Friday, June 16, 2006

Americans screw up again in Somalia

Somalilander with camel, originally uploaded by CharlesFred.

Somalia is in the news again as Mogadishu , Somalia ’s former capital, and other major towns have fallen to the militia of the “Islamic Courts Union” after weeks of fighting against their rival warlords, the “ Alliance for Restoration of Peace and Counter-Terrorism”.

Islamic extremists, claiming to have won the country, are threatening to turn Somalia into an Islamic State, with full-on Sharia Law. And The West is worried that we are seeing the start of a new Taleban state, harbouring al-Qaeda and other terrorist organisations. Afghanistan is turning into a big problem again, Sudan is being naughty in Darfur and Iraq is dsecending into civil war, and now this.

And they are right to be worried. The Islamists are trying to sweet talk their way into world, by saying that thety are only interested in peace and ridding the country of the much ahted warlords, but the truth is that there ARE terrorists in their organisation and some of these terrorists were involved in trying to undermine the Parliamentary elections in Somaliland last September (and they were arrested). They also seem to be behind the killing of some aid workers in Somalia. So, they may not exactly be al-Qaeda but they cannot actually be trusted very easily.

The Americans, of course, backed the wrong horse. They backed the warlords, the very people they fought against in 1993 when they had their ill-fated Operation Hope in Somalia which led to Black Hawk Down and terrible humiliation for them. Anyway, what had been kept secret for so long is now in the open. The Americans were backing these nasty people who made life impossible for the people of Mogadisho, bandits who held the development of theircountry up for ransom while they plundered any resources they could. These are the people, who were being funded by the Americans (and maybe also the Italians). And, it looks like they have lost again. How many wars will it take for America to lose before they realise that going to war aint such a good idea?

Now it looks like these Islamists might take the whole country and, who knows?. Maybe they will invade Somaliland as well.

Why would it have been so difficult for the Americans to recognise Somaliland, the peaceful democratic and independent state, just above Somalia? Would this not have sent a clear signal to people in the whole area (including the Arab mainland, source of much grief to Somaliland) to recognise Somaliland's achievement, rather than backing bandits and war-mongerers?

Recognising Somaliland now would be great, but in this context, it is a bit late. Telling Somaliland's Arab neighbours to stop their economic war against Somaliland (they have banned the import of Somaliland meat, for no good reason), a thing the Americans could very easily do, would help Somaliland's economy match the progress made on the political front.

No need here to repeat all the other reasons why Somaliland should be recognised, or that it should be but won't be the African Union which does this first. But here is another reason why the West, and mainly the US should have and should still recognise Somaliland.


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