Thursday, September 2, 2010

Somalia -- lost opportunity

Sometimes it's not the friends you keep, but your enemies.   This week's column by public security analyst Gwynne Dyer discusses the situation in Somalia and how the US and its allies missed an opportunity to reconcile with one significant branch of Islam.   Somehow, the long warring tribes in Southern Somalia managed to get along under the rule of law and there was however briefly economic prosperity.   Perhaps even a hope of reuniting with the northern part of the country, the rather prosperous Somaliland (which operates as a de facto country but is almost totally unrecognized, not even the token recognition most countries give to Taiwan despite the "One China" policy that is generally respected.

What happened?   NATO and other countries with "interests" in the Horn of Africa got cold feet over the idea over the very concept of "Islamic courts" even if this was a rare case where they actually worked   Oh, and "The West" wanted to appease Ethiopia which sees Somalia as a strategic threat to its security and its leading role in the Northeast of Africa.

Somalia is therefore right back where it started.   The South is at war again, the African Union peacekeepers have no peace to keep (sound familiar, say Kandahar City?) and the North remains an unrecognized entity.

I don't always agree with the writer, but most of the time Dyer's right on the money, just as he was earlier this year with the real reasons the UK decided to protect a huge area of the Indian Ocean it owns for "environmental" reasons -- it was really to kiss ass with the US Air Force, which wants to keep its air base at Diego Garcia.

Nice going, Bush, Harper and the rest of the scumbags.    To favour one country over another in the name of the so-called "war on terror", you also gave a victory to the televangelists and in turn made the misery of millions even worse.

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