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Somaliland:

 

Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on February 28th, 2012
by Pincas Jawetz (pj@sustainabilitank.info)

Somalia interests us for quite some time. While other African States came into existence in the post W0rld War II decolonization process within the lines established by the colonial power, and with an inherited administrative system, and  for the better or worse,they  managed somehow to make a go with it, Somalia was actually created by incorporating different colonial systems into one attempted State that had thus many added different fault lines besides the usual divisions into tribal loyalties – in land and trans-boundary. Here you have even different colonial languages and no single Administrative Center.

Being a failed State near the Sea, and having had to start to fight illegal fishing that was interfering with the local fishermen, fighting fishermen started by safeguarding their tribal waters and ended up turning to piracy when this evolved as a profitable secondary line of business.

While the outside World, after having invaded the Somalia region in the past as the Horn of Africa was suspected of becoming an Al Kaeda hub in the post 9/11 era, now it is the piracy pest that endangers World Shipping in the  whole Indian Ocean region stretching from the Maldives to Seychelles and Madagascar and the shores of the Arabian Peninsula and East Africa.

We will start by looking at the news, then we intend to introduce a book that we feel ought to be obligatory reading for all those that gather at meetings that deal with Somalia. Not having read the proposed book, we see that much of what is being released from the new Conferences on Somalia, does not live up to what it will take to have an effect in that part of the World.

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From the Statement by the Ambassador and Permanent Representative of the United Kingdom at the Security Council Briefing on Somalia Piracy – 22 February 2012:

Mr President,

I thank the Secretary-General for his report and both Patricia O’Brien and Yuri Fedotov for their comprehensive briefing this morning. We are grateful for the work of the UN and its agencies on counter-piracy programmes, and particularly the efforts being undertaken by UNODC and UNDP with States in the region and in Somalia itself.

The United Kingdom remains strongly committed to the fight against piracy. We believe it is vital to break the Piracy business model. We need a comprehensive approach that tackles piracy directly and its root causes on land. Piracy will be one of the main focuses of discussion at the London Conference on Somalia which my Prime Minister will host tomorrow.

Despite the significant reduction in the number of successful attacks in the last year, the threat of piracy remains serious. We strongly support efforts to bolster prosecution and prison capacity in regional states and in Somalia. Several states already play a vital role in bringing suspected pirates to justice, supported by the international community.

The report highlights serious capacity constraints in Somalia. Prosecution by regional states has, therefore, been instrumental in the efforts to counter-piracy. We believe this continues to be the most effective way to prosecute pirates over the short term. We support, in principle, the report’s implementation proposals to increase capacity through ‘specialised anti-piracy courts’ in Somalia but continuing our work to build the capacity of regional states also remains essential.

Mr President,

The Report reaffirms the preference of regional States that we should build capacity in a way that does not prevent facilities and expertise being used to prosecute in other areas of the law. We agree that this would help create a more sustainable solution to the piracy problem.

A long term solution that enables Somali pirates to be prosecuted and imprisoned in Somalia is necessary. The report notes the preference of the Somali authorities for new courts to be established within Somalia rather than extra-territorially. This approach is in line with the existing work of UNODC and UNDP to build capacity in Puntland and Somaliland and we fully support that approach.

Mr President,

The report rightly highlights the problem of prison capacity. In this regard, we welcome recent efforts to ensure that convicted pirates serve out their sentences in Somalia, and in particular the commitments made by Puntland and Somaliland for post-trial transfer. We hope that agreement on the legal and practical framework for transferring pirates to UN-constructed prisons in Somalia is reached quickly. We are grateful for the commitment of Seychelles to transfer convicted pirates to Somaliland.

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Mr President   ……. The threat of piracy, the effects of the famine in Somalia, and terrorism are all symptoms of one central problem: The breakdown of the Somali state. Tackling piracy and its causes cannot be separated from this. We need to tackle the factors on land that feed the piracy at sea including deterrence, security, rule of law, and development.  It is crucial that the international community mobilizes in an integrated way.

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And the UK is ready to take on the problem in the name of the better organized world – but it will be able to do so only after the Presidential elections in the US.

It cannot be ecpected that President Obama, and his Administration, can take up the demon of Afro-Arabian pirates, or the undoing of the Islamic world by Islamists and pseudo-Islamists bent on revenge-taking against former colonial powers, and against their own brethren governments – something that some may call a late awakening of pent hatred with historic roots.

Building towards an involvement in the greater region that stretches from the Maldives, the Seychelles, to Aden and the Horn  of Africa’s Greater Somalia, the UK follows up with a call for joint action towards the later part of November 2012 – that is after the US elections:

1.    On February 22, 2012, the Prime Minister David Cameron of the UK  announced a Conference on Somalia to be held in London on November 23, 2012.

The conference will be hosted at Lancaster House. The conference will be opened  Prime Minister Cameron, with key note speeches from; US Secretary of State, Hilary Clinton; UN Secretary General, Ban Ki Moon; President of Somalia, Sheikh Sharif Ahmed;  President of Uganda, Yoweri Museveni; Prime Minister of Ethiopia, Meles Zenawi; French Foreign Minister, Allan Juppé; President of Kenya, Mwai Kibaki; Turkish Foreign Minister, Ahmet Davuto?lu; and Qatari Foreign Affairs Minister, Hamad Bin Jassim. Opening remarks will be released through a press pool organised by the BBC and CNN.

2.    After the early morning opening remarks, the conference will be split into three sessions: political process, security, and stability and recovery. The conference will end same day at 15.30.

3. The UK’s primary objective in Somalia is to seek a lasting political solution that will bring peace and security to the country, and reduce threats to the UK. With engagement from attendees at the highest level, the conference will agree a series of practical measures to support Somalia.

4.    The Somalia Conference will be followed by press conferences at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, led by the Prime Minister with statements from UN Secretary General, Ban Ki Moon; Chairperson of the African Union Commission, Jean Ping; the US Secretary of State, Hilary Clinton; and President of Somalia Sheikh Sharif Ahmed.

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What above means is that the PIRACY hurts us and we are ready to put the Somalis in jail for being pirates – how many of them? Why are they pirates? How many more parts of African States could fall off their own structures into failed regions because they actually never belonged into States that the UN designed for them based on foreign administrative concepts?

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Brigadier  General Dr. Walter Feichtinger is Head of the Institute for Peace Support and Conflict Management (IFC), Austrian National Defense Academy. With him there is a group of other military scientists and academic social scientists and historians, that look at Peace as something that is not self evident but rather has to be groomed.

First I saw an April 2010 booklet of the IFK titled “PIRATES AND ISLAMISTS – WHO IS INTERESTED IN SOMALI?”

Then a full volume, Volume #^ in a series, came to my attention when I went to a meeting of the IFK.  The Volume is in German and the title simple – “SOMALIA.”

The authors are listed as Walter Feichinger and Gerald Hainzl as editors, and inside are chapters by many other researchers: Volker Mathies, Thomas Zittelman, Markus Virgil Hoehne, David Petrovic, Georg Sebastian Holzer,Martin Pabst, Thomas Peyker, Frank Reininghaus, Bruno Guenter Hofbauer, Stefan Lampl,  and Annette  Weber, All of this in just 299 pages.  This volume was released the end of 2011 by the Boehlau Publishrs of Vienna, Koeln, and Weimar.

Comments in the book that convinced us to recommend the reading of this multi-source study before one tacles the problems od Somalia:

1. Looking at the Al-Shabab fighters – the “Radical” groups look for their base in religion, but are not religiously motivated. They rather see in religion the path to obtain power.

2. The Republic of Somaliland is completely independent since 1991 and like it this way, Puntland is also independent of the rest, but they would prefer to be part of a Somalia if that eill be possible some day.

What still carries the name of Somalia is the city of Mogadishu where sits a UN sponsored government, and the rest that is outside any government ruled land.

3. The old division of the Horn included the rule of Ethiopia 0ver Somali Ogaden, the UK held onto the North East Somaliland and the North-East parts of Kenya that is populated Somalis. then there were an italian Somaliland and a French Somaliland that stretched into Djibouti which is now separate of Somalia. All this developed a North-South antagonism and an Ethiopian-Somali conflict/

4. Between 1963 – 1977 there was a US-Aethiopia alliance that brought to life a Somali-USSR counter-alliance. With the Aetiopian revolution of 1974 and the establishing of a marxist regime there, this turned the US towards Somalia in order to balance the Soviets. It would be unrealistic to think that any of this presented real interest in the Somalis – and don’t wonder thus that they were ready to ditch any foreign power as a result.

