Friday, December 05, 2008

Unusual Suggestions: The Horn of Africa

Skipping ahead because it is timely... here is one on...
NATIONAL DEFENSE AND FOREIGN POLICY

Try a fresh approach in the Horn of Africa... and (carefully) assert power for good.


A recent surge of high-profile piracy has drawn attention to the Gulf of Aden - one of the world’s most important seaways - now under siege and frequent assault by brazen pirates, based in Somalia.

That lawless land has been a calamity in many other ways, for example by offering a haven for terrorist organizations to train and operate. Unpoliced Somali territorial waters have become a handy dumping ground for unscrupulous companies to get rid of toxic waste,letting it flow into the world's currents. Criminal gangs launder cash and stolen goods. Meanwhile, millions of innocents suffer under horrific warlords, in a land where schools, hospitals and basic services have almost vanished from memory.

The world community has tried a variety of timid “solutions” that range from increasing naval patrols to encouraging an incursion by neighboring Ethiopia -- all to no avail. The entire region, from the Kenyan border, past the national capital, Mogadishu, all the way to the Horn of Africa, remains a hellish maelstrom of fanatics, marauders and tribal vendettas. Sure, we got our fingers burned in the early 1990s, trying to bring order to Somalia with peacekeeping troops. So? Must we therefore stand aside, wringing our hands while an important region festers in catastrophic lawlessness?

One potential alternative has been avoided, till now, for reasons never made publicly clear. Go online and look up Somaliland, as opposed to Somalia. It turns out that this northern third of the country -- the portion formerly colonized by Britain -- is already at peace and relatively well-ordered.

It also sits directly adjacent to the Gulf of Aden. And yet, this region has striven to be a solution, not a part of the problem. “Our coast is extremely long, but we have kept our waters free of pirates,” said Abdillahi Duale, foreign minister of Somaliland, in a statement last week, offering the use of his territory’s ports for foreign naval patrols. This overture, like many others, appears likely to be ignored. Why?

Ever since attempting to declare its independence in 1991, Somaliland has failed to gain recognition from a single nation, because of an archaic diplomatic consensus that original national boundaries should be held sacrosanct -- an axiom that has had hellish effects in Africa and that was shrugged aside, in places as wide-ranging as Tibet, Bangladesh, Kashmir, Eritrea, East Timor, Kosovo and Georgia. Still, because of this standing principle, for almost two decades, four million people in northern Somalia have been told that they could not legally detach themselves from the madness in the south.

But all right. If that’s the iron rule of diplomacy, then why not turn the matter around? Here’s an alternative idea.

Recognize Somaliland as the one calm region of Somalia. Establish and upgrade western consulates in its capital, Hargeisa. Assist improvements in democracy and human rights. Beef up aid to this promising zone and make clear to southern factions which way the wind is blowing. Reward any tribes who choose to turn away from madness and join a growing confederation that already has a record of providing at least basic law and safety, under a purely Somalian umbrella.

Moreover, with modest international aid, a Somalian constabulary based right there at the Gulf of Aden might carry out far more effective efforts against piracy - both at sea and on land, taking the fight to the pirate enclaves. (This, historically, was always the best solution to piracy.)

One Somali territory that immediately borders Somaliland, Puntland, is a major pirate haven. It ought to be possible to sway Puntland, with a combination of carrots and sticks, to join in confederation with Somaliland, or else face quarantine, while watching Somaliland grow overwhelmingly strong, next door. In any event, the cost of such an experiment would be low, and no western or foreign troops need put a foot on the ground.

There may be little time to try something like this. The rising power in the south is an extreme Islamist movement, Shabab, which models itself after the Taliban. As they have captured southern cities, some Shabab leaders have imposed ultra-harsh Sharia rules, killed humanitarian workers and terrorized women. In Kismayo, a 13-year old rape victim was accused of adultery and stoned to death. If this movement gains full sway in the south, as they did in 2006, before the Ethiopians invaded (and the Ethiopians appear about to withdraw), then the world may see a Taliban-style fait accompli and have no choice but to accept Somaliland's first preference of complete secession.

Is the alternative of assisting the pro-western and liberal-minded north a panacea? Of course not. But it does at least offer a way to attack the piracy problem at low cost and to show the rest of Somalia the rewards of joining the civilized world. Why not offer this purely Somali option -- to join a growing portion of the nation that is sane, moderate and increasingly democratic -- to any Somalian who wants to live like a civilized person?

