Thursday, January 31, 2008

An unseen Bush catastrophe

Conventional wisdom holds that Bush is only responsible for two countries falling into chaos. Well, if Gwyn Dyer's report on Ethopia's invasion of Somalia last year is correct, then we should add at least one more country to the list, possibly two.* Concerning Somalia, Dyer writes that the United States
. . . developed a keen interest in the politics of the region after the atrocities of 9/11. At first the US just made deals with the various warlords to ensure that no jihadi fanatics created a base there. But it got more upset when an organization called the Union of Islamic Courts (UIC) chased drove all the warlords out of Mogadishu in 2006 and gave the capital its first taste of peace and good government since 1991.The UIC was actually created by prominent merchants from the locally dominant Hawiye clan who wanted a safe environment in which to do business. The "Islamic" aspect of it was mainly there to provide a rallying point that other clans could identify with, though that obviously also attracted a certain number of earnest and bearded young men. Some of them, unfortunately, favored a rhetorical style that triggers a knee-jerk reaction in jittery post-9/11 Americans. The people of Mogadishu, enjoying their first taste of normality in 15 years, overwhelmingly supported the UIC, but the United States decided it must be overthrown. To do the job, Washington turned to its close ally Ethiopia, Somalia's perennial enemy. The Ethiopians, who have no interest in a stable and strong Somalia, were happy to oblige -- and for diplomatic cover, the US could use the "transitional federal government" of Somalia.
Dyer sees "more years of war to end the occupation" ahead, and predicts that "a lot more Somalis will die. All because they called it the Union of Islamic Courts." This is a tragedy.

Why are American policy makers so simple-minded in viewing foreigners? Just because a group calls itself Islamic means very little in itself. The only living person with the power to unite the Muslims of the world against the US would be an arrogant and reckless American president. And any of the leading Republican contenders for the White House might well fit this description a year from now.
Notes: Ten Percent asks what the Ethiopian invasion of Somalia in 2007 might mean for Eritrea in 2008.
Source: Dyer's article appeared in Arab News, December 25, 2007.
* Dyer may be overly optimistic. A Somali commentator wrote on a blog:
. . . the US sponorship of the invasion of Somalia by proxy via Ethiopia, is, in a sense, the best thing for Somali unity! the US is more than stupid to bring Ethiopian army to Somalia. Not only will the US fail to impose Etthiopian rule on Somalia-- but in five year's time, it will be Ethiopia that will be no more! . . .

. . . yes, we fight over clanism but nothing brings Somalis under the same sense of pride than Zinawi's army occupying Mogadishu and the USA mercenaries training them there and elswhere. The Bush neocons do not read history and Somalia will end their reign of terror!

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