5. Somalia’s coast was seen a fre for all and hundreds of illegal fishing boats operated in its waters all the time. The Somalis developed a system to get rid of some og these boats and saw that by robbing those boats good money can be made beyond fishing. With the backing of local War Loards, Piracy was thus born.

6. In the 1990s,a clan leader, Mohamad Farah Aidid thought a return to the idilic past when pastoralists lived in a reasonable democracy. The democratic autonomy ideal returned as a justification for violence.

7. There are 8-9 million people in the Somaliland, Puntland, the remaining Somalia. There are further 4 million people in the neughboring counties of Ethiopia, Djibuti and Kenia, and an additional 1 million in a further away diaspora that stretches to Europe and America, australia, New Zealand, and Asia. some have done very well in the diaspora and support the people back home.When they come home they demand modern conditions, and Hargeisa, the capital of Somaliland sports modern establishments. There is no way that the Diaspora – village oriented – will agree to the unification of the separate parts of Somalia. The West and Africa will have to accept the notion that you cannot force people to live in one country if they feel that this is nottheir heritage.

8. The one year that the anti-piratery ATALANTA project was active in the waters of Somalia, made it clear that the PAG – Pirate Action Group needs a new set of rules of engagement. Take their fish catch and their food and water beyond what is needed to get back to the nearest shore — do not take them as prisoners – you might not know what to do with them when you haul them in.

9. A pirate is a pirate only when he commits an act of piracy = otherwise he might just be a fisherman or transfer refugees. The same person might have different roles on a given day,

10. Most African States include parts that would prefer independence or at least a “leave me alone approach.” Taking for granted  the secession attitude of the African Union will do nothing for the struggling Somalis who in major part where basically camel herders living in an un-hospitable dry land as nomads. The clashes with agriculturalists where normal – clashing with unwanted government is worse. The colonial powers did not touch this aspect of the local life as they were interested only in the shore areas as bases for navigation and trade.

I will stop here in order not to write a new version of the book – will rather recommend – you read it by yourselves.

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The other books in the Walter Feichtinger / Boehlau IFC  series so far are:

#1 –  Islam, Islamism, and Extremism. (This book was seemingly withdrawn)

#2 –  Private Security- and Military-Corporations. (These as it happened in Iraq, Bosnia-Herzegowina, Afghanistan, They fly planes, interrogate prisoners etc. – but at what price?)

#3 –  crisis management in Africa.

#4 –  No Enemy in Sight. (This is a book about wars inside society rather then with a foreign enemy.)

#5 –  Global Security – EUropean Potentials. (see the novel spelling when dealing with the European Union!)


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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on January 10th, 2012
by Pincas Jawetz (pj@sustainabilitank.info)

TWO NEW YORK TIMES EDITORIALS of JANUARY 10, 2012:

—  The Corporate Candidates

The Republican presidential hopefuls with backgrounds in ordering layoffs and lobbying Congress can’t relate to struggling voters.

—  Violence Continues in Syria

The Arab League is failing to do all it can to encourage a peaceful solution. It needs to get tougher with President Bashar al-Assad.

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The Corporate Candidates

Published: January 9, 2012

The more Mitt Romney pretends to empathize with the millions of Americans who are struggling in this economy, the less he seems to understand their despair. And the rest of the Republican field seems to have no more insight into the concerns of most voters than he does.

Mr. Romney claims his background as a businessman provides him with an understanding of the economy and the ability to fix it. His opponents — particularly Newt Gingrich, Rick Santorum, Ron Paul and Rick Perry — say their political experience provides the same advantage. In truth, none have offered anything but tired or extremist economic prescriptions, providing little evidence that they can relate to those at the middle or bottom of the ladder.

The problem with Mr. Romney’s pitch is the kind of businessman he was: specifically, a buyer of flailing companies who squeezed out the inefficiencies (often known as employees) and then sold or merged them for a hefty profit. More than a fifth of them later went bankrupt, The Wall Street Journal reported on Monday. This kind of leveraged capitalism, which first caught fire in the 1980s, is one of the reasons for the growth in the income gap, tipping the wealth in the economy toward the people at the top.

Mr. Romney doesn’t like to talk about the precise nature of his business experience. Instead, he prefers to claim his occupation as a leveraged buyout king actually benefited ordinary workers, even casting himself as one of them. “I know what it’s like to worry whether you’re going to get fired,” Mr. Romney said, astonishingly, on Sunday. “There were a couple of times I wondered whether I was going to get a pink slip.” Mr. Romney, the son of privilege and power, has never known personal economic fear, and said laterthat he was referring to his early days at Bain Capital, the investment firm he would later run.

He has, however, been responsible for issuing many a pink slip while leading Bain. The firm bought Dade International, a medical supplier, and collected eight times its investment but laid off 1,700 workers, The New York Times has reportedReuters reportedlast week that a steel mill in Kansas City, Mo., was shuttered less than a decade after Bain bought it, and its 750 laid-off workers got no severance pay.

Mr. Romney dismisses these layoffs, and thousands more, as the cost of capitalism. He claims that, over all, Bain’s investments produced a net gain of 100,000 jobs. But his campaign and his former firm have refused to provide any documentation for that number, showing exactly how many people were laid off and how many hired as a result of Bain’s investments during his period there. The claim cannot be taken seriously until he does so.

Mr. Gingrich and Mr. Perry have sharply criticized Mr. Romney for his buyout work, but some of those attacks ring hollow. Mr. Gingrich himself was on an advisory board for Forstmann Little, another private equity firm with a business model similar to Bain’s. Mr. Perry simply seems opportunistic. He criticized Mr. Romney for ruthlessly practicing modern-day capitalism a day after he called Mr. Obama “a socialist.”

Mr. Gingrich and Mr. Santorum have avoided talking about their own financial histories, having become multimillionaires by peddling their influence to big corporations after leaving Congressional office. For voters worried about the economy, neither a past record of buyouts nor lobbying should inspire any confidence.


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Violence Continues in Syria

Published: January 9, 2012

The Arab League is failing the Syrian people. President Bashar al-Assad of Syria grudgingly agreed to the league’s peace plan last month, but his brutal 10-month crackdown against mostly peaceful protesters shows no signs of easing. To have any chance of stopping the bloodshed, the league — backed by the international community — needs to get tougher with the butcher in Damascus.

We always suspected that the manipulative Mr. Assad would pay only lip service to the plan. He promised to end the violence, withdraw troops from residential areas and talk to the opposition. He also agreed to allow the league to monitor progress. But Syrian activists say that in the two weeks since 100 or so monitors arrived, at least 400 more civilians have been killed, in addition to the 5,000 dead already counted by the United Nations.

Independent accounts are hard to come by because Syria also reneged on its promise to allow greater news media access. Still, the reports are credible enough to unnerve many Arabs; last week, the Arab Parliament, which advises the league, questioned whether the monitoring mission should be abandoned since Mr. Assad seemed clearly to be using it as cover for further repression.

Yet the Arab League’s official response has been pathetically weak. Meeting in Cairo on Sunday, Prime Minister Sheik Hamad bin Jassim bin Jabr al-Thani of Qatar, the chairman of the league’s committee on Syria, and other officials did little more than plead with Mr. Assad to end the bloodshed and let the monitors operate freely.

This won’t work. The only meaningful course is for the Arab League to enforce theeconomic sanctions it approved in November. These include a freeze on Syrian government assets in Arab countries and a ban on transactions with Syria’s central bank.

In addition, Arab League members should insist that the United Nations Security Council — stymied for months by Mr. Assad’s enablers, Russia and China — condemn his behavior and impose tough sanctions of its own that would also bring pressure to bear on his allies. And they should lean on Turkey, which promised sanctions against Damascus, to follow through.

League officials have agreed to continue the monitoring mission (at least until they reassess later this month) and boost its size. There is also talk of United Nations-led training for monitors, who are very inexperienced.

In theory, these are good ideas. But they assume that Mr. Assad is not playing for time and playing the Arab League for a fool as he clearly is. People across the Arab world are horrified by the bloody events in Syria and fears of broader war. Their leaders and the major powers must do all they can to peacefully stop the violence.

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on October 27th, 2011
by Pincas Jawetz (pj@sustainabilitank.info)

NGOs say: Families in the Horn of Africa walk for days, even weeks, in the harsh sun, desperate to find food. Sometimes the children are too weak to keep going. The lucky ones make it to camps – but too often there isn’t enough food to eat there, either. Children are literally starving to death. In village after village, millions of families in the Horn of Africa are facing unimaginable suffering. For families to get the food and water they need to survive, President Obama must bring global attention to the devastation in the Horn.

