Sunday, January 14, 2007

Somali War Update: African Union Delegation in Mogadishu

AU delegation arrives in Somalia

The AU is to increase the number of troops to Somalia from an 8,000-strong deployment]

African Union officials have arrived in Somalia to finalise plans for a peacekeeping force as itnerim government troops search for weapons after Ethiopian troops helped them win a two-week war against the Union of Islamic Courts.

Somalia's weak interim government says it wants African peacekeepers to be deployed as soon as possible.

Abdirahman Dinari, a spokesman for the interim government, said on Sunday: "They came to meet with government officials in order to discuss how the African Union troops could be deployed."

"They will visit several places in the country ... and they'll meet with senior government security officials. We hope the African troops will be deployed as soon as possible."

Troop deployment

The African Union's peace and security council agreed this week to increase the number of soldiers from a proposed 8,000-strong deployment and called on the international community to fund the peace mission.

Uganda is ready to provide the first battalion, but awaits its parliament's approval. Meanwhile Kenya, chair of regional body IGAD, has sent senior officials to several African nations to seek support for the force.

Ethiopia says it wants to withdraw its soldiers in the coming weeks. But diplomats fear that would leave the government vulnerable to remnants of the Somalia Islamic Courts Council (SICC) which says it will carry out a guerrilla war after being driven out of Mogadish, the capital, and parts of southern Somalia its fighters had controlled since June.

Guns and explosives seized

Dinari said government forces searched houses in the northern Arafat area and seized AK-47s, grenades and explosives. He said seven "gangsters" in another area were arrested.

"The operations were aimed at improving security in the capital city," he said.

Source: Agencies

Instead of “al-Qaeda,” U.S. Kills Nomads in Somalia

Kurt Nimmo
Another Day In The Empire
Sunday, January 14, 2007

As usual, it takes a few days for the truth to emerge, not that the corporate media here in America notices.

Instead of killing Fazul Abdullah Mohammed, Saleh Ali Saleh Nabhan and Abu Taha al-Sudani, supposedly “al-Qaeda” operatives responsible for the 1998 US embassy bombings in Nairobi and Dar es Salaam, the Pentagon killed “herdsmen … gathered with their animals around large fires at night to ward off mosquitoes” in Somalia, according to the Independent.

“Oxfam yesterday confirmed at least 70 nomads in the Afmadow district near the border with Kenya had been killed. The nomads were bombed at night and during the day while searching for water sources. Meanwhile, the US ambassador to Kenya has acknowledged that the onslaught on Islamist fighters failed to kill any of the three prime targets,” described as “backfir[ing] spectacularly” by the British newspaper.

All of this runs counter to the assertions of U.S. ambassador, Michael Ranneberger, who said “that no civilians had been killed or injured and that only one attack had taken place. The UN’s refugee agency, UNHCR, reported that an estimated 100 people were wounded in Monday’s air strikes on the small fishing village of Ras Kamboni launched from the US military base in Djibouti after a mobile phone intercept.” It is not explained why impoverished nomads, in search of water, would be in possession of cell phones (or, for that matter, why there are cell phone towers in a remote area of one of the world’s poorest countries).

As should be expected, the operations against innocent Somalis serve but one purpose only, that is beyond satiating the blood lust of Muslim hating neocons—it was an excuse to get “boots on the ground for the first time since a 1993 mission backfired and led to a humiliating withdrawal from Somalia,” a mission mythologized in violent Hollywood fashion in the film Black Hawk Down.

“Under international law, there is a duty to distinguish between military and civilian targets,” said Paul Smith-Lomas, Oxfam’s regional director. “We are deeply concerned that this principle is not being adhered to, and that innocent people in Somalia are paying the price,” as innocent people have since the neocons captured the Oval Office and large swaths of the Pentagon.

It is of no concern to the Pentagon that above mentioned “terrorists” were not killed and innocent nomads suffered instead. In fact, such reckless behavior will serve as a “blueprint” for future operations against Muslim enemies.

“U.S. commandos’ military operations in Somalia and the use of the Ethiopian army as a surrogate force to root out al Qaeda operatives there provide a blueprint for counterterrorism missions across the globe, Pentagon strategists say,” reports the neocon propaganda syndicate, the New York Times. “U.S. officials said the recent military efforts in Somalia have been led by the Pentagon’s joint Special Operations Command, which directs the military’s most secretive and elite units, including the Army’s Delta Force.”

The Pentagon’s Special Operations Command runs P2OG, or the Proactive and Preemptive Operations Group, a black budgeted psyop designed to “stimulate reactions” among “terrorists,” or maybe that should be nomadic animal herding Muslims careless enough to light fires as AC-130 gunships roam the night skies.

Unfortunately, many Somalis live in the Pentagon’s “battlespace” where we are told “al-Qaeda” operates, thus putting “their sovereignty … at risk,” as an August 16, 2002, Power Point presentation held at the Defense Science Board made abundantly clear.

“Gen. Peter Pace, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told members of Congress on Friday that a U.S. airstrike by an AC-130 gunship early this week in Somalia was executed under the Pentagon’s authority to hunt down and kill terrorism suspects around the world, a power given to it by the White House shortly after the Sept. 11 attacks.”

Bush and crew believe the non-declaration of war against Iraq—that is to say, a “war” not declared by Congress, as required by Article One, Section Eight of the Constitution—gives them the right to attack anybody, anywhere, without regard to Article 51 of the First Protocol to the Geneva Conventions, stating that parties “shall at all times distinguish between the civilian population and combatants and accordingly shall direct their operations only against military objectives.”

