It is simply impossible to imagine greater hypocrisy than the European Union has shown in sanctioning the Mugabe government in Zimbabwe, even as it commits to renewed development aid for the deeply repressive and savagely brutal regime in Khartoum. No doubt Mugabe is corrupt, and the election the EU was to have monitored has been fatally compromised. But the election will still have more meaning than the recent farce in Sudan that passed as the “re-election” of General Omar Beshir. This is the same General Beshir who came to power by military coup in 1989, and with the National Islamic Front continues to rule using “emergency powers.” And as disturbing as Mugabe’s actions have been, they bear no comparison to the genocidal destruction that defines Khartoum’s conduct in its war on the people of the south and other marginalized areas of Sudan. Europeans should be deeply ashamed of this vicious hypocrisy.
Eric Reeves [February 19, 2002]
Northampton, MA 01063
The New York Times reports today on yesterday’s decision in Brussels by the European Union “to impose tough sanctions on Zimbabwe’s president, Robert Mugabe, and more than a dozen of his top aides.” This action should be contrasted with the report by Agence France-Presse (Jan 29, 2002) that “the European Union has notified [the government of] Sudan of its decision to resume development aid to Khartoum after a suspension of more than a decade.”
The EU, so critical of Mugabe’s election thuggery, can’t find the honesty to condemn Khartoum’s ongoing, deliberate bombing of civilian and humanitarian targets in southern Sudan.
The EU criticizes the actions that have compromised their effort to monitor elections in Zimbabwe. But the EU didn’t even attempt to send monitors to Sudan’s last “elections” in December 2000. They were transparently rigged, and there was no meaningful participation.
The EU sanctions would prohibit the sale to Zimbabwe of “arms or equipment that ‘could be used for internal repression'” (New York Times, February 19, 2002). At the same time, the EU has done nothing to halt the massive flow of weapons into Sudan, including MiG-29 fighter aircraft, advanced helicopter gunships, tanks, and missiles. Nor does has the EU hesitated to enter into commercial deals with Khartoum that will augment the domestic manufacture of weapons that will be used in the self-declared “jihad” against civilians in the south.
What, in the eyes of the EU, is the difference between Zimbabwe and Sudan? The latter’s oil and oil revenues; it’s as ugly and simple as that. The Europeans are unmoved by the transparency of their hypocrisy in slapping sanctions on Zimbabwe even as they embrace Khartoum. There is no better way to assure the National Islamic Front regime that they will pay no real price for failing to negotiate a just peace.
The New York Times, February 19, 2002
“Europe Places Penalties on Zimbabwe’s Chief”
By RACHEL L. SWARNS
JOHANNESBURG, Feb. 18 — After wavering for weeks, the European Union voted tonight to impose tough sanctions on Zimbabwe’s president, Robert Mugabe, and more than a dozen of his top aides.
Meeting in Brussels, the European Union’s foreign ministers said
they were left with little choice after the government expelled
the head of the European election observer mission on Saturday.
The sanctions, which come three weeks before Zimbabwe’s
presidential election, will bar Mr. Mugabe and 19 others from
traveling to European Union nations.
They will also freeze any European assets held by Mr. Mugabe
and the advisers, including the commander of the armed forces
and the ministers of security, justice, land and information.
The measures prohibit member nations from selling Zimbabwe
arms or equipment that “could be used for internal repression.”
The Europeans said they were concerned about political violence
in Zimbabwe, which is lurching toward its most fiercely contested
presidential election since white rule ended in 1980. They said
the expulsion of Pierre Schori, the Swedish head of the European
mission, left them doubtful that the election would be free and