Chaff Launch

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Somalia: Aid groups consider leaving due to violence


Somalia just continues to fall apart - soon it will just be a collection of clans/gangs until some powerful warlord decides to take it all. In the meantime, as thousands starve, Aid groups mull leaving Somalia:
Humanitarian agencies in Somalia are considering suspending operations after two aid workers were shot dead in less than 24 hours.

Some aid organisations are reported to be reviewing their security measures following the attacks.

Violence against aid workers in Somalia has increased dramatically in recent weeks. But it is not clear exactly who is behind the attacks.

Half of Somalia's population needs food aid due to drought and conflict.
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The BBC's Mohamed Olad Hassan in Mogadishu says it is not clear who is behind the killings, since many factions in Somalia's chaotic war stand to benefit from the violence.

Our correspondent says powerful local leaders have complained that aid workers are feeding Islamic insurgents who had sworn to fight the government, and insurgents have also targeted Somalis affiliated with foreign organisations in the past.

He says the problem has been compounded by the growth of professional kidnapping rings, who security experts say have been encouraged by the large cash ransoms paid by foreigners to release ships taken by pirates.
What you are willing to pay for you surely will get more of.

Reasonable reminder of how the Somalia mess got worse here from the Harvard Political Review:
Since the overthrow of dictator Mohammed Siad Barre in 1991, Somalia has experienced a nearly uninterrupted state of armed conflict between militias loyal to a rival local warlords. After fourteen failed attempts at establishing a unified, sovereign national government, Somalia’s reputation as a “failed state” also makes it a highly desirable haven for foreign terrorists...
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The primary sources of division within Somalia are neither ethnic nor sectarian interests, but rather clan-based ones. As David Smock of the United States Institute of Peace explained in an interview with HPR, “Even though Somalis speak the same language, share the same culture, and share the same religion, the clan structure is very divisive.” Without a strong central government, different regions of Somalia fall under the jurisdiction of various tribes and local clan leaders. The central and southern regions — which include the capital, Mogadishu — suffer from a political climate in which cooperation rarely extends beyond the most immediate subunits of one’s own clan. In an interview with HPR, James Bishop, the United States’ last ambassador to Somalia, explained that there is “competition for water, pasturage, and… cattle. It is a competition that used to be fought out with arrows and sabers… Now it is fought out with AK-47s.”
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The way forward in Somalia poses a dilemma for policymakers, as it calls for the simultaneous reconstruction of so many facets of society: political institutions, social order, economic stability, and basic humanitarian needs. To some, the United States’ focus on global terrorism seems to distract from the broader mission of nation-building, and has kept it from getting involved more actively in solving Somalia’s problems. Al-Najjar argues, “The United States’ policy is confused rather than proactive…The UN has a very good plan for the reconstruction of Somalia. It needs political and economic support.” The UN’s agenda involves the construction of transportation and infrastructure across all regions of the country in an effort to stimulate economic growth. The international community must also find a way to replace Ethiopian troops, whom Somalis have long resented for reasons dating back to Cold War-era territorial struggles, with an international peacekeeping force. Meanwhile, the Transitional Federal Government is in the process of drafting a constitution in the hope that parliamentary elections may be completed by 2009.
As you may recall, it was not the U.S.'s "focus on global terrorism" that took it out of "nation-building." It was the deaths of U.S. troops and the unwillingness of the Clinton administration to provide suitable military resources and to stay the course...

See here.

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