In a show of defiance of the recent
international arrest warrant issued by international Criminal Court (ICC),
Omar Hassan al-Bashir is expected to be in the Egyptian capital, Cairo today
for a state visit. This would be Bashir's second trip abroad after visiting
Eritria on Monday, shortly after the ICC issued its arrest warrant earlier this
month. The Sudanese president faces arrest when he leaves Sudan because of the
warrant issued for him by the Hague-based court. Some political analysts
believe Bashir does not fear an arrest in Egypt due to the strong diplomatic
ties with neighboring leaders.
Claude Salhani is the editor for Middle East
times. He tells reporter Peter Clottey that no Arab country will enforce the
arrest warrant against President Bashir.
think he (Bashir) is trying to make a point by showing that he can travel outside
his country after the International Court came down with the decision to hold
him accountable for the massacres in Darfur. And Sudan has always been a close
ally of Egypt and vice versa, so I think he feels that is one of the few
countries he can go to safely without risking being arrested or detained on the
orders of the Criminal Court," Salhani noted.
He said the trip to Cairo
could be aimed at his people in Sudan to say he isn't afraid of charges against
him as he continues to maintain power.
"He wants to show that he is
his own man. He wants to show that he is not abiding by the decision of the
criminal court and that he doesn't concern himself with it. And that he wants
to show that yes, I can travel I can go and come back and nobody can stop me and
I think that is what he is trying to show. And it is important for him to show
that particularly to his own constituents to his own people back in Sudan to
say you see all these decisions are made in The Hague and in other countries
and capitals of Europe and other parts
of the word do not concerns us," he said.
Salhani said there are
reasons to believe that Cairo would welcome President Bashir with open arms.
"I think it would really
depend on what the Egyptian government wants to demonstrate to him because as
has been proven in the past, crowds in Egypt are often on demand. They are set
up or encouraged to greet dignitaries so it doesn't really mean anything. If
the Egyptian government wants to show that they are giving him a warm welcome
they will do so, but if they don't want to do that they will keep the crowds
away," Salhani pointed out.
The Hague-based ICC on March
4 issued an arrest warrant against the Sudanese president, which is the first
against an incumbent head of state since the court was established in July
Washington Tuesday said it
was it was under no legal obligation to act on an International
Criminal Court (ICC) warrant and arrest President
Meanwhile, Qatar's prime
minister and foreign minister unanimously expressed their country's readiness
to receive the embattled Sudanese leader if he chooses to participate in the
upcoming Arab summit meeting in Doha later this month. Qatar yesterday also
expressed support for Khartoum, saying that Doha hopes Sudan successfully resolves
the Darfur issue, achieves the peace, and remains a united country supported
and helped by other brotherly Arab countries.
Salhani said it would be
unlikely that any Arab country will enforce the international arrest warrant
against the Sudanese president citing among other things camaraderie.
"I don't think they will do
that because it will not be out of solidarity, but I think out of fear for
maybe for their own selves that one day this might be turned against them. I
don't think anybody or any leader in the Arab world would want to see that
happen because the ruling that came against President Bashir could very well be
one against another in some part of the Middle East where there have been
certain groups that have been subjected to heavy-handed discrimination, let's
say. And so it is something that they all think about very clearly," Salhani
He said Tripoli has warned
other Arab leaders that they may face similar fates in the future.
"I would point you to one
thing that, and I'm not somebody who would want to quote Libyan leader Col Muammar al-Qaddafi, shortly after Saddam Hussein was
executed, he told all the Arab leaders that be careful this may happen to you
as well," he said.
Some Sudanese Islamic scholars recently warned President
Bashir not to travel to an Arab summit in Qatar at the end of March. The
Sudanese government said shortly after the ICC decision that Bashir would defy
the arrest warrant by travelling to the Arab summit in Doha and later confirmed
the visit by accepting the invitation from Qatar's government.
The conflict in Darfur escalated after non-Arab rebels
took up arms against the government, demanding better representation and
accusing Khartoum of neglecting development of the region.