The horizon is not so far as we can see, but as far as we can imagine

ICC Goes Off The Reservation & Issues Refferal For Arrest Warrants For Netanyahu & Hamas’s Leader

Karim Khan was endorsed by the US, UK and Israel. No one thought he’d be for war crimes prosecutions of Israeli officials. But he went for it and in an interview he said:

“I had some elected leader speak to me and be very blunt, this court [ICC] was built for Africa and thugs like Putin”

It’s hard to overstate how massive this is. Netanyahu can’t travel to Europe unless Europe gets rid of the Rome statute, in which case that’s pretty much the end of international law. Or they can hope these two prosecutions are all there will be, but if you’ve already gone after Netanyahu, why stop?

Of course the US can sanction the Criminal Court, but talk about a huge propaganda and legitimacy loss.

Turns out that open genocide is enough to even make some technocrats, almost certainly chosen for loyalty, rebel.

Don’t underestimate this. This is going to move the locus of legitimacy away from the US, hard.

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17 Comments

  1. bruce wilder

    This is going to move the locus of legitimacy away from the US, hard.

    That’s the exterior view; within U.S. politics, the legitimacy of the established governing class is being called into question . . . not by the actions of the ICC, per se — those will be dismissed out of hand — the name of the prosecutor will be explanation enough for a great many — but by its incompetence at every level.

    What is the quote attributed to Talleyrand? C’est pire qu’un crime, c’est une faute.

    The actions of the ICC may leverage the moralizing gambit in elite Western political culture, but I am skeptical how far it matters given the rising tide of cynical contempt for the incompetence demonstrated by the Israeli leadership and its allies in the American Congress and Biden Administration.

    Sadly, the idea that the most elite of elite, globalist institutions is going to stand on and follow through on even the most basic moral principle is not credible to the cynical, even in the stark case of an ongoing genocide.

    I am watching that stupid pier.

  2. Ian Welsh

    Oh, it won’t matter within the US, of course.

  3. Mark Level

    Perhaps Khan’s real reasoning is in attempting to save the few shreds of credibility the ICC (“International Caucasian Court,” as the Africans call it; as you note, it’s to go after Africans and Slavs, the Serbs & later the Russians) still has?

    Khan doesn’t want to run an institution that is an international joke so this is centrally about self-preservation. The ICJ in future actions will presumably go much farther in exposing the open genocide that US-Israel has committed for coming up on 8 months and counting, Khan will abide in the shadows of that as a sort of compromise.

    Also, let’s note that he indicted only 2 Zionist leaders but 3 alleged “Hamas”– in 2 of 3 of those cases probably legitimately, but not in the case of the 3rd man who is actually on the peace negotiations committee in the UAE, & who in fact there’s little or no evidence that he’s had anything directly to do with Oct. 7 or any military actions by Hamas or the resistance more generally.

    Oh, & I think it will matter in the US, to young students who know they are on the right side of history and others. It will not matter at all to the Ruling Class nor their MSM stenographers, but even Vietnam was eventually abandoned as a failure. Ukraine’s days are numbered, Israel may last longer (see my quoting Ali Abunimah previously) but Zionism delenda est in the longer term, I think, apart from the dead-enders in the US & Germany.

  4. Feral Finster

    Europe will simply ignore its own laws at the command of its American Master. They may make up some fudge about how the ICC lacks jurisdiction, but everyone knows the real score.

    For its part, the US cares nothing about legitimacy, as long as it has hard power.

  5. NR

    This is going to move the locus of legitimacy away from the US, hard.

    I think it will only do that if the U.S. takes action against the ICC in retribution for this move. Hopefully they won’t. And while I would love to see Netanyahu rot in prison for the rest of his miserable life, we don’t even have warrants from the ICC yet. This is only a request for the court to issue warrants. So we’ll have to wait and see what happens.

  6. Turns out that open genocide is enough to even make some technocrats, almost certainly chosen for loyalty, rebel.
    ——-
    Propaganda has a way of self-perpetuating. The true believers strive toward it’s ending conclusions while the oligarchs begin believing their classes own lies. For the oligarchs this can turn into a double edge sword causing people to abandon the narrative as the rationales get more absurd, and their actions get more immoral and destructive.
    This is what’s occurring with the Gaza genocide. It also occurred with the medical industry with their Covid-19 vaccines.

  7. elkern

    US Liberal Democrats will imagine that this is a Good Thing, as it [seems like it] makes it easier to blame all the Bad Things that Israel is doing on Netanyahu and Gantz and continue to pretend that a Two-State Solution is still possible. IMO, they are sorely deluded.

    IMO, this will just cement the alliance between Israel, AIPAC, and the GOP, which is very dangerous for the US and the World – at least in the short run. It can only hasten the decline of the USA; this could be a Good Thing for the World in the medium/long run, but fascism and/or civil war in the USA is bound to have bad side-effects outside our borders. A right-wing, isolationist USA could survive for decades or centuries, and such a government – inevitably allied with Fossil Fuel Corps which already fund much of the GOP Noise Machine – will let the US Southwest fry rather than curtail CO2 emissions.

