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Thread: Somalia: not piracy catch all thread

  1. #101
    Council Member Dayuhan's Avatar
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    “The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary”

    H.L. Mencken

  2. #102
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default UK to Somalia via Kenya: wanting to fight?

    There has been concern in the UK that citizens or residents will be radicalised and try to join the Al-Shabab / AQ fighters in Somalia. I'm sure it has been reported upon before, this is IIRC the first confirmed report and note the community response.

    Edited slightly:
    Two 18-year-olds from Cardiff, Mohamed Mohamed, and Iqbal Shahzad, deported from Kenya on Wednesday, were detained by the Metropolitan Police under the Terrorism Act, have been released without charge, say police. The men had been arrested close to the Kenyan border with Somalia, over suspected links to Somali militants.
    The father of Mohamed Mohamed, of Somali descent, alerted police and flew out to find his son....

    A joint statement from the Muslim community in Cardiff said the Somali and Pakistani community in particular, and the Muslim community in general, are anxiously waiting for the arrival of the pair.

    "The families of the two youths are thankful to God that they are both safe and well," said the statement.

    "Once the families realised that the two youths were missing, the authorities were notified. We are grateful that the authorities in collaboration with the communities were able to establish the whereabouts of the youths."
    Link:http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-15384716

    Note the Somali community in Cardiff have been UK nationals for a long time, they were originally sailors and IMHO one of the least likely communities to find this would happen.
    davidbfpo

  3. #103
    Council Member Dayuhan's Avatar
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    Default Not much detail, but not looking good...

    http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/worl...can-union.html

    Somali militia claims slaughter of African Union soldiers

    A Somali militia linked to Al Qaeda claimed Thursday to have killed dozens of African Union soldiers in fighting in Mogadishu and displayed the bodies on the outskirts of the war-torn capital.

    If the claim is confirmed, it would represent the largest loss for the 9,000-member AU mission in Somalia since it began in 2007. And it would serve as a blunt warning of the Shabab militia’s capabilities, even as Kenyan soldiers press into its stronghold in famine-ravaged southern Somalia...

    ...Shabab spokesman Ali Mohamed Raghe held up the small wooden crosses and Bibles of the dead, claiming they were Burundian troops...
    “The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary”

    H.L. Mencken

  4. #104
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default AU rejects al-Shabab bodies 'stunt' in Somalia

    The BBC adds:http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-15401898

    Note the BBC does not currently have a reporter in country, nor was the LA Times report based on a reporter in country.

    I did note Al-Shabab - in the LA Times report - had taken the bodies:
    ..to a Shabab-controlled area about 10 miles outside Mogadishu.
    Last edited by davidbfpo; 10-21-2011 at 01:05 PM.
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  5. #105
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    Second grenade attack in Nairobi in as many days, Al Shabab sticking to their word it would seem. http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/...79N5W220111024

  6. #106
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default Small war grows across and within Kenya's borders

    I know the taking of European hostages got attention here for a short time and last week's Kenyan military incursion too. The linked article gives IMHO a wider viewpoint - mainly affecting Kenya - and helps to understand what is going on. It starts with:
    ..A fractious mix of violence and politics is unsettling the relationship between east African neighbours and putting more pressure on Somalis living in Kenya. The Somali militia group known as al-Shabaab is often viewed as the source of the problem. But the roots of the turmoil go deep in Kenya's own history..
    Link:http://www.opendemocracy.net/daniel-...ape-of-tension
    davidbfpo

  7. #107
    Council Member carl's Avatar
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    The Kenyans say they are going to take Kismayo, and hold it.

    http://www.news24.com/Africa/News/Ke...malia-20111020

    Information Dissemination says too that the Kenyans are being supported by an air force of a Western power.

    If the Kenyans are serious about holding Kismayo, this could get pretty big, at least regionally.
    "We fight, get beat, rise, and fight again." Gen. Nathanael Greene

  8. #108
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default Marines in daring amphibious raid in Somalia

    A very odd report:
    Royal Marines have staged a daring raid in Somalia to seize a tribal leader, it was reported last night...to seize the influential clan chief. He was taken off for talks with MI6 and Foreign Offfice officials aboard a Royal Navy support ship ancored off the coast, centring on issues such as terrror training camps and the seizing of hostages....The raid in July..
    Link:http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/ukne...n-Somalia.html

    Left unsaid is whether the tribal leader is still in 'talks'?
    davidbfpo

  9. #109
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default Light fuse and walk away?