Or, at least, could we finally hear an explanation from the U.S. State Department, as to why not?




Continue to the next posting in this series...

43 comments:

Anonymous said...

Blackwater wants to take on the pirates.

http://www.militarytimes.com/news/2008/10/navy_blackwater_pirates_101708w/

http://blog.wired.com/defense/2008/10/blackwater-well.html

http://www.forbes.com/2008/10/23/blackwater-pirates-somalia-biz-logistics-cx_wp_1023blackwater.html?feed=rss_news

B. Dewhirst said...

Your theory of peaceful intervention does not adequately explain the behavior of the United States.

I would submit, then, that this is not the sort of thing we do.

Doug S. said...

Off topic:

White Paper 44: The Financial Crisis and the Collapse of Ethical Behavior

Anonymous said...

I think it would work. Countries like Georgia and Spain will fight it tooth and nail. The danger to us would be it may empower a Todd Pailin or new Timothy McVeigh to succeed from the union.

Backwater would be the worst possible solution even the shipping companies don’t want to use them. Liability issues and the lousy track record in Iraq.

Brother Doug

Anonymous said...

Very interesting. I didn't know Somaliland even existed. As you say, recognizing new countries is an anathema to many nations, mostly because places like Spain, Russia, China, etc. have their own minorities lusting for independence and international recognition.

I do like the idea of focusing on the region as the place to institute international contacts and trade, as long is can be done without dragging them into conflict with the "official" Somali government (such as it is). They have also just done battle with Puntland and expanded their territory, so it's not as though supporting them is a slam dunk from the moral side of things.

From the Wikipedia article it does seem as though some of what you are suggesting is happening, at a very low, slow level. If their stability is sustainable, it's possible those contacts will increase anyway. Let's hope so, at least.

Doug S. said...

On Somalia:

The question to ask is pretty simple. What Would Ancient Rome Do?

Tony Fisk said...

The lack of interest in the idea could be for no other reason than that the capital of Somalia (ie the assumed centre of government) is Mogadishu, which is in the south of the country.

(Actually, there do appear to be 'overtures' going on)

Why should Spain fight it?

As it happens, my parents met when stationed next door in Ethiopia. This was in the late forties, and Eritrea was starting a struggle for independence. There appear to be some similarities (although Eritrea was an annexed province, so had some claims to independence).

Blackwater wants to take on the pirates... with whose navy?

futilia: fictional country, whose official religion opines that nothing ever changes. Famous for its diplomatic school.

(BTW I found an online listing of Liff!)

Matt DeBlass said...

Blackwater vs. Pirates... I could see this going wrong on so many levels, for example:

-Blackwater blasts the wrong ship out of the water and causes (yet another) international incident

-Blackwater employees jump ship when they realize they can make more money hijacking cargo vessels

-The MacArthur (Blackwater's ship) gets taken hostage by the pirates and they expect the U.S. Navy to come bail them out

...and so on.

matthew said...

A quick note to pimp out a recent post from *another* prescient SF author with an intereting blog, Ken MacLeod.

Ken gives a transcript of a talk he gave at an IT convention on the future of IT security. Highly interesting and recommended. Plus, Ken likes to talk politics perhaps even more than our good Dr. Brin, if that is possible. :)

Anyway, a good post on another SF-centric blog.

http://kenmacleod.blogspot.com/

The talk is entitled "All your firewalls are belong to us." Enjoy.


"eminfies" - the bits of candy coating that crack off before you can get the candy to your mouth.

Jay said...

I like your ideas and suggestions i think this can work in the Horn because one thing is for sure, Horn of Africa needs a new policy and ideas, new ways to tuckle issues playing the same old cards, funding the same old guys and warlords is not working, how long will it take them to release that, i agree with you they should start supporting somaliland and tell everyone else which way the wind is blowing, follow or be isolated.

Matt DeBlass said...

Bill Ayers speaks@
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/12/06/opinion/06ayers.html?_r=1&adxnnl=1&adxnnlx=1228561466-Qr7nar/EhjthncuodilPlQ

Without the right-wing histrionics, it turns out he's a fairly well-spoken college professor who committed some rather regrettable acts of vandalism (when you deface public buildings it's called vandalism, even if you're a hot-headed hippie and use a small bomb to do it. Stupid yes, but if we label it terrorism we've got to call every schmuck who dropped a cherry bomb down a high-school bathroom stall a "domestic terrorist").

