: “Dayton Accords Defined the Past not the Future?“) ISIS employs the Bosnia genocide to attract disaffected and isolated Muslim recruits from western democracies. As with other JCE’s, revenge and strict obedience are espoused as pillars of its shrine.

2016-03-25-1458947179-790098-oBAGHDADIfacebook.jpg

al-Baghdadi “Leader of ISIS Joint Criminal Enterprise”

The new Europe is no longer defined by its original inspiration, indeed necessity: to minimize borders between states and peoples as means to douse the embers of centuries old rivalries and conflicts. Ethnicity and religion are employed as foundation for an ever more divided Europe by aspiring populist bosses seeking political legitimacy, whether Ukraine or western Europe, (See: “Construction According to Putin’s Model,”) or perhaps even in the US.

“Never Again” as Commitment to Act and not Mere Rhetoric?

As then agent of Bosnia and Herzegovina before the International Court of Justice in its genocide case versus Milosevic and the government in Belgrade, I have personal responsibility to seek justice for Bosnian victims but also press the international community to act in any ongoing grave violations of international humanitarian law, whether Ogaden, Ukraine, Myanmar and Syria/Iraq. The Genocide Convention was adopted in the aftermath of the Holocaust and other grave crimes committed during WWII. BiH, as well as I in my duties on behalf of victims, had the support of those representing peoples previously victimized, including the activists from “Jews Against Genocide.” They intended to translate “never again” from a historic meaning to an active commitment and call to action on behalf of all victims. Their example has only re-enforced the commitment of most Bosnians to speak and act in the face of similar crimes and their perpetrators.

The leadership of the BiH Islamic community is particularly welcome, not only because it has buried and comforted so many victims, but because Muslims must speak out against those would hijack their religion for intolerance, authoritarianism and an assault upon diversity. (See: “Bosnia’s Muslim Community Urges Safety and Release of Hostages“) When Washington and European politicians speak of partnering with other Muslims to counter ISIS, BiH has both the unfortunate experience of being the victim of genocide and being a historical model of diversity.

Crimes Demand Remedies for Victims and not Just Punishment for Perpetrators!

The crimes committed by the JCE advanced by Karadzic and his cohorts reminds very much of the grave violations of international humanitarian law now committed by ISIS. As the International Tribunal (ICTY) summarizes in convicting Karadzic:

2016-03-25-1458947470-3628113-160324_hague.jpg

The Chamber found that Karadžić committed these crimes through his participation in four joint criminal enterprises (JCE). The Overarching JCE, which existed between October 1991 and November 1995, included a common plan to permanently remove Bosnian Muslims and Bosnian Croats from Bosnian Serb-claimed territory through the commission of crimes in municipalities throughout BiH (Municipalities). The Chamber found that a vast number of Bosnian Muslims and Bosnian Croats in the Municipalities were forcibly displaced from their homes by Serb Forces. Other victims were arrested, detained in detention facilities, often under inhumane living conditions, subjected to torture, beatings, rape and other acts of sexual violence, and then transported out of the Municipalities. Serb Forces also killed many Bosnian Muslims and Bosnian Croats during and after the take-over of the Municipalities, in mass executions or following attacks on non-Serb villages. (See: “Tribunal Convicts Radovan Karadzic for Crimes in Bosnia and Herzegovina“)

Washington’s now designation of ISIS as being culpable for mass rape and efforts to eliminate a defined group from its homes, as was the case in BiH, also constitutes genocide as referenced by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry in his more substantive statement: “One element of genocide is the intent to destroy an ethnic or religious group, in whole or in part… The U.S. has vowed to deliver the evidence as well as perpetrators to the “competent court or tribunal.” (See: US State Dept. “Remarks on Daesh and Genocide“)

As a signatory to the Rome Statute, I would urge that trial(s) before the International Criminal Court (ICC) would best serve the interests of justice, the rule of law, victims and delivering an impartial judgment based on shared our shared values and civilization. There are also several other questions though that should be raised beyond this immediate first step:

1. Will the U.S. and international community take further actions not only to “defeat Daesh” but also protect the targeted communities?

2. What efforts by the U.S. to urge the UN Security Council to formally refer the conflict(s) in Syria and Iraq to the ICC?

3. Will the U.S. advance to become member of the ICC, and thus give further credence to calls for the rule of law?

4. The Assad regime and potentially others (including Putin’s military forces) within Syria culpable for grave violations of international humanitarian law are no less deserving of investigation and prosecution for such crimes — what accountability there or will the Assad regime in effect be reconfirmed by expediency through the rationale of gaining a signature on a presumed peace accord?

