Judith Miller on Arab Dictators With a new film on Saddam Hussein's son and a trial against Egypt's Hosni Mubarak, Arab dictators are in the spotlight this week, writes Judith Miller in The Wall Street Journal. "The Devil's Double" portrays the crimes of Uday Hussein. "The film's portrayal of Uday's insatiable appetites--his torture of Iraqi Olympians who underperformed, his cocaine and alcohol binges, his habit of raping and killing brides on their wedding day--are all accurate," Miller writes. The film recalls the excesses of the regime and the totalitarian state that had intelligence agencies reporting on the people. "If ever there were a case for removing a dictator on human rights grounds alone, Saddam was it," Miller says. Mubarak's case is less clear, she argues, because "evil comes in degrees," and while Mubarak tortured critics and allowed his family to enrich themselves at the public expense, he also maintained peace with Israel, fought al Qaeda, allied himself with America, and eventually stepped down from power. Thus some have watched his humiliation with mixed feelings and sympathy for the former ruler. America, however, remains conspicuously quiet.
David Aronson on How Conflict Mineral Policies Actually Hurt the Congo A portion of the Dodd-Frank law which requires manufacturers to ensure their mineral supply does not benefit Congolese war lords has unintentionally created an embargo around all Congolese mineral mining, writes David Aronson in The New York Times. Advocacy groups initially pushed for the provision to end "conflict minerals", but now, "no one wants to be tarred with financing African warlords... It's easier to sidestep Congo than to sort out the complexities of Congolese politics--especially when minerals are readily available from other, safer countries." Villagers in mining towns have been hit hardest. Women can no longer afford maternity clinics, children cannot afford school, and in times of famine, there is no mining income to purchase food. The warlords it is meant to target often get their funding from other industries so it has actually failed to cut them off. "Rarely do local miners, high-level traders, mining companies and civil society leaders agree on an issue. But in eastern Congo, they were unanimous in condemning Dodd-Frank," Aronson writes.