Monday morning linkage

14 October 2013, 0806 EDT

  • OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe shutdown continues to dominate the day’s news.Resolution still seems distant. Last week, US Treasury Department Secretary Jack Lew reminded the Senate that extraordinary measures used to cope with our current debt limit run out on Thursday. This weekend, IMF head Christine Lagarde says that a default could tip the world economy into recession.
  • The African Union served up some of the more consequential international news over the past few days, first slamming the International Criminal Court for an allegedly anti-African bias and then demanding that trials against sitting presidents Omar Bashir (Sudan) and Uhuru Kenyatta (Kenya) be deferred so long as they remain in office.  The Telegraph reports that the AU is not alone: European politicians and members of the Security Council now back a one-year suspension of Kenyatta’s trial — on war on terror grounds, of course. For a more inside-baseball account of the AU’s internal politics, see this AJE editorial.  It rightly points out that the danger is the continued non-ratification or non-signature of the Rome Statute by many African countries — not mass withdrawals of existing ratifiers.
  • As an aside, Kenyatta has separately brought suit against the ICC, calling for charges to be dropped due to the prosecution’s intimidation, bribery, and tainting of several defense witnesses. For Kenya watchers, the news would be funny if it weren’t so tragic (Kenyatta and Ruto are suspected to have tampered with — or just straight up disappeared — several ICC witnesses).
  • In Libya, Prime Minister Ali Zeidan says that his kidnapping last week was an attempted coup. Libya’s Muslim Brotherhood hopes to profit off the incident, while the FT suggests that Zeidan has emerged strengthened in its aftermath. The kidnapping was connected to the US operation to capture an Al Qaeda leader: we said we had Libyan government permission, they denied it and denounced the capture, and Zeidan got kidnapped in retaliation for government involvement. See Marc Thiessen’s excellent critique in the Washington Post of the consequences of leaks about Libya.