As featured on p. 218 of "Bloggers on the Bus," under the name "a MyDD blogger."

Friday, January 16, 2009

History's Greatest Monster: Bush authorizes arms shipments to Zimbabwe?

Here's the memo.

Now, I want to exercise some caution here. Last May, when a Chinese ship attempted to deliver weapons to Zimbabwe, two members of the SADC - Angola and Namibia - refused to allow the ship to unload the cargo on their docks. Eventually China gave up on delivering the payload. Last month, however, the Zimbabwe Times reported that two SADC members were allowing shipments through intermediaries:

Large quantities of weapons continue to be shipped to Zimbabwe via the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), according to a new report by the United Nations.

Logistical support from Zanu-PF leader Robert Mugabe’s close allies in the government and armed forces of the strife-torn DRC is crucial to this process, evidence obtained by investigators suggests.

The final report of the group of experts on the DRC, submitted to the UN Security Council last week, says it is possible that the Congolese armed forces “may also be exporting weapons and ammunition to other countries in the region”.

The UN report skirts the issue of the precise route by which the weapons arrive in the DRC. However, unverified intelligence documents seen by the Mail & Guardian suggest that at least two countries in the Southern African Development Community are allowing shipments from China to land for onward transport to Zimbabwe via intermediaries including the DRC.

So any weapons from the US may or may not reach Zimbabwean shores. And the new President could put a swift end to any deliveries by revoking this memorandum.

However, let's put that aside for the moment. On effectively the last day of his Presidency, George Bush has apparently decided to embolden a dictator, and possibly strengthen him with arms. This comes at a time when Robert Mugabe is quite literally killing his own people.

The health crisis in Zimbabwe should be the subject of an investigation by the International Criminal Court, campaign group Physicians for Human Rights says.

President Robert Mugabe's government is responsible for the collapse of the health, water and sanitation systems - violating human rights, it says.

With no functioning public hospitals, the cholera epidemic has killed far more than 2,000 people, it added.

The US-based group called for the UN to take control of the health service.

This must be part of that democracy promotion agenda - dealing weapons to a fellow perpetrator of crimes against humanity.

This absolutely can be stopped by President-elect Obama, but only with attention. Let's make sure that no arms get from American hands into the hands of Mugabe's thugs.

But let's also not forget what a sad commentary this is on a pathetic and broken man who couldn't even wait out the last days of his Presidency without bringing to the world more evil and death.

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