Wednesday, Dec. 15, 2010

Omar al-Bashir

Highs: In April, Sudan's President handily won the first multi-party elections held in the country since the one-time military officer seized power in 1989; there were a few muted complaints about voting irregularities. Despite being cast as a villain in the West, Bashir is popular among many Sudanese, especially those who have prospered from an oil boom brought about during Bashir's presidency. A peace process agreed by Bashir in 2005 with majority Christian and Animist rebels in Sudan's south has moved successfully toward a planned referendum this coming January, which will likely lead to the peaceful creation of an independent South Sudan.

Lows: In July, the International Criminal Court issued a second warrant for Bashir's arrest, charging him with three counts of genocide. Khartoum's bloody campaigns waged against rebels and whole ethnic populations in Darfur, in Sudan's west, have led to the deaths of some 300,000 people in the past decade. Many regional and world leaders shun Bashir, who has had to choose carefully which foreign states he visits for fear of being arrested upon arrival.

Ishaan Tharoor