The U.S. Needs a Better Strategy for Combating the International Criminal Court

This week, the State Department announced that it is sanctioning the chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) and another official, after they decided to investigate American military personnel. The move reflects Washington’s longstanding, bipartisan opposition to the court. While recognizing the importance of curbing the ICC’s lawlessness, Orde Kittrie suggests alternative means of doing so:

The stakes for U.S. and Israeli security are high. . . . Experts have speculated that the ICC could indict former president George W. Bush and former CIA directors, including George Tenet, and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. Israel faces similar risks. Its government has reportedly prepared a list of several hundred current and former Israeli officials, including the prime minister, who could be subject to arrest abroad if the ICC moves forward against Israel.

The United States can more effectively attempt to block the ICC’s illegitimate investigations by building on bipartisan support at home and leveraging common ground with allies. The United States should emphasize that potential ICC steps forthcoming in 2020 that are hostile to American interests could cause damage to the court’s relationship with the United States in ways that would outlast the current administration.

In recent years, more than half the ICC’s 155 million-euro annual budget has come from a handful of close U.S. allies: Japan, Germany, the United Kingdom, France, Italy, Canada, and Spain. These allies can remind the ICC of the substantively strong arguments that its investigations of the United States and Israel are contrary to its own rules and clash with its founding principles. By steering the ICC away from confrontation with the United States, these allies can protect their own overseas military personnel from problematic precedents.

Read more at FDD

More about: ICC, International Law, Israeli Security, U.S. Foreign policy

Why Egypt Fears an Israeli Victory in Gaza

While the current Egyptian president, Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, has never been friendly to Hamas, his government has objected strenuously to the Israeli campaign in the southernmost part of the Gaza Strip. Haisam Hassanein explains why:

Cairo has long been playing a double game, holding Hamas terrorists near while simultaneously trying to appear helpful to the United States and Israel. Israel taking control of Rafah threatens Egypt’s ability to exploit the chaos in Gaza, both to generate profits for regime insiders and so Cairo can pose as an indispensable mediator and preserve access to U.S. money and arms.

Egyptian security officials have looked the other way while Hamas and other Palestinian militants dug tunnels on the Egyptian-Gaza border. That gave Cairo the ability to use the situation in Gaza as a tool for regional influence and to ensure Egypt’s role in the Palestinian-Israeli conflict would not be eclipsed by regional competitors such as Qatar and Turkey.

Some elements close to the Sisi regime have benefited from Hamas control over Gaza and the Rafah crossing. Media reports indicate an Egyptian company run by one of Sisi’s close allies is making hundreds of millions of dollars by taxing Gazans fleeing the current conflict.

Moreover, writes Judith Miller, the Gaza war has been a godsend to the entire Egyptian economy, which was in dire straits last fall. Since October 7, the International Monetary Fund has given the country a much-needed injection of cash, since the U.S. and other Western countries believe it is a necessary intermediary and stabilizing force. Cairo therefore sees the continuation of the war, rather than an Israeli victory, as most desirable. Hassanein concludes:

Adding to its financial incentive, the Sisi regime views the Rafah crossing as a crucial card in preserving Cairo’s regional standing. Holding it increases Egypt’s relevance to countries that want to send aid to the Palestinians and ensures Washington stays quiet about Egypt’s gross human-rights violations so it can maintain a stable flow of U.S. assistance and weaponry. . . . No serious effort to turn the page on Hamas will yield the desired results without cutting this umbilical cord between the Sisi regime and Hamas.

Read more at Washington Examiner

More about: Egypt, Gaza War 2023, U.S. Foreign policy