Posts Tagged With: civil war

A Bad Deja Vu

The images coming out of Libya seem very familiar to me. They seem as if I’ve seen them before. Maybe I haven’t and my brain is just over-reacting to them. But I swear I’ve seen them before…or even lived through them. I feel Libya is having a civil war, not a revolution anymore. Maybe that is not true; revolutions can be bloody as well. Why do I feel this is a civil war? The similarity with Somalia’s civil war is too strong to not consider: long time dictator facing armed rebellion, endless amount of tribes whose affiliations are seemingly changing by the minute, and complete collapse of state whose identity revolved around the dictator who’s willing to do anything to stay in power. Yeah, that’s about right.

Nobody knows how it will end but it sure won’t be pretty either way. Unlike Somalia, what compounds Libya’s situation is the presence of oil. The European powers wouldn’t be talking about military intervention if this was some resource-less place like Tunisia.

May they save themselves from the curse of civil war and foreign military intervention!

 

Categories: Africa Related, Middle East | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

Happy B-day, Somaliland

It’s May 18 and that means you’re 18 years old today, Somaliland! While your neighbors to the East and South are obliterating each other to the finish, your only problem today is when to hold your next elections. What a difference, eh? To rub it all on your face, every country in the world disses you by not recognizing your statehood, despite putting together a nice, functioning state (albeit with the usual problems associated with any young state). Yes, you had a little (well, bad choice of word) civil war right after you were born and took you a while to hold elections, but you eventually managed to secure law and order just as your neighbors continued to tear apart each other. So here’s to you a happy 18th birthday since your secession from Somalia, although I’m not sure if you will get your wish-present of international diplomatic recognition.

puntland_somaliland

Courtesy of Maakhir.wordpress.com

Now the ‘unpleasant’ part of the conversation. It is hard to get recognized in this globalized world. My guess is if you had oil or other ‘important’ raw materials (like say, natural gas or yellowcake even), you would’ve already become a recognized country. I know, Kosovo didn’t have anything to offer to the West either, but it did manage to piss-off Russia, didn’t it? It is also true that your people and Kosovars were bullied and in more than one occasion, massacred by your “fellow countrymen.” Double-standards do exist, so live with it.

If I may point out few things, please allow me to elaborate. For one, most people outside of Hargeysa do not understand why you want to secede from Somalia- after all, you share the same language, religion, and ethnicity (tribes and clans are not ethnicity – for example, see Sinhalese & Tamils in Sri Lanka) with the rest of Somalia. Secondly, as pointed out above, resource-wise you are limited to livestocks for the most part, which means obtaining foreign exchange to develop your economy depends on the mood of the Saudis and Emirates for the most part. Finally, again this is a fair question, what exactly does it mean to secede from Somalia and become a new country to you? A new identity? Self-pride?

Regardless of your unrecognized accomplishments, you deserve mad props! The fact that the South is exploding and has been so for the past 19 years means your quest for full secession is a legitimate self-preservation at the very least.

Categories: Africa Related, East Africa | Tags: , , , | 11 Comments

Could it be The One?

Over the weekend, a long overdue cease-fire agreement was signed in Djibouti by representatives of the ‘Transitional Federal Government’, Ethiopia, and some of the opposition groups. I say ‘some’ because Al-Shabab did not participate, the most important group fighting on the ground. So the effect of the cease-fire is hardly comprehensive until all the elements from the Union of Islamic Courts agree to the truce. It is the first time the TFG and its head warlord Abdillahi Yusuf agreed to have Ethiopian troops leave the country before any further cooperation. Despite the breakthrough agreement, the wording of the document is so vague that there is no deadline for Ethiopian troops to leave the country because the agreement only calls for a ‘timeframe’ of 120 days for Ethiopia to pull out its troop, provided that the African Union troops are in place before Ethiopia fully withdraws, but in the meantime Ethiopian troops will only ‘leave’ certain locations around the country, including Mogadisho. 