Something of a tangent, but I thought it was interesting.

Goran N said...

I think this is a new fresh idea which could solve the Somali-problems. I did not know about Somaliland but, when I googled up I learned a lot. (i.e it is call Africas best kept secret).
Thanks for enlighting manypeople like me.

Sociotard said...

You realize, Dr. Brin, that if your plan works the Somalilanders can expect to start seeing lots of T-shirts in Mogadishu proclaiming that "The South will Rise Again" . . .

Distraction: Youtube evidence that even after our robot overlords take over, the world will boogey on.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-6g610buepo

Kevembuangga said...

That lawless land has been a calamity in many other ways, for example by offering a haven for terrorist organizations to train and operate. Unpoliced Somali territorial waters have become a handy dumping ground for unscrupulous companies to dump toxic waste. Criminal gangs launder cash and stolen goods. Meanwhile, millions of innocents suffer under horrific warlords, in a land where schools, hospitals and basic services have almost vanished from memory.

A harbinger of things to come at many other places.
Get used to it...

The world community has tried a variety of timid “solutions” that range from increasing naval patrols to encouraging an incursion by neighboring Ethiopia -- all to no avail.

For a different take on Somalia zeitgeist see a War Nerd book review Notes From the Hyena's Belly, also at NYT.

Robert said...

I stated this before. I will state it again. What needs to be done is for the establishment of military escorts of naval convoys through the region. Encourage shipping insurance companies to put pressure on merchant ships to join in these convoys or else have to pay added insurance fees as a result; shipping companies would no doubt agree to the convoys if only to avoid the hit their insurance would suffer from.

In addition, you could include armed sailors from the international coalition convoy to be on each ship in case someone tries to sneak onto a ship and capture it. I'm more hesitant on this one, but the most brazen of pirates will use hostage ships to try and flout the convoy and capture ships under naval protection... but a few armed sailors on each ship would be able to keep pirates from getting a foothold on the convoy ships.

Convoys have been a very effective method of preserving shipping in times of war. This is another war. It's just the scale is different, and the ships involved smaller.

Rob H.

Anonymous said...

It is very clear that the author of this article lacks a lot of information and sees Somalia through the lenses of one clan, a secessionist clan. Apparently he doesn´t know that there are five different clans in Northern Somalia (what used to be British Somaliland) and it is only one clan that wants to secede from Somalia, while the remaining clans are against the secession. Answering to your question, If this clan entity is recognized then all other clans will follow suite and God knows where that trend will end. Imagine what can happen in Ethiopia, which has 80 different ethnicities (Somalis are 100% homogeneous) with so many different languages and that is the reason why the international community has been avoiding recognizing this clan entity. For those who want to know the facts about "Somaliland", visit:www.n-sum.org

Anonymous said...

It seems Somaliland is no more than the wish of one clan among all clans of Somalia and I did visit the site, www.n-sum.org as given by the last comment. It is very obviouds that the recognition of Somaliland is not so easy as David proposes. Simply put, there are other clans in the region who oppose the aspirations of this clan and recognising this or that clan will definitely open a Pandora Box. I think the international community is right in not recognising Somaliland.

Anonymous said...

Right and I agree with anonymous. How many clans in this homogeneous nation would come up with this idea? And this trend can balloon to Ethiopia and as far as South Africa! That will be endless wars and distitute and at the end of the day it is this very interantional community(which refuses to recognise Somaliland) who will be reponsible for feeding and sheltering millions of refugees.- No thanks Mr David- let the Somalis solve their own problems.

Jenny
refuses to recognise Somaliland)

Anonymous said...

As a matter of fact the author wants that the entire African contenant to be disintegrated into clan system as it was centuries ago.the author knew nothing about the Somaliland (former British Somaliland are five homogeneous clans with same religion, only one clan wants to secede from rest of Somalia, is that a legistimate demand? imagine Eithoipia is 80 different clans,will it be surprice to international community if all these 80 clans want their own government,the authpr is proposing African contenent to be dismembered from Cape to Cairo.
thank you for your colonial mentality,african contenent had enough for tribal wars and endless wars created by clan system.
Internatioma Community have a right to refuse recgnising Somalilamd, this is the interest of every somalilander and horn of africa as a region. college professor try some where else.