(The following is for tomorrow’s – October 27, 2011  – special ceremony to mark World Food Day that we received from Louis Belanger spokesman for OxfamInternational.org)  Military action in Somalia risks pushing more people ‘beyond the reach of aid agencies’
New York – Nearly two weeks after the government of Kenya announced it was sending its troops into Somalia, the CEO of Oxfam, Barbara Stocking, will warn that military action risks worsening the effects of famine on the Somali people, and pushing more people “beyond the reach of aid agencies,” in a keynote speech to the UN for a special ceremony to mark World Food Day and the food crisis in East Africa.
Stocking will tell the audience of UN representatives, including the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, aid agencies and private sector members, that the fate of the 750,000 Somalis threatened by death due to famine is in the hands of the international community.
Ahead of the ceremony, Stocking said: “Somalia is at a turning point, and the next three months are critical if three-quarter of a million lives are to be saved from the ravages of famine. Oxfam and other humanitarian agencies have increased our efforts to provide relief and prevent more deaths, but the situation now risks going beyond our reach. The international community must make a dramatic change in approach to ensure humanitarian aid can be safely distributed throughout Somalia.”
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We really would like to understand what turned the Horn of Africa into the cursed land it is today. We know that climate change is hitting the people of the region with draught, we know that colonialism has splintered the Somali people into many parts and we know that today they are infested by Al-Qaeda cancerous fingers and their home grown Shabab is not any better – but what is the link between those seemingly separate realities? Is there the possibility that that colonialism broke up the society and helped destroy the environment so that when climate change hit the path to desertification was already established and the society broke down further allowing the Islamists to dig the region into further disaster? Is there an escape from this?

Somalia is the home of the Indian Ocean  pirates – and these are not new social pirates but rather the old style thieves and hostage takers. The region is thus a multi-danger to 21st Century civilization.

Now, we hear of one area that tries to break out from the misery and is helped by the diaspora of successful Somalis that live in Europe and the United States of America. People helped carve out on the northwest shore of the Horn the Somaliland region that is able to rule itself in an orderly way – has trade with the rest of the World – albeit in major part with Dubai and other Islamic States, but for reasons of African prejudices, are not allowed to separate from the rest of the Somali mess.

Why cannot the UN allow them to establish an independent Somaliland that is separate from the failed State of Somalia? Will the Islamic World be ready to help the rest of the World find a solution from an ousing wound that came about in an area the two met?

The Landesverteidigungsakademie (LVAk) / Institut für Friedenssicherung und Konfliktmanagement (IFK) of the Austrian military has now published its sixth volume in its series of publications that deals mainly with the Islamic World – this sixth book deals with Somalia. It is a very timely publication and I hope the BOEHLAU Publishers will make available eventually an English translation.

The authors are Brigadier General Dr. Walter Feichtinger and Dr. Gerald Hainzl.

Further participants at the official book-presentation were Max Satner of the Austrian Red Cross, Sissy Mayerhoffer, head of the Humanitarian department at the Austrian Broadcasting and TV = ORF and a consultant on the issues to business, and Ambassador Georg Lennkh who was for many years international secretary of Chancellor Bruno Kreisky, then Austria’s Foreign Ministry’s man on Africa.

Somalia was a hodge-podge – There were French, italian, British, Ethiopian, and Kenyan Somis – now you should add Chinese, Indian, Korean, Japanese and US interests.

If God does not stand up for the Somalis – Allah will.

Before I will be able to do an in depth review of the book – let me at least point out an article in today’s news – this because of the further fact that Somalia is this year’s poster-country for the UN Food and Hunger day that happens to be today.

Giving food (a fish) to the hungry will save them for a day – we think more is needed here then plain teaching them to fish. We think they know how to fish, and had they only been allowed to fish…..

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For several years, the American-backed Kenyan military has been secretly arming and training clan-based militias inside Somalia to safeguard Kenya’s borders and economic interests, especially a huge port to be built just 60 miles south of Somalia.

But now many diplomats, analysts and Kenyans fear that the country, by essentially invading southern Somalia, has bitten off far more than it can chew, opening itself up to terrorist reprisals and impeding the stressed relief efforts to save hundreds of thousands of starving Somalis.

Somalia has been a thorn in Kenya’s side ever since Kenya became independent in 1963. Somalia has become synonymous with famine, war and anarchy, while Kenya has become one of America’s closest African allies, a bastion of stability and a favorite of tourists worldwide.

Kenyan officials said it was becoming impossible to coexist with a failed state next door. They consider the Shabab, a ruthless militant group that controls much of southern Somalia, a “clear and present danger,” responsible for piracy, militant attacks and cross-border raids.

When Kenya sent troops storming across Somalia’s border on Oct. 16, government officials initially said that they were chasing kidnappers who had recently abducted four Westerners inside Kenya, two from beachside bungalows, and that Kenya had to defend its tourism industry.

But on Wednesday, Alfred Mutua, the Kenyan government’s chief spokesman, revised this rationale, saying the kidnappings were more of a “good launchpad.”

“An operation of this magnitude is not planned in a week,” Mr. Mutua said. “It’s been in the pipeline for a while.”

Many analysts wonder how Kenya will be able to stabilize Somalia when the United Nations, the United States, Ethiopia and the African Union have all intervened before, with little success. They argue that the Kenyan operation seems uncoordinated and poorly planned, with hundreds of troops bogged down in the mud during seasonal rains.

Kenyan military officials also publicly said the United States and France were helping them, but both countries quickly distanced themselves from the operation, insisting that they were not taking part in the combat.

“The invasion was a serious miscalculation, and the Kenyan economy is going to suffer badly,” said David M. Anderson, a Kenya specialist at Oxford.

The Shabab, who have pledged allegiance to Al Qaeda, have killed hundreds in suicide attacks in Somalia and are now vowing to punish Kenya, much as they struck Uganda last year for sending peacekeepers.

For the New York Times article by please read further:

 www.nytimes.com/2011/10/27/world/…

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on July 11th, 2011
by Pincas Jawetz (pj@sustainabilitank.info)

nbsp;africommons.wordpress.com/2011/07…

Somaliland, now on maps part of Somalia, tries to become the 55th African State. They had an official invitation from South Sudan at the July 9th Independence Day events in Juba.  Our website has a space for Somaliland for quite a while as we look at peoples – not just lines on old colonial maps.

Somaliland’s President Silanyo Official Guest for Saturday’s South Sudan Independence Ceremony.

HARGEISA (SomalilandPress)—President Ahmed Siilaanyo received an official invitation from the president of South Sudan Salva Kiir to attend the Declaration of Independence of the Republic of South Sudan on the 9th of July, 2011. South Sudan is set to become the 54th nation in the African continent after long fought civil against Northern Sudan’s rule that saw thousands of lives lost and millions displaced.

The invitation of Somaliland’s president Ahmed Siilanyo to South Sudan’s historic day has been welcomed with delight in Somaliland by both the government of Somaliland and its citizens.

Somaliland believes it could use the south’s independence as a precedent as it seeks more support for its case for international recognition and become the 55th nation in the continent after South Sudan. Some foreign observers and politicians believe the Juba government will recognize Somaliland which will pave the way for other regional powers to follow.

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on July 21st, 2010
by Pincas Jawetz (pj@sustainabilitank.info)

Excerpts from “At UN, Of Africa Days and Al Qaeda Evenings, Burundi and Bacardi Gold.”
By Matthew Russell Lee.

UNITED NATIONS, July 15 — With small countries in Africa dominating the Security Council’s July 15 schedule … one of the four countries already on the “Peace Building Commission” (PBC) agenda, Burundi, recently had a one party election marred by tossed grenades and now the threat of attack by Al Shabab.

Burundi has soldiers in Somalia {and this is the reason why it has become fair game to Al Shabab}. Inner City Press spoke this week with the UN’s envoy to Burundi Charles Petrie. He put a positive spin on the one party election, saying it was not as violent as it might have been.

Petrie said the opposition is weak, and the UN must play the counter-balance that civil society and opposition parties would in other countries. He should know: he was thrown out of Myanmar by the government, then served for a time in a humanitarian role on, but not in, Somalia. He was in the French military …. The Council should have heard from him but didn’t.