    I know Kenya has had a close relationship with Israel, which was very clear after the Entebbe Raid and when a few years ago a SAM was fired at an Israeli charter flight, full of tourists from an Indian Ocean resort.

    Now there's this single strand reporting, which is almost a gift to Al-Shabab:
    Kenya's prime minister is seeking Israel's support in stopping reprisal terror attacks by an al-Qaida-linked militant group Kenyan troops are pursuing in Somalia.... for assistance in building the capacity of the Kenyan police to deal with attacks by al-Shabab militants....but al-Shabab could view Kenya's request as a provocation.
    Link:http://abcnews.go.com/International/...1#.TsF-4D0Uqsp
    davidbfpo

  10. #110
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default The most thrilling terrain for a war — or for a safari

    Aidan Hartley, a Kenyan farmer - near the Somali badlands - and journalist has written a short article on the terrain facing the Kenyan Army incursion, plus supporters:http://www.spectator.co.uk/columnist...ild-life.thtml

    He opens with:
    I am proud of Kenya for taking on Muslim extremists in southern Somalia. Rather wisely, the Kenyan military has so far prevented hacks from reaching the field. But for anybody in the outside world who cares, this is not a new battle. Operations against Somalis of varying types of fanaticism have been mounted since the 1960s.
    davidbfpo

  11. #111
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default The Secret War in Africa

    Copied for reference from SWJ Blog a link to a multi-part report in the commercial on-line paper 'Military Times'; SWJ has amended the title to 'The (Not So*) Secret War in Africa' and two parts are to follow.

    This is the short introduction:
    This series is the result of a six-month investigation by Army Times senior staff writer Sean D. Naylor.

    Naylor reached out to dozens of current and former diplomatic and military leaders and special operators about their activities in the Horn of Africa.

    It is a war few will acknowledge and even fewer will discuss.

    Nevertheless, Army Times was able to piece together a mosaic that shows the level of involvement by U.S. forces in Africa and the significant resources that have been employed - with mixed success - to hunt terrorists in Africa.
    Link:http://militarytimes.com/projects/na...orn-of-africa/

    It will be interesting to see if this report is cited as evidence of AFRICOM activity on other threads.

    Added here as the focus is Somalia and historical activity.
    davidbfpo

  12. #112
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    Default Horn of Africa Humanitarian Crisis and Al-Shabaab

    In recent days Al-Shabaab terrorists have raided, looted, and completely shut down several aid and humanitarian agencies in Southern Somalia. The TGF and drone bombings have ran al-Shabaab out of Mogadishu and the terrorists our now concentrating on causing outside aid to break down in their strongholds in the south of Somalia.

    How can the hearts and minds of the Somalians be won away from al-shabaab when giving aid seems less possible by the day?

  13. #113
    Council Member Uboat509's Avatar
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    The conventional wisdom is that the US should provide very public humanitarian assistance in the hopes that the populous will appreciate what the US is doing for them. There are certainly times and places for that but this is not one of them. Our insistence on propping up the TFG despite its inability to do much more than govern much more than most of Mogadishu means that the key to success will be contingent on actually maintaining a lower profile. Somalis, particularly in the South where Al-Shabaab is strongest are already suspicious of foreign presence. The TFG remains unpopular in many parts of the country and its continued support by foreign powers, most notably the US and the EU has made many of them even more suspicious of foreign motives and intentions. The 2006-2009 failed attempt by Ethiopia to establish order, viewed by many Somalis as a US intervention by proxy, did little to alleviate that attitude. Al-Shabaab is really not terribly popular with local Somalis either but the TFG is even less so, or at the very least is incapable of doing anything to help Somalis who find themselves at the mercy of Al-Shabaab thugs.