Of course Al-Shabab does not accept any presence of foreign troops, most of all Ethiopian, whether inside the cities or otherwise. Now the question has to be asked: is this the agreement that leads to peace for Somalis? I doubt it. But could it possibly, maybe, perhaps start the process of reconciliation and unity government as the truce calls for? I would like to think so. However, let us not forget that there are people, very important people, who would do anything to prevent Somalia from getting stability: these people include warlords, war profiteers, regional foes (who need Somalia to stay as it is), and of course qabilists (clan-mongers). 

Another question that needs some pondering is why did the TFG/Ethiopia have agreed to this cease-fire now? Could it be that they’re also watching the elections in the U.S. with Obama favoring to cut support for these gangsters in the Horn if he wins? Or has Meles Zenawi realized he can’t win against an insurgency (how did Eritria work out, by the way) determined to cut his knees in Somalia? Perhaps that might be the case. Or it could just be another shrewd move on the part of Abdillahi Yusuf to buy out some of the “moderates” (i.e. warlords like Hussein Aideed and self-centered clan leaders) with plenty of cold, hard cash because his mandate to rape Somalia and rob the international donor’s money, will run out within 10 months? Unless I see otherwise, I’m inclined to believe it’s the latter because as long as Abdillahi Ahmed Yusuf and his fellow warlords both in the TFG and in the opposition, are the automatic default representatives of Somalia in the international community’s eyes, nothing will change in Somalia. I suggest it’s time all the warlords in Somalia are arrested and prosecuted for starter.

Categories: East Africa, Somalia | Tags: , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

The World’s Most Utterly Failed State, The Economist profiles

I’m not one to be accused of liking the The Economist, but I’m quite pleased to see a level of understanding about the geo-political conflict in Somalia this article manages to achieve, unlike most media outlets. For the very first time, I think, a representative of the ‘international community’ actually mentioned the need to put the warlords on trial for war crimes instead of giving them legitimacy and support to fix the chaos they’ve been perpetuating for the past 18 years. 

What the world seems to have convinced itself is the theory that Warlords are politicians. Look at the mess Somalia has been in for the past 18 years – Abdillahi Ahmed Yusuf, Mohamed Qanyare, Musa Suudi Yalahow, Usman Ali Aato, etc. These are the people who are the main cause of Somalia’s misery. These are the same people that the U.N./U.S. were spending millions of dollars and human lives to capture in the 1991-1994 Operation Hope. Instead of the UN prosecuting these warlords for killing many U.N. soldiers and personnel, they’ve recognized them as the representative of the Somali people. Remember the images of U.S. rangers’ corpses being dragged through the streets of ‘Disho? The same warlords who were behind those killings were getting cold, hard cash from the C.I.A in suite cases in 2006 during the fighting between the Union of Islamic Courts and Mogadisho warlords. Warlords lose, Somalia gets a semblance of law and order, warlords flee to neighboring countries (some are even arrested for war crimes in Kenya – but you know how the story ends), and Somalis start to feel hope for the future. Then it all comes down crashing through internal mismanagement of the Union of Islamic Courts, but mostly from external forces’ willingness to make sure Somalia does not get what it deserves: the U.S., the United Nations, and Meles Zenawi of Ethiopia collude to re-empower the despised warlords once again to give Somalis more hell. 

It’s ironic that the United States is willing to prosecute a 15-year old fighting alongside his Taliban-father for injuring a single Marine, but is more than happy to not only prosecute the killers of 18 U.S. Rangers in 1993 in Mogadisho, but actually reward them handsomely with U.S. taxpayers’ dollars. They call that an ”oversight’ of sorts. 

The Economist is the first international publication to call Abdillahi Yusuf “Warlord President” and also put the Transitional Federal Government in quotation. I think we’re moving in the right direction finally, no? 

via Spreading piracy highlights Somalias failure | The worlds most utterly failed state | The Economist.