The same might be said of the UN’s new envoy to Somalia, Augustine Mahiga. He went into the Council’s quiet room on July 14, but was not heard from by the Council as a whole. He met with the Permanent Five, one by one. He stopped to speak to Inner City Press, about including Al Shabab on the Al Qaeda sanctions list under Council Resolution 1267 in the wake of the Kampala bombings {This again, because Uganda has military forces for peace Keeping in Somalia.}.

Later on July 14, at an ill-attended UK reception on climate change in the General Assembly lobby, Inner City Press asked UK Permanent Representative Mark Lyall Grant about 1267 and the Shabab. He pointed out that they are already on the Somalia sanctions list, and who knew who is or is not truly affiliated with Al Qaeda. An Ethiopian diplomat added, not surprisingly, they are “definitely” with Al Qaeda.

But the Council sticks to its schedule. Guinea Bissau was the topic for July 15. The coup leader now heads the military; the UN “took note” of it. A Presidential Statement is to be drafted in the coming days.

Still and all, the Permanent Representatives of France, Japan and Mexico strode into the Council just after 10 a.m..

{Liberia is now becoming the fifth small African Country on the PBC operating table.}
* * *
{And further at the UN} – In Wake of Uganda Bombing, UNSC Statement Does Not Assign Blame, Even After Al Shabab Takes Credit.

UNITED NATIONS, July 12, updated — A day after the Kampala double bombing which killed more than 60 people, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon had yet to issue any kind of statement. In front of the Security Council on Monday morning, one non-permanent member’s spokesperson wondered under what agenda item the Council might issue a statement: Somalia?

Another spokesperson said moves were afoot for the issuance of a press statement, later in the day. Would it say who is responsible? After the bombing of trains in Madrid, the Council issued a statement blaming it on ETA. When Al Qaeda later took responsibility, the Council’s statement was never retracted.

Here, nearly all speakers including Uganda authorities are pointing the finger at Islamist Somali insurgents. They had vowed retaliation for the Ugandan and Burundian AMISOM peacekeepers’ shelling of a market in Mogadishu. Others pointed out the targeting of “Ethiopian Village,” given antagonism between irridentist Somalia and Ethiopia. Motive is certainly there– and, the media pointed out, opportunity.

As the draft text of the press statement was distributed to members, a Council diplomat told Inner City Press it did not assign blame, only the Council’s “standard terrorist attack language.” Might that change?

Update of 3:20 p.m. — Nigeria’s Ambassador, the Council’s president for July, read out a four paragraph statement. As Inner City Press predicted this morning, it did not assign blame. But in the interim, the spokesman for Al Shabab has taken credit for the bombings, saying they were months in the planning.

Inner City Press asked Nigeria’s Ambassador on camera why blame was not ascribed, and if this might not discourage countries from sending peacekeepers to Somalia. She declined the first, and to the second question said “there is a peace to keep in Somalia.”

Afterward, Inner City Press was told that Al Shabab’s confession came after the statement was circulated and concurrence obtained. They didn’t want to delay it. But wouldn’t it have been stronger if more specific? An Ethiopian diplomat spoke about Eritrea. If ten Taliban are coming off the 1267 Al Qaeda sanctions list, does that mean there’s room for Al-Shabab?

In Kampala, the Ethiopian Village?

Incoming UN envoy on Somalia, Tanzania’s former Ambassador Mahiga, spoke to Inner City Press at the UN in New York last week, including about the peacekeepers’ use of “long range artillery” and the civilian casualties caused. Will Mahiga take this so-called “collateral damage” more seriously than Ould Abdallah did?

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From the above we see clearly that when it come to the need to blame an Islamic insurgency, the UN is very slow at pointing a finger. There clearly must internal UN be reasons for that.

Now let us see what Fared Zakaria and his high-brow participants in his circle of policy reviewers think about the situation:

His program included Jeffrey Gettleman, the New York Times Bureau Chief in East Africa Somalia, Ethiopia, Kenya) who saw the situation on location in Somalia, and Ken Menkhaus of Davison College in New Jersey, who served as UN Political Advisor in Somalia 1993-94.

 www.cnn.com/CNN/Programs/fareed.z…

 www.cnn.com/video/#/video/podcast…

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THE MOST DANGEROUS PLACE ON EARTH
THE MOST DANGEROUS PLACE ON EARTH

Chaos and lawlessness rule in Mogadishu, Somalia. And Al Shabab, a Somali affiliate of Al Qaeda, is exploiting that power vacuum and exporting terror.

Al Shabab claimed responsibility for the bombing of World Cup viewers in Uganda and is practicing an extreme form of Islamic justice.

What exactly is Al Shabab doing in Somalia and what can we expect next? Is there anything the U.S. or its allies can do to help the country that is called “the world’s worst failed state?”

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Somalia is a country of 6-8 million people and at the end of the cold war they were the most militarized country in the world. Now there are 1-1.5 million people living outside Somalia and the country was destroyed – not by bombings but by small caliber guns. There is no central authority in the country and it has become ideal terrain for an Al Qaeda base.

In 1992 the First President Bush had there 20,000 troops and left to avoid worst disaster leaving behind total vacuum.

The locals are incapable of establishing a functioning government. Foreign funds that go to an interim government are dissipated but nevertheless there is a will on the outside to view this government as a transition – the question transition to what?

The Al Shabab is widely unpopular but viewed as an alternative to useless government. This Al Shabab practices the most tuthless of Islam justice – like the cutting off of arms for suspected thieves.

In this second level of vacuum move in the foreigners – be these the Al Qaeda people from Pakistan who want to see if they can move here as a new home base, and some more benevolent home comers from among the Somali diaspora that actually are ready to provide their skills in building government at locality levels like cities. These are very welcome by the elders who are ready to back their efforts with the elder prestige.

This latter is the hope – but this is a bottom up government – and who will say that this will lead to a National government in its present borders? Would it not make sense to let them rule according to the ethnic divisions of the country and resulting in two or three smaller States that can then go their own ways? Jeffret Gettleman has seen this function on the ground in several locations where the situation is thus much better then in the country at large.

The importance of this goes well beyond Somalia and the case that came to mind in this CNN/GPS program was Iraq.

With the Iraqi elections held 133 days ago and a Parliament that todate has met only for the grandiose time of 18 minutes, and with the upcoming holidays, the evidence that nothing else can be expected before September and the US troops starting by then to leave the country, is Iraq going to be next Somalia?

So – the conclusion is that government can be built only bottom up if the idea is to reach up to democracy – and then why insist on having a non-unified country when the only evidence at hand is that the people actually hate each other and belong to various groups with the only semblance of unity is the unity of cleptocrats?

This disaster of Somalia may turn out to speak not only of Africa, but also of Iraq and why not of Afghanistan?

These problem go well beyond the limited scope we started out with.

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 ipsterraviva.net/UN/currentNew.as…

Somalia Centre Stage Ahead of AU Summit.
Joshua Kyalimpa –   ipsterraviva.netKAMPALA, Jul 18 (IPS) – The African Union summit opens in Kampala on July 19 amid heightened security following twin bomb attacks a week earlier. The official theme of child and maternal mortality will likely be overshadowed by discussion of the AU’s mission in Somalia.

The blasts, which killed at least 74 people and wounded 82 others watching the World Cup finals on big screens at the Ethiopian Village Restaurant in Kampala’s Kabalagala neighbourhood, and at the Kyaddondo rugby grounds. The attacks came just two days after a spokesperson for Somalia’s al-Shabaab group, which is fighting against the weak Transitional Federal Government (TFG) for control of the country, said Uganda would be targeted for its role in the conflict.

Questioning military solutions
Some analysts argue that a troop surge will achieve little, pointing to the difficulties faced by Ethiopia. Ethiopian soldiers entered Somalia in December 2006 to push back the Union of Islamic Courts, an Islamist group with ambitions to establish sharia law in Somalia, from which al-Shabaab subsequently emerged.

But while the UIC’s bid for control was halted, this larger force was unable to fully capture the capital or impose itself in the countryside; the Ethiopians pulled out and were replaced by the Ugandan-dominated AMISOM.

Makerere University political scientist Yassin Olum believes it is time for Uganda to review its position in Somalia, with a view to withdrawing.

“We have to ask ourselves why other African countries are not sending troops to Somalia. Maybe they have realised it’s a hot potato or they view it as an internal matter,” says Olum.

Targeting the AU mission in Somalia

Uganda contributes the majority of the 5,000 troops in the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM), which has helped the TFG maintain a tenuous hold over parts of the capital, Mogadishu, but little more.

