Monday :: Jun 5, 2006

Mogadishu! Gezundheit!

by pessimist

[Many pardons for the poor pun]

The tag line in the 1967-69 TV Western The Guns of Will Sonnett went "No brag - just fact."

Someone should sit C+ Augustus down in front of a Sony and have him watch a few episodes.

About a year ago [29 June, 2005], King George, in a 'Mission Accomplished' moment, made a very boastful speech, bragging about the 'Significant progress' the Coalition of the $willing had made out of Iraq:

A little over a year ago, I spoke to the nation and described our coalition's goal in Iraq. In the past year, we have made significant progress:

* One year ago today, we restored sovereignty to the Iraqi people. In January 2005, more than eight million Iraqi men and women voted in elections that were free and fair - and took place on time.

* We continued our efforts to help them rebuild their country. Rebuilding a country after three decades of tyranny is hard - and rebuilding while at war is even harder. We are improving roads, and schools, and health clinics ... and working to improve basic services like sanitation, electricity, and water.

And together with our allies, we will help the new Iraqi government deliver a better life for its citizens.

"Just brag - no fact":

Armed men kidnap 50 in Baghdad
June 5, 2006

Gunmen - dressed in police uniforms - have seized at least 50 people in coordinated raids on bus stations in central Baghdad today, Iraqi officials said. Witness Haidar Mohammed Eleibi said his brother and a cousin had been among those kidnapped. "They took all workers from the companies and nearby shops," he said.
"They did not give any reason for it. Police came afterwards, and did nothing."
Amjad Hameed, a transport worker, said the kidnappers had stormed into the area and seized people at random. "We asked them why, but nobody replied," he said, adding that Iraqi forces and US troops had attended the scene afterwards.

The abductions came a day after masked gunmen stopped two minivans carrying students north of Baghdad. They ordered the passengers to get out before segregating Sunni and Shia Muslims and killing 21 Shia "in the name of Islam".

It was among the worst violence Iraq's second city has seen since US- forced invaded to topple Saddam Hussein in 2003.

"No brag - just fact": That's some 'better life' you delivered to Iraq, George! But while all of this was going on, did you know that you lost yet another war???

Yes, George - you just lost another war. "No brag - just fact".

First - a little background so my readers can catch up - and pass you:

Experts say US funding Somali warlords
By David Morgan
Jun 5, 2006

The Bush administration has maintained a silence over allegations in recent months of a U.S. proxy war against Islamist radicalism in the country.

Why remain silent when it might 'energize the base'?

A United Nations team charged with monitoring a U.N. arms embargo against Somalia has said it is investigating an unnamed country's clandestine support for the warlords alliance as a possible violation of the weapons ban.

Ah, so! Can't discourage the Coalition of the $willing - what remains of it:

The United States has been funneling more than $100,000 a month to warlords battling Islamist militia in Somalia, according to a Somalia expert who has conferred with the groups in the country. The U.S. operation, which former intelligence officials say is aimed at preventing emergence of rulers who could provide al Qaeda with a safe haven akin to Taliban-ruled Afghanistan, appeared to be seriously set back on Monday when an Islamic coalition claimed control of Mogadishu.

Have you not seen Black Hawk Down, George? Someone should screen that for you. The Somalis kicked American ass. "No brag - just fact":

Americans have bad memories of U.S. involvement in Somalia in 1993, when 18 U.S. soldiers were killed and 79 injured in a battle with guerrillas loyal to warlord Mohamed Farrah Aidid after entering the country to support a relief effort.

Saner heads than any you surround yourself with in DC would have advised you against playing in a league you aren't ready for:

A dangerous game in Somalia
Supporting warlords against Islamists won't stop terror
May 25, 2006

IN SOMALIA, IT'S NOT MERELY STUPID to assume that the enemy of your enemy is your friend. It's liable to get you killed. Yet the United States appears to be supporting one group of Somali warlords, who have repackaged themselves as secular anti-terrorists, to fight another group of equally brutal Islamist Somali warlords.

The U.S. involvement, an open secret since 2002, became undeniable this month after fighting between the two sides killed at least 140 people in Mogadishu. Last week, White House and State Department spokesmen didn't bother, even when asked, to shoot down reports that the U.S. is backing one of the warring militias — thus backhandedly confirming that the Somalia operation had White House approval.

(John R. Bolton, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, did deny that the United States had violated a U.N. embargo on sending arms to Somalia. Cynics say that means the U.S. gave the warlords cash instead of guns.)
Do their hapless U.S. sponsors hope to find an Ahmad Chalabi hiding under a technical,
ready to lead a united Somalia?

A Somali 'technical'

The emergence of a suddenly well-armed force with overt links to Uncle Sam has had the predictable effect of uniting the heretofore fractious Islamists against their common enemies.
Now they are more dangerous than before.

"No brag - just fact" - as events began to prove recently:

'US risking another fiasco in Somalia'

The warlord alliance said to be receiving US funding for weapons purchases is losing control of Mogadishu to militias affiliated with sharia courts. Some Somalia experts in the United States say that the Islamist militias linked to the sharia courts have a solid and growing base among Mogadishu residents. The courts are seen as offering the promise of order and stability in a country beset by anarchy for the past 15 years, these Somalia watchers say.

