Tuesday, December 20, 2011

The mess that is Somalia

Dan Simpson
Last week an issue that is important to me — the future of Somalia and the Horn of Africa — was addressed at a local conference organized by the World Affairs Council of Pittsburgh.Among the briefings provided the student participants were three by representatives of the U.S. government. Unfortunately, they were distressingly disingenuous in presenting the U.S. role over the past 20 years that helped produce the tragedy that is Somalia today. They seemed to reflect the astonishing point of view that Americans don’t need to know what is being done in their name with their money.The International Student Summit on Crisis and Famine in the Horn of Africa took place at Baldwin High School, with video feeds from the World Affairs Council in Philadelphia and schools in Pakistan, Slovenia and Tanzania. It was a delight. For four hours, the students considered the whole range of issues affecting the Horn of Africa and Somalia after clearly having done a good deal of background preparation to hold such informed, intelligent discussions.Given the interdependence of the countries of the world, it is essential that Americans have a firm, informed grasp of international affairs. It also is critical to start while people are young and their minds are open and supple. From that derives the importance of such events as the World Affairs Council summit, which involved more than 500 students.Sessions dealt with various aspects of the situation in the Horn of Africa, including food and logistics; water, sanitation and hygiene; health; shelter; education; protection of vulnerable populations; communications and awareness; long-term food security; governance; regional security; and piracy — a plague off the Somali coast in the Gulf of Aden and Indian Ocean. Students from seven Pittsburgh-area high schools took part.
Four briefers — from the University of Pennsylvania, the U.S. Army War College and the State Department — provided background. Although the humanitarian problems of drought, food insecurity and severe underdevelopment are common across the Horn of Africa, most attention since 1991 has been paid to Somalia. (Other countries considered part of the Horn include Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya and, to a degree, Sudan.)Somalia has not had a government since January 1991. Since then, its problems may have cost the world as much as $55 billion to try to solve — largely without success. What has happened for the past 20 years to make the place such a mess is still not generally understood — in the United States, in the rest of Africa and in Somalia itself.One American briefer inaccurately described the group that likely would be ruling Somalia if it weren’t for U.S. military interference as “radical Islamists.” Another said U.S. policy amounted to “African solutions for African problems.” This, too, does not correspond to reality, as it ignores U.S. backing of foreign invasions and occupying forces, air and drone strikes, and other U.S. operations in Somalia.Yet another U.S. briefer — clearly a dreamer — said current U.S. policy offers a “road map” to elections in Somalia in August of next year and the end of a “transition.” In the meantime, the United States is providing substantial military assistance to African Union troops in Somalia from Burundi, Ethiopia, Kenya and Uganda, which are propping up what is euphemistically called a Transitional Federal Government. The TFG’s shelf life in the face of its al-Shabab opponents without the protection of AU forces is generally estimated at about 15 minutes, in spite of considerable U.S. and other training and equipping of Somali government forces.There was a moment of relative tranquillity and stability in Somalia in the middle of 2006. At that point there was in power a body called the Islamic Courts government. It was a patchwork of locally based councils of moderate Islamists, adapted to the clan and subclan structure of the Somali people.The United States concluded, on what basis may never be known, that the Islamic Courts government was too Islamic for its tastes so it backed a military assault on Somalia by the Ethiopians — whom the Somalis hate — supported by U.S. intelligence and air assets. Down the Islamic Courts government went, only to be replaced by al-Shabab, a much more militant Islamic group, when the Ethiopians found Somali hostility more than they could bear. Al-Shabab would be ruling the place now if the Somalis were left to their own devices.
The U.S. military role in Somalia was strengthened by the creation in 2008 of a new U.S. Africa Command, based in Stuttgart, Germany. This body needed a war to fight in Africa to justify its size and budget.If there were a coherent government in Somalia, there would be little or no piracy, since that phenomenon depends for its existence on chaos. Also partly a creature of chaos is the dire humanitarian situation, which includes some 4 million Somalis in need of food and other support, of whom 250,000 are in danger of starvation.On the day of the student conference, fighting heated up in Mogadishu, Somalia’s capital, with government and AU forces facing off against al-Shabab, causing multiple casualties. U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon paid a surprise visit there Friday and announced that the United Nations would move its Somalia office from Nairobi, Kenya, to Mogadishu in January.Dan Simpson, a former U.S. ambassador, is a Post-Gazette associate editor (dsimpson@post-gazette.com, 412 263-1976). More articles by this authoRead more:


Anonymous said...

the most important in Somalia is sovereignty must belong to people of Somalia and there Representative

Dano said...

i think its time people stop addressing Shabaab as a monolithic entity that has writ large control over all clan / sub clan issues. Playing upon clan fissures (as Shabaab has done) is NOT the complete establishment of control, rather, its the ability to step into vacuums left unattended by indigenous / local administrations (and the TFG). Also, capitalizing on TFG corruption is NOT representative of Shabaab "winning over" the entire country with an al-Qaida message.

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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