Author Topic: Somalia: Cold War on Terror?  (Read 5339 times)

fern hill

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Somalia: Cold War on Terror?
« on: June 10, 2006, 05:04:34 PM »
War by proxy again. And not going much better. . .

http://www.guardian.co.uk/international/story/0,,1794391,00.html

Good background at the link, too.

Quote
Fall of Mogadishu leaves US policy in ruins

It was a rout. After months of fighting that left hundreds dead Mogadishu fell suddenly this week: pick-up trucks with mounted machine-guns and young warriors scrambled to leave the city.

[snip]

It has emerged that the Bush administration bankrolled the warlords, who are secular, to gain access to al-Qaida suspects and block the rise of the Islamic militia. CIA operatives based in Nairobi funnelled $100,000 to $150,000 (£80,000) a month to their proxies, according to John Prendergast, an International Crisis Group expert on Somalia who has interviewed warlords. "This was counter-terrorism on the cheap. This is a backwater place that nobody really wants to get involved in, so [they] thought, let's just do this and maybe we'll get lucky."

skdadl

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Somalia: Cold War on Terror?
« Reply #1 on: June 10, 2006, 05:41:40 PM »
The Guardian has been doing great reporting from Somalia for months: just run a search on their site and then work through all their reports since April.

There is also excellent deep background at the  International Crisis Group, who have been warning for some time that the oversimplifications of the American approach, the projection on to a very complex situation of the extreme simplicities of the War on Terror, are likely to make a catastrophic situation even worse.

This is another Afghanistan in the making. The one positive I have seen is the resistance that the Europeans, including the Blair government, have been willing to raise to the Bush administration's scenario.

skdadl

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Somalia: Cold War on Terror?
« Reply #2 on: July 23, 2006, 11:39:33 AM »
Ethiopian troops are moving into Somalia in support of the very shaky interim government, which appears to be preparing for a confrontation with the Islamist militias that took over Mogadishu earlier this spring:

Quote
With Islamist militia moving their closest yet to Baidoa this week, and witnesses saying Ethiopian soldiers have poured over the border to defend the government, the prospect of yet another major conflict in Somalia has risen sharply.

"The risk of full-scale war increases by the day," said John Prendergast, of the International Crisis Group, citing the government's "foolish" boycott of peace talks in Sudan and what he called provocative Islamist militia movements.

While Ethiopia is apparently spoiling for a fight, warning it will crush the Islamists if they attack Baidoa, another regional player -- Eritrea -- is playing a lesser-known but also influential role on the other side, analysts and diplomats say.

Holly Stick

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Somalia: Cold War on Terror?
« Reply #3 on: May 09, 2007, 04:35:42 PM »
US prisoners in Africa
Quote
...Mitchell’s exposé detailed the fate of some of the hundreds of thousands of refugees. They were fleeing war, but to the United States they were possible al-Qaida operatives who had found a safe haven in Somalia. According to Mitchell, dozens of refugees were “transferred secretly and illegally in recent months from Kenya and Somalia to Ethiopia, where they are kept without charge or access to lawyers and families.”

In his groundbreaking report, Mitchell wrote, “CIA and FBI agents hunting for al-Qaida militants in the Horn of Africa have been interrogating terrorism suspects from 19 countries held at secret prisons in Ethiopia, which is notorious for torture and abuse.”...
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GDKitty

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Somalia: Cold War on Terror?
« Reply #4 on: November 10, 2007, 03:23:50 AM »
Things continue to be quite grim in Somalia: "40 Somalis Killed in Day of Fighting"
Quote
Heavy fighting between insurgents and Ethiopian troops backing Somalia's shaky government killed more than 40 people and wounded 50 others in the past 24 hours, witnesses and doctors said Friday.

Ethiopian troops based at the former defense ministry in the south of the capital killed eight civilians early Friday when they fired tank shells into the main Bakara market, Khalif Haji Muse told The Associated Press, adding that two others died when Ethiopian snipers fired at them.

