Friday, August 07, 2009

Progressing Right Along

NAIROBI, Kenya – U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton has pledged to "expand and extend" American support for Somalia's weak interim government as it struggles against Islamist extremists believed linked to al-Qaida.

Accusing the extremists of trying to turn Somalia into a base for global terrorism, Clinton said Thursday that the Obama administration would continue to provide military supplies and other aid to the government and support an African peacekeeping force on the ground. She did not give details of the new aid.

------- Did anyone really believe that the democrats, progressives, "left," wouldn't use the terminology of "Islamist extremists" and "al-Qaida" just as BushCo did?

Clinton and Somalian president Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed spoke at a joint news conference where Ms. Clinton pledged to support Somalia's fight against the Islamic insurgency.

The United States has supported Ethiopia in its intervention in Somalia. In December 2006, Washington provided intelligence and logistical support to the Ethiopian forces working to defeat the armed wing of the Supreme Islamic Courts Council (SICC) and control most of southern and central Somalia.

But, it's a new day and a new administration in D.C.

Sheikh Sharif Ahmed was leader of the SICC in 2006.

Though the Ethiopian forces ejected the SICC leadership and its militant group of fighters — called the Shabaab, meaning "youth" — from Mogadishu in December 2007, neither the leaders nor the fighters were defeated or captured.

On to Kenya to eventually meet Ms. Clinton.

Sheikh Ahmed was elected president of Somalia January 30, 2009. The election was necessitated following the resignation of President Abdullahi Yusuf Ahmed in December 2008. The situation was so bad in Somalia the election was held in Djibouti, a tiny piece of African real estate owned by the French until 1977.

"Dressed in military fatigues, Sheikh Ahmed said war against Ethiopia was inevitable, raising fears of a regional conflict. "From today, I am declaring jihad against Ethiopia, which has invaded our country and taken parts of our homeland" ... "The jihad is on from now (and) application of that will be directed by the supreme council," Sheikh Ahmed added.

A week ago the big question was - will Sheikh Ahmed press hands with Hillary or not? Some Somalis have argued that Sharif should refrain from pressing palms, if only to keep the Shabaab from scoring a public relations victory.

"If they shake hands, they'll definitely use it as propaganda," said one Somali analyst who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the Shabaab is known to target critics. (Remember, the Shabaab "youth" were Sheikhster supporters.)

But in recent interviews with Somali exiles -- a generally moderate bunch -- most said they are in favor of the handshake, a view that reflects their cautious optimism about U.S. support for Ahmed, usually referred to as Sheikh Sharif. The United States recently shipped 40 tons of ammunition to help the government fight the rebels.

Let's take a brief look at Somalia. Around 1969 Siad Barre became president of Somalia, and ruled for 20 years until his "overthrow" in 1991. Barre, upon taking office, said that Somalia would break the chains of a consumer economy (capitalism) and henceforth would be a socialist state. The USSR totally behind him of course, with military aid and developing facilities at the Port of Barbera, a strategic oil route.

"In our Revolution we believe that we have broken the chain of a consumer economy based on imports, and we are free to decide our destiny. And in order to realize the interests of the Somali people, their achievement of a better life, the full development of their potentialities and the fulfillment of their aspirations, we solemnly declare Somalia to be a Socialist State."

Barre was quite intent on ending tribalism and clanishness in Somalia, making it illegal to ask anyone what clan or tribe they were from - because we are all one village, etc. Ten years into the Barre regime, around 1977, the Soviets began pumping aid and arms to Ethiopia, not a friend of Somalia, and Barre promptly expelled the Soviets, tore up treaties, and switched to the US/West camp. The US became Barre/Somalia's new best friend. The Soviets became the new best friend of Ethiopia, pumping aid and arms into that country.

It was the same old US/USSR proxy wars, using locals in their fight to control the region. But along came Jimmy Carter who, dealing with the oil crisis and the Iranian hostage crisis had little time to concern himself with who would be the big dog in the region, although his administration was backing Barre, only to ward off the Soviets from having complete control of the region. By the way, the US funds were paltry compared to the amounts the Soviets were pouring into the area in this time period. Par for the course, the USSR supplied tens of thousands of Cuban troops to Africa's "civil wars."

Then came Reagan, not as hands-off as Carter, his method more or less encouraged the Soviets to spend and spend to aid and arm their friends in Somalia, Ethiopia, Angola, Sudan, etc., spending which some attribute to the USSR economic collapse. In the meantime, Reagan used the widening footprint of the Soviets in Africa and Latin America as a dire threat. Not because they were a threat to our freedom, would land on our shores and put us nonbelievers of socialism behind barbed wire, but because they would control a large chunk of oil and trade that fuels the American standard of living.

