Sunday, August 14, 2011

Regarding Somalia: A False Narrative Persists

There is a popular narrative regarding Somalia that no successful humanitarian operation can be conducted there. Like all narratives, this one exists to tell a complex story in simple terms; as with most narratives, the Somali version holds a mixture of fact combined with myth.  The reality is that in 1993, the worst famine in Somali history was ended by a muscular humanitarian relief operation that ended the crisis in four months. Subsequent events overshadowed the success; but the truth be told - hundreds of thousands of lives were saved.
Narratives can be useful, but they become dangerous when serious journalists buy into the mythic portions and their stories become part of the debate. This is the case in a Washington Post article on 20 July of this year that stated - “In 1992, hundreds of thousands of Somalis starved to death, prompting a U.S.-led peacekeeping force to intervene. Within months, the force was engaged in an intense operation to uproot Somali warlords. It eventually withdrew after 18 American soldiers were killed in a battle the following year, an incident portrayed in the book and movie “Black Hawk Down.”
The statement is simply wrong, and this kind of sloppy reporting only muddies the debate.
OPERATION RESTORE HOPE lasted from 9 December 1992 to 4 May 1993. The U.N. sanctioned, U.S. led operation succeeded through a deft combination of negotiations and intimidation, to protect the delivery of millions of tons of food and other relief supplies. By April the famine crisis was over, and the U.S. turned over operations in Somalia to the United Nations.
Black Hawk Down, formally known as the Battle of the Black Sea Market, occurred nearly four months later on 3 October, 1993. It was the climax of OPERATION CONTINUE HOPE, the U.N. mission to restore governance to Somalia. It did indeed fail, and American led forces evacuated the U.N. Staff and Peacekeeping force in early 1995.
Today, the problem is similar. The Somali famine if the early nineties was bad, but there were adequate relief supplies available among the U.N. and private aid organizations. The disaster was caused by the actions of Somali clan militias that were hijacking the supplies and using them for their own gain.
The Americans succeeded in RESTORE HOPE through a combination of skilled negotiations and overwhelming, if very precise, firepower. Its success was not rocket science. I was involved in the planning for RESTORE HOPE and involved in the fighting in CONTINUE HOPE that led to the Blackhawk Down disaster. I can assure the reader that they were two very different operations.
In RESTORE HOPE, the U.S.-led coalition sent a simple message to the clan leaders using public diplomacy and skilled negotiations led by Ambassador Robert Oakley, an old Africa hand much respected by the Somalis. The ground rules were clear. Anyone impeding the relief effort by armed force was going to die. The clans agreed to this. When rouge elements within any given clan violated the rules, they got evaporated. However, in the Somali cultural tradition, once the shooting stopped, Oakley and his Marine Corps counterparts would sit down with the clan leaders involved, and explains why it happened and what could be done to prevent a recurrence. The mission was simple; “stop the dying and set conditions so it won’t start again after we leave”.
Unfortunately, the CONTINUE HOPE follow-on mission was more open-ended. It started out to be a peacekeeping mission, but a theory evolved that only the re-imposition of a stable central government could prevent future humanitarian disasters. The sentiment, while noble, was poorly thought out. The U.N. lacked the resources and the will for such a long term undertaking. To make matters worse, the U.N. planners failed to include the powerful Somali clans as part of the process and ignored the cultural nuances associated with conducting operations in Somalia.
The Somali narrative that grew out of CONTINUE HOPE is wrong, but it persists and it has done much damage. It paralyzed the Clinton administration from taking strong actions to prevent the genocides in Rwanda and Bosnia. The situation in Somalia today is similar to that of 1992. Today, the al Qaeda franchise al Shabab has replaced the clans as the source of the crisis as their fighters are blocking aid eforts. We don’t need an American led force to protect the aid. An African Union led force backed up by attack helicopters and fighter bombers from any neighboring Gulf State could ensure aid shipments, but blind adherence to the narrative is not helping the debate.
Gary Anderson, a retired Marine infantry colonel,  is an Adjunct Professor at the George Washington University’s Elliott School of International Relations, and has contributed chapters to two academic studies of the Somalia interventions
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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

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