The bodies of 34 people, among them four women and six Ethiopians, were found in the northern and southern parts of the capital, where intensive fighting took place a day earlier, witnesses said.

The fighting was sparked when Ethiopian troops tried on Thursday afternoon to retrieve the body of one of their soldiers who was killed in earlier skirmishes in the south of the city and dragged through the streets of the capital, witnesses said.

[...]

On Thursday, hundreds of protesters — mainly women and children — chanting anti-Ethiopian slogans dragged the body of an Ethiopian soldier left behind by his fleeing colleagues.


(We have another thread about Somalia, but this one is the more recent of the two)

skdadl

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Somalia: Cold War on Terror?
« Reply #5 on: November 10, 2007, 07:29:42 AM »
The Ethiopians were supposed to be out of there (and wanted out) months  ago. Their problem is that the government can't hold against the Islamic council (I forget its proper name but will find) without some armed occupation, and the Ethiopans are it as far as the U.S. is concerned. Time I checked back to the ICG, which I see also has a new report on Pakistan.

GDKitty

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Somalia: Cold War on Terror?
« Reply #6 on: November 14, 2007, 03:04:47 AM »
Very bad sign: "Somalia Shuts Two Radio Stations: Closures Are Part of a Wider Crackdown on Journalists" (link)
Quote
"They didn't give any reason why," said a reporter for Simba Radio, who did not want to give his name. "They didn't have warrants from the government. They just said, 'Close the station.' The situation is deteriorating, and it's going to worsen still." The other station shut down Tuesday was Radio Banadir.

In the past, the Somali government has accused various radio stations in Mogadishu of airing reports that aid the cause of insurgents who have been battling Somali government troops and their Ethiopian backers for nearly a year.

But Somali journalists say that they are independent and that their reports have angered all sides in the conflict. At least seven Somali journalists have been killed in apparent targeted assassinations this year.

Tuesday's closures came after the stations aired the story of a young girl who said her entire family of eight, including both her parents, died when a tank shell struck her house during urban fighting last weekend. At least 60 people were killed in that fighting.

The violence prompted thousands more people to flee the oceanside capital, adding to an already severe humanitarian crisis.

[...]

And for relief workers who are there, [UN coordinator, Eric Laroche] said, reaching the people who need food, water and medical attention is often impossible. Trucks are constantly stopped by freelancing soldiers and militia fighters who have set up checkpoints and charge anywhere from $50 to $400 for passage, Laroche said.

"I was in Congo, I was in Chad, I was in Afghanistan," he said. "But never, ever have I seen a crisis where there is absolutely no protection for civilians. In Somalia, there's nothing."

DavisMavis

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Somalia: Cold War on Terror?
« Reply #7 on: November 14, 2007, 07:23:50 AM »
Further militarization under the cover of "fighting terrorism" while simultaneously making a move for the continent's resources most certainly won't help the situation much:

Quote
With little scrutiny from Democrats in Congress and nary a whimper of protest from the liberal establishment, the United States will soon establish permanent military bases in sub-Saharan Africa. An alarming step forward in the militarization of the African continent, the US Africa Command (Africom) will oversee all US military and security interests throughout the region, excluding Egypt.


http://www.thenation.com/doc/20071119/glover_lee
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skdadl

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Somalia: Cold War on Terror?
« Reply #8 on: November 14, 2007, 07:52:20 AM »
Great column -- thanks, DavisMavis. Oh, they are so predictable. U.S. foreign policy -- you know it's gonna be wrong before you even know what it is. I'm sorry to have  to say that, but it's true.

sparqui

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Somalia: Cold War on Terror?
« Reply #9 on: November 14, 2007, 01:43:36 PM »
A brief summary of Africom's relationship to Ethiopia:

AfriCom chief does Ethiopia; proxy war escalates in Somalia
Submitted by Bill Weinberg on Thu, 11/08/2007 - 17:16

http://ww4report.com/node/4650
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GDKitty

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Re: Somalia: Cold War on Terror?
« Reply #10 on: March 03, 2008, 04:42:11 PM »
Another Tomahawk cruise missile attack on Somalia (AP):
Quote
The U.S. Navy fired at least one missile into a southern Somali town before dawn Monday, targeting a terrorism suspect as an Islamic group with links to al-Qaida appears to be gathering sway again in this lawless African nation.

