10 Leaders Who Turned On Their Own People This Decade

Posted on by Igor Derysh (IgorDerysh)
URL for sharing: http://thisorth.at/26gc
As the violence in Libya and the rest of the Middle East continues, many are surprised that the West has actually intervened and is protecting the citizenry against their own leaders. In fact, it has been the West's policy to both shy away from acting to help foreign groups even in the worst cases of violence and still talk a big game about human rights - particularly over the past decade. Here are 10 of the major world leaders who turned on their own citizens over the past ten years while the rest of the world stood and watched, wondering who can protect the people whose own government has attacked them.

10. Muammar Gaddafi

Gaddafi, Libya's de facto leader for more than 40 years, is a military man who has carried out and supported numerous acts of violence around the world. At home, he has never been too kind to his opposition, often placing dissidents under surveillance or having them thrown in prison where many were later killed.

It was not until violence began to spread through the Middle East that Gaddafi's rule was truly challenged. What began as innocent protests against false imprisonment in Benghazi turned to full-blown rebellion after peaceful protesters were met with violence from the police. As the rebel groups began to seize territory and fighting off the Libyan troops, the situation changed. Gaddafi ordered air strikes on Benghazi which indiscriminately targeted anyone in the city.

Before the NATO intervention, at least 3,000 people were killed in Libya and countless others injured, many of them innocent civilians. The number of casualties could be as high as 10,000 today.

9. Hosni Mubarak

Mubarak, unlike Gaddafi, was never the most violent person, but when he saw his rule challenged in sweeping protests across Africa he answered back with "pro-Mubarak protesters," most of whom were thieves and plainclothes police who violently tried to beat back the uprising. As many as 300 people were killed and thousands were injured, but Mubarak was unable to stay on as President for Life despite lack of any Western help for the protesters.

8. Robert Mugabe

While Mubarak was unable to hold on to his long rule, Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe continues to reign over his country after more than 30 years. He is known for depriving his opposition and the poor of food rations in a country with one of the worst economies in the world . When his rule was nearing its end during the 2008 elections, he ordered his military to squash the opposition. Hundreds were beaten and arrested while thousands of families were displaced in a campaign of violence and election fraud that prevented him from losing his power.

7. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad

Iran saw its human rights record worsen since Ahmadinejad took office, particularly in the military's killings, beatings, rapes, and torture against dissidents and political prisoners. The 2009 elections were marred by fraud and thousands came out to protest the controversial results. Ahmadinejad responded in expected fashion and the police and military ultimately killed more than 150 people while thousands others were injured, arrested, or tortured.

6. Islam Karimov

Few people know the President of Uzbekistan, who has ruled for more than two decades. Fewer still know that one of the United States' biggest allies in the war on terror is one of the biggest violators of human rights in the world. Uzbek violence has targeted Muslims in the region and countless reports of imprisonment and torture have been reported. When Muslim groups came out to protest in 2005, the government responded by massacring hundreds of Muslims (reports vary from several hundred to 1,500 to 5,000 casualties) and burying them in mass graves.

5. Obiang Nguema

The president of Equatorial Guinea for more than three decades, who claims to be in constant contact with God, is responsible for the death or displacement of more than 100,000 people. His troops systematically arrest, torture, and kill groups of people indiscriminately. Luckily, this has not stopped him from getting elected with more than 95% of the vote in most elections, a "popularity" that is undoubtedly responsible for propelling him to his current seat as Chairperson of the African Union.

4. Mahinda Rajapaksa

Any hope for true peace in Sri Lanka largely ended when Rajapaksa took over the country in 2005. Best known for his child recruitment policies and abductions, torture, and killings of Tamil rebels, Rajapaksa has even denied food and aid to the Tamil people after major disasters. Though the Tamil Tigers have also been condemned for war crimes, the recent Wikileaks cables show US diplomats claiming that he is single-handedly responsible for the massacre of the Tamil people after the end of the Sri Lankan civil war and was guilty of war crimes.

3. Than Shwe

Than Shwe, one of the least recognizable dictators in the world, is a man responsible for holding a Myanmar (Burma) army that boasts more child soldiers than any country in Africa. His regime has enslaved countless children and Burmese people and cracked down on all civil rights. Most of all, however, Shwe's ethnic cleansing of Burma continues to this day. Thousands have been killed or imprisoned, countless women have been raped, 3,200 villages have been destroyed, and nearly 600,000 people have been displaced by the "Burmanization" which began in the 1960s.

2. Kim Jong-Il

After Than Shwe, Kim Jong-Il almost doesn't seem so bad. Still, North Korea, one of the most politically and economically oppressive nations in the world, currently has nearly one-percent of its population in jail (still not as much as the United States, which holds 0.75% of its entire population in prison, and 1 in every 32 adults are in prison or on parole or probation). Most of the prison population is made up of political prisoners who are routinely subjected to forced labor as well as torture, starvation, rape, forced abortions, and medical experimentation.

1. Omar al-Bashir

On a list of some of the worst human beings in the world, al-Bashir takes the cake. After the second Sudanese Civil War, al-Bashir turned his attention to the ethnic cleansing of Darfur. Right up until last year (though violence still continues), the Sudanese army massacred the non-Arab population, resulting in as many as 400,000 casualties and countless injuries, rapes, and kidnappings. Nearly 3 million people were displaced during the "genocide" and over 5 million people affected.

To put al-Bashir's actions into perspective, he became the first sitting President to have an arrest warrant issued against him by the International Criminal Court. The court found him guilty on all charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity though said there was insufficient evidence that it was a "genocide." Much like no one acted to stop al-Bashir during his seven-year massacre of his own people, no one is willing to execute the warrant and bring him to the court to be tried for the most heinous of crimes.

Should the West Intervene More in Genocides and Massacres?

12371 views & 12 votes

Debate It! 2

Genocide shouldn't be in quotations. Anyone who has been over there will agree that a genocide is still happening.

Posted By locke403,

Don't pretend for a second that our intention for getting involved in matters that do not concern us has been to protect the people.. we only get involved if helps us economically or politically.

Posted By Ajahn,

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