[DEBATE] : Re: (Fwd) Ethiopia bombs away
hypercube at telkomsa.net
Tue Dec 26 17:40:10 GMT 2006
This one is dedicated to Tony and Eve Hall, taken from a columnist on Tony's
old paper, the Daily Nation (Nairobi), and as it happens the best article I
have seen so far about the current mischief in Somalia.
International Herald Tribune, Published: December 26, 2006
In Somalia, a reckless U.S. proxy war
Salim Lone, Tribune Media Services
NAIROBI: Undeterred by the horrors and setbacks in Iraq, Afghanistan and
Lebanon, the Bush administration has opened another battlefront in the
Muslim world. With full U.S. backing and military training, at least 15,000
Ethiopian troops have entered Somalia in an illegal war of aggression
against the Union of Islamic Courts, which controls almost the entire south
of the country.
As with Iraq in 2003, the United States has cast this as a war to curtail
terrorism, but its real goal is to obtain a direct foothold in a highly
strategic region by establishing a client regime there. The Horn of Africa
is newly oil-rich, and lies just miles from Saudi Arabia, overlooking the
daily passage of large numbers of oil tankers and warships through the Red
Sea. General John Abizaid, the current U.S. military chief of the Iraq war,
was in Ethiopia this month, and President Hu Jintao of China visited Kenya,
Sudan and Ethiopia earlier this year to pursue oil and trade agreements.
The U.S. instigation of war between Ethiopia and Somalia, two of world's
poorest countries already struggling with massive humanitarian disasters, is
reckless in the extreme. Unlike in the run-up to Iraq, independent experts,
including from the European Union, were united in warning that this war
could destabilize the whole region even if America succeeds in its goal of
toppling the Islamic Courts.
An insurgency by Somalis, millions of whom live in Kenya and Ethiopia, will
surely ensue, and attract thousands of new anti-U.S. militants and
With so much of the world convulsed by crisis, little attention has been
paid to this unfolding disaster in the Horn. The UN Security Council,
however, did take up the issue, and in another craven act which will further
cement its reputation as an anti-Muslim body, bowed to American and British
pressure to authorize a regional peacekeeping force to enter Somalia to
protect the transitional government, which is fighting the Islamic Courts.
The new UN resolution states that the world body acted to "restore peace and
stability." But as all major international news organizations have reported,
this year Somalia finally experienced its first respite from 16 years of
utter lawlessness and terror at the hands of the marauding warlords who
drove out UN peacekeepers in 1993, when 18 American soldiers were killed.
Since 1993, there had been no Security Council interest in sending
peacekeepers to Somalia, but as peace and order took hold, a multilateral
force was suddenly deemed necessary - because it was the Islamic Courts
Union that had brought about this stability. Astonishingly, the Islamists
had succeeded in defeating the warlords primarily through rallying people to
their side by creating law and order through the application of Shariah law,
which Somalis universally practice.
The transitional government, on the other hand, is dominated by the warlords
and terrorists who drove out American forces in 1993. Organized in Kenya by
U.S. regional allies, it is so completely devoid of internal support that it
has turned to Somalia's arch- enemy, Ethiopia, for assistance.
If this war continues, it will affect the whole region, do serious harm to
U.S. interests and threaten Kenya, the only island of stability in this
corner of Africa.
Ethiopia is at even greater risk, as a dictatorship with little popular
support and beset also by two large internal revolts, by the Ogadenis and
Oromos. It is also mired in a conflict with Eritrea, which has denied it
secure access to seaports.
The best antidote to terrorism in Somalia is stability, which the Islamic
Courts have provided. The Islamists have strong public support, which has
grown in the face of U.S. and Ethiopian interventions. As in other
Muslim-Western conflicts, the world needs to engage with the Islamists to
Salim Lone, who was the spokesman for the UN mission in Iraq in 2003, is a
columnist for The Daily Nation in Kenya. This Global Viewpoint article was
distributed by Tribune Media Services.
More information about the Debate-list