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WHERE IS THE OUTRAGE?!

by z Wednesday, Dec. 27, 2006 at 7:13 PM

DURING ISRAELS SUMMER WAR WITH LEBANON, WHICH WAS CLEARLY SEEN AS AN AMERICAN SUPPORTED PROXY WAR IN BUSH'S DOMINATION OF THE MIDDLE EAST, PEOPLE ALL OVER THE WORLD DEMONSTRATED AGAINST THE ISRAELI ATTACKS. ETHIOPIAN FORCES WITH THE FULL SUPPORT OF WASHINGTON ARE NOW POUNDING SOMALIA IN A BRUTAL INVASION TO DEFEAT ISLAMISTS.

WHERE IS THE OUTRAGE?!

DURING ISRAELS SUMMER WAR WITH LEBANON, WHICH WAS CLEARLY SEEN AS AN AMERICAN SUPPORTED PROXY WAR IN BUSH'S DOMINATION OF THE MIDDLE EAST, PEOPLE ALL OVER THE WORLD DEMONSTRATED AGAINST THE ISRAELI ATTACKS. ETHIOPIAN FORCES WITH THE FULL SUPPORT OF WASHINGTON ARE NOW POUNDING SOMALIA IN A BRUTAL INVASION TO DEFEAT ISLAMISTS. AT LEAST A THOUSAND PEOPLE HAVE BEEN KILLED SINCE MAJOR BATTLES ERUPTED WEDNESDAY. ARAB LIVES ARE NOT WORTH MORE THAN AFRICAN LIVES. THE GREEN LIGHT FOR ETHIOPIA TO GO AHEAD WITH THIS WAR CAME FROM WASHINGTON. THE ORDERS FOR THE INVASION OF IRAQ AND AFGHANISTAN CAME FROM WASHINGTON. ISRAEL GOT APPROVAL FROM WASHINGTON DURING THEIR ATTACKS ON LEBANON. A PROXY WAR INITIATED BY THE UNITED STATES IS THE SAME AS A DIRECT WAR INITIATED BY THE UNITED STATES. IT DOESNT MAKE A DIFFERENCE IF ETHIOPIAN TROOPS ARE FIGHTING INSTEAD OF AMERICAN TROOPS. THIS LATEST "HOLY WAR" IS TAKING PLACE ON THE WORLDS POOREST CONTINENT WHERE RELIGIOUS AND ETHNIC CONFLICT ARE ALREADY A BIG PROBLEM. THE POWERS THAT BE IN WASHINGTON ARE DELIBERATELY CAUSING THE DEMISE OF AFRICA. OUR "PROGRESSIVE LEADERSHIP" HAS NOT EVEN LIFTED A FINGER IN PROTEST ABOUT THIS. MAJOR LEFTIST ORGANIZATIONS LIKE UFPJ, ANSWER AND WCW HAVE NOT SAID ANYTHING ABOUT THE WAR IN SOMALIA WHICH PROBABLY WILL BE JUST AS DEADLY AS THE IRAQ WAR IF NOT WORSE. THE 2003 INVASION OF IRAQ GOT A HUGE RESPONSE FROM THE LEFT. NOT A SINGLE ACTIVIST GROUP, TO MY KNOWLEDGE, HAS TAKEN ACTION OVER THIS.

DO WE HAVE TO BE THAT SIMPLE-MINDED?

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Proxy War in Africa’s Horn

by Stephanie Hanson, Council on Foreign Relations, 12/20/06

In the disputed border area between Ethiopia and Eritrea, tensions have been high all year but neither side appears willing to break the stalemate. Instead, both countries have been amassing troops in neighboring Somalia in what appears to be a proxy war. The build-up threatens to tip the entire Horn of Africa into a regional war (CSMonitor). Such a conflict appears increasingly imminent: Somalia’s Islamists set a December 19 deadline for Ethiopian troops to leave the country, and shortly after its expiry, clashes erupted in several locations throughout the country.

Ethiopia—a Christian-led nation with a significant Muslim population—sent troops into Somalia in support of the country’s weak, but internationally recognized, transitional government. Since the Islamists’ seizure of Mogadishu in June and the expansion of their area of control, Addis Ababa has been concerned their influence could inflame Ethiopia’s Muslims. Eager to support the enemy of its enemy, Eritrea has provided arms and troops to support the Somali Islamists, as well as other anti-Ethiopian forces in Somalia.