Anonymous said...

Somalia is of course a sick nation and does need treatment. But the worst prescription to be provided is one by an outsider like this writer seemingly ignorant of the country's history and its current reality. Somalia is the most homogenous nation in Africa to the extent that it was the conventional wisdom to say in the 1960s that if an African country would be spared secession, it will be Somalia.

The simple fact is that the secession is supported by one clan and opposed by all others in the region and the rest of Somalia. To recognize that one clan is to set Somalia ablaze and to destabilise the rest of African. Amazing that those who themselves defended their unity against secessionists in the South should be advocating the break-up of other hapless defenceless countries.

Rob said...

I've become curious now. How many ways will "Anonymous" be able to make the same vague point-missing claim, before he or she repeats him or herself?

The point I gathered is not that Somaliland should be recognized, but that foreign powers should recognize that there is stability there, and move their diplomatic missions away from thinking that Mogadishu is the center of Somali civilization, and instead center themselves where civilization actually reigns.

Anonymous said...

Certain people have a vested interest in maintaining the current borders in Africa no matter how much harm is caused.

Mostly, because they still own large chunks of the continent and reap substantial revenue from it.

Did you think South Africa became free? 70% of the land and 80% of the economy is still white owned.

More than a few of those whites consider any progress anywhere in Africa to be a threat to their continued wealth and status.

Not to mention that the more countries exist, the more strongmen have to be paid off....

Cliff said...

So, these Anonymouses (Anonymoi? Anonymeese?) totally aren't the same person engaging in sock puppet arguments.

Anonymous said...

Wow, I can't imagine how tired you must get of wading through lame, self serving comments.

Have you submitted these essays to the vision section of change.gov? This one, particularly, bears looking into for the Obama transition team. The others are great concepts that should be explored, but they're more involved, and while the current meltdown is probably the best chance we'll likely get to make the sweeping changes that need to be made, the others are subject to difficulties in the inertial properties of government and business, and the hidebound idiots that run them, whereas this one is amenable to near term implementation.

As far as a short term interventions in dealing with the Somali pirates, convoys with protection using the new nonlethal sonic and targeted infrared systems from the US would seem like a good idea. Also cutting off their contacts that process the ransoms might choke them off.

It's a shame that the anonymous Somalis don't understand English well enough to understand that your proposal would STAVE OFF secession, not precipitate it.

Anonymous said...

One does not need much effort to understand the question given in the article. It is very clear that the author of the article and the like do simply think that Somaliland is monolithic.One must realise that Somliland is the wishfull thinking of one clan. To find out the reality of Somaliland please do visit other regions of what used to be British Somaliland.

Roger

Anonymous said...

Rob
If “anonymous” comments seem to repeat the similar messages, that is quite understandable and should not surprise anyone familiar with Somalia and its northern region- Somaliland as the secessionists prefer to call. Obviously, all comments by “anonymous” respondents are trying to convey the same message to outsiders like you that Somalia is the most homogeneous nation in Africa and secession by one clan or enclave is not a solution to its problems but is merely prolonging the conflict. A federal system has now been put in place which will guarantee autonomy to each region which makes secession pointless. Sympathisers with the minority secessionists should direct their influence in persuading them that they have everything to gain from this system and much to lose by continuing with their doomed one clan secession.

Warfa said...

Rob
To suggest, as you do, that we misunderstood the core message of the author of the article is to insult our intelligence. True, he did not openly call for formal recognition of Somaliland. But what he suggested comes to the same thing. To recognise Somaliland as the one peaceful stable region (clan), as he is advocating, and move all foreign diplomatic missions to their regional capital, is tantamount to conferring de facto recognition, a prelude to eventual de jure recognition. It would be almost impossible to backtrack on these moves once made and Somalia would be faced with a fait acompli by the time it ends its problems and comes round to settle the secession.

Geeleh said...

