Biden’s contradictory policies on war crimes in Sudan and Gaza
The hypocrisy of the United States is clearest during the administration of President Joe Biden. On the one hand, Biden has declared violence in Sudan which has resulted in thousands of civilian casualties as a “war crime.” But Biden is afraid to make the same claim about the even greater number of killings of civilians in the Gaza Strip because he fears and cowers under the bullying of the Government of Israel and war criminal Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
By Ray Hanania
Nothing exposes the weak moral position and failed leadership of American President Joe Biden and his administration more than his contradictory policy on “war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide.”
The contradictions were glaring this week when Secretary of State Antony Blinken had his deputy and Ambassador-at-Large for Global Criminal Justice, Beth Van Schaack, lay out a powerful argument to justify calls for war crimes prosecutions at the International Criminal Court (ICC) against military factions in Sudan.
Van Schaack did not hold back her disgust at the violence that was being inflicted against civilians, particularly against women and children in Sudan by the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) and the Rapid Support Forces (RSF), rival Arab military factions engaged in assaults against a mostly Black African population.
It is easy for Biden, Blinken and Van Schaack to speak out against what they repeatedly stressed were “war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide” because the targets of their accusations are Arabs and the vast majority of the victims are Black African civilians in Sudan.
It plays into Biden’s desperate political agenda as he enters the 2024 campaign for re-election as president, a goal that is dimming more and more with each weeks passing.
The Biden administration is trying to shore up voter support among minorities including with African Americans, many of whom are justifiably angry over his contradictory policies over Israel’s indiscriminately violent assault against Arabs in the Gaza Strip.
Biden, Blinken and Van Schaack forcefully denounced the killing of civilians, including women and children in Sudan. Van Schaack even spelled out the moral argument in principled clarity, arguing persuasively against the civilian deaths in Sudan saying “The laws of war demand that civilians and civilian objects – the civilian infrastructure – are immune from deliberate attack. And so warring parties are only supposed to engage with military objectives, so with troops or with military materiel, weapons, caches, et cetera,”
Van Schaack made the comments during a State Department briefing to shore up Blinken’s powerfully conveyed demand that the ICC investigate the “war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide” being committed in Sudan.
In contrast, Biden has been wishy washy on the massacres of civilians in the Gaza Strip, no doubt because of politics and possibly the strong position Blinken has taken to defend Israel while sidestepping Israel’s actions against Gaza’s civilians.
Blinken has repeatedly conveyed the same message to leaders of the Arab World on the Israel-Gaza war, with the State Department using the exact same language in each report on those meetings and calls saying, “The Secretary affirmed the urgency of addressing humanitarian needs in Gaza, preventing further spread of the conflict, and reinforcing regional stability and security.”
Blinken’s message avoids any reference to Israel’s conduct while conveying a false sense that the Biden administration cares about providing humanitarian aid to the Palestinian civilian victims of Israel’s carnage.
Let’s compare the two, Sudan and Gaza.
Van Schaack pointedly noted that the “war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide” being committed in Sudan have resulted in the killings of more than 10,000 people.
That’s in contrast to the now 18,000 people killed by Israel’s indiscriminate bombing of civilian areas which clearly contradict Van Schaack’s descriptive assertion which defines the conduct that justifies as “war crimes” prosecution, which I must repeat here because it is so significant: “The laws of war demand that civilians and civilian objects – the civilian infrastructure – are immune from deliberate attack. And so warring parties are only supposed to engage with military objectives, so with troops or with military materiel, weapons, caches, et cetera.”
The crisis in Sudan is not on America’s radar screen and gets very little attention in the mainstream news media, except for those reports which slam the “Arabs” for killing “Black Africans,” the political message Biden and his team wish to convey. That politically spun description of the war in Sudan is captured in many news reports including in this investigation conducted by the Reuters news wire service.
In fact, in Sudan, the mainstream American news media is taking an active role in documenting the “war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide” by the SAF and RSP rival Arab forces.
Clearly, Biden, Blinken and Van Schaack are aware of this hypocrisy and dual policy that on one hand denounces “war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide” when it involves Arab perpetrators, but on the other turns a blind eye to “war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide” when committed by the Government of Israel.
During Van Schaack’s briefing with media that I attended on behalf of Arab News Dec. 14, and despite several questions submitted requesting an explanation of how the war crimes in Sudan and Gaza differ, including by me, the State Dept. moderator ignored them explaining only that they would only take questions related to “the determination that members of the SAF and the RSF have committed war crimes, crimes against humanity and ethnic cleansing in Sudan.”
The problem that the Biden administration has isn’t just that he doesn’t want anyone to compare his administrations’ contradictory policies on “war crimes, crimes against humanity and ethnic cleansing,” but that his administration’s definition depends on the race and the religion of the victims.
“War crimes, crimes against humanity and ethnic cleansing” of Black African is a priority and must be prosecuted and they will advocate for it at the ICC.
But, “war crimes, crimes against humanity and ethnic cleansing” committed by Israel against Palestinians and Arabs in Gaza is acceptable and they will not advocate for prosecution at the ICC.
(Ray Hanania is an award-winning former Chicago City Hall reporter and political columnist. This column was originally published in the Southwest News Newspaper Group in the Des Plaines Valley News, Southwest News-Herald, The Regional News, The Reporter Newspapers. For more information on Ray Hanania visit www.Hanania.com or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.)
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