5. Most critically, will the victims of ISIS be enabled to return to their ancestral homes or will the fruits of the crime be allowed to root them out, something that unfortunately still haunts Bosnia? This also helps address the refugee flow that now overwhelms Europe.

Contrary to the despair or cynicism that the experience of the Bosnia genocide may nurture, we have to be even more resolute in the face of today’s crimes and the omnipresent indifference or rationalizations. Some Serbian political leaders have sought to explain the conviction of Karadzic by accusing the ICTY of bias against Serbs. While the Tribunal has not been always to the satisfaction of Bosnians, it is probably more accurate to suggest that as a whole bias has been a more negative factor against Muslims including European Muslims, as well as the failures to respond in timely and adequate manner to the genocide committed upon the Bosnians. Regardless, our courage and character is best realized when we do not shrink from the truth of what smears our identity but rather confront it. The presumed injustices, current or historical, done to Muslims can in no way justify or mitigate the crimes committed by ISIS. We honor the Serbs (Christians), Muslims, Jews, Buddhists, Hindus, atheists who seek to root out the evil committed in their name.

The conviction of Karadzic was not a judgment upon Serbs as the indictment of ISIS is not of Muslims. Perhaps though there is now a clearer legal and ethical pronouncement on the past compromises of western democracies and the international community with something that is now both defined and convicted as a “Joint Criminal Enterprise.” There is also an ever greater responsibility, whether Muslim, Christian, Jewish, Buddhist, Hindu, etc. when a JCE hijacks our religions or usurps the narrative of patriotism and commits such grave crimes in our name. They seek to make us by our identity complicit in their crimes, and we must ask if our silence or failure to challenge is an acquiescence and a stain?

@MuhamedSacirbey

PHOTOS:
The Guardian.com: Dodik at dedication “Radovan Karadzic Student Dormitory”
huffingtonpost.co.uk: al-Baghdadi “Leader of ISIS Joint Criminal Enterprise”
ICTY: Radovan Karadzic

diplomat-artist-logo-150x15011124mo6hs

 

By Ambassador Muhamed Sacirbey
If the judgment of Radovan Karadzic, “President of Republika Srpska,” will have precedent, then the urgent question is not about the culpability of an individual but to what degree such has effect on the consequences of the crime for which convicted, the remedies available to victims, & indeed the very capacity of the Joint Criminal Enterprise to survive & perpetuate beyond the assignment of guilt for its leader(s). –MORE–
Genocide by ‘Joint Criminal Enterprise’
Genocide by ‘Joint Criminal Enterprise’ 03/25/2016 07:44 pm ET | Updated 2 hours ago Ambassador Muhamed Sacirbey Former Bosnian foreign minister and ambassador to the United Nations “Syria’s future is in the hands of those who must demand the rule of law and accountability for mass graves still cons…
huffingtonpost.com

 mo6hs2

 

 

“Syria’s future is in the hands of those who must demand the rule of law and accountability for mass graves still consuming today’s innocents.” (Official photo of Tomasica mass graves)

The U.S. government has issued a statement accusing ISIS of genocide, which coincides with the guilty verdict for the leader of another “Joint Criminal Enterprise” by an international tribunal, (ICTY). If the judgment of Radovan Karadzic, “President of Republika Srpska,” will have precedent, then the urgent question is not about the culpability of an individual but to what degree such has effect on the consequences of the crime for which convicted, the remedies available to victims, and indeed the very capacity of the Joint Criminal Enterprise to survive and perpetuate beyond the assignment of guilt for its leader(s). ISIS has similarly been defined as a Joint Criminal Enterprise and beyond the promise of punishment of its leader(s), what are the consequences now in confronting the criminal deeds and what measures will be undertaken to remedy the ethnic cleansing of Christian, Yazidi, Shia Muslim, Turkmen and other minorities who have been targeted and/or resisted ISIS’s reign of terror in Iraq and Syria? The “Genocide Convention,” to which the U.S. is party, carries with it the affirmative obligation to confront the crime while still ongoing and not just to punish the perpetrators after the fact. Without remedying the consequences of the crime, can we conclude that the rule of law has prevailed or justice served, particularly if the Joint Criminal Enterprise, (JCE), survives or perhaps is even given legitimacy?