Spinroyal
Much as the Somalis are not blameless, yet Ethiopia, USA, EU, UK, IGAD, AU and others are responsible in varying degrees in stoking and perpetuating Somalia’s problems. Their support first to criminal warlords and subsequently to a puppet government cobbled together by Ethiopia and Kenya is responsible for much of our blight. Ethiopia’s invasion of Somalia at the behest of the USA, to oust the Islamists who brought for six months peace and stability to Southern Somalia is now leading to the worst humanitarian crisis in the worlds, The conflict in Somalia is not one between clans. It is mainly due to outsiders negating possible peace emerging in Somalia.

Your sweeping indictment of African clans almost everywhere in the continent as being engaged in perpetual clashes is both shallow and unfair. That blame should be directed to colonial powers that curved up territories, bringing together heterogeneous clans while separating others across artificial boundaries, and making no effort to foster a sense of nation until they left on independence. Given this initial colonial history and the subsequent neo-colonial interventions by ex-colonial powers, there has been little time to evolve the values of compromise, consensus, national interest, etc. Give us a break please.

B. Dewhirst said...

I'm pleased to hear apparent African voices discussing the issue at hand.

Readers might benefit from a short history of the last 30-40 years of Somali history, if you have one to recommend.

Best wishes, etc.

Cliff said...

One must realise that Somliland is the wishfull thinking of one clan.

Obviously, all comments by “anonymous” respondents are trying to convey the same message to outsiders like you that Somalia is the most homogeneous nation in Africa

Well, which is it, guys? Is it homogenous or full of dissenting clans?

And also, for those who want to keep Somalia integrated, what are your suggestions for fighting piracy and Islamic extremism in that area?

Rob said...

Somalia has a long, long way to go before it can lay claim to any kind of federal system. The very rhetoric of our African participant is evidence of this; he's still thinking in terms of clans and clan dominance.

During the Cold War, embassies to Germany on either side did the same thing. The West chose Bonn and the East chose Berlin. That conflict ended without open war, and the Germans in the west assumed (however reluctantly) the debts and poverty of the relatively lawless East without their system dissolving into a disunity where warlords and pirates had safe haven while the defiled remains of people are dragged through the streets to make a political point.

Think about that before laying claim to any kind of respectable federal system. The tyrannies in China and Sri Lanka are a paradise compared to what Somalia has in the south.

If the clans in Somaliland have managed more civilization than those in the south, I don't begrudge them that. The incoming U.S. President, aside from having a direct heritage in Africa, also has a very different attitude about African affairs than the current President.

If the U.S. does reopen its mission to Somalia, you can be certain that it will only do so where the safety of its envoys can be almost completely assured. If that can't happen in Mogadishu, but it can in Somaliland, then that's where they'll go.

B. Dewhirst said...

Somalia's internal affairs are none of our concern, barring some sort of UN resolution.

Similarly, Somalia's territorial waters are none of our concern.

The conduct of Somali boats in international waters are governed by international law.

Perhaps, if we spent more time minding our own business and less time destabilizing other governments, other countries would be more stable.

Just a thought.

Alternately, the United States can conduct its internal affairs and police its waters in accords with Chinese, Somali, or Saudi Arabian demands...

Anonymous said...

Those of you who are not familiar with the nature of Somalis or Somalia mistakenly think that NW region of Somalia or Somaliland as the secessioists love to call it, is a god given land to one clan. You must understand that there are 5 clans who live in what used to be British Somaliland and it is only one clan, the Isaaq who want to have not only its territory but this clan also wants to compel other clans to accept the option of separate entity, Somaliland. For the people like Cliff , mark my word, as soon as this clan entity is given any international preference other x/lands, like Hartiland, Makhir state and Awadal will pop up, the reason is simple/ If Somalia is divisble, so is the Somaliland. Solution for Somalia must be left for the Somalis, we know how to deal with Islamic extremism and piracy.
Ahmed

Ciiltire said...

Cliff
There is no contradiction between Somalia being the most homogenous country in Africa and having quarrelsome clans, although, to be correct, there are no clan conflicts in Somalia. Rather, one clan in the North wants to secede and force others to join it n order to hoodwink international public opinion that the people of former British Somaliland (Somaliland as the secessionist now call it) are all supportive of the secession and hence deserve recognition. Naturally, these other clans oppose it and want to remain in Somalia. Surely, there is nothing untoward about this.

