Friday, January 5, 2007

Illegal, Unjustified and Deeply, Deeply Stupid

[UPDATED below]

Gwynne Dyer explains why the United States is bent on making a bad situation worse in the Horn of Africa: Washington about to get behind another ugly war

“THE Ethiopians now are advancing, but that is not the end,” Omar Idris, a senior official of Somalia’s Union of Islamic Courts (UIC), told the BBC on Wednesday

“We know what happened in Iraq, the experience of the Americans... I think this is very, very early to say that the Islamic Court forces were defeated.”

The war is starting in Somalia, but it may end up being fought in Ethiopia and Eritrea, too.

Together, the three countries contain almost a hundred million of the poorest people on the planet.
This is a war founded on a misconception and driven by paranoid fantasies.

The misconception was the US Government’s belief that the Islamic Courts, local religious authorities backed by merchants in Mogadishu who wanted someone to curb the warlords, punish thieves, and enforce contracts, were just a cover for al-Qaida.

So the US instead backed the warlords who were making Somalis’ lives a misery.

American support is the kiss of death in Somalia, so the warlords were finally dislodged in Mogadishu last June by an uprising led by the UIC and supported by most of the population.

The warlords fled to an American ship offshore, their clansmen went to ground, and the UIC rapidly took control of most of southern Somalia, bringing order for the first time since 1991.

But the US immediately started plotting its overthrow.
... but not openly, of course? Surely!
Washington’s principal instrument in this enterprise was Ethiopia, Somalia’s giant neighbour to the west.

Ethiopia’s 75 million people outnumber Somalis by seven-to-one — but although the Christians of the highlands have always dominated Ethiopia, almost half of its people are Muslims, like the Somalis.

In Ethiopia’s sparse eastern desert, the Ogaden, most of the people are not only Muslim but ethnically Somali. This is where the paranoid fantasies kick in.

The official American position, stated last week by Jendayi Frazer, assistant secretary of state for African affairs, is that the UIC is now “controlled by al-Qaida cell individuals. The top layer of the Court are extremists. They are terrorists”.

Even US diplomats in the region privately reject this assertion, but it is now an article of faith in Washington.
Still they appear to be trying to bolster their case:

First we had the obligatory chase scene: US Seeks To Block Terrorists From Fleeing In Somalia

and we also had to have the hunt for arms Government in Somalia to seize weapons, which seems to have turned up not very much (see photo courtsey CTV) and now, just in time for the weekend, Al-Qaeda no. 2 accuses Security Council of supporting Ethiopia
Cairo - Ayman al-Zawahri, second-in-command of the al-Qaeda terrorist network, on Friday accused the United Nations Security Council of cooperating with Ethiopia to violate Somalia's territorial integrity.

In a sound recording broadcast on, al-Zawahri said 'the UN Security Council is involved with the Ethiopian crusaders by sending international forces to Somalia and refusing to issue a decree forcing Ethiopia to pull its forces out of Somalia.'

Al-Zawahri called on Muslims across the globe to help their fellow Somali Muslims in all possible ways.
And so on.
The man regarded as right-hand man of al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden pointed out that 'the true battle will start with the Islamic campaigns on the Ethiopian forces.'

He further called on the Islamic Courts in Somalia to recompose itself in what he called the new battlefield, the war waged by the US and its anti-Islam allies against Islam and Muslims.

'The United Nations, which divided Palestine and offered a legitimate cover for the occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan, has now offered a new service to the crusader alliance led by the US against the Islamic Somalia,' said al-Zawahri.

He encouraged the Somali people not to be afraid of the US.

'Don't be taken by the US power as you have defeated it before thanks to God's help,' he said. 'Today it is weaker than before.'
Well what do you know?

Zippity doo dah! al-Q'aeda to the rescue!!

Gwynne Dyer's words still stand, in my humble and slightly frozen view:
The Ethiopian invasion is illegal, unjustified and deeply, deeply stupid
From the same folks who brought you Iraq.
UPDATE: Now the Voice Of America gets into the act:

Disbanded Militant Youth Group in Somalia Support Al-Qaida Message
In Somalia, an alleged message from Osama bin Laden's deputy urging Somalis to launch an Iraq-style guerrilla war against Ethiopian forces there is being taken seriously by a now mostly-disbanded group of militant Somali youths known as the Shaabab. In an interview with VOA Correspondent Alisha Ryu in Mogadishu, one former Shaabab member warns that he and many of his colleagues are still committed to waging a holy war against Ethiopia.

The audiotaped message, allegedly by al-Qaida's number two leader, Ayman al-Zawahri, appeared Friday on a Web site used by Muslim extremist groups.

The message urged Somalis to use guerrilla tactics, including suicide attacks and roadside bombings, against thousands of Ethiopian troops, backing up interim government forces, in Somalia.

Many Somalis in the capital interviewed by VOA acknowledged that Ethiopia is still considered an enemy and their presence is creating tension.

But they also lamented al-Zawahri's call for violence, saying Somalia, which suffered through more than 15 years of factional fighting, does not need any more instability.
and so on. Pretty soon we got us a genuine ole-fashion' hoe-down.