Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Somalia: reopening the wound

David Seaton's News Links
The slowly healing wounds of Somalia are being torn open again. Obviously Al Qaeda is the excuse for America's intervening anywhere it likes. What is the connection between Al Qaeda and Somalia? Like an opportunistic infection in a weakened organism, Al Qaeda merely takes the opportunity that failed states present. What makes states fail? Many think that globalization, where even major states lose much of their sovereign control, plays an important role in the total destruction of marginal state's authority. The "Islamic Courts" movement of Somalia was a totally homegrown solution to its endless anarchy, much or all of that anarchy brought on by longstanding foreign intervention. The center of the question is making Somalia habitable. The Courts created sufficient order for international aid agencies to function. If engaged and supported in their efforts to organize Somalia into some sort of livable, workable reality, would the Courts have jeopardized that aid by collaborating with Al Qaeda? Were they even given the chance to make that decision? DS
Analysis: Somalia May Fall Back to Chaos - AP

Militiamen haunt Somalia's streets again, warlords have moved back into their mansions and the internationally backed government doesn't have the police or troops to maintain the peace. The call has gone out for an African cavalry to ride into town and save the day. But will it arrive in time? Diplomats from around the world are scrambling.(...) Jendayi Frazer, America's top diplomat for Africa, set out for the region to see what could be done to shore up the government.(...) she knew two simple truths about Somalia. First, the people badly need help. Almost one in four Somalis require outside assistance to survive and the Islamic militants who imposed security, while demanding piety, are gone. The warlords are ascendant and aid workers are afraid to go back in. Second, the United States can do little by itself. (...) American boots on the ground is not an option. "An African peacekeeping force is a good start to bring about stability," said Frazer, the U.S. assistant secretary of state for Africa. She took that message to the presidents of Somalia, Uganda, Djibouti and Yemen, as well as Ethiopia's prime minister and the African Union's deputy chairman.(...) Willpower, though, may not be enough. All of those countries already provide peacekeepers to operations around the world, and South Africa and Nigeria are especially spread thin at the moment. And no country will send peacekeepers into Somalia if there is fighting.(...) "I think it's important to talk to the Islamic courts, or whoever are the moderates within the group," Frazer said. "They did bring a certain degree of order to Mogadishu. They have experience."(...) Yemen has tried to broker numerous peace deals between dozens of factions in Somalia over the years. Over a seafood feast for Frazer on Saturday, Yemeni Foreign Minister Abubakr Al-Qirbi offered some advice. "We have many Somalis in Yemen and a long experience with them and there is one thing we have learned," he said. "If they have a fight, you don't get between them." READ IT ALL

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