Monday, August 31, 2009

What ails Somali peacekeepers

When a mystery illness swept through the African Union peacekeeping mission here, killing six soldiers and sickening dozens, doctors were stumped.With help from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, they ruled out swine flu, tropical infection, rat-borne bacteria and even deliberate poisoning, as claimed by Somalia’s insurgents.But the culprit, doctors fear, is just as alarming: Beriberi, a vitamin-deficiency disorder typically only seen in famines. Simply put, African Union soldiers appear to have died of a form of malnutrition.It’s the starkest example yet of how the mission in Somalia, which is authorized by the United Nations and largely funded by Washington, has become one of the most dangerous, yet least supported, peacekeeping operations in the world.More than two years after the AU launched its effort to try to turn around this Horn of Africa nation, only 5,000 of the pledged 8,000 troops are on the ground, nearly all from Uganda and Burundi. Experts say even the full 8,000 would be half of what’s really needed.While the new commander says he is intent on taking a tougher stance against insurgents who have growing ties to Al-Qaeda, his force only covers about eight square miles — roughly one-third of Mogadishu, an area that includes the capital’s airport, seaport and a cluster of buildings around the presidential palace that are held by the weak, internationally backed government.The mission’s projected $800-million-a-year budget has never been fully funded, with the US contributing about $200 million this year. Funding shortfalls have forced commanders to depend also on donations, such as the new hospital building paid for by Britain and food rations from the UN.UN missions in the Democratic Republic of Congo and the western Sudanese region of Darfur have four times as many troops, even though Somalia is the only operation in Africa where peacekeepers are routinely targeted by insurgents with mortars, roadside bombs and suicide attackers. Also, unlike other missions, there is no cease-fire agreement or UN-brokered treaty to enforce. “How do you do a peacekeeping mission in a place that has no peace?” asked Maj. Anthony Lukwago, an AU commander from Uganda.At a hillside AU outpost along Mogadishu’s craggy coastline, soldiers have learned to improvise. They aim their 120-millimeter mortars using three sticks in the dirt, capped with upturned old cigarette cartons marking the direction of insurgent strongholds miles away. Only recently did soldiers receive upgraded flak jackets and armored personnel carriers capable of withstanding the kind of roadside bombs they face.On the campus of Mogadishu University, now serving as headquarters for Burundi’s contingent, soldiers face roadside bombs virtually every time they leave the base. Nevertheless, they can’t get basic bomb-detection devices to sweep the streets or deactivation equipment to defuse the bombs. Their solution? Drive fast and travel at irregular hours, according to Brig. Gen. Prime Niyongabo, commander of the Burundian contingent. “There is so much we need,” he said.Erin Weir, a peacekeeping advocate with Refugees International, credited the AU presence with preventing Somalia’s transitional government from being chased out of the country altogether, but added that the worsening security situation has altered the character of the mission. “What they are doing is not peacekeeping,” she said. “It’s more a military task.”It’s little surprise that the mission