During these times, the American "left" is loud and adamant about US foreign intervention, our "footprint" trampling the poor third world - they seldom, if ever, enlighten their followers to the fact that the Soviet boot print is just as large, sometimes larger. If they do, they pretend to condemn both superpowers - while praising Lenin's doctrine and Fidel's troops.

Barre was overthrown in 1989 by "rebels" who were of course supported by Ethiopia (USSR) - chaos and "failed state" came next. The USSR collapsed, Ethiopia became the US best friend. Then Poppy Bush had Mogadishu. Then the '80s, Bill Clinton had our new best friend China to do business with and the Balkans. Boy Bush looked to the Middle East. Somalia and Ethiopia have been on the back burner more or less since the fall of Barre. Both superpowers leaving fewer footprints. Then comes - a new boot in town, China.

The "left" continues the "human rights" charade (Hillary's husband did say sorry to Rwanda) and continues accusing US capitalist pigs of one devious plot or another - remember Bubba - socialism doesn't kill people, capitalism does.

Now the "left" is back in the saddle and Ms. Hillary is shaking hands with the Sheikh who declared jihad against our used to be best friend Ethiopia. While Boy Bush was busy with Iraq/Afghanistan, China has become the new best friend of Ethiopia and Somalia - same deals as the old US but it's not capitalism because, cough cough ahem, China isn't a capitalist country. But if Americans don't mind living just a notch above most of the third world, this might work out fine, since the Clintons are good friends with China, and apparently Kim Jong since he can get Bill to tap-dance, and Obama has family in the region (Kenya), so what's another 40 tons of ammo among friends, as long as socialist "left" Big Business is not leaving any fingerprints.


Anonymous said...

I would like to see the leaders of the African countries profiting from other courtries the way other countries are profiting from Africa.
Or is it already happening?

Kate-A said...

Happening. The "leaders" of Africa profit from other countries - it's the little people who suffer.

Omar Bongo, head of Gabon, uses public funds (state profits from international business deals and "aid") to buy himself real estate in France, rather than spend funds on his own countrymen. There's Mugabe and Taylor and other "dictators", all openly corrupt.

Taylor was defended by Pat Robertson - supposedly because Taylor was a Christian but more likely because Robertson had invested millions in Liberia.

Remember former congressman Wm Jefferson from Louisiana - he had 90k in his freezer? He was convicted for using his congressional office as a criminal enterprise to enrich himself and family members, soliciting and accepting bribes to support his business ventures in Africa - also convicted of racketeering and money laundering - most of it to do with Nigerian business deals.

In today's politics about the only difference between the US or the "West" and the blatant corruption in third world countries is those countries rob and rule with armies, while the US/West does it by distraction/entertainment and/or schmoozing people with rhetoric about the "common good." Or hope and change.

Which is why we should have as little government as possible - it reduces the number of crooks and liars who can legally pick our pockets.

Socialism inevitably has to pick Paul's pocket to pay Peter - I think why we're seeing so much more politicoeconomic corruption and social decay in the US is because we have gone more socialist. All the nations I've researched that are extremely corrupt are also "socialist," many existing for decades on foreign aid, led by thieves selling their nations' resources - they keep their people weak, dependent, brutal and ignorant.

Beats me how or why anyone would want "the world can live as one" under socialism because for most folks they will be on the bottom of the heap with little chance to advance to anything other than grist for Big Government's mill.

Anonymous said...

Kate thank you so much for your answer. Your comments and research are a gift to your readers and so interesting.
It is a shame that the African leaders pocket the money. It would be wonderful if the leaders would invest in their people and educational institutions and so forth. Why not become power to be recconed with. The industry of selling Africa as a nation of poor, hungry, sick children is tiresome. Why not market them as strong and resourceful?

Your answer just told me why.

Kate-A said...

Thank you anon.

There are several books on what "aid" to African development has done - negative consequences. Dambisa Moyo (African economist) is one author, “Dead Aid: Why Aid is Not Working and How There is A Better Way for Africa."

Moyo makes a good case as to why aid/dependency has made Africa more miserable today than it was 40 years but her solution for economic development is to turn to China - to me that is nothing more than "meet the new boss, same as the old boss" ...

There are older books out there that make a good case as to why even with trillions of "aid" the continent still suffers so horribly but I can't recall the titles offhand.

Kate-A said...

There are successful areas in Africa, I think Ghana is one, and modern cities and economies. But more money is raised by showing disease and starvation and mud huts ....

Latin America is not much different than Africa - but the media and pols portray the two regions very differently - based on political agendas.

Anonymous said...

Yes, I agree that more money is raised by showing disease and so forth. I will no doubt get to some of the books you mentioned at some point.

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