The recent apparently rigged election results in Zimbabwe have once again served to highlight the grave humanitarian and security issues in that nation. Inflation stands at an astounding 1, 063 572% and shows no signs of stabilizing. There are shortages of basic foodstuffs, unemployment is now 80% and the World Food Program has once again had to launch a relief effort to ward of starvation among the population, who are also being ravaged by an AIDS epidemic which has infected up to 20% of the population. Since 2002 the population has decreased by four million people, through a combination of immigration and the AIDS crisis.
Many of these problems have been self inflicted by Robert Mugabe’s regime, whose disastrous land reform policies, economic mismanagement and brutal suppression of human rights have turned Zimbabwe from the breadbasket of Africa into a Country close to total economic collapse.
There have been repeated calls for direct International intervention to alleviate the suffering of the Zimbabwean people and even to forcefully remove the 84 year old Mugabe, despite the recent debacle of the Iraqi invasion and disastrous occupation.
During the aftermath of the cyclone in Myanmar, the French Foreign Minister, Bernard Kouchner, argued for direct humanitarian intervention, bypassing and defying the heads of the Burmese Military junta. Kouchner’s motion failed for precisely the same reasons as campaigns for intervention in Zimbabwe are ultimately doomed to failure, the refusal of neighbouring States to entertain the notion of Western troops near their borders. South Africa and other African States have refused to condemn Mugabe, often providing support at African summits and revelling in his firm opposition and derision of Britain and the West.
Although since the elections many have distanced themselves from Mugabe, they are unlikely to ever allow Western troops to use their Countries as a base for any kind of direct intervention against the Mugabe regime. In the Security Council China continues to support Zimbabwe, recently providing her with small arms and continued financial aid. With the discrediting of liberal intervention in Iraq any form of Military action from the West is highly unlikely. The best hope for Zimbabwe remains the MDC, who can still hope to win in the new poll on June 27th. Those in the West who wish to help the Zimbabwean people should do all they can to support movements for peaceful, democratic change within the Country, rather than demanding outside armed intervention that is both unrealistic and undesirable for the Zimbabwean people.
(Robert Dean, a freelance academic researcher who has a Master’s degree in International Relations from Manchester University has written the following guest article. Rob looks at why the hopes for intervention in Zimbabwe have been killed off)
Posted by Greater Manchester Fabians at 21:37