Regarding stopping piracy, you should know its background. It started after foreign fishing fleets came to fish illegally in Somalia’s coastal waters endangering the livelihood of whole communities. In the absence of national government to protect its waters, fisherman resorted to piracy. Now every body is crying fowl and death to the Somalis!! It is amazing that those countries that now mobilised their navies to patrol Somali waters will do nothing to stop these foreign fishing fleets trespassing on Somali waters. Piracy will not be stopped by these navies but only when Somalia territorial waters are respected.

Regarding stopping the Islamist insurgency, Cliff seems to be oblivious to its root cause. It started in 2006 after the USA recruited warlords against the Islamic courts whose remit at the time was nothing more conducting simple functions such as marriage, conflict resolution, etc. Having defeated the warlords, the Islamist fighters ballooned into the Union of Islamic Courts and took control of Southern Somalia as a whole. Not happy once again with the new development, the USA used Ethiopia as their proxy to invade Somalia and oust the Islamist. The current fighting is simply to liberate Somalia from these invaders. Once that is done, that will put an end to Islamic insurgency and Somalis will be able to solve their problems if only outsiders will leave them alone and in peace.

Waranle said...

Rob
Presumably responding to me as an African participant (how do you know?), you said the following observation:

“Somalia has a long, long way to go before it can lay claim to any kind of federal system. The very rhetoric of our African participant is evidence of this; he's still thinking in terms of clans and clan dominance.”

What I said is the following:
“A federal system has now been put in place which will guarantee autonomy to each region which makes secession pointless. Sympathisers with the minority secessionists should direct their influence in persuading them that they have everything to gain from this system and much to lose by continuing with their doomed one clan secession”.

Can you tell me any evidence that I am thinking in terms “of clans and clan dominance?” Or the evidence that Somalia is far away from a federal system? If there is one thing almost all Somalis agree upon, it is the adoption of a federal system of government. Given this consensus, why should this goal be beyond our each for the foreseeable future? For your information, it was the centralised unitary government of the past, always associated with the dominance of one clan or region that has been the root cause of the collapse of the Somali state.

Regarding your statement of possible relocation of USA diplomatic mission to Somaliland, peaceful conditions permitting, you can be sure of soliciting another USA failure in Somalia. You don’t have to prophet to foresee Somali nationalists and Islamists, north and south, resorting to all means at their disposal make sure this did not happen. You are merely shifting the conflict to the North.

As to your reference to West and East Germany, China, and Sri Lanka, frankly I am at a loss to follow your logic or what you are on about. On factual points, East Germany was never a “lawless” place as you wrongly claim nor did West Germany accede reluctantly to the reunion as you suggest. On the contrary, West Germany has been campaigning for reunification since the Second World War and would break diplomatic relations with any country, other than the communist block, which established diplomatic relations with East Germany. As for China and Sri Lanka, what have they got to do with the Somali case?

Rob said...

Regarding clan dominance: For the people like Cliff , mark my word, as soon as this clan entity is given any international preference other x/lands

Regarding how I've guessed you're East African: The cadence of the English you're using matches that of the Africas who came to be friends of mine when I lived in Switzerland. Also, you're making an impassioned case for not subdividing Somalia, and your outlook appears Muslim, if not Islamist.

Compared to West Germany, East Germany was a lawless place, governed by a council of tyrants who pitted people against one another, suppressed the free exercise of religion, etc, etc. It was lawless in the same way that Russia was lawless in the mid 20th century.

It was a paradise of civilization, compared to Somalia in 1994, but it was still lawless from the perspective of an American whose country hasn't ever seen general civil unrest or general tyranny on the levels Somalis experience it since the 1860's.

I say this as one descended from people who were outcast from the U.S. in the 1840's, and never wish to diminish the cruelties any tyrannies inflicted on the victims of U.S. segregation laws, but those are social problems we've largely been able to resolve using words and a very strong federal and local police force, not the point of a gun or machete.

If it's better today, then I celebrate it. If you have the consensus of a federation, then it should be relatively simple in a year or two to mount a "whiskey rebellion" action against pirates in your nearby waters. But I don't perceive the kind of unity which would permit that sort of action yet, if, as you say, one clan in the north can lord over four others in their secessionist interest, and there is still talk of negotiation with warlords and pirate lords in your ports.

Anonymous said...

I have been thinking why a non-African prefers one clan of Somalia to other clans in the NW Region of Somalia. The reason can be that, one is misled by getting the information from the secessionists camp or may be one finds a very special treatment in Hargeisa like Mr Tylor Steim and Peter Tatchell who are frequent visitors of the hub of the secessionists enclave.

