Death and Destruction for Somalis
Posted: Tuesday, January 2, 2007
Return of the Warlords
Printer friendly version
By Amina Mire, counterpunch.org
January 03, 2007
Toosoo isku tiirsada ee
Hadba kiina taag daranee
(Somalia wake up,
wake up and join hands together
and we must help the weakest of our people
all of the time.)
--Somali national anthem.
For the average western person, the current Ethiopian invasion of Somalia is just another military operation taking place in a distance land in the war against Islam terror. For Somalis, this invasion is nothing short of humiliating catastrophe. Somalis are deeply nationalistic; yet their nationalistic passion to towards their country did not prevent them from committing self-inflected genocidal civil wars which weakened their cultural fabric, political institutions and central authority so that after 16 years without functioning state, Somalia is today under the occupation of their most hated historical enemy, Ethiopia.
The latest Ethiopian invasion of Somalia is a conflict between the Islamic Courts Uni0n (ICU) and US-sponsored Alliance for the Restoration of Peace and Counter-Terrorism (ARPCT), a group of Somali warlords backed by Ethiopia and the US. After the 1991 collapse of central authority in Somalia and ensuing civil war, the ICU emerged as a grassroots organization in response to the lawlessness, violence in the country. In the absence of central political authority and using ,primarily, Sharia law and other traditional Somali values (xeer and dhaqan), the ICU were able to bring law and order throughout the country. They were also able to provide essential services such as healthcare and education. In this way, ICU courts were the only source of stability for civil society while warlords continue to terrorize ordinary Somalis. Whilst the ICU were able clean drugs and guns from the streets in their communities, many attempts to forge transitional government failed because squabbles over power sharing. The current Transitional Federal Government is the latest of many such fruitless efforts.
In June 2006, the Islamic Uni0n Courts assumed centralized control over many parts in the South, including the capital city capital, Mogadishu. This move came about partly after it was revealed that the CIA was secretly working with Somali warlords and Ethiopia to occupy Somalia. In the context, of post September 11, 2001 political stigmatization the Bush Administration had identified the IUC as a terrorist group. Many Somalis saw such rhetoric as a thinly disguised pretext for the US's desire to avenge the 1993 defeat of US Forces in Somalia. Despite U.S. cash payments to various warlords none was able to assert their authority over the population and bring law and order and security to the Somali people.
On the other hand, the ICU was able to clear big urban centers such as Mogadishu, of guns and drugs off the street and also clean up the city. Seaports and airports opened for commercial business again after 1995. The Bush administration continued to treat the ICU as a terrorist organization and started courting its overthrow by using Ethiopia as a proxy state to do its dirty work in exchange for cash incentives for the warlords and for Ethiopia's leader, Meles Zenawi.
Somalis have suffered so much already. Their country has been without central authority since 1991. There is not a shred of evidence that Somalia pose a security threat to the US nor there is any evidence that Islamists are providing safe heaven for Al Qaida or other terrorist groups. In the context of utter humiliation in the hands of their historical enemy, Ethiopia, the current US support of the Ethiopian invasion of Somalia will, most certainly, fan hatred toward the US.
Meles Zenawi faces fierce opposition from various opposition groups inside Ethiopia who accuse him of illegal usurpation of political power, rigging election results, arresting his critics, in some cases, killing hundred of people taking part in peaceful protests against his political misrule. Thus, the sudden invasion of Somalia is a perfect strategy, for him to buttress his legitimacy as a national leader who can defend Ethiopia against Islamic terrorism. Internationally, he is able to position himself and his nation as a friend of the U.S .and Bush's strong man in the Horn of Africa in the US global war against Islamic terror. It is in this context, that Bush administration was able to quickly push through the Security Council the rather dubious resolution which gave Zenawi the green card to invade Somalia.
Resolution 1725 on Somalia authorizes a regional force from the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD) and the African Uni0n (AU) to protect the weak Transitional National Government in Baidoa and provide training for its forces. It also authorizes partial lifting of the Somalia Arms Embargo of 1992.