    Ideally what the US should do if it really wants to help is to quietly distance itself from the TFG and quietly work through intermediaries to provide support to local institutions and even militias who are opposed to Al-Shabaab. The anti-Al-Shabaab effort must have an entirely Somali. US/Western direct interventions should be limited to very surgical kinetic operations to remove foreign (ie not Somali) fighters who are advising/training/leading Al-Shabaab elements, taking great care to avoid collateral damage. The West, and the US in particular, must also be prepared if the government that emerges out of the inevitable collapse of the TFG is not the one that they would like to see. In all likelihood, Somaliland and and Puntland in the north, which have been self governing and largely stable for quite some time now will formally separate from the South. Any government that emerges from the south will likely have a conservative Islamic face, much like the Islamic Courts which preceded the Ethiopian intervention in 2006. This government will be far from what the US would like to see but the US must remember that the goal is not to create western style democracy but to create a state that is inhospitable (or at least less hospitable) to extremist elements with global aspirations. That is what we should do.

    Unfortunately, we will remain wedded to the idea that anything other than some form representative government and the implementation of western style concepts like the primacy of secular law over religious law and gender equality means that we have failed. And so, what we will most likely do is we will continue in our counterproductive support of the abortion that is the TFG, we will continue to refuse to support local entities rather than the TFG so as not to "undermine" the TFG, and will continue to do so very publicly so that Somalis in the south will not soon forget our role in removing a distasteful (by western standards) government that at least functioned and helping to install and then prop up a government that is unpopular and largely impotent.
    “Build a man a fire, and he'll be warm for a day. Set a man on fire, and he'll be warm for the rest of his life.”

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  14. #114
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    Quote Originally Posted by Uboat509 View Post
    The conventional wisdom is that the US should provide very public humanitarian assistance in the hopes that the populous will appreciate what the US is doing for them.
    However, in the current situation in Mogadishu and the south is that aid distribution centers have been shut down. So, the conventional wisdom is not in touch with reality on the ground at present.

    Quote Originally Posted by Uboat509 View Post
    .. Our insistence on propping up the TFG despite its inability to do much more than govern much more than most of Mogadishu means that the key to success will be contingent on actually maintaining a lower profile.
    I agree, the US and Europeans need to stay far far in the background.

    Quote Originally Posted by Uboat509 View Post
    Somalis, particularly in the South where Al-Shabaab is strongest are already suspicious of foreign presence.
    The drone flying overhead and ocassion dropping a bomb only instills more hatred and suspicion.


    Quote Originally Posted by Uboat509 View Post
    Al-Shabaab is really not terribly popular with local Somalis either but the TFG is even less so, or at the very least is incapable of doing anything to help Somalis who find themselves at the mercy of Al-Shabaab thugs.
    The US and the Europeans for that matter do a terrible job of researching and understanding the local culture and the attitudes and preferences of the people. Or, it could be worse. It could be they do not even care what the locals think. They have their own agenda. I tend to think it is a little of each.

    Quote Originally Posted by Uboat509 View Post
    Ideally what the US should do if it really wants to help is to quietly distance itself from the TFG and quietly work through intermediaries to provide support to local institutions and even militias who are opposed to Al-Shabaab. The anti-Al-Shabaab effort must have an entirely Somali.
    There is a lot aid agencies and other NGO's can do if they are given the freedom to do so. What we should be entering into is a new age in which aid agencies can no longer afford to remain neutral. Their countries of origin, supporters and constituents may require them to take sides. Not a good time ahead for such agencies. They often find themselves sitting ducks, and they are beginning to pay for it in Somalia, as well as in the Sahel at the hands of AQIM.

    Regional and clan tensions are raising in the East and the Horn of Africa. I wrote about it recently on by blog. www.terrorisminafrica.com

  15. #115
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default Some context for the famine and external responses

    Just watched a distressing half hour documentary on the famine in Somalia and the questions that arise - who is at fault? Provides some of the context for the issues raised here:http://www.aljazeera.com/programmes/...473753430.html

    As I have posted before the famine is not accepted as genuine by some.
    davidbfpo

  16. #116
    Council Member Stan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by davidbfpo View Post
    As I have posted before the famine is not accepted as genuine by some.
    And I might add, that the distribution of aid is far from fair or controlled. Not too many volunteers willing to go into a war zone to donate rice with a US flag and "hand shake" on the outside
    Last edited by davidbfpo; 02-26-2018 at 05:41 PM. Reason: 24,771v in a stand alone thread till today (x5 posts)
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  17. #117
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default Pink Cows across the border

