Saturday, October 22, 2011

Saleh - a way out for Yemen

Ali Abdullah SalehImage via Wikipedia
The Gulf Arab states, who took the lead in pushing for the overthrow of Qaddafi, have pushed through a UN Security Council resolution calling for an end to violence in Yemen and immediate transfer of power from Ali Abdullah Saleh to his deputy.  The resolution was unanimous - not an insignificant point.    This is a good development.
What this will do is set the stage for immunity from prosecution for Saleh.  This, too is not insignificant. Regardless of the sometimes naive views of human rights' activists, offering a way out for the ultimate loser would likely prevent further bloodshed.  Would it had worked for Qaddafi - doubtful since one must expect a degree of rational thought on the part of the target. Qaddafi lived in his own world and his views were, if not insane, certainly completely warped.  Immunity probably would not have made a difference and, in any event given his proclivity toward strange and dangerous behavior, would likely have resulted in a prolonged and debilitating insurgency led from Niger or Algeria.
Saleh is not quite Qaddafi (but comes close) and although even the Saudis gave up on him in frustration, they have been instrumental in finding a way to end the slaughter  in Yemen.  Ending the killing is more important than the future of Saleh - which is limited in any case.
Boxing a dictator into a corner is not a wise way to go and the rose coloured glasses through which some human rights activists view "just" solutions and doing what is "right" can, and has, led to the loss of many more innocent civilian lives than necessary.  It develops a growing sense of revenge on the part of those at the wrong end of the broken bottle.  The likely execution of Qaddafi at the hands of the rebels should not have come as a surprise and, frankly, draws a line under the bloody civil war in a way the ICC could never have accomplished. That, and the fact that Libyans don't give a rats ass how he was killed, should inform the UN to keep its nose out of the inquest and simply help Libya recover.  Just think - Benito Mussolini and his wife were captured, killed and hanged upside down by furious Italians.  The UN would have ordered an investigation.  What a joke that would have been. The same is true of the execution of Ceausescu and his wife.
Revolutions and war are not clean, pleasant or sanitary. The media should stop being shocked at civilian deaths and revenge killings.  It is sad and unfortunate and inevitable.
The ICC is useful to some extent - but it is not useful for ending civil wars by forcing dictators to dig in more.  Some activists for "justice" may find that unpalatable - but next time they corner a dictator, let them ask widows or the parents of slaughtered children what their choice would be. 
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