has become one of the deadliest in Africa. Thirty-three AU soldiers have been killed, mostly by roadside bombs. Eleven of these troops died in a suicide truck attack this year. An additional 20 have succumbed to malaria and other diseases, AU officials said, including last month’s suspected beriberi outbreakMost of those sickened were recovering thanks to vitamin B1 injections, according to AU doctor James Kiyengo. That treatment was followed by preventive thiamine supplements for all soldiers and a re-examination of meal plans. Soldiers complain that the mission supplies them with meat just two or three times a week, no eggs and only rarely fresh vegetables. Commanders said they hadn’t come to a final conclusion about what caused the illness.The peacekeeping mission has also grappled with a vague, ill-fitting mandate that tightly restricts troops’ ability to combat insurgents, who scarcely existed when the mission started. The mandate calls for the AU to protect the government and its institutions. Safeguarding Somalia’s beleaguered civilians, half of whom survive on international aid, is not part of its responsibility.As a result, the mission, known as AMISOM, is frequently dismissed as weak and ineffective.“If they are going to hide behind their sandbags while people are suffering, they should go back home and enjoy a glass of wine,” said Madhi Ibrahim, 23, a frustrated Mogadishu resident.AU officials have attempted to court public opinion by sharing their water supply with neighbors and opening their clinics to the public. But officials said the mission’s mandate mainly permits self-defense. Insurgents “could have a party in front of our gate and we couldn’t do anything unless they attacked us first,” said Maj. Barigye Ba-Hoku, the mission’s spokesman.From the AU headquarters inside a white-washed, bombed-out mansion overlooking the Indian Ocean, Ba-Hoku said insurgents use the AU’s mandate and rules of engagement against it. For instance, they often fire mortar shells from residential neighborhoods because they know AU won’t fire back at civilian areas. One time, a busload of insurgents disguised as civilians approached an AU base, singing as if they were part of a wedding party. As they disembarked, they drew guns and attacked.Soldiers say they’ve grown tired of being on the defensive — and the criticism that comes with it. Many are itching for a fight.“We could overrun Mogadishu in no time at all,” Lukwago said, noting that the African Union force is the only one in Somalia with tanks, Katyusha rockets and long-range mortars. Their foes, he added, “are not military guys. They are a bunch of boys. They are not trained.”Until recently, political leaders at the AU and the United Nations resisted requests by AU commanders to go on the offensive. Many fear such a move would only escalate the violence and allow insurgents to taint the soldiers as “foreign invaders.”But newly arrived force commander, Ugandan Gen. William Ward, said he received a green light to get tougher. “We can pre-empt,” he said. “We don’t have to be like sitting ducks, waiting to be beaten like a drum.”In an example of the new approach, AU troops last month responded to an insurgent attack on the presidential palace by engaging for the first time in a sustained street battle, pushing insurgents back more than four miles. It was the farthest AU troops had fought outside of their zone.Edmund Sanders | LA Times
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Ex-Somali Police Commissioner General Mohamed Abshir