We are sending a message to every country who is willing to send troops to Somalia that they will face attacks on their territory,” said al-Shabaab spokesman Ali Mohamoud Rage following the attacks. He added that Burundi, the second-largest troop contributor to AMISOM after Uganda, “will face similar attacks if they don’t withdraw.”

Bahoku Barigye, spokesperson for AMISOM, told IPS that the mission’s mandate should be expanded from peace-keeping – its terms of reference originate in a U.N. resolution authorising a “training and protection” mission – to one of peace enforcement, for which more soldiers would be needed.

“We have troops guarding the airport, the presidential palace, the port and other key installations this leaves us with few men to defend the civilians,” says Barigye.

Security personnel in Uganda have so far made 20 arrests; two men have also been detained in neighbouring Kenya in connection with the bombings.

Despite previous commitments by members of the African Union to contribute to a force of 20,000 peacekeepers, there are only about 5,000 troops in the Somali capital in support of the weak transitional federal government. Over 3,000 of these are from Uganda, the rest are from Burundi.

Uganda undeterred

At a Jul. 14 meeting called after the Kampala bombings, the Inter Government Authority on Development, a regional bloc of countries in the Horn of Africa, agreed to send an additional 2,000 soldiers.

Uganda has indicated it will send in more of its own troops if other countries are not willing.

Addressing a news conference at his private home in Ntugamo, western Uganda, President Yoweri Museveni said, “It was a very big mistake on their side; we shall

Development goals overshadowed by conflict?
African civil society has voiced concerns that the AU summit to be held in Kampala from Jul. 17-19 could be dominated by the Somalia question.

The official theme of the summit is “Maternal, Infant and Child Health and Development in Africa,” but consideration of this development goal seems likely to suffer the same fate as previous themes on water and sanitation and promotion of agriculture: a formal declaration will be made, but the summit will be dominated by al-Shabaab’s bombing of Uganda, the leading contributor of troops to the AU’s mission in Somalia.

Civil society organisations organised a forum in Kampala ahead of the summit to enable civil society, ordinary citizens and key stake holders deliberate on the key issues and demand action, but now doubt they will get a platform to present their case to African leaders.

l deal with the authors of this crime.” He is also reported to have assured the U.S., which takes an active interest in Somali Islamist activity, that Uganda would not try to disentangle itself from the conflict in Somalia.

The U.S. ambassador to Uganda, Jerry Lanier, said, “We believe the Uganda mission is more important than ever now.”

The ambassador said the U.S. planned to increase assistance to Uganda and AMISOM.

Political scientist Yassin Olum says the Ugandan president needed more time to reflect on the matter before making statements.

“What this means is that we are no longer neutral in the conflict and we are fighting on the side of the Transitional Federal Government which is dangerous. This is not conventional warfare where you need more troops to defeat the enemy.”

Fred Bwire, a Kampala city resident, voices the attitude of many ordinary Ugandans towards the Somali mission. “What are we doing there? Our people are being killed for nothing. Why aren’t Kenyans – who are neighbors with Somalia – bothered?”

Hussein Kyanjo, an opposition member of parliament, believes the main beneficiary of Uganda’s continued involvement in Somalia is President Museveni himself. “He knows that the United States of America opposes the al-Shabaab and so he fights U.S. enemies to blind them to his dictatorial tendencies.”

Amama Mbabazi, Uganda’s minister for security, responds that Kyanjo forgets that Uganda was suffered terrorist attacks long before it sent troops to Somalia.

“The Allied Democratic Forces – another rebel outfit with links to Al-Qaeda – killed many people in the past and my friend Kyanjo seems to have forgotten this.”

In their struggle against the government, the Islamist ADF rebels attacked police posts, schools and trade centres in the west of the country beginning in 1996; in 1998, it carried out several bombings in Kampala, killing five and wounding six others. Military action by the Ugandan army largely destroyed the group the following year.

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July 21, 2010 as per official UN NEWS we are not convinced the UN has the faintest idea of what to do about Somalia beyond calling for wasting some more money on it:

UN DAILY NEWS from the
UNITED NATIONS NEWS SERVICE

21 July, 2010 =========================================================================

UN SOUNDS THE ALARM AS DIRE HUMANITARIAN SITUATION CONTINUES TO GRIP SOMALIA .

As Somalia remains in the grip of a humanitarian crisis, it is vital to ensure adequate funding to assist the 3.2 million people – or more than 40 per cent of the population – who rely on international aid, a senior United Nations aid official stressed today.

UN agencies and their partners have so far received only 56 per cent of the $600 million needed to fund critical areas such as health, water and sanitation, nutrition and livelihood support in Somalia, which is recovering from drought and years of chaos and is also in the throes of ongoing violence.

“My major concern at this time of the year is that there is a renewed emphasis on ensuring that we do address the funding gaps in Somalia to help us to sustain the achievements that can continue to be made in one of the world’s most difficult and acute humanitarian crises,” said Mark Bowden, the UN Humanitarian and Resident Coordinator for Somalia.

He told a news conference in New York that the situation in the Horn of Africa nation is characterized by severe child malnutrition, loss of livestock and livelihoods, as well as ongoing displacement owing to continued clashes between Government forces and Islamist militant groups.

The conflict has led to Somalia being one of the countries with the highest number of uprooted people in the world – an estimated 1.4 million displaced within the country and almost 595,000 living as refugees in neighbouring countries.

“Conflict is the driving cause behind displacement and most of it comes from Mogadishu,” he said, noting that 20,000 people were displaced in the capital in June, and an estimated 200,000 people have been displaced from the city this year.

In addition, fighting in Mogadishu since March this year has led to more than 3,000 conflict-related casualties.

“What I genuinely hope is that we try to find some way of reducing the impact of this conflict on the civilian population and all parties need to find more peaceful means of settling their disputes,” he said, adding that where that is not possible, to at least avoid the considerable collateral damage on civilians.

Despite the ongoing crisis, Mr. Bowden noted that the situation in Somalia “isn’t all bad news,” although it is one of the most complicated humanitarian situations the UN is facing.

Some major achievements include keeping the country free of polio amid a resurgence of the disease in a number of other African countries. This is thanks to the provision of clean water to 1.3 million people, as well as vaccination campaigns that were carried out, even in volatile areas.

“We are able to make progress in terms of managing humanitarian operations in extremely difficult circumstances, which include control of large parts of the country by rebel groups and active conflict in other parts,” he noted.

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And Inner City Press from the UN continues its bleak reporting from the UN that really shows again and again that the UN will not lead the Somalis out of their misery.

See – www.innercitypress.com/un1soa0721…

Killing of Civilians by UN Supported Troops in Somalia Admitted But Not Acted On.

By Matthew Russell Lee
UNITED NATIONS, July 21 — In the wake of the World Cup finals bombing in Uganda, there has been even less discussion of the civilians being killed in Mogadishu by the peacekeeping mission which the UN is supporting. But a memo leaked from within that AMISOM mission notes continued firing into civilian neighborhoods.
Inner City Press asked UN Humanitarian coordinator Mark Bowden whether there is a special responsibility on the UN to ensure that the troops to which it provides logistical support through its UNSOA office are not killing civilians. “Yes there is,” Bowden said, adding that he’s “had discussions” with Ambassador Diarra of the African Union about “reducing civilian casualties.” ………..  it continues

On Child Soldiers Supported by UN in Somalia, UNSC Will Respond After 3 Years.

By Matthew Russell Lee
UNITED NATIONS, June 16, updated — Days after the UN-supported Somali Transitional Federal Government’s use of child soldiers was widely exposed, the UN Security Council’s lack of seriousness on the issue was on display on Wednesday. Mexican foreign minister Patricia Espinosa presided over a day-long series of speeches about children and armed conflict. At noon, Inner City Press asked her what she and the Council would do about their support of the TFG, which uses children as young as nine and 12 to wield AK-47s in Mogadishu.

This has not been raised to the Security Council, Secretary Espinosa replied, not even to the Working Group. …… more

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on May 13th, 2010
by Pincas Jawetz (pj@sustainabilitank.info)

From the UN information of May 12, 2010 that does not mention that Turkey is now leading the OIC and as such is trying to replace the ineffective Arab League.

To us, we long argued that Turkey is much better positioned as leader of its neighboring Islamic World then in its futile attempt of chasing after acceptance to the unintegrated Europe, we see in the following material proof that Turkey may finally be finding its correct location on the globe.