Ahmed

Cliff said...

Regarding stopping the Islamist insurgency, Cliff seems to be oblivious to its root cause.

Ciiltire seems to be oblivious to my stated political views.
I readily acknowledge that the US has royally screwed things up in Somalia, stretching (at least) back to the Clinton administration.

That's why I'm interested in solving the problem, because I want my nation to clean up the mess we made.
So, since you guys don't like the idea of Somaliland at all, what do you suggest should be done about the piracy and the Islamic extremists?

although, to be correct, there are no clan conflicts in Somalia. Rather, one clan in the North wants to secede and force others to join it

That's still self-contradictory. And anyway, wasn't the famine in the 90's caused, at least in part, by quarreling clans?

Ciiltire said...

Cliff
You are wrong to find contradiction in my statement that "there are no clan conflicts in Somalia. Rather, one clan in the North wants to secede and force others to join it". There is indeed peace among among the clans as anybody who knows the area will tell you. But all th same, only one clan support the secession declared by a movement representing the clan. This movement is forcing all other clans to join the secession.

The famine in the early 1990s in Southern Somalia was caused by General Farah Aideed's occupation of an area inhabited by another clan in his attempt to establish himself as the next leader of Somalia after he outsted Siyad Barre in 1991.It was not Aideed's policy to use starvation as an instrument of war. In any case, that occupation ended after the UN intervention in Somalia and is now part of history rather than an on-going affair as you sugest.

Warfa said...

Cliff
You consider the Somalis as uncivilized because of their civil war and other related acts such as piracy. Taking that to its logical conclusions,all countries that have experienced civil wars and conflict are uncivilised. That will almost cover most nations on this earth. And no more so than your USA that has had its own civil war and inflicted abominable crimes on other nations from Vietnam, Cambodia, Iraq, Latin America, etc. Memories are short but no Somali people let alone their government have committed what you did or still doing in Iraq or Guantanamo Bay. A little modesty or sense of proportion on your part will be apprciated.

Cliff said...

Ciiltire:
So by conflict, you mean open violence between clans, which is not occurring now.
I was taking it to mean that the clans have disputes but aren't necessarily fighting openly, so I'm sorry for the miscommunication.

In any case, that occupation ended after the UN intervention in Somalia and is now part of history rather than an on-going affair as you sugest.

When did I suggest that? I was just pointing out that there is a history of conflict between clans, which seems to go against your assertion that they're homogenous. But maybe that's just how things are done in Somalia?

Warfa:
Please refer to when I wrote:
I readily acknowledge that the US has royally screwed things up in Somalia, stretching (at least) back to the Clinton administration.

I am well aware the US has committed and is committing barbarous acts, and I'm not happy about it.

You also wrote:
Taking that to its logical conclusions,all countries that have experienced civil wars and conflict are uncivilised.

Civilization isn't an on/off switch. Yes, I consider Somalia to be uncivilized right now, but in no way do I feel that it can never be civilized.
The US is committing barbarous acts, which stand in shocking contrast to the rest of our civilization.

Attempts to guilt trip me aside, I feel that there are legitimate problems in the Horn of Africa, and I haven't seen you guys propose any solutions, just blast around with kneejerk reactions.

Anonymous said...

I think, a solution was given to you but you do not want to contemplate it. First of all people like you must stop giving false dreams to the people of this clan entity.
Secondly you must understand that extremism in Somalia is the result of the misplaced US policy when it supported the warlords for this policy has radicalised the Somalis. Thirdly, the piracy did not come from the sky. It is also the result of another piracy, the blundering and looting of the Somali waters by foreign ships and againg this forced the Somali fishermen to defend their waters.
So, as soon as the root causes of these two issues are addressed and foreign hands are kept off of Somalia then the Somalis will settle their own problems.
Ahmed

Cliff said...

Ahmed - first of all you must read my previous posts, and then you will see that I actually agree that America has screwed in Somalia.

All right, I can see that giving fishing waters back to Somalia might help solve the piracy problem.
But would the pirates want to become fishermen? (I am assuming that would be part of the solution.) Would they want to give up piracy, now that they know they can control a vital trade route?

And also, do you believe extremism will vanish if the United States leaves Somalia alone?