Monday, June 23, 2008

War on Terror: Zimbabwe Has Trouble, Too

Sometimes the United Nations gets it right.

If you've been reading this blog, you know that I'm not a great fan of the U.N.. For example: I think that the United Nations is seriously flawed; and has serious, chronic, problems with corruption. However, as long as nations nations on what I see as a 'most hated' list aren't involved, the U.N. Security Council does seem to be able to act as its idealistic and optimistic founders hoped.

So, in the interests of fairness, here's good news from the United Nations.

From today's news:
  • "U.N. condemns Zimbabwean violence"
    CNN (June 23, 2008)
    • "HARARE, Zimbabwe (CNN) -- The U.N. Security Council has unanimously condemned the Zimbabwean government because of violence that has marred the campaign leading up to a scheduled presidential election runoff, which forced the withdrawal of the opposition candidate from the race.
    • "The council's statement questioned the legitimacy of any election held under such circumstances but did not directly call for the runoff, scheduled for Friday, to be postponed.
    • "Earlier, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon made that appeal, saying the vote runoff as currently scheduled 'would only deepen divisions within the country and produce a result that could not be seen as credible.'..."
  • "UN declares fair Zimbabwe vote 'impossible' "
    The Gazette (Montreal) (June 23, 2008)
    • "UNITED NATIONS - Zimbabwean opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai took refuge Monday in Zimbabwe's Dutch embassy as the United States and Britain pushed for him to be recognized as the country's leader in the absence of a fair presidential run-off election.
    • "Tsvangirai said he was ready to negotiate with the ZANU-PF party of Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe, but only if the violence that led him to withdraw from Friday's planned run-off election stopped - or Mugabe stepped down.
    • "In the Zimbabwean capital of Harare, police responded by raiding the offices of his Movement for Democratic Change party, arresting about 60 people, including women and children...."
I find it remarkable that the United Nations decided that President Mugabe wasn't acting nicely, and that his election couldn't be taken seriously. Particularly since Mugabe's proxy complained: "The Security Council cannot micromanage political elections in any country," is how Zimbabwe's ambassador to the United Nations put it.

I'm particularly impressed that the U.N. Security Council could decide to "micromanage" Mugabe's election, considering the source of the statement. "Against strong opposition from South Africa, the United States and Britain drafted a statement that effectively called for Tsvangirai to be declared president if violence continued to render the run-off a sham."

I think the U.N. condemnation makes good sense. Even allowing for cultural differences, Mugabe's determination to hold onto power seems excessive. And, his methods are quite unpleasant.

For example, a committee went to the house of a regional opposition leader and left him a non-verbal message. The message was the body of his wife, Dadirai, who was tortured to death ("Terrorism: Still Not a Muslim Monopoly" (June 11, 2008)).

I see that this may be a fairly common practice in Zimbabwe: "Zimbabwe opposition: Mayor's wife killed" (CNN (June 19, 2008)). This time, the victim was Abigail Chiroto, wife of Emmanuel Chiroto, recently-elected mayor of Harare, and opposition party member.

The score last Thursday was 70 opposition dead, and Mugabe still in office.

A pretty good background on Zimbabwe:
"Zimbabwe" (entry in World Factbook)
CIA (updated June 19, 2008 - before the latest spot of unpleasantness grew)
Update (June 24, 2008)

More links:


Anonymous said...

The real story about the UN decision is that South Africa, Russia and China were on board too. Of course Mugabe doesn't care a whit for what Russia or China think, but some visible loss of support from a government run by former allies in the liberation movement against colonial oppression might get his attention. Will be interesting to see what happens with Zimbabwe's neighbors in future.

Brian H. Gill said...


Agreed. I was impressed with the unanimous condemnation by the Security Council. I have no idea how tightly connected to reality Mugabe is at this point.

Thanks for your comment, and insight.

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Note! Although I believe that these websites and blogs are useful resources for understanding the War on Terror, I do not necessarily agree with their opinions. 1 1 Given a recent misunderstanding of the phrase "useful resources," a clarification: I do not limit my reading to resources which support my views, or even to those which appear to be accurate. Reading opinions contrary to what I believed has been very useful at times: sometimes verifying my previous assumptions, sometimes encouraging me to change them.

Even resources which, in my opinion, are simply inaccurate are sometimes useful: these can give valuable insights into why some people or groups believe what they do.

In short, It is my opinion that some of the resources in this blogroll are neither accurate, nor unbiased. I do, however, believe that they are useful in understanding the War on Terror, the many versions of Islam, terrorism, and related topics.