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SOMALIA: UN LOOKS TO ISTANBUL FORUM AS KEY STEP TO AID WAR-TORN NATION

On the eve of a major global conference on Somalia, the top United Nations envoy in the war-torn nation urged the world community to provide the needed resources on the military, political and humanitarian fronts now to prevent an even worse scenario from arising.

“If we do not make the right commitments and take the right action in Somalia now, the situation will, sooner or later, force us to act and at a much higher price,” Ahmedou Ould-Abdallah told the Security Council.

Speaking on the same day that the UN refugee agency called for stepped-up funding to help the hundreds of thousands of people displaced by the fighting in what he called a “horrendous” humanitarian situation, Mr. Ould-Abdallah praised next week’s conference in Istanbul as “an exceptional opportunity to show that Somalia has true friends ready to make a difference…

“This conference is first and foremost a show of political solidarity with the Somali people who have suffered so much and been taken hostage by various groups and individuals,” the envoy said, referring to the gathering to be convened by the Turkish Government and Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on 22 May.

“It is also a sign of hope sent to Somalis that they are not alone. In addition to addressing security issues and global threats including piracy, the conference will also provide a platform for the Somali private sector, international business and Governments to launch new initiatives for reconstruction and job creation.”

Despite suggestions that it is either too early or too late for such a high level meeting, “we should all recognize that, after years of anarchy, there will never be a right time in Somalia. We have to act, and to act now,” he added of a country that has had no central government and has been torn by factional conflict for nearly two decades.

The top UN political official also stressed the importance of the Istanbul meeting today. “We would not at any time, of course, underestimate the difficulties and the fragility of Somalia but we do believe that progress has been and can be built upon,” Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs B. Lynn Pascoe told a news conference.

He cited the survival of the Transitional Federal Government (TFG) against numerous attacks, its first steps towards developing its own police and security forces, and the interest it has aroused in the Somali business community and in bringing back investment to the country.

“This effort has to succeed but is clearly going to require determined, sustained efforts by both the Somalis and the international community to make it happen,” he said. “This is where the Istanbul conference fits in. It will give an opportunity to look at how far we’ve come and what still needs to be done. It should help us increase international awareness of what’s at stake in Somalia and increase international commitment to help in a coordinated way.

“It should also help focus the attention of the Somalis themselves, including the TFG, on where they need to step up their efforts.”

On the military front, Mr. Ould-Abdallah called for a big increase in and help for the African Union peacekeeping mission in Somalia (AMISOM), which now numbers less than 7,000 troops, as it carries out its task of protecting the TFG institutions and assisting the needy in the face of violent attacks from Islamic militants. At the same time, the international community should provide equipment and salaries for the TFG’s own nascent forces.

In the political field, he urged the TFG to show unity and a common purpose, calling on the international community to fulfil its commitments, especially by disbursing pledged resources. He noted that the TFG had succeeded in reaching out to other groups committed to peace, signing an accord with Ahlu Sunna Wal Jamaa, a key religious and resistance movement, which could provide a blueprint for future agreements.

“I would like to reiterate that the door of peace is open to all Somalis wishing to end the agony of their country,” stressed Mr. Ould-Abdallah, who serves as the Secretary-General’s Special Representative and head of the UN Political Office for Somalia (UNPOS).

On the humanitarian front, where the situation “remains horrendous” despite the laudable work of the World Food Programme (WFP), the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and other agencies, he called for full cooperation between Governments, development agencies, business associations and non-governmental organizations (NGOs), urging the agencies to again show a physical presence in the violence-shattered land.

“If we want to make a decisive difference, there is no alternative to moving the international community to Mogadishu to be closer to the victims,” he stressed. “The remote control from Nairobi (capital of neighbouring Kenya) is not leading to progress.”

Once this close collaboration is established, it can lead to a major move away from past practices of managing the status quo. “In that context, the Istanbul conference comes at the right time,” Mr. Ould-Abdallah declared. “It shows the Somalis and their leaders that there are personalities, countries and organizations that are genuinely ready and committed to working with them for peace and stability.”

In Geneva today, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) launched two supplementary appeals totalling $60 million for the nearly 2 million Somalis displaced both inside and outside their country, bringing its total budget for 2010 for Somalia and its four neighbouring countries – Kenya, Yemen, Ethiopia and Djibouti – to nearly $425 million.

“The displacement crisis is worsening with the deterioration of the situation inside Somalia and we need to prepare fast for new and possibly large-scale displacement,” Deputy High Commissioner Alexander Aleinikoff said. “We need to be ready.”

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on February 6th, 2010
by Pincas Jawetz (pj@sustainabilitank.info)

from: twitter.com/AfghanNews?utm_source…

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Militarism in Afghanistan is not enough: The U.S. Afghanistan policy needs a revision, given realities on the ground.
PUBLISHED: 01/31/2010 – bit.ly/99iGQm
BY UTTAM DAS

President Barack Obama’s announcement in December 2009 of the deployment of 30,000 additional troops to Afghanistan has received mixed reactions at home and abroad.

Military compulsion on the ground and political expediency at home are apparently in collision; frustration and anger are growing. Allies in the Afghan war such as France, Germany and Australia have reportedly opposed Obama’s announcement. However, the United Kingdom, Poland and Italy promised to send a small number of additional troops.

By June 2010, the number of U.S. troops in Afghanistan is expected to be 98,000. There were 29,950 U.S. troops in the International Security Assistance Force under NATO command, which has 64,500 troops, most supplied by the NATO member countries.

Though Obama had promised “change you can believe in” following his landslide victory in the 2008 presidential election, in the meantime he’s faced criticism for his decision to deploy additional troops to Afghanistan. The president announced that he will begin to withdraw troops in Afghanistan by July 2011 to bring an end to the decade-long war; however, the timeline has not convinced the American people, especially those on the left of the president’s own Democratic Party, who are increasingly demonstrating in front of the White House against the war.

Analysts and media in the region of South Asia are also critical of Obama’s new plan. The influential Indian daily The Hindu observes that sending additional troops to Afghanistan may provide “tactical relief to American commanders on the ground;” however, there is no guarantee that this new deployment would bring any “victory against terrorism and extremism.” For this, innovative strategies must be devised.

In a Dec. 3, 2009 editorial, The Hindu identified four deficits in America’s war against the Taliban and al-Qaida: the political consideration or attention, military doctrine, Afghan capability and a commitment from Pakistan where both the Taliban and al-Qaida allegedly have bases. Flurries of questions will continue to surround the comprehensiveness of U.S. policy and military actions in Afghanistan in the Asian media.

Given the reality on the ground, Pakistan is now in a crisis of sectarian conflict and a rising religious militancy. There is also reported presence of al-Qaida members in its territory; thus, Pakistan’s stability, politics, economy and military power are under great threat, as observes the Bangladeshi newspaper The Daily Ittefaq.

Analysts comment that it is likely impossible for the United States to win the war in Afghanistan by merely raising the number of troops. On the contrary, it may prolong the war with serious casualties on both sides.

Analysts recommend improving the conditions of the Afghan people by investing in poverty reduction, education and health. But the country has been further devastated by a war that has brought insufferable civilian casualties. Any investment in social sectors would facilitate to decrease the anger of the Afghan people toward the United States. Without this infrastructure, the poverty- and illiteracy-ridden country will not be able to get on its feet.

The U.S. policy should also engage resources to other countries in the region where al-Qaida is reportedly trying to spread its “ideology.” The presence of poverty, illiteracy, unemployment, natural challenges and displacements all contribute to the people’s vulnerability, which catalyses the spread of ideological organizations like al-Qaida. Reportedly, a swath of religious schools in Pakistan, India and Bangladesh — allegedly beyond the reach of government monitors — are working as bases for the spread of the militaristic, ideological challenge to the West, especially the United States. To offset this trend, governments need to engage civic institutions, but this deserves investment.

In the latest development, a London conference on Afghanistan has drafted a recommendation to initiate dialogues between the Afghan government and the Taliban, with an aim to dislodge al-Qaida from the country. The Taliban extremist Islamic group is essentially ideologically distinct from the terrorist al-Qaida and seized power in Afghanistan in 1996.

However, the international community must monitor such dialogues to ensure they are strategic and to guard against the Taliban using it as a legitimization and recruitment tool.

These dimensions in the Afghanistan conflict make a challenging situation all the more difficult, but for now, the deployment of more troops to the region seems only to increase our dependence on military strategy. What is needed most desperately in the region, however, is stability, investment and infrastructure.