Some policymakers in Washington view the prospect of Islamist dominance of Somalia’s capital with alarm. They fear that the city could then become a staging area for al Qaeda militants believed to be hiding in Somalia.

Some US officials are arguing, however, that siding with Somali warlords in the widening war in and around Mogadishu will have the effect of actually increasing popular support for the Islamists. That was apparently the position taken by Michael Zorick, who was recently transferred from the post of Somalia political officer in the US embassy in Nairobi.

Newsweek and other media outlets reported last week that Zorick had been reassigned to Chad after writing a memo critical of the Bush administration’s alignment with the warlord faction that claims to be defending Mogadishu against a terrorist takeover.

Local observers could see what Michael Zorick could see - and what Bu$hCo could not:

Kenya should be wary of Somali conflict

In a short while United States allies in Somalia will be routed from Mogadishu where an inter-militia war has raged for about four months. Evidence of the collapse of the latest US policy on Somalia is abundant.

Washington has failed to rally the Somalia masses against Aweys and his group. Somalis believe not that there are terrorists in their midst. Neither do they believe that the way to fight so called terrorists is to use the very warlords that have committed crimes against the Somali people themselves. The US thus discredited itself by allying itself with the very warlords Somali’s blame for their current problems.

The US must now realises [sic] the folly of relying on money-loving warlords and busybodies in Nairobi, known for their willingness to manufacture intelligence in exchange for US dollars.

In that regard, the US has once again failed to internalise the complex dynamics of the Somalia nation and the civil war that plagues it. Without a functional government in Somalia it is impossible to get reliable intelligence from a distrusting people welded to the hypothesis that the Americans hold a vendetta against them, Islam and their nation.

What is happening in Somalia against the pro-American warlords is a surge of Somalia nationalism similar to the one Americans encountered in Vietnam.

It has very little to do with Islam.

And so it came to pass. "No brag - just fact":

Islamic Militia Seizes Somalia's Capital

An Islamic militia with alleged links to al-Qaida seized Somalia's capital Monday after weeks of fighting with U.S.-backed secular warlords, raising fears that the nation could fall under the sway of Osama bin Laden's terrorist organization.
"We won the fight against the enemy of Islam. Mogadishu is under control of its people,"
Sheik Sharif Sheik Ahmed, chairman of the Islamic Courts Union, said in a radio broadcast.
Omar Jamal, director of the Somali Justice Advocacy Center in St. Paul, Minn., said the Islamic militia's victory in Mogadishu was a turning point in the country's history.

"It is exactly the same thing that happened with the rise to power of the Taliban" in Afghanistan, he said, adding that the extremists are "using the people's weariness of violence, rape and civil war" to gain support for a government based on Islamic law.

"The victory of Islamic courts is a major step toward a lasting peaceful settlement in Mogadishu," said Somali economist Abdinasir Ahmed. "We are tired of the deception and rhetoric of the warlords."

Abdulqaadir Bashir, a computer engineer, disagreed. "The Islamic clerics want to be like Taliban regime in Afghanistan," he said. "People have no hope at all."

The Islamic militia is gaining ground just as the U.N.-backed interim government struggles to assert control outside its base in Baidoa, 155 miles from Mogadishu. The prices of weapons soared there Monday as fears grew that the militia could head to Baidoa next.

"This war will not stop in Mogadishu," Jamal said.

"No brag - just fact."

Apparent victory by Islamists in Somalia poses questions for U.S.
BY JONATHAN S. LANDAY, Knight Ridder Newspapers
Jun. 05, 2006

U.S. officials and other experts warned that if the militias consolidated their victory they would establish an Islamist state where al-Qaida could secure bases from which it could spread its violent ideology to other East African and Horn of Africa nations.

Somalia "can be a platform for further action," warned Bruno Schiemsky, the chairman of a group of experts appointed by the U.N. Security Council to monitor Somalia, in a telephone interview from Nairobi, Kenya.

Al-Qaida-inspired extremists might be allowed to use Somalia as a refuge from which to support and mount operations against Yemen and Saudi Arabia, the world's No. 1 oil producer, located a boat ride away across the Red Sea, said U.S. officials and other experts.

"If they can grab control and maintain it, Somalia becomes a little place that becomes important to al-Qaida and other Islamists," agreed Michael Scheuer, who was the first chief of the CIA unit that tracks Osama bin Laden and his network. U.S. officials said the Islamists are already hosting the al-Qaida planner of the 1998 bombings of the U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania and two organizers of a failed 2002 attempt to down an Israeli passenger jet in Kenya with a missile.

Blood-thirsty war-deserter George can't wait to make his move in the region, now that there is a 'clear and present danger':

The Bush administration has deployed about 1,500 U.S. troops in the tiny nation of Djibouti, on Somalia's northern border, as part of a regional strategy of preventing al-Qaida and other radical Islamic groups from operating in the rugged, poverty-stricken and largely lawless Horn of Africa.

"Poverty-stricken and largely lawless" - King George should feel right at home in a place like that! Isn't that what he and his cabal are doing to America? Fighting wars they don't win while the country falls apart from his economic abuse and neglect in order to save the already-too-wealthy who imposed him upon us a couple more sheckels?

No brag. Just fact.

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