    This decision by the ICC will also tighten the noose around the EU. If it supports the ICC, US Neocons in the Treasury Dept who control the details of our massive Sanctions regime will make sure that it hurts. Netanyahu won’t be able to resist the temptation to visit some compliant European country, just to rub their noses in it, and the EU – based on bureaucratic legalism – will unravel.

  8. StewartM

    in which case that’s pretty much the end of international law.

    What, we have international law, and nobody told me? /snark

    Speaking of which, the flood of actual criminals who would be indicted by a true world court under international law reminds me of a Tom Tomorrow cartoon, on Henry Kissinger in hell:

    https://images.dailykos.com/images/1252343/story_image/TMW2023-12-04color.png?1701544951

    “Presidents are a dime a dozen down here.”

  9. US Liberal Democrats will imagine that this is a Good Thing,
    ———-
    I think it’s a good thing –no matter how small the practical effects– when institutions oppose genocide.

    —-
    IMO, this will just cement the alliance between Israel, AIPAC, and the GOP
    ——
    The optimist in me says great now we’ll have a major political party that opposes genocide.
    The realist says so nothing changes.
    The pessimist says we’re fucked good and hard so pass the joint, quick we have little time.

    —–
    This decision by the ICC will also tighten the noose around the EU
    —-
    The EU already flung that noose around it’s neck, tightened it, and kicked the chair out from under.

  10. mago

    Genghis Kahn couldn’t squash this shit show with nuclear weapons.
    Cockroaches and rats would survive feeding on the leftovers.
    What’s a law court gonna do?

  11. Altandmain

    This will further cost the US it’s already declining balance of soft power around the world.

    What’s going to happen is that the US is going to use its hard and soft power to force the ICC to comply with its will.

    Although the US prefers to avoid this route, sometimes it is put in a bind. A related recent example is that the US vetoed the Palestinians statehood in the UN.

    https://press.un.org/en/2024/sc15670.doc.htm

    This, despite the fact that the US is claiming to support the 2 state solution.

    As for Netanyahu, he will be more at risk of facing jail time in Israel for his corruption there. There are large protests in Israel demanding his resignation. The Israeli people may supportive of genocide in Palestine, but don’t want to be ruled by a corrupt leader like Netanyahu.

    Even before October 7, 2023, Netanyahu’s position in Israel was precarious.

    With US influence,, this means that Netanyahu will be given immunity from the ICC. I would imagine that the US is going to try to do this behind closed doors to avoid even more reputation damage.

    However, there won’t be a way to hide that Netanyahu is going to avoid persecution from the ICC. If he isn’t going to be put on trial, it will further worsen the already poor credibility of the ICC. The only other way is Netanyahu and his coalition government in Israel falls, then he is locked up for life in Israel.

    The biggest issue is that there is no clear out for the genocide. The Israelis will appoint another genocide leader and the US will cover up for it again.

  12. Jan Wiklund

    Having a good reputation among your peers – professional honour – is more important to people than making money, says Amitai Etzioni, for example, https://academic.oup.com/ser/article-abstract/6/1/135/1705896?redirectedFrom=fulltext

  13. someofparts

    To me it seems like what we are living through these days is just a continuation of WWII where fascism was not really defeated at all. For that matter, the more I learn the less I blame the Germans and see the hand of big US money behind all of it.

    Of course once the Asians finishing sorting all of it out, we may also see the perverse national boundaries that the western powers drew up in WWI redrawn along more natural lines. Interesting to imagine what that would look like.

    Expanding the overview a bit more, it sounds like the US empire is falling for the same reason the Romans fell, if I understand Michael Hudson correctly. By my math it has been one and a half millennia since the Roman oligarchs assured their own demise with their intractable greed. Considering the demonstrated inability of our rulers to learn even the most important lessons from our own history, I wonder how far down the banana republic pipes of dysfunction this country will go.

  14. Willy

    At best, this’ll give the commons something to talk about. But the Rome statute part does seem interesting.

    Anybody willing to do a psychological profile of autocrats? A Dunning-Kruger on steroids? Your classic malignant narcissist, plus a lot of deviousness and a bit of opportunistic luck?

    The last benevolent dictator I can think of was Amadeus’ Emperor, the guy played by Ferris Bueller’s nemesis. But then, the real Joseph II was a Habsburg heir and thus likely inbred-incapable of a truly dominant devious nefariousness. I’m talking about the kind of guy who seizes power and then gets commons to think as he wills. What makes him not-common?

  15. Chris West

    Does that mean you recognize the grounds for indictment against Hamas? You were saying the Zionists made up all the stuff about sexual assault as a weapon

  16. Ian Welsh

    Pretty sure they did. That’s what an actual trial determines, however.

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