Many Somalis, who are not religious, saw their own safety and security improved under the rule of IUC. In addition, many Somalis in the worldwide Somali Diaspora support IUC for the same pragmatic reasons. Most Somalis were willing to give the IUC sufficient time to clean the streets of guns and violence. After restoring law and order back into the streets, it would have been possible, albeit slowly, to modernize some of their interpretations and the applications of Islamic Sharia. Besides, Sharia laws are already part of the Somali cultural value system.
A large number of Diaspora Somalis were willing to return to Somalia, and rebuild the country, once peace and security were ensured. But now, we are back into the old, ugly days where teenage boys toting AK47s in the back of pick up trucks, used to terrorize the local population. It is hard to predict what future hold for Somalia; I can easily predict the following scenario. Meles Zenawi is a Christian, who draws most of his political power and military support from his Tigre tribe. As a result, his invading soldiers in Somalia are largely from his Tigre Christian tribe. These soldiers do not speak the Somali language; once deep inside Somalia, they will be exposed to attacks by the locals.
Ironically, Zenawi's invasion of Somalia has killed any chance the weak transitional federal government might have had to rule Somalia. The warlords were hated before by all Somalis for their corruption. Now they will be despised as traitors and stooges for the number one enemy of the Somali people, Ethiopia. The history of the animosity between Somalia and Ethiopia is long. In this humiliating condition, Somalis will turn on each other; there will be endless recrimination, revenges and counter-revenges. The clan-based cloak and dagger power struggles will continue.
Amina Mire's last article here was "A Somali Woman Discusses the Sharia Court and Her Cousin Who Leads It". She lives in Ottawa, Canada and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
Reprinted by consent of the author from:
Wednesday, January 03 @ 18:32:46 EST
The country of Iran has said that it feels threaten by America, because of its occupation of Iraq on its western border and Afgahnistan on its eastern boarder. Does not anyone feel that Ethiopia might feel threaten by Sudan a muslim nation on its northwest border, Eritrea a muslim nation on its northeastern border and Somalia for the last 6 months on its southern border. Should not Ethiopia, who is the First and oldest Christian Empire on earth feel threaten. The Fact is the Government of Somalia, Eritrea, and Sudans loyatly is not for Africa But for the muslim cause and Arabia. Eritrea and Sudan was once part of Ethiopia or the proper term "Cush". The muslim's have united their strength and countries to take over Ethiopia past. They took Sudan, Egypt, libya and practicly all of North Africa. So I think Ethiopia has alot of reasons to be concerned about The ICU taking over Somalia.
Thursday, January 04 @ 04:09:30 EST
Feeling threatened by those around you who are of a different religion to you is no reason to illegally invade another country. A threat can be real or imagined so proof of a real threat is first necessary before we should sanction invasions and killings.
Not because Ethiopia is near and dear to Rastafarians means that I will support any and every action of the Ethiopian government. Some operate like that but I will not.
Being the "first and oldest Christian Empire on earth" does not mean Ethiopia today is godlier than any other nation. Ethiopia is not a unified nation and the indigenous Oromo and Anuak people (among others) are still discriminated against and brutalized.
I am not sympathetic to Muslims as those under that banner have traditionally persecuted and enslaved dark-skin kinky-hair Africans while racism is not addressed in Muslim nations. However, Ethiopia is no different. Racism is ripe in Ethiopia and the blackest and most indigenous people experience the worst of the system there.
Having said that, the Ethiopian government is not popular and they were quite willing to use this invasion, much like Bush in the U.S., to get Ethiopians rallying behind their weak government. In my opinion they did not invade based on some real threat, but based on a request and support from the U.S.
Somalia does not have a standing army, there is no way they would be trying to invade Ethiopia. So while I am not on the side of Muslims, I am also not on the side of the Ethiopian government. The Ethiopian government does not have moral superiority over other parts of Africa and African people in general.
State Terror Against Indigenous Peoples in Ethiopia
Reflections on the Anuak Genocide
Ethiopia's Genocide of the Anuak Tribe Broadens After December 13 Massacre www.genocidewatch.org/EthiopianGenocideof
Send page by E-Mail
Homepage | Reasonings | Features | Forums | Interactive