Monday, December 18, 2006

Somalia mess continued:

Well, it looks like the Somalia situation might be all wrapped up very soon. State Department spakesman Scott McCormick, responding to criticsm about Condis's total lack of any attention being paid to the disaster about to happen in the Horn of Africa, says that Condi had "a good, long, two-hour session" and asked for "better options" in June, back before the Islamic Courts Union took over Mogadishu.

Remember, that was when the State Department was running a secret program to give Somali warlords U.S. money to fight the ICU. The Herald Tribune reported on June 8:

"Officials said the CIA effort, run from the agency's station in Nairobi, channeled hundreds of thousands of dollars over the past year to secular warlords inside Somalia with the aim, among other things, of capturing or killing a handful of suspected members of Al Qaeda who are believed to be hiding there. The officials said the decision to use proxies was born in part from fears of committing large numbers of U.S. personnel to counterterrorism efforts in Somalia, a country that the United States hastily left in 1994."

State Department employees who complained about this really dumb idea were transfered to other posts. That's Condi's version of "better options" I guess.

I don't kniow what to think about reporting by the WaPO on this subject. The tone of there reporting I've read is kind of simliar to the stuff they were pumping out before the Iraq war. Karen DeYoung writes that, "Al-Qaeda, long hovering in the shadows, has established itself as a presence in the Somali capital, say U.S. officials, who see a growing risk that Somalia will become a new haven for terrorists to launch attacks beyond its borders."

Really? I haven't seen anything conclusive that says that al-Qaeda has suddenly taken over Somlaia and is ready to launch attacks on other countries. The ICU is not a monolith and if there is any threat of cross border attacks, its most likely going to come form Ethiopia.

"Meanwhile, a major war -- promoted and greeted approvingly by Osama bin Laden -- looms between Somalia and Ethiopia."

A war between Somalia and Ethiopia may be "greeted approvingly" by OBL, but the same might be also said for Bush administration. John Abazaid being seen in Addis Ababa at this point doesn't exactly fill me with expectations that we're about to give the diplomatic track a chance.

Knowing this bunch in the White House, they see this as a war between good and evil and you just know the weapons shippments to Ethiopia are on their way. The US has given President Meles Zenawi's government billions already to promote democracy but Zenawis is a better ally in the WOT then he is a democrat. Human Rights Watched reported last year that Zenawi's "government has amassed an appalling human rights record during its 14 years in power. While this government is an improvement over its brutal predecessor, its human rights record is nonetheless extremely grim."

But, he's a Christian and he's fighting terrorism.

Extra points: Here's a good summary from HRW on the Bush and Reagan administration's blundering in Somalia back in the 80's.


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