The proxy war in Somalia marks a substantial escalation of the longtime conflict between Ethiopia and Eritrea. Ethiopia refuses to recognize and implement border demarcations brokered in the 2000 Algiers Agreement, which ended a bloody and futile two-year war between them. Eritrea continues to send troops into the disputed area—patrolled by UN troops—and threaten war. An International Crisis Group report warned in December 2005 that peace between the two countries was "fraying dangerously," and since then the situation has only become more precarious.

If war breaks out in Somalia, Eritrea will benefit from Ethiopia’s preoccupation with the Somali front, which might tempt it to adopt a more aggressive posture on the border region. War would also allow Somalia’s Islamists to drum up Somali nationalism as well as attract further external support. While the Ethiopia-Eritrea border dispute and Somalia’s internal power struggle are linked, the United States should work to resolve them separately, says a new Council Special Report. If it doesn’t, the report says, Ethiopia "may drag Washington into a conflict that will be framed in many parts of the Muslim world as another U.S.-sponsored attack on Islam."

A U.S.-backed Security Council resolution passed on December 6 strengthens the link between Washington and Addis Ababa. The United States said the resolution—which authorizes the deployment of an African peacekeeping force to support the transitional government—aims to halt the expansion of Islamist influence and prevent full-scale war. Yet war is exactly what the Islamists promised (VOA) if the resolution passed. Instead of promoting African peacekeeping troops in Somalia, Washington should push for peace talks between the Islamists and the transitional government, a strengthened arms embargo, and the withdrawal of foreign forces, says the Council Special Report.

"Washington’s new Somalia policy is not just self-defeating: it is inflammatory," writes Somalia expert Matt Bryden in the CSIS Online Africa Policy Forum. "The apparent determination of the United States to approach Somalia as a new front in the Global War on Terror is well along the path to becoming a self-fulfilling policy." A November report from the UN Monitoring Group on Somalia suggests the Islamists already receive help from various African and Middle Eastern nations. Experts believe only two terrorist groups—including a small al-Qaeda cell—currently operate in Somalia, but as this Backgrounder notes, conditions are ripe for the country to become a significant terrorist haven.

http://www.cfr.org/publication/12225/proxy_war_in_africas_horn.html

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Marines Mission Shrouded in Mystery

The East African Standard (Nairobi, Kenya) 12/03/06 By Victor Obure And Boniface Ongeri

The return of United States marines in North Eastern Province has raised eyebrows among the local Muslims amid fears that the province is likely to be used as the launching pad for the wider war on terror.

The last time the marines were there, they spent the upward of Sh200 million on health, education and water for the impoverished residents.

After a hostile reception and boycott of their humanitarian services, residents said the marines wormed their way into their hearts with goodies.

Their unexpected arrival in a convoy of trucks with sophisticated military and engineering equipment caused a stir in Garissa town.

"We thought we had seen the last of them when they left the province late 2004 after completing the humanitarian projects," said Mr Hussein Issa, a Garissa branch Narc chairman.

"Now that they are back, it seems they have a special attachment to northern Kenya - probably due to its proximity to Somalia," he added.

Rumours abound on their mission

Rumours are rife about their mission. Some residents are convinced that the marines are out to track down Al-Qaeda sleeper cells in Somalia.

Others think the marines are on their way to Somalia to protect the ailing Transitional Federal Authority of Somalia from the increasingly powerful Union of Islamic Courts, which

are perceived to be sympathetic to the Al-Qaeda cause.

The rare spectacle when the Americans landed in town caused commotion as hordes of curious residents milled around the Garissa Military Barracks, where the marines have made temporary base.

Ironically, the last time the marines were in town, the Government was forced to publicly declare their mission after the predominantly Muslim residents ejected them from a Garissa hotel.

During the incident, the marines were forced to abandon medical and veterinary services to the residents. There were claims that their drugs could cause infertility.

The residents feared that the drugs were meant to reduce and subsequently wipe out the Muslim community.

Residents held street protests

The propaganda was even spread in local mosques. Many residents took the fears seriously and stayed away from a free medical camp at the Kenya Red Cross Society camp.

Residents held street protests and invaded a hotel where some of the marines were residing.

They pelted guests with stones.

The Provincial Commissioner, Mr Abdull Mwassera, convened a leaders' meeting to dispel the residents' fears.

