By Nuruddin Farah, the author, most recently, of “Knots,” a novel (THE NEW YORK TIMES, 26/05/07):
WATCHING from afar, people find it difficult to understand the intractability of the conflict in Somalia. The cycle of violence, almost mysteriously, remains uninterrupted. Peace breaks out. Victory is declared, as it was a couple of weeks ago when President Abdullahi Yusuf Ahmed’s Transitional Federal Government declared its triumph over the rival Islamic Courts Union and the clan-based militia fighting alongside it. And then the violence quickly erupts again.
In Somalia, it has been clan versus clan, Muslim Somalis versus Christian Ethiopians, for as long as anyone can remember.… Seguir leyendo »
By David Ignatius (THE WASHINGTON POST, 13/05/07):
«Get it done quickly and get out.» That, says a senior U.S. diplomat here, was the goal of the little-noticed war that Ethiopia has been fighting, with American support, against Islamic extremists in Somalia. But this in-and-out strategy encounters the same real-world obstacles that America is facing in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Conflict is less the problem than what comes after it. That’s the dilemma that America and its allies are discovering in a world where war-fighting and nation-building have become perversely mixed. It took the Ethiopians just a week to drive a Muslim radical movement known as the Islamic Courts from Mogadishu in December.… Seguir leyendo »
By Berhanu Kebede, Ethiopian Ambassador to the UK (THE GUARDIAN, 03/05/07):
A Guardian article last week appeared to represent the Union of Islamic Courts (UIC) in Somalia as a government of national consensus and a «popular» democratic organisation (Thousands flee as shelling by Ethiopian tanks kills hundreds of civilians in Somali capital, April 27).It stated: «The Islamic Courts government was popular in Mogadishu after bringing relative order.» This glorification of the UIC, and claim that they represent Somali society, is highly misleading. The UIC leadership is one sub-clan, bent on protecting its own interests. The leadership can in no way bring peace, as it has never provided a political framework for doing so.… Seguir leyendo »
By Salim Lone, the spokesman for the UN mission in Iraq after the 2003 invasion and a columnist for the Daily Nation in Kenya (THE GUARDIAN, 28/04/07):
This is the most lawless war of our generation. All wars of aggression lack legitimacy, but no conflict in recent memory has witnessed such mounting layers of illegality as the current one in Somalia. Violations of the UN charter and of international humanitarian law are regrettably commonplace in our age, and they abound in the carnage that the world is allowing to unfold in Mogadishu, but this war has in addition explicitly violated two UN security council resolutions.… Seguir leyendo »
By Simon Tisdall (THE GUARDIAN, 03/04/07):
Predictions that the US-backed Ethiopian invasion of Somalia last Christmas would hasten rather than halt the country’s political disintegration are proving grimly accurate. In the league of failed states, Somalia is runaway leader. With international attention focused on Zimbabwe and Darfur, it is the hidden shame of the world.
More than 1,000 civilians have been killed or wounded in recent fighting in the capital, Mogadishu, and tens of thousands have fled their homes. The UN says wounded civilians are lying untended in the streets after heavy artillery and mortars pounded residential areas. Since February, 96,000 refugees have swelled the ranks of Somalia’s 400,000 internally displaced persons.… Seguir leyendo »
By Martin Fletcher (THE TIMES, 08/01/06):
My colleague Rosemary Righter wrote last week that the defeat of Somalia’s Islamic courts by Ethiopian forces was the “first piece of potentially good news in two devastating decades”.
As one of the few journalists who has visited Mogadishu recently, I beg to differ. The good news came in June. That is when the courts routed the warlords who had turned Somalia into the world’s most anarchic state during a 15-year civil war that left a million dead.
I am no apologist for the courts. Their leadership included extremists with dangerous intentions and connections. But for six months they achieved the near-impossible feat of restoring order to a country that appeared ungovernable.… Seguir leyendo »
By Jonathan Stevenson, a professor of strategic studies at the United States Naval War College (THE NEW YORK TIMES, 08/01/07):
SOMALIA’S internationally recognized government pulled off a stunning military victory over its Islamist rivals, taking control of the capital, Mogadishu, and the key port city of Kismayo last week. This may appear to bode well for the containment of Islamism on the Horn of Africa. But unless America plays a constructive role in Somalia’s next stage, the conflict could become a regional war and a new field of jihad.
The success of the Transitional Federal Government and its current prevalence were made possible entirely through the help of troops from neighboring Ethiopia, many of them trained and equipped by the United States.… Seguir leyendo »
By Rosemary Righter (THE TIMES, 04/01/07):
The peremptory ousting of the Islamic courts by Ethiopian forces is Somalia’s first piece of potentially good news in two devastating decades. Ethiopia acted out of national interest, to deny Islamic extremists a base in the troubled Horn of Africa from which they could disrupt the balance in Ethiopia itself, where almost equal-sized Christian and Muslim communities currently coexist in reasonable harmony.