Obligation to Actively Confront Genocide, Particularly the Veto 5 on Security Council and WITHOUT EQUIVOCATION:

During the genocide committed against Bosniaks — Bosnian Muslims — over two decades earlier, the UN Security Council obfuscated and delayed in order to deflect its obligations and avoid action, particularly those who are vested with privilege and responsibilities of being veto-wielding UN Security Council members. Instead of simply employing the term “genocide” to describe the plan and deeds of the perpetrators, the veto powers imposed semantics as “acts of genocide” or “ethnic cleansing” thus implicitly drawing a distinction and presumably relieving themselves of the obligation to confront.

Washington was perhaps more sympathetic toward the Bosnian Muslim, Bosnian Croat (Catholic) and “the other” victims but unfortunately still evasive in directly confronting the crimes. Those accused of genocide, crimes against humanity and other war crimes as General Ratko Mladic, Serbia’s despot Slobodan Milosevic, as well as the now convicted “President” of the self-proclaimed Republika Srpska continued to be characterized as negotiating partners. This resulted in a flawed Dayton Accords which still reflects the fruits, divisions and spirit of genocide. Worse, it arguably encouraged perpetrators to commit the Srebrenica genocide, years into the conflict after women, men and children were systematically murdered in the first few months from multiple ethnically diverse cities as Foca and Prijedor. Those responsible for the ethnic cleansing have perpetuated a scheme of ethnic/religious delineations including renaming ethnically cleansed towns and denying the crimes. Most recently, the current “President” of Republika Srpska, (now a legitimized entity within Bosnia and Herzegovina), dedicated a student dormitory to be named “Radovan Karadzic” even as the international tribunal was convicting the first “President” of RS for genocide, ethnic cleansing and other crimes against humanity. What lessons are to be drawn by would-be despots and bosses of other JCE’s as well as future students housed in the “Radovan Karadzic Dormitory”?

Dodik at dedication “Radovan Karadzic Student Dormitory”

2016-03-25-1458946797-8230025-3000.jpg

Putin’s Moscow has aligned itself with Republika Srpska, in spirit and deed. Mercenaries from the war 20 years earlier have joined Putin’s war in Ukraine and the annexation of Crimea. The conflict, more accurately the ethnic cleansing, have been employed as inspiration and model for its own adventurism. From the self-proclaimed ISIS Caliphate leader al-Baghdadi to lesser recognized JCE bosses to Vladimir Putin, wrapping oneself in religious and/or nationalist rhetoric has become the avenue for legitimizing the JCE and rationalizing its crimes by theology, ideology, fear and/or warped morality. The failures of some previous government and even bigotry of some its political leaders has fed the counter narrative of the inevitability of religious and ethnic conflict. (See: “Dayton Accords Defined the Past not the Future?“) ISIS employs the Bosnia genocide to attract disaffected and isolated Muslim recruits from western democracies. As with other JCE’s, revenge and strict obedience are espoused as pillars of its shrine.

2016-03-25-1458947179-790098-oBAGHDADIfacebook.jpg

al-Baghdadi “Leader of ISIS Joint Criminal Enterprise”

The new Europe is no longer defined by its original inspiration, indeed necessity: to minimize borders between states and peoples as means to douse the embers of centuries old rivalries and conflicts. Ethnicity and religion are employed as foundation for an ever more divided Europe by aspiring populist bosses seeking political legitimacy, whether Ukraine or western Europe, (See: “Construction According to Putin’s Model,”) or perhaps even in the US.

“Never Again” as Commitment to Act and not Mere Rhetoric?

As then agent of Bosnia and Herzegovina before the International Court of Justice in its genocide case versus Milosevic and the government in Belgrade, I have personal responsibility to seek justice for Bosnian victims but also press the international community to act in any ongoing grave violations of international humanitarian law, whether Ogaden, Ukraine, Myanmar and Syria/Iraq. The Genocide Convention was adopted in the aftermath of the Holocaust and other grave crimes committed during WWII. BiH, as well as I in my duties on behalf of victims, had the support of those representing peoples previously victimized, including the activists from “Jews Against Genocide.” They intended to translate “never again” from a historic meaning to an active commitment and call to action on behalf of all victims. Their example has only re-enforced the commitment of most Bosnians to speak and act in the face of similar crimes and their perpetrators.

The leadership of the BiH Islamic community is particularly welcome, not only because it has buried and comforted so many victims, but because Muslims must speak out against those would hijack their religion for intolerance, authoritarianism and an assault upon diversity. (See: “Bosnia’s Muslim Community Urges Safety and Release of Hostages“) When Washington and European politicians speak of partnering with other Muslims to counter ISIS, BiH has both the unfortunate experience of being the victim of genocide and being a historical model of diversity.