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Robert NaimanPolicy Director of Just Foreign Policy
Posted: February 2, 2010 – bit.ly/apDj4q

Eat Your Spinach: Time for Peace Talks in Afghanistan – What’s Your Reaction:

In the last week the New York Times and Inter Press Service have reported that the Obama Administration is having an internal debate on whether to supports talks with senior Afghan Taliban leaders, including Mullah Muhammad Omar, as a means of ending the war in Afghanistan. Senior officials like Vice President Biden are said to be more open to reaching out because they believe it will help shorten the war.

Wouldn’t it be remarkable if this remained merely an “internal debate” within the Obama Administration? Wouldn’t you expect that the part of public opinion that wants the war to end would try to intervene in this debate on behalf of talks in order to end the war?

As an administration official told the New York Times,

“Today, people agree that part of the solution for Afghanistan is going to include an accommodation with the Taliban, even above low- and middle-level fighters.”
And in fact, US and British officials have been saying for months that the “endgame” in Afghanistan includes a negotiated political settlement with the Afghan Taliban.

Now, suppose you tell Mom that you want to have ice cream. And Mom says, you can have ice cream when you’ve eaten your spinach. Wouldn’t you eat your spinach? If you don’t eat your spinach now, you didn’t want ice cream very badly.

So if U.S. and British officials say the endgame includes a negotiated political settlement with the Afghan Taliban, and you figure, extrapolating from the last five thousand years of human history, that a negotiated political settlement typically does not just drop down from the sky, but in fact is generally preceded by political negotiations, and you want to end the war as soon as possible, wouldn’t you be clamoring for political negotiations to start as soon as possible? Because the longer political negotiations are delayed, the longer the war will last. If you don’t support political negotiations now, you don’t want to end the war very badly.

If you consider peace negotiations with the Afghan Taliban “distasteful,” consider this: every month that the war continues, every month that U.S. troops remain in Afghanistan, is another month in which U.S. soldiers will die horrible deaths, be horribly maimed, and be horribly scarred psychologically, perhaps for life. It’s also another month in which the U.S. military is likely to “accidentally” kill Afghan government soldiers (such episodes “are not uncommon,” the New York Times notes) and kill Afghan civilians, as they have done at least twice in the last week, according to the reporting in the New York Times and the Washington Post.

I put the word “accidentally” in quotation marks, not of course because I believe that the U.S. military is killing Afghan soldiers and Afghan civilians “on purpose,” but because when you repeatedly take an action (continuing the war) that leads to a predictable result (killing Afghan government soldiers and civilians) you lose the exoneration otherwise conferred by the word “accidentally.”

Is this not also “distasteful”? Is killing innocent people not more “distasteful” than peace talks?

Gareth Porter, writing for Inter Press Service, reports that an official of the Western military coalition says there has been a debate among U.S. officials about “the terms on which the Taliban will become part of the political fabric.” The debate is not on whether the Taliban movement will be participating in the Afghan political system, Porter reports, but on whether or not the administration could accept the participation of Afghan Taliban leader Mullah Omar in the political future of Afghanistan.

The Afghan Taliban has insisted in published statements that it will not participate in peace talks that would not result in the withdrawal of foreign troops, Porter notes. That raises the question of whether the administration would be willing to discuss the complete withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan as part of a negotiated settlement to the conflict.

The Obama Administration has stated publicly that it has no long-term interest in maintaining U.S. troops in Afghanistan. Therefore, should not the U.S. be willing to agree to a timetable for the withdrawal of U.S. troops as part of a negotiated settlement? We’re leaving anyway, according to U.S. officials – what’s holding us back from agreeing, as part of a negotiation, to do what we plan to do anyway?

U.S. officials have said that the war is all about the relationship between the Afghan Taliban and al Qaeda. When the Afghan Taliban breaks with al Qaeda the war is over, say these officials. Some say that Mullah Omar is ready to break with al Qaeda, including the Pakistani intelligence officer who trained him; while Osama bin Laden’s son Omar says Al Qaeda and the Taliban are only “allies of convenience.” Why wouldn’t we put these propositions to the test through negotiations?

If you think, for the sake of peace, the United States should be willing to agree to do on a timetable that which it claims it intends to do anyway, tell President Obama.

Follow Robert Naiman on Twitter: www.twitter.com

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Lesson from Somalia echoes in Afghanistan
By Adam Folken – Contributing Columnist – bit.ly/dv6IT3

|Published: Thursday, February 4, 2010

Last Thursday, British Prime Minister Gordon Brown hosted a conference in London regarding NATO’s plans in Afghanistan.  In attendance were U.S. General Stanley McChrystal, commander of NATO operations in Afghanistan, and Richard Holbrooke, Obama’s special emissary to Afghanistan and Pakistan.  According to CTV News, both officials expressed plans to advocate peace and negotiations with Taliban forces.  Afghan President Hamid Karzai’s plan of “reconciliation and reintegration” of potential Taliban defectors complements McChrystal and Holbrooke’s strategies.  These plans represent a growing trend in emphasizing political action over the use of force to suppress the militant insurgency plaguing Afghanistan.  This switch comes nearly nine years after the beginning of the United States’ Operation Enduring Freedom, though it is  better late than never.

The Taliban was the power in Afghanistan prior to 2001, and their ranks draw from various Pashtun clans.  The Pashtun people represent the largest ethnic group in Afghanistan and have dominated Afghan politics for centuries.  It is therefore the appropriate move to include Taliban members in negotiations and going the step further in allowing their involvement in the new Afghan government. This was one of many lessons taken from U.S. involvement in the United Nations’ intervention in Somalia.

The fall of Said Barre’s regime in 1991 created a power vacuum in Somalia that resulted in vicious inter-clan fighting.  The collateral damage was devastating to the Somali people, who suffered the conflict and widespread famine.

For the U.N., what began as an international effort to deliver humanitarian aid evolved into a struggle to stabilize and democratize Somalia.  General Mohamed Farrah Aidid, with the support of members of his clan – the Habr Gidr – and other militant factions, repeatedly assaulted U.S. and U.N. forces to drive them out of Somalia.  Many U.S. and U.N. officials wanted Aidid and his supporters marginalized in the new government.  Rather than work with the local power, the U.S. wished to create a more ‘ideal’ system that had little focus on clannism.  The attempts to remove Aidid’s influence served to unite Somalis against the U.S., culminating in a humiliating retreat from Somalia.

The parallels with the situation in Afghanistan are clear.  Local power structures, such as clannism in Somalia and Afghanistan, must be considered when creating a functional government.  If powerful players are not given incentive to play the game, they won’t have to.

Further Recommended Articles:

Canada and Germany’s mission in Afghanistan (The Concordian)
Fein: ‘Graveyard of empires’ challenge for Obama (The Daily Northwestern)

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on January 6th, 2010
by Pincas Jawetz (pj@sustainabilitank.info)

The Arab Peninsula and the Horn of Africa -too narrow  straights for the West.

POLITICS: Russia, China Sustain Military Toehold in Yemen.
By Thalif Deen

UNITED NATIONS, Jan 5 (IPS) – Russia has stolen a march over the United States in the multi-million-dollar arms market in cash-strapped Yemen, whose weapons purchases are being funded mostly by neighbouring Saudi Arabia.

The Yemeni armed forces, currently undergoing an ambitious military modernisation programme worth an estimated four billion dollars, are armed with weapons largely from Russia, China, Ukraine and the former Eastern Europe and Soviet republics.

With the attempted bombing of a U.S. airliner on Christmas Day by a Nigerian student, reportedly trained by al Qaeda in Yemen, the administration of President Barack Obama has pledged to double its military and counterterrorism aid, to nearly 150 million dollars, to strengthen the besieged government of President Ali Abdullah Saleh.

Currently, Yemen receives assistance under several U.S.-funded programmes, including Foreign Military Financing (FMF), International Military Education and Training (IMET), Non-Proliferation, Anti-terrorism and De-mining, and Combating Weapons of Mass Destruction.

But the proposed military aid to Yemen – all of it gratis – along with U.S. arms supplies, is negligible compared with weapons, military training and technical expertise from non-U.S. sources.

According to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), one of the world’s best known think tanks researching arms control and disarmament, Russia accounted for nearly 59 percent of all major weapons deliveries to Yemen during 2004-2008, followed by Ukraine at 25 percent, Italy at 10 percent, Australia’s five percent, and the United States at less than one percent.