Categories: East Africa, Somalia | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Biggest Joke on the Planet

 

The plight of Somalia is a joke. No, I have not lost my mind or abandoned my idealism. The fact is, it bothers me to see few people cause so much suffering and deaths. I still don’t understand why there is a civil war in Somalia. In every other civil war there is now, we can point to a cause – say, Darfur=oil, Iraq=oil, Congo=natural resources like diamonds and other gems, and so on. However, I really don’t understand what Somalis are fighting over. Did I miss some oil or diamond discovery in Somalia? Or is it that Somali politicians are the worst kind of human beings? Why can’t these tribes, clans, subsclans…get along just for the sake of their self-preservation? Or is it more lucrative to keep fighting over nothing, hate over over nothing, destroy each other over nothing? What is going on here?

I don’t want to go extreme right-wing nutcase here, but I’m inclined to agree with the argument of not sending any help to Somalis rotting in and around Mogadishu because we are our own very worst enemy, and as such, sending millions of dollars into Somalia as an Aid so the monstrous warlords, including Bush and Zenawi’s handpicked octogenarian head of warlords, can continue to savagely destroy what is left of Somalia. Nor do I want to see the destructive clannish bullshit politics weather away whatever solidarity that was left, if there were any to begin with.

A report released by the U.N. earlier this week described Somalia as the world’s worst humanitarian crisis, even worst than the guilty-filled Westerner’s favorite, Sudan. It turns out that sending Somalia’s worst outside enemy to Somalia was just what the doctor ordered – how genius! Funny though, this is the same organization that blessed Ethiopia and Bush to go ahead and invade Somalia but when they realized that they made a poo-poo, they write a damn report. But my favorite bit about this report is the awesome admission of the U.N. itself that, yes, the Union of Islamic Courts were guys that were useful. In an interview with the New York Times earlier this week, U.N. Somali Director Erich Laroche, “now concede that the country was in better shape during the brief reign of Somalia’s Islamist movement last year”. Mr. Laroche admits, “It was more peaceful, and much easier for us to work,” Mr. Laroche said. “The Islamists didn’t cause us any problems.” It is funny that these over-paid knuckle heads can’t figure out the simplest problem. Somalia never needed a damn peace-keeping nor did Somalia ever needed damn warlords as leaders. Yet, the West continues to believe in warlords as the future of Somalia. Although it doesn’t help to have continues infighting for position of leadership.

I mean, what is so attractive about a leadership post in Somalia? There is no resources to leech or live in luxurious lifestyle from public funds. Perhaps I’m missing something here. There must be something that these clans value soooo much more than their own people’s welfare. As the ‘new’ Prime Minister was announced today, who is apparently from the Abgal clan to replace the recently fired Mohamed Ali Gedi, the Habergedir clan -an important clan in Mogadishu, automatically announced that they will not be supporting this new PM, even though he hasn’t been to Somalia since 1991 and have no blood on his hands…just because he is from Abgal. I mean, I would understand if they just said; “We won’t support this PM because this so-called government is illegitimate to begin with.” But no, their explanation was that this post should have been theirs. What? Why does it have to be clan thing when the government is just plain illegitimate? Man, I don’t understand Somali politics or Somali clan affiliation. However, I do understand that it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see how terribly stupid it is to put clan affiliation above everything else in life. It just seems mind-blowingly primitive. More importantly, it is the ultimate self-destructive tool that the rest of the world long ago abandoned. Maybe Somali will get to that in, say, 2057? I can’t wait!!

 

PS: This isn’t a thesis or some important manifesto. It is just my 2 cent on what is going on in Somalia so please don’t write me ‘I hate you’ or ‘you are traitor.’ I already feel that so I don’t need someone else telling me such a thing.

 

Categories: Africa Related, Somalia | Tags: , , , , | 5 Comments

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