Crimes Demand Remedies for Victims and not Just Punishment for Perpetrators!

The crimes committed by the JCE advanced by Karadzic and his cohorts reminds very much of the grave violations of international humanitarian law now committed by ISIS. As the International Tribunal (ICTY) summarizes in convicting Karadzic:

2016-03-25-1458947470-3628113-160324_hague.jpg

The Chamber found that Karadžić committed these crimes through his participation in four joint criminal enterprises (JCE). The Overarching JCE, which existed between October 1991 and November 1995, included a common plan to permanently remove Bosnian Muslims and Bosnian Croats from Bosnian Serb-claimed territory through the commission of crimes in municipalities throughout BiH (Municipalities). The Chamber found that a vast number of Bosnian Muslims and Bosnian Croats in the Municipalities were forcibly displaced from their homes by Serb Forces. Other victims were arrested, detained in detention facilities, often under inhumane living conditions, subjected to torture, beatings, rape and other acts of sexual violence, and then transported out of the Municipalities. Serb Forces also killed many Bosnian Muslims and Bosnian Croats during and after the take-over of the Municipalities, in mass executions or following attacks on non-Serb villages. (See: “Tribunal Convicts Radovan Karadzic for Crimes in Bosnia and Herzegovina“)

Washington’s now designation of ISIS as being culpable for mass rape and efforts to eliminate a defined group from its homes, as was the case in BiH, also constitutes genocide as referenced by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry in his more substantive statement: “One element of genocide is the intent to destroy an ethnic or religious group, in whole or in part… The U.S. has vowed to deliver the evidence as well as perpetrators to the “competent court or tribunal.” (See: US State Dept. “Remarks on Daesh and Genocide“)

As a signatory to the Rome Statute, I would urge that trial(s) before the International Criminal Court (ICC) would best serve the interests of justice, the rule of law, victims and delivering an impartial judgment based on shared our shared values and civilization. There are also several other questions though that should be raised beyond this immediate first step:

1. Will the U.S. and international community take further actions not only to “defeat Daesh” but also protect the targeted communities?

2. What efforts by the U.S. to urge the UN Security Council to formally refer the conflict(s) in Syria and Iraq to the ICC?

3. Will the U.S. advance to become member of the ICC, and thus give further credence to calls for the rule of law?

4. The Assad regime and potentially others (including Putin’s military forces) within Syria culpable for grave violations of international humanitarian law are no less deserving of investigation and prosecution for such crimes — what accountability there or will the Assad regime in effect be reconfirmed by expediency through the rationale of gaining a signature on a presumed peace accord?

5. Most critically, will the victims of ISIS be enabled to return to their ancestral homes or will the fruits of the crime be allowed to root them out, something that unfortunately still haunts Bosnia? This also helps address the refugee flow that now overwhelms Europe.

Contrary to the despair or cynicism that the experience of the Bosnia genocide may nurture, we have to be even more resolute in the face of today’s crimes and the omnipresent indifference or rationalizations. Some Serbian political leaders have sought to explain the conviction of Karadzic by accusing the ICTY of bias against Serbs. While the Tribunal has not been always to the satisfaction of Bosnians, it is probably more accurate to suggest that as a whole bias has been a more negative factor against Muslims including European Muslims, as well as the failures to respond in timely and adequate manner to the genocide committed upon the Bosnians. Regardless, our courage and character is best realized when we do not shrink from the truth of what smears our identity but rather confront it. The presumed injustices, current or historical, done to Muslims can in no way justify or mitigate the crimes committed by ISIS. We honor the Serbs (Christians), Muslims, Jews, Buddhists, Hindus, atheists who seek to root out the evil committed in their name.

The conviction of Karadzic was not a judgment upon Serbs as the indictment of ISIS is not of Muslims. Perhaps though there is now a clearer legal and ethical pronouncement on the past compromises of western democracies and the international community with something that is now both defined and convicted as a “Joint Criminal Enterprise.” There is also an ever greater responsibility, whether Muslim, Christian, Jewish, Buddhist, Hindu, etc. when a JCE hijacks our religions or usurps the narrative of patriotism and commits such grave crimes in our name. They seek to make us by our identity complicit in their crimes, and we must ask if our silence or failure to challenge is an acquiescence and a stain?

@MuhamedSacirbey

PHOTOS:
The Guardian.com: Dodik at dedication “Radovan Karadzic Student Dormitory”
huffingtonpost.co.uk: al-Baghdadi “Leader of ISIS Joint Criminal Enterprise”
ICTY: Radovan Karadzic

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