Residents and police in Dobley said at least eight people, including four children, were seriously injured when a home was destroyed. The attack was confirmed by U.S. officials, who said only that the target was a "known al-Qaida terrorist."

The U.S. military has staged several attacks on suspected extremists in Somalia over the past year amid fears the Horn of Africa country could become a haven for terrorists.

[...] "When we came out we found our neighbor's house completely obliterated as if no house existed here," Fatuma Abdullahi told The Associated Press. "We are taking shelter under trees. Three planes were flying over our heads."

[...] On Monday, fighters linked to the group overran Bur Haqaba, a hilltop town about 35 miles from the provincial capital of Baidoa in the south. The group released prisoners from jail and killed a police chief before retreating, witnesses said.

Last month, Islamic fighters briefly took over Dinsor in southern Somalia, killing nine soldiers, police said.

[...] The U.S. sent a small number of special operations troops to help the Ethiopian force that drove the Islamic movement into hiding, and a Navy warship shelled suspected al-Qaida targets. U.S. warplanes staged at least two airstrikes in January 2007 in an attempt to kill suspected al-Qaida members, Pentagon officials have said.

skdadl

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Re: Somalia: Cold War on Terror?
« Reply #11 on: March 03, 2008, 06:39:17 PM »
Thanks for that link, Kitty.

Quote
The Islamic council now appears to be re-emerging.

Of course they are. They live there. They were the only alternative that people had to the warlords (who mainly make up the useless government backed by the CIA and still defended by Ethiopian troops).

Quote
The United States has repeatedly accused the Islamic group of harboring international terrorists linked to al-Qaida and allegedly responsible for the 1998 bombings of the U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania.

America has been concerned Somalia could become a breeding ground for terrorist groups, particularly after the Islamic militants briefly gained control of the south and Osama bin Laden declared his support for them.

The International Crisis Group has been fairly plain in the past in saying that the CIA brought any influx of al-Qaeda into Somalia upon themselves. The Islamic Council were not al-Qaeda in the first place; they were local.

The facts and the details don't matter to U.S. State and the CIA, of course. Slap that label on people -- al-Qaeda -- and they can do anything, like bombard someone else's coastal towns from a huge American warship. *fume*

sparqui

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Re: Somalia: Cold War on Terror?
« Reply #12 on: March 03, 2008, 06:43:03 PM »
Every time I hear or read AQ terrorist cells, I think of a gang of Martians warehoused in Roswell. That's how much credibility it has for me these days.
If my grandmother had wheels, she'd be a tractor. -- Gilles Duceppe

arborman

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Re: Somalia: Cold War on Terror?
« Reply #13 on: March 03, 2008, 07:11:09 PM »
Another situation where I have no idea what to hope for.  The warlords?  The fundies?  None of the above?  

I do know that the US, and all outside governments, should stay the hell out.  Not just with money, but weapons and everything else as well.  It isn't up to us.
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skdadl

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Re: Somalia: Cold War on Terror?
« Reply #14 on: March 04, 2008, 06:32:50 AM »
Well, it's my impression that the local fundies were not so bad -- two years ago, when I first started reading the ICG, it looked as though the Islamic Courts Union had a chance at least to calm things and improve the general welfare -- they seemed committed to that.

But it's true that, as the crisis was forced upon them, they did become receptive to outside help, and I have no doubt that al-Qeda operatives began arriving opportunistically. So now it's a real mess.

 

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