    Aidan Hartley is a white Kenyan farmer, whose farm is in the region near Somalia and a journalist. The linked article is about his struggles to stop rustlers and added here as it gives an impression of what life is like in that area. Human Terrain no less:http://www.spectator.co.uk/columnist...ild-life.thtml
    davidbfpo

  18. #118
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default East Africa famine: Minister says aid helps protect UK

    A BBC report starting with the UK's development minister and a quick overview of Somali primarily:http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-16296849

    He said it would also help prevent terrorism and disorder in Somalia which was a "direct threat" to the UK.

    "There are probably more British passport holders engaged in terrorist training in Somalia than in any other country in the world...This is not only about saving the lives of huge numbers of vulnerable babies and children, it is also about doing the right thing to promote British security."
    An intriguing comment as most attention has been on the human traffic between the UK and Pakistan, with irregular "leaks" and rare arrests etc. The Somali community in the UK is smaller too.

    There's also another international conference to be held in London in February 2012.

    As for this comment:
    Across Britain there is a very strong feeling that it is right to spend a very small amount of money, something like 1% of all the public expenditure that takes place in Britain, on helping people who are in a wretched and desperate condition
    IIRC opinion polling does not support the scale of UK overseas aid, which is set to grow due to previous commitments amidst cuts at home, e.g. 20% for policing over three years. Nor does most aid go to places like Somalia.
    davidbfpo

  19. #119
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default Clan and Conflict in Somalia: Al-Shabaab and the Myth of “Transcending Clan Politics”

    Hat tip to Randy Borum for a pointer to this jamestown Foundation report Clan and Conflict in Somalia: Al-Shabaab and the Myth of “Transcending Clan Politics”, which opens with:
    Clan identity and Islam are central pillars of Somali society, with clan dynamics and inter-clan rivalries magnified by decades of state collapse. Al-Shabaab - the dominant Islamist militia controlling much of southern and central Somalia - claims to “transcend clan politics,” yet reality on the ground belies this claim, revealing that al-Shabaab seeks to manipulate local clan alliances and remains deeply influenced by clan politics. This analysis shows that despite al-Shabaab’s hard-line Islamist identity and pro-al-Qaeda rhetoric, many aspects of the group’s past and current behavior remain deeply rooted in Somalia’s local dynamics. Moreover, clan rules apply even to Somalia’s most feared Islamists.
    An American aspect which I've not seen reported before:
    Even recruitment of foreign fighters - at least those of ethnic Somali origin - may have a clan-based component. A March 2010 report by the United Nations noted that more than half of the initial twenty Somalis who left Minneapolis to fight in Somalia had a parent from the Harti sub-clan, and several American Somalis killed in Somalia were discovered to have Harti familial ties, supporting the conclusion that recruitment has occurred along clan-linked peer networks.
    It concludes in part:
    In terms of al-Shabaab’s placement as an adherent to al-Qaeda’s worldview, the organization is caught between proving its Salafi-Jihadi credentials to core al-Qaeda and affiliated movements while attempting to establish power among a Somali population that focuses internally on parochial clan interests. Any disruption to this careful balance risks either undermining al-Shabaab’s carefully built power-base in Somalia or losing the support of international Salafi-Jihadis.
    Link:http://www.jamestown.org/single/?no_...backPid%5d=515
    davidbfpo

  20. #120
    Council Member M-A Lagrange's Avatar
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    Default sad news

    I am very sad to announce the death of 2 MSF expatriates in Somalia, Philippe Havet and Andrias Karel Keiluhuo. They were killed in Somalia over a dispute between the NGO and a former employee, nothing to see with the on going war.
    http://www.standardmedia.co.ke/Insid...00049181&cid=4

    Philippe was “the logistician of the great lakes” as Colette Braeckman called him on her blog. http://blog.lesoir.be/colette-braeck...-a-mogadiscio/
    He dedicated his life to build a better DRC and a better Africa.
    So did his colleague that unfortunately I do not know so I cannot salute him as he deserves.

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