The leaders later softened their stance against the marines, but demanded infrastructural development.

The United States government later repackaged the charity and instead opted to rehabilitate and improve public institutions in the region.

Some of the projects the marines undertook included the Sh8 million renovation and fencing of Wajir District Hospital. They also donated Sh18 million for the construction of Bute Girls Secondary School, rehabilitated facilities at Modogashe, Bura and Mbalambala secondary schools to the tune of Sh2.5 million each and sunk wells in some locations.

Soldiers said to be on a humanitarian mission

Last month, they showed up with heavy trucks. Unlike their previous visit, there were no ceremonies to welcome them.

The soldiers - in their twenties and donning military fatigues - this time round arrived in batches, perhaps to conceal their numbers.

They usually left the town after dusk with local Administration Police officers in tow.

Herdsmen in the district have reportedly fled whenever they encountered the marine's convoy snaking through the rangeland in some sites they intend to sink wells.

The North Eastern Provincial Commissioner, Mr Kiritu Wamae, was last week forced to call an impromptu public meeting to dispel the negative perception about the presence of the troops in town.

He insisted that the marines were on a humanitarian mission in the region and were working in partnership with the Kenya Army officers.

Wamae said the soldiers planned to drill 10 boreholes in Garissa District.

Claims of recruitment of local youths to fight in Somalia

Critics, however, cast doubts on the explanations.

The presence of the American soldiers in North Eastern Province has raised speculations that they may be on a mission to raid suspected terrorist cells in neighbouring Somalia.

Some think the borehole project was designed to hoodwink locals to welcome the troops so that their main mission could sail through without any hitch.

The return of the Americans in the province coincidentally came barely a fortnight after Wamae revealed that the Islamic Court Unions (ICU) was using some local leaders to recruit youth from the province for mercenary activities in Somalia.

He told a Kenyatta Day meeting in Garissa that the Government was aware of the recruitment. He disclosed that he had a list of youths recruited for a " holy war" in Somalia.

His remarks elicited mixed reactions. Some religious leaders demanded an official apology in a week's time or hold street protests to demand his removal.

Chairman of the Council of Imams and Preachers, Sheikh Hassan Amey, led the local Supreme Council of Kenya Muslims (Supkem) in denouncing Wamae's claims, saying they portrayed locals in bad light.

War on terror

Mandera Central Member of Parliament Mr Billow Kerrow echoed similar sentiments and said the ICU had the goodwill and backing of the common Somalia nationals and had no business looking for Kenyan youth to fight their own wars.

Wamae challenged his critics to prove their claims and declared that he had no apologies to make.

"In my career as an administrator dating back to my days as a District Officer I have never and will never apologise over any public remark I make on behalf of the Government because I speak what I know and I have established," he said.

The soldiers also showed up when Western focus had shifted to Somalia over concerns that ICU had links with some people in the wanted list of suspected terrorists.

It is believed that ICU leaders - including Mr Hassan Turki who the West say had a hand in the August 1998 simultaneous bombings of the US embassies in Nairobi and Dar es Salaam - was hosting terror suspects in the war weary country.

A senior US counter terrorism commander with the combined joint task force (CJTF) in Djibouti recently said attention had shifted to the Horn of Africa to police the Somali coast, East Africa sea board and lower Middle East following the September 11 terrorist attacks in America.

Concerned over flow of arms into Somalia

He disclosed that the 1,500 troops and warships are responsible for Eritrea, Somalia, Sudan, Ethiopia, Kenya, Djibouti, Mauritius, Comoros, Seychelles and Yemen.

The sources also intimated that military and civilian staff of CJTF were involved in humanitarian and civil works and allayed fears that the marines had their designs on Somalia.

"US forces harbour no designs on Somalia although Washington is concerned about the flow of arms into country," the commander said.

He further told journalists that Washington had no evidence to the effect that ICU had connections with Al-Qaeda terrorism network.

The official said that past US assessments of the Somalia situation and the region has been inadequate.

"America does not have sufficient knowledge of the (Somali) people and hence needs a

better understanding of the region," the official added.

The US and Ethiopia have accused ICU leader Sheikh Hassan Dahir Aweys and commanders Adan Hashi Ayro and Sheikh Hassan Turki of having links with Al-Qaeda and sheltering masterminds of the 1998 and 2002 bombings in East Africa.

http://allafrica.com/stories/200612041176.html

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