But then neocons don’t do the Geneva Conventions—or the Constitution for that matter.

Democrat members of Congress complained, if slightly, that the Pentagon is “using U.S. forces outside declared combat zones,” thus giving “the Pentagon too much authority in sovereign nations,” not that such, again, matters to neocons, hell-bent on killing Muslims, no matter where they live.

In response, the Pentagon said it had sent “onesies and twosies” into Somalia “with the advancing Ethiopian army that helped Somalia’s weak transitional government oust a strong Muslim militia that had been in control of Mogadishu, the capital, and most of southern Somalia.”

In other words, it was a classic CIA assisted military coup, with Pentagon ops replacing those of the CIA.

It should be noted that this coup was arranged to get rid of the Islamic Courts Union, a rival administration to the Transitional Federal Government, supported by the United States. The ICU enjoyed the support of a majority of Somalis because they resisted the endemic chaos of armed warlord thugs and provided education and health care to the impoverished populace.

Of course, we can’t have that, especially in a Muslim country.
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The Islamists were the one hope for Somalia

Posted: 01/08
From: Source

For six months they [Islamists] achieved the near-impossible feat of restoring order to a country that appeared ungovernable

By Martin Fletcher

Times Online - My colleague Rosemary Righter wrote last week that the defeat of Somalia’s Islamic courts by Ethiopian forces was the “first piece of potentially good news in two devastating decades”.
As one of the few journalists who has visited Mogadishu recently, I beg to differ. The good news came in June. That is when the courts routed the warlords who had turned Somalia into the world’s most anarchic state during a 15-year civil war that left a million dead.

I am no apologist for the courts. Their leadership included extremists with dangerous intentions and connections. But for six months they achieved the near-impossible feat of restoring order to a country that appeared ungovernable.

This was not done by “suppressing, with draconian punishments, what remained of personal freedoms” — unless you count banning guns and the narcotic qat, which rendered half Somalia’s menfolk senseless. The courts were less repressive than our Saudi Arabian friends. They publicly executed two murderers (a fraction of the 24 executions in Texas last year), and discouraged Western dancing, music and films, but at least people could walk the streets without being robbed or killed. That trumps most other considerations. Ask any Iraqi.

The Islamists have now been replaced — with Washington’s connivance — by a weak, fragile Government that was created long before the courts won power, that includes the very warlords they defeated and relies for survival on Somalia’s worst enemy.

For the sake of the long-suffering Somali people I hope it can impose its authority. But Washington has taken a big gamble, and nobody should be surprised if the warlords are soon plundering Somalia again or the Islamists are waging guerrilla war.

The Government’s appeal for Somalis to hand in their vast arsenal of guns has flopped. The courts’ militiamen have mostly melted back into the population, much as Saddam’s army did after the US invasion of Iraq. Mogadishu’s powerful Hawiye clan regards with deep suspicion a Government led by a Darod, President Abdullahi Yusuf. An African Union peacekeeping force is far off and Somalis will not tolerate the presence of troops from (“Christian”) Ethiopia for long.

Washington backed military intervention by Ethiopia’s unsavoury regime because it regarded the courts as a new Taleban, and accused them of harbouring al-Qaeda terrorists. It would surely have done better to try engaging the courts.

The US has a record of confronting Islamic movements. It backed Israel’s disastrous war against Hezbollah last summer. It never accepted the Palestinians’ election of a Hamas Government. It cold-shouldered Iran even when the relatively moderate Mohammed Khatami was President. In each case it succeeded only in boosting the extremists.

Eritrea warns of 'consequences' for US

Asmara - Eritrea warned the United States on Friday that its involvement in Somalia would "incur dangerous consequences" following a U.S. air strike in the Horn of Africa nation targeting al Qaeda suspects.

Eritrea has in a matter of years gone from being a US ally to one of its staunchest opponents, analysts say, because of what Asmara perceives as Washington's support for rival Ethiopia in a long-standing border dispute.

"President Isaias Afwerki underlined that the turmoil being created in ... Somalia by the US administration through its mercenary agent (Ethiopia) would incur dangerous consequences," a statement on the Information Ministry website said.

A senior US official said Monday's air strike on Somalia killed up to 10 al-Qaeda-affiliated "terrorists", but three of the most wanted suspects survived in the first overt US military action since a peacekeeping mission ended in 1994.

The Eritrean government recently accused Washington of being behind the war in Somalia where the interim government backed by Ethiopia routed the once-powerful Islamists in a two-week war.

Asmara has repeatedly denied Ethiopian allegations it sent thousands of Eritrean soldiers to fight alongside the Islamists. Western nations have accused Eritrea of using Somalia as a proxy battleground against neighbour Ethiopia.

The Horn of African countries fought a 1998-2000 border war, which killed an estimated 70 000 people.

The Eritrean Information Ministry statement said Isaias called on the international community to take "serious measures without underestimating the existing dangerous situation".

The US attack was criticised by the United Nations, many European countries and the Arab League.

The United States called on Friday for the speedy deployment of African peacekeepers to Somalia to stop what it called a security vacuum that could trigger fresh fighting.

Ethiopia, Washington's major counter-terrorism ally in the Horn of Africa, has said it would keep its troops in Somalia for a few weeks to help Somalia's interim government in what is the 14th attempt to restore central rule in the country since dictator Mohamed Siad Barre was toppled in 1991.

Published on the Web by IOL on 2007-01-12 11:01:27
Independent Online 2005. All rights reserved. IOL publishes this article in good faith but is not liable for any loss or damage caused by reliance on the information it contains.

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