Dr. Paul Holtom, director of SIPRI’s Arms Transfers Programme, told IPS that at the beginning of this year, the Russian media reported that Yemen had signed a deal to buy an estimated one billion dollars worth of arms from Moscow (with some reports giving figures as high as 2.5 billion dollars).

These weapons, he said, included additional MiG-29 combat aircraft, helicopters, tanks and armoured vehicles.

Holtom said there were also published reports suggesting these purchases were part of a proposed four-billion-dollar military modernisation programme.

But he said he does not have an update on the degree of progress made on these arms deals.

Dan Darling, Europe & Middle East Military Markets analyst at the Connecticut-based Forecast International Inc., a leading provider of market intelligence on the military, told IPS that in terms of primary arms suppliers to Yemen, “almost everything revolves around Russia”.

The core of the Yemeni Air Force is of Russian-legacy, including MiG-21s and MiG-29s and Su-22s, he pointed out.

From 2001 through 2008, Yemen received 1.4 billion dollars worth of arms, according to the Congressional Research Service (CRS), with 600 million dollars in weapons from Russia.

China provided 200 million dollars worth of armaments, while about 400 million dollars in arms were from a mix of former Soviet republics and East European nations (mainly Ukraine, but also Belarus, Czech Republic, Poland, Italy and others).

A resource-starved Middle Eastern nation, Yemen has negligible quantities of oil and is categorised as one of the world’s poorest nations.

The U.S. State Department has described Yemen as “desperately poor” but a “vital counterterrorism partner”.

The New York Times reported Tuesday that Saudi Arabia had provided about two billion dollars in aid to Yemen last year – “an amount that dwarfs the 150 million dollars in security assistance that the United States will ask Congress to approve for the 2010 fiscal year”.

With the new terrorist threat from insurgents in Yemen, the United States is gearing itself for a virtual new battle front against al Qaeda – besides Iraq, Afghanistan and Somalia.

Darling of Forecast International Inc told IPS: “My take is that Washington understands how crucial Yemen is to regional security and stability.”

He said Yemen’s proximity to Saudi Arabia – from which many al Qaeda operatives are believed to have crossed into Yemen – and its importance in terms of shipping lanes at the mouth of the Red Sea and in terms of combating piracy in the area make ignoring Yemen a risk the U.S. is unwilling to take.

The recent spate of fighting with rebels in the north, combined with the pressures facing President Saleh and the belief that al Qaeda may have found a sort of sanctuary in Yemen, means that the country will garner more and more attention within U.S. government circles, he added.

“The State Department realises the looming potential for disaster in Yemen, where a combination of civil strife, an exploding population, negligible oil reserves, a structurally weak economy, high rates of poverty and unemployment, and deteriorating water supplies all threaten to turn the country into the proverbial failed state,” Darling said. “How they intend to combat this possibility is beyond my purview, but I’m guessing that you will see greater degrees of development assistance and oversight as to how the money is allocated,” he added.

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on July 23rd, 2008
by Pincas Jawetz (pj@sustainabilitank.info)

From:  unnews at un.org
Subject: UN DAILY NEWS DIGEST – 23 July
Date: July 23, 2008

UN DAILY NEWS from the UNITED NATIONS NEWS SERVICE.
23 July, 2008
=========================================================================

SOMALIA: UN ENVOY CALLS ON SECURITY COUNCIL TO TAKE ‘BOLD, DECISIVE AND
FAST ACTION’

The United Nations envoy to Somalia told the Security Council today that
there were limited choices for bringing peace to the violence-wracked Horn
of Africa country, but that the time had come to make a final decision on
the best possible option.

Ahmedou Ould-Abdallah said that the options included converting the current
African Union peacekeeping mission to Somalia, known as AMISOM, to a UN
operation by “rehatting” the troops, creating an international
stabilization force or establishing a new UN peacekeeping force.

Mr. Ould-Abdallah also called on the Council to make a strong public
expression of support for the peace agreement signed in Djibouti in June
between the Transitional Federal Government of Somalia and the Alliance for
the Re-Liberation of Somalia.

“Given that Somalis have suffered for so long, and the current favourable
political context following the Djibouti Agreement, it is time for the
Security Council to take bold, decisive and fast action,” he said in a
statement to the council.

“An effective implementation of the Agreement should be an incentive to
bring more Somalis on board and give them a chance to contribute to the
birth of their country,” he said, noting that “in all peace processes some
individuals or groups always set out by rejecting agreements.”

Acknowledging that violence had been pervasive in Somalia for a long time,
the envoy said the Djibouti Agreement provided an opportunity to
marginalize and eventually stop such violence. He also called for a review
of the names on the Security Council sanctions list to recognize the role
of individuals who had decided to change their behaviour and support peace.

Mr. Ould-Abdallah added that the peace agreement should provide security
for humanitarian programmes in the country, in particular for naval escorts
for the UN World Food Programme (WFP), which brings 80 per cent of its food
aid to Somalia by sea. He said that it was unfortunate that these escorts
had now ceased.

On the humanitarian front, the envoy said he sympathized with Somali
nations who constitute more than 95 per cent of aid workers in south and
central Somalia.

“They risk their lives daily and all too often have been the innocent
victims of targeted killings. With international determination, as shown in
Kosovo and elsewhere, the individuals carrying out these terrible deeds
should not be given a chance to prevail,” he said.

——————
* * *

UN-AFRICAN UNION MISSION CHIEF MEETS WITH SUDANESE PRESIDENT IN DARFUR

The head of the United Nations-African Union peacekeeping mission in Darfur
(UNAMID) met today with President Omar al-Bashir of Sudan at the mission’s
headquarters in El Fasher.

Mr. al-Bashir reiterated his country’s resolve to provide security for
UNAMID staff and convoys. “You are our guests and our partners,” he said,
“and we are ready to provide any assistance that will help you do your
work.”

The Joint Special Representative told the President that UNAMID’s
deployment was besieged by numerous challenges, but said that the mission
was strengthening its resolve to reach its full capacity as soon as
possible.

The Sudanese leader expressed his condolences to UNAMID and the families of
those peacekeepers that have lost their lives in Darfur while serving the
mission. Seven blue helmets were killed in an ambush earlier this month in
North Darfur and, just over a week later, another was shot dead in West
Darfur.

Mr. Adada pointed out that UNAMID had thousands of containers awaiting
“movement along the difficult and sometimes dangerous routes into Darfur,”
and called on the Sudanese Government to ensure that the convoys reach
their destinations safely.

The Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Sudan, Ashraf Qazi,
also travelled to Darfur and attended the meetings with the President.

UNAMID reported that the deployment of an Egyptian engineering unit had to
be postponed after the airport was closed for the President’s visit. New
dates for the deployment are yet to be confirmed.

Meanwhile, the mission announced that it is continuing to suspend the
temporary relocation of its non-essential UN personnel. Some 300 people
were moved out of Darfur before the relocation was halted last Friday.

Earlier this week, Mr. Adada met Amr Moussa, the Secretary-General of the
Arab League, to discuss cooperation and peace in Darfur in the wake of the
recent war crimes charges sought by the International Criminal Court (ICC)
Prosecutor against Mr. al-Bashir.

Some 300,000 people are estimated to have been killed as a result of direct
combat, disease or malnutrition since 2003. Another 2.7 million people have
been displaced because of fighting between rebels, Government forces and
allied militiamen known as the Janjaweed.
* * *

SUDAN AND UN SIGN FOUR-YEAR DEVELOPMENT ASSISTANCE PLAN

The Sudanese Government today signed an agreement with United Nations
agencies operating in the country on a four-year aid plan covering
peacebuilding, governance and the rule of law, employment, education and
health care as well as other services.

The agreement, known as the UN Development Assistance Framework (UNDAF),
was signed by representatives of the Government of National Unity and the
Government of Southern Sudan and 18 UN agencies headed by Humanitarian and
Resident Coordinator Ameerah Haq.

Ms. Haq said the new agreement, which covers the years 2009 to 2012, “will
enable us to move beyond annual planning, and set more ambitious
development goals with the help of all our national and international
partners. With the endorsement of this planning tool, the UN will spare no
effort in helping the country achieve tangible progress toward the
Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).”

“The consolidation of peace and stability in the country remains the
ultimate goal of the UNDAF process,” she added.

Welcoming the new agreement, Sudan’s State Minister of International
Cooperation El Elias Nyamlell Wakoson said that it “represents an important
step in terms of moving forward jointly with a common vision of our
strategic direction in support of the peace process.”

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