“We Won! We’re leaving now…”

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/01/02/world/africa/02cnd-somalia.html?ex=1325394000&en=2611f437f17ed980&ei=5088&partner=rssnyt&emc=rss

Apparently, now that Ethiopia has won its war against Somalia, they’re leaving. It’s simply not possible for them to stay, since they can’t afford it. But they say they destroyed the forces of the Al Qaeda-aligned Association of Islamic Courts. Of course, the warlords and anti-government forces are taking potshots at Ethiopian troops and using jury-rigged explosives to take out Ethiopian convoy vehicles. Hmm. Sounds familiar.

12 comments

  1. More likely, they’ve made their statement and they’re getting out, and the Islamofascists will walk right back in the moment they’re gone.

  2. Re: The UN…?

    I think this goes back under my accepting the fact that “the world is not always fair.”

    Sometimes the world is damned WRONG. *sigh*

  3. The UN…?

    I don’t know where the UN is… still trying to cope with the barrels of monkeys opened by the Iraqi oil-for-food program that sent tendrils of bribery and corruption all through the Secretariat and the UN bureaucracy.

    Plus, all the countries that have the manpower, the money and the will to solve a problem like Darfur either have their own problems elsewhere in the world to handle, or can’t work out the logistics of moving troops to Darfur, or can’t muster the political will to send in troops.

    Darfur is landlocked. Ethiopia is, too, but has intervened in Somalia at least in part because of its economic connections to ports like Mogadishu, where the US got its butt kicked so famously as recorded in Blackhawk Down and other literary/motion picture crossover blockbusters.

    Yet the very land-locking is precisely what keeps anyone from helping. France contributed troops to a peace-keeping mission in Cote D’Ivoire a few years ago, and it took the French Navy six months to get the troops from France to Cote D’Ivoire. The French air force doesn’t have airlift capabilities equal to Darfur’s needs. The US can’t do it, because of how we’re stretched in Afghanistan and Iraq. China doesn’t have the political will to move troops that far, and it has no strategic interests in the area yet. The rest of Africa is more worried about Ethiopia and the Congo river basin nations to direct much attention on Darfur.

    The US, France, Britain, everybody… depends on money, seaports, airports, spy satellites, spy agencies, telecommunications networks, stock brokerage systems, political systems which (however broken they may seem) nominally protect minorities, and so on. These Darfur militants just need a few machetes and some AK-47s and ammo, and they can engage in wholesale genocide. None of the things which make American power work exist in Darfur, and as a result, American power fails.

    Heartbreaking? Yes. Easily fixable? No.

  4. Africa is a hellish mess, except in the places where it’s really just a mess, and some places it’s actually becoming quite nice. For a while, Africa had to be judged on the basis of where in the continent you were talking about, and what was happening there.

    But between China’s engagement, America’s disengagement, Islamic resurgence and Christian evangelical fervor, and HIV/AIDS, and sub-Saