Abdirizak Omar Mohamed
Monday, January 07, 2008
Surprisingly, it marks the first anniversary of Ethiopia’s illegal occupation of Somalia, and I write this piece in memory of those who were killed, looted and raped by this aggression of the unholy alliance of the Ethiopians and its TFG militias, everyone who died while resisting occupation is a martyr, and it is within every Somali’s god given right as well as under international laws to resist occupation and liberate your country from outside aggression. It is evident that this Ethiopian illegal occupation was designed in Washington, and contrary to the State department’s blunt denial that the US did not give Ethiopia the green light to invade Somalia, this illegal invasion is consistent with the policy of the USA’s fight against real or imagined terrorism when one observes the US foreign policy and examines statements made by higher officials of the US state department.
The atrocities committed against innocent civilians cannot be buried under the surface and as facts unfold, and the scale of atrocities become public, the behavior and actions of Ethiopia and the TFG cronies becomes a thorny issue on the USA foreign policy to the extent that these atrocities are now being implicated on the USA’s involvement in the region and its war on terror, out of all this though one thing is becoming clear and that is – the US has failed to learn from its past mistakes, when early last year it financed the warlords as its proxy without examining their credibility to flush out Islamist from becoming in power in Somalia, and consequently it turned out to generate a widespread public support in favor of the Islamist and the defeat of the warlords.
Just like greedy big corporations in the west in pursuit of profit maximization outsource their production to companies in developing nations who in turn use child labor in sweatshops in Indonesia, India and China, countries with dismal record of labor laws that protect the welfare of children, the Bush administration has adapted that corporate economic mentality and outsourced its war on terror to vicious dictators and repressive regimes with dismal records of human rights- as in the case of Somalia
The no secret so secret of the USA foreign policy is its war on terror throughout the globe where in many parts of the globe the USA is directly involved militarily, and others where it indirectly uses rogue dictators and repressive nations to do its dirty work by providing logistical and financial support to minimize American lives and cost- a sort of cost benefit analysis. However, the problem of outsourcing war on terror to such repressive nations such as Ethiopia and its TFG cronies is to use the maxim “to be more catholic than the pope” that the magnitude of the atrocities these dictators direct against civilians become immeasurable while justifying their colossal behavior in the name of war on terror.
Those who are directly involved with terrorism activities are criminals but those who commit state sponsored terrorism are equally criminals and when governmental apparatus are at their disposal, are even capable of inflicting more harm and thus are the most brutal and dangerous brand of terrorism. In the realm of foreign and military policy, I cannot fathom the notion that air bombing on a country filled with starving people will serve the long-term interest of the USA in its war on terror, such action will not serve its stated objective and will not discourage people from following the Union of Islamic courts and will only radicalize more and more people. The facts are the UIC pacified the country and created an environment conducive to peace and security and people embraced them because they brought back normalcy to a nation devastated by a sixteen years of civil war: if that is not what the civilized world and international community were looking forward in Somalia for the past 16 years, then it begs to ask is carpet bombing and shelling of civilians and destroying the properties and infrastructure of Mogadishu as well as displacing more than one million worth the hunt for three imagined or real terrorists, hiding somewhere in a country of ten million population?. Just like the supposedly weapons of mass destruction that was never found was convincingly the justification for invading Iraq.
In America where everything has a price tag, we can in any case imagine predictably, the monetary motive in outsourcing the USA government’s war on terror to such dictators as Meles Zenawi of Ethiopia, a country known for its human rights violation as one of the worst in the world. The USA has offered $ 196 Million in aid and a promise of more financial rewards to come in the future merely for playing a proxy for the USA’s third front on the war on terror in Somalia, awarding such amount of money to a dictator who oppresses his political opponents and committed genocide in the Ogaden region as reported by New York times. Should the US not use such repressive regimes as a proxy for its war on terror, America would have spent billions of dollars just to ship its war toys and deploy its military in a place like Somalia, as well as safe American lives. The benefit of assigning such task to Melez and Yusuf far outweighs the cost of doing it alone, and they will deliver it to the US satisfaction and specification.
It is becoming obvious now that the International community that has financially supported this unholy coalition of Ethiopian forces and TFG militia is now contemplating of distancing itself from their failures, as the atrocities committed against civilians is becoming more and more public. Moreover, the TFG which is comprised of illiterates and semi-literates as well as former warlords with no basic schooling and an 80 years old president with complex health problems who publicly stated it is ok to shell innocent civilians in Mogadishu is becoming irrelevant in the eyes of the Somali people as they do not have the know-how of running a country and are responsible for many of the atrocities committed against citizens they were supposed to serve.
Such dictators reciprocate not only in kind, but sometimes their actions warrant war crimes, that is why America’s war on terror uses rendition to such rogue states as an effective way to get away with public scrutiny. Accordingly, Reuter news reported on December 31, 2007 that the conflict in Somalia killed 6,501 civilians in the capital Mogadishu in 2007 and wounded 8,516 more, a local human rights group the Elman Peace and Human Rights Organization said it had recorded 1.5 million people uprooted from their homes in the city of Mogadishu.
The Somali people have displayed courage when faced misery and hardship in the past in the hands of viscous warlords and will continue their resolve to liberate their country from the Ethiopians and its TFG stooges. For the US it is high time to embrace a new paradigm shift on its war on terror and particularly its foreign policy with respect to Somalia as its current approach is counterproductive and is perceived negatively by all Somalis, just like the world’s perception on America as a nation that champion democracy is taking downward spiraling, it just doesn’t add up, when America’s staunchest ally on the war on terror Great Britain shows only 24% of the population has positive perception on the USA, and Egypt a country that America provides 5 billion in foreign aid only 13% of the population has positive view on America- well, Canada your neighbor in the north, the late Prime Minister Lester B. Pearson invented the notion of UN peacekeeping, and we have a center in memory of Pearson that promotes international peace and security not the USA’s unilateralism- call us country of socialists, leftists or liberals, but we don’t invade other nations and we promote peace and security through the world yet we don’t export and impose our kind of democracy on other countries, and we embrace multilateralism, that is why our former prime minister Jean Chretien was right for not supporting you, when you sought Canada’s support for your unilateral decision to invade Iraq. The true north is definitely a country worth replicating its foreign policy if America wants to reform its tarnished reputation.
Abdirizak Omar Mohamed
Is an independent researcher, a member of Somali Canadian Diaspora Alliance who holds Masters Degree in Environmental Studies, focusing on post-conflict development from York University, Toronto, Canada, and can be reached at E-mail [email protected]