Sudan’s Bashir in Egypt despite ICC warrant

Sudanese President Omar Hassan al-Bashir arrived in Cairo earlier today on his second trip abroad since the International Criminal Court (ICC) indicted him on charges of war crimes in Darfur.
Reuters says Bashir, who risks arrest when he leaves Sudan because of the warrant issued for him by the Hague-based court this month, is expected to discuss developments surrounding the ICC ruling with Egypt’s President Hosni Mubarak.
Bashir is unlikely to face arrest in Egypt, which has close ties with its Sudanese neighbour and has called on the UN Security Council to suspend the ICC warrant.
Mubarak met Bashir at the airport before the two headed for consultations, Egyptian state news agency MENA reported.
International experts say at least 200 000 people have been killed and more than 2.7 million driven from their homes in almost six years of ethnic and political fighting in Darfur in western Sudan. Khartoum says 10 000 people have died.
The Darfur conflict flared when mostly non-Arab rebels took up arms against the government, demanding better representation and accusing it of neglecting the development of the region. 
The Sudanese government said shortly after the ICC decision that Bashir would defy the arrest warrant by travelling to an Arab summit in Qatar next week — and later confirmed the visit by formally accepting an invitation from the Qatari government.
But Sudanese officials have released statements raising questions over the wisdom of the trip, prompting speculation they were preparing to send another representative instead.
Armed raiders, meanwhile, set fire to a refugee camp in Sudan’s Darfur region, killing at least two people, peacekeepers said on Wednesday.
The attack on Abu Zor camp, close to regional capital El Geneina, came at a time of heightened tension in Darfur, after the International Criminal Court issued an arrest warrant for Sudan’s president to face charges of war crimes in the region.
Darfur’s joint UN/African Union UNAMID peacekeeping force said residents reported four armed men broke into the west Darfur camp just before midnight on Tuesday and started a fire.
“I am in the camp now. The fire went everywhere. It has affected a lot of people,” said UNAMID chief of staff Amgad Morsy, speaking to Reuters by satellite phone mid morning on Wednesday.
“Four people were injured and two have since died,” he said, adding the fire had destroyed about a quarter of the camp, home to about 6,000 people, mostly from the non-Arab Masalit ethnic group. The fire was now under control, he said.
In another development, al Qaeda’s second-in-command urged the Sudanese to prepare for guerrilla war against the West after al-Bashir’s war crimes indictment by the ICC.
In an Internet message posted on Tuesday, Ayman al-Zawahri said: “Make preparations by training, equipping, storing and organising for a long guerrilla war, because the modern-day Crusade (Westerners) has bared its fangs at you.”
Zawahri said the ruling was a ploy by Western powers to interfere in Sudan, a Muslim country. “I am not defending Omar al-Bashir or his regime, nor am I defending what it has done in Darfur and elsewhere…”
“The issue isn’t one of Darfur and solving its problems. It is about finding an excuse for more foreign interference in the Muslim countries in the framework of the contemporary crusader-Zionist campaign,” Zawahri said on the audio recording.
The authenticity of the 17-minute recording could not be verified but it was issued by al Qaeda’s media arm As-Sahab and posted on main Islamist websites. The speaker sounded like in earlier recordings by Zawahri.
Zawahri said world leaders ranging from former US President George W. Bush to Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin and senior Israeli officials deserved to be put on trial.
“Indeed, why didn’t they try (former U.S. President Harry S.) Truman, who ordered the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki with the first atomic bombs in history?,” the militant leader asked.