Monday, June 04, 2007

Latest news on Somalia

And the news is: it's still bad!

Here's a link to a timeline in case you need to catch up.

There's not a lot of really detailed news coming out of Somalia right now, which either means nothing is happening (which we know isn't true) or it's too dangerous for many reporters to stay and report. By the reports that have been coming out, there's no reason to think things have substantially settled down in Mogadishu. To the contrary, there is (from MSNBC):

How bad is it in Somalia? Bad enough that people fleeing the capital have been reduced to renting trees for shelter. It's the sort of thing that happens when drug-addled warlords roam the countryside, imposing taxes of 50 percent on aid recipients. And the sort of thing to be expected of a government whose prime minister, Ali Mohamad Gedi, has publicly accused the United Nations agency feeding the country of spreading cholera along with food deliveries.

But how bad is it exactly?

This year promises to be no better, and probably still worse. The Courts fought back, particularly in Mogadishu, and the Ethiopians cracked down, killing 2,000 people in the capital (population about 1 million), and sending 365,000 residents fleeing into the countryside; 190,000 of them fled in April alone. It was the biggest exodus from the city in 16 years of conflict, and many thousands more were displaced within, unable to flee or get to their homes. For the first time, residents in Mogadishu had to turn to aid agencies for food aid—something previously only needed in the countryside.

Oh, it's that bad. Does anybody in the Bush administration feel at all guilty for allowing this to happen? Not just allowing, but arranging for it to happen and aiding the Ethiopians militarily. How did this happen? Let's recap:

[B]y the end of 2006, warfare resumed, with Ethiopia, encouraged by the United States, invading Somalia to oust the Islamic Courts, which were a little too pro-Al Qaeda for U.S. tastes, and prop up the Transitional Federal Government (TFG), an amalgamation of former warlords with little popular support in Somalia, but recognized internationally. Faced with Ethiopian tanks and warplanes, the ICU quickly collapsed and for the first time, the TFG took up office in the capital.

But is the ICU done yet? Not according to them.

While it's true that Mogadishu was quieter than it had been in months, the Islamists were still fighting back, this time using Iraq-style methods of roadside bombs, even suicide car bombings—tactics never before seen in Somalia. When John Holmes, the U.N.'s top emergency relief official, came to visit on May 12, three bombs were set along his route—the first went off and missed him by a few hundred yards, killing three Somalis. And when TFG president Yusuf met Uganda's president Yoweri Museveni on May 16 to thank him for his support, another roadside bomb went off in Mogadishu, killing four Ugandan soldiers and wounding five more.

I suggest reading the article in full to get a grasp of exactly how bad things are over there. There's pirates, floods, famine, war, and disease. It's a story of biblical proportions alright!

And of course, we decide to help by killing people who we really don't know:

According to Somali security forces, an American warship fired cruise missiles into the area after two boatloads of heavily armed gunmen landed at Bargal, a small fishing village on the north Somali coast, and then escaped into the mountains.

Hassan Dahir, the vice president of Puntland, a semiautonomous region of Somalia, said eight Islamist militants had been killed, including one who was an American citizen, according to documents found on his body.

What, don't we kill each other enough here? Is it necessary for Americans to kill Americans overseas too? Anyway, all I have to say about that is what I said before; it's stupid for us to be involved in their civil war for a lot of reasons. Thanks to Wise Man Adam for finding a clip of John McCain arguing for withdrawal from 1993.


Xanthippas said...

I sure would like to know what McCain thinks of the situation now. Or should we be surging in Somalia like we are in Iraq?

Nat-Wu said...

We just need to give it time to work!