Somalis, who fought two wars with Ethiopia over the Ogaden desert, will not readily see their old enemy as a saviour. Yet by acting when the UN and the African Union could come up with nothing but paper plans, the Ethiopians have given this wretched failed state a chance.… Seguir leyendo »
By Salim Lone, UN spokesman in Iraq in 2003 and is a columnist for the Daily Nation in Kenya (THE GUARDIAN, 30/12/06):
Undeterred by the horrors and disasters in Iraq, Afghanistan and Lebanon, the Bush administration has opened another battlefront in the Muslim world. With US backing, Ethiopian troops have invaded Somalia in an illegal war of aggression.But this brazen US-sponsored bid to topple the popular Islamists who had brought Somalia its first peace and security in 16 years has already begun to backfire. Looting has forced the transitional government to declare a state of emergency. Clan warlords, who had terrorised Somalia until they were driven out by the Islamists this year, have begun carving up the city once again.… Seguir leyendo »
By Simon Tisdall (THE GUARDIAN, 15/12/06):
Watching Somalia right now is like standing on a beach, waiting for a category five hurricane to hit. The looming cataclysm threatens to spark a regional war, suck in east African and Arab actors, and create a dangerous new theatre in the polarising, global contest between western power and Islamist jihadism. Somalia has the potential to make Darfur look like a little local difficulty.The cocked trigger for all-out conflict is a deadline set by the Union of Islamic Courts (UIC), a movement of growing military and popular strength that controls the capital, Mogadishu, and most of southern Somalia.… Seguir leyendo »
Por Borja Bergareche, abogado y master en Relaciones Internacionales por la universidad de Columbia (EL CORREO DIGITAL, 14/06/06):
El guión se repite una y otra vez: se resquebraja la estructura del Estado, el caos y la violencia se apoderan del día a día en forma de clanes y facciones rivales, Estados Unidos interviene del lado equivocado y, mientras la atención mundial se centra en otros menesteres, la población local busca refugio y orden en el Islam. Lejos de los titulares de la prensa diaria española, Somalia se ha convertido ahora en el último episodio del auge global del islamismo y del suicidio autoinducido de los valores liberales y democráticos en cada vez más regiones del planeta.… Seguir leyendo »
Por Borja Bergareche, abogado y Master en Relaciones Internacionales por la Universidad de Columbia (ABC, 10/06/06):
EL guión se repite una y otra vez: se resquebraja la estructura del Estado, el caos y la violencia se apoderan del día a día en forma de clanes y facciones rivales, Estados Unidos interviene del lado equivocado y, mientras la atención mundial se centra en otros menesteres, la población local busca refugio y orden en el islam. Lejos de los titulares de la prensa diaria española, Somalia se ha convertido ahora en el último episodio del auge global del islamismo y del suicidio autoinducido de los valores liberales y democráticos en cada vez más regiones del planeta.… Seguir leyendo »
By John Prendergast, a senior adviser to the International Crisis Group. He worked for the National Security Council during the Clinton administration (THE WASHINGTON POST,07/06/06):
It was before «Black Hawk Down,» before Somalia became the only country in the world without a government, that I took my first trip there. It changed my life. This was in the mid-1980s, when the United States was underwriting a warlord dictator in support of our Cold War interests, at the clear expense of basic human rights. As a young, wide-eyed activist-in-training, I couldn’t accept the idea that my government would use defenseless Somali civilians as pawns on its strategic chessboard — in a strategy that ultimately produced only state collapse, civil war and famine.… Seguir leyendo »
By Simon Tisdall (THE GUARDIAN, 23/05/06):
Hilary Benn’s foray into war-torn, drought-plagued Somalia last week was a brave attempt to focus attention on the land the world forgot. Few politicians have ventured there since the central government collapsed in 1991 and warlords took over. Visiting a camp for displaced persons, the international development secretary pledged an additional £8m in humanitarian and educational assistance.
But Mr Benn was peddling more than handouts, homilies and good intentions. His additional offer of £1.5m «to support the functioning of the parliament and ministers» represented a clear British commitment to Somalia’s political rehabilitation. It was the sort of initiative expected of a foreign secretary.… Seguir leyendo »
By Simon Tisdall (THE GUARDIAN, 03/03/06):
Somalia could become the next «war on terror» battleground as the US zeroes in on al-Qaida and Islamist groups reportedly trying to exploit a power vacuum in the world’s most anarchic state. Looking on helplessly are two million Somalis facing drought and famine, and aid agencies hampered by warlords, kidnappings and piracy. The World Food Programme says a dire humanitarian situation in southern Somalia has been worsened by hijackings of relief vessels – but alternative land routes had raised «similar logistical and security challenges». An American employee of Unicef was kidnapped in the south on Wednesday.… Seguir leyendo »