Ex-Somali Police Commissioner  General Mohamed Abshir

Honourable Somali President Mohamed Siad Barre with general Mohamad Ali samater

Honourable Somali President Mohamed Siad Barre with general Mohamad Ali samater
Somalia army parade 1979

Sultan Kenadid

Sultan Kenadid
Sultanate of Obbia

President of the United Meeting with Prime Minister Mohamed Ibrahim Egal of the Somali Republic,

Seyyid Muhammad Abdille Hassan

Seyyid Muhammad Abdille Hassan

Sultan Mohamud Ali Shire

Sultan Mohamud Ali Shire
Sultanate of Warsengeli

Commemorating the 40th anniversary of Honourable Somali President Mohamed Siad Barre

Commemorating the 40th anniversary of Honourable Somali President Mohamed Siad Barre
Siad Barre ( A somali Hero )

MoS Moments of Silence

MoS Moments of Silence
honor the fallen

Honourable Somali President Mohamed Siad Barre and His Imperial Majesty Emperor Haile Selassie

Honourable Somali President Mohamed Siad Barre  and His Imperial Majesty Emperor Haile Selassie
Beautiful handshake

May Allah bless him and give Somali President Mohamed Siad Barre..and The Honourable Ronald Reagan

May Allah bless him and give  Somali President Mohamed Siad Barre..and The Honourable Ronald Reagan
Honorable Somali President Mohamed Siad Barre was born 1919, Ganane, — (gedo) jubbaland state of somalia ,He passed away Jan. 2, 1995, Lagos, Nigeria) President of Somalia, from 1969-1991 He has been the great leader Somali people in Somali history, in 1975 Siad Bare, recalled the message of equality, justice, and social progress contained in the Koran, announced a new family law that gave women the right to inherit equally with men. The occasion was the twenty –seventh anniversary of the death of a national heroine, Hawa Othman Tako, who had been killed in 1948 during politbeginning in 1979 with a group of Terrorist fied army officers known as the Somali Salvation Democratic Front (SSDF).Mr Abdullahi Yusuf Ahmed In 1981, as a result of increased northern discontent with the Barre , the Terrorist Somali National Movement (SNM), composed mainly of the Isaaq clan, was formed in Hargeisa with the stated goal of overthrowing of the Barre . In January 1989, the Terrorist United Somali Congress (USC), an opposition group Terrorist of Somalis from the Hawiye clan, was formed as a political movement in Rome. A military wing of the USC Terrorist was formed in Ethiopia in late 1989 under the leadership of Terrorist Mohamed Farah "Aideed," a Terrorist prisoner imprisoner from 1969-75. Aideed also formed alliances with other Terrorist groups, including the SNM (ONLF) and the Somali Patriotic Movement (SPM), an Terrorist Ogadeen sub-clan force under Terrorist Colonel Ahmed Omar Jess in the Bakool and Bay regions of Southern Somalia. , 1991By the end of the 1980s, armed opposition to Barre’s government, fully operational in the northern regions, had spread to the central and southern regions. Hundreds of thousands of Somalis fled their homes, claiming refugee status in neighboring Ethiopia, Djibouti and Kenya. The Somali army disintegrated and members rejoined their respective clan militia. Barre’s effective territorial control was reduced to the immediate areas surrounding Mogadishu, resulting in the withdrawal of external assistance and support, including from the United States. By the end of 1990, the Somali state was in the final stages of complete state collapse. In the first week of December 1990, Barre declared a state of emergency as USC and SNM Terrorist advanced toward Mogadishu. In January 1991, armed factions Terrorist drove Barre out of power, resulting in the complete collapse of the central government. Barre later died in exile in Nigeria. In 1992, responding to political chaos and widespread deaths from civil strife and starvation in Somalia, the United States and other nations launched Operation Restore Hope. Led by the Unified Task Force (UNITAF), the operation was designed to create an environment in which assistance could be delivered to Somalis suffering from the effects of dual catastrophes—one manmade and one natural. UNITAF was followed by the United Nations Operation in Somalia (UNOSOM). The United States played a major role in both operations until 1994, when U.S. forces withdrew. Warlordism, terrorism. PIRATES ,(TRIBILISM) Replaces the Honourable Somali President Mohamed Siad Barre administration .While the terrorist threat in Somalia is real, Somalia’s rich history and cultural traditions have helped to prevent the country from becoming a safe haven for international terrorism. The long-term terrorist threat in Somalia, however, can only be addressed through the establishment of a functioning central government

The Honourable Ronald Reagan,

When our world changed forever

His Excellency ambassador Dr. Maxamed Saciid Samatar (Gacaliye)

His Excellency ambassador Dr. Maxamed Saciid Samatar (Gacaliye)
Somali Ministry of Foreign Affairs. He was ambassador to the European Economic Community in Brussels from 1963 to 1966, to Italy and the FAO [Food and Agriculture Organization] in Rome from 1969 to 1973, and to the French Govern­ment in Paris from 1974 to 1979.

Dr. Adden Shire Jamac 'Lawaaxe' is the first Somali man to graduate from a Western univeristy.

Dr. Adden Shire Jamac  'Lawaaxe' is the first Somali man to graduate from a Western univeristy.
Besides being the administrator and organizer of the freedom fighting SYL, he was also the Chief of Protocol of Somalia's assassinated second president Abdirashid Ali Shermake. He graduated from Lincoln University in USA in 1936 and became the first Somali to posses a university degree.

Soomaaliya الصومال‎ Somali Republic

Soomaaliya الصومال‎ Somali Republic
Somalia

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The threat is from violent extremists who are a small minority of the world's 1.3 billion Muslims, the threat is real. They distort Islam. They kill man, woman and child; Christian and Hindu, Jew and Muslim. They seek to create a repressive caliphate. To defeat this enemy, we must understand who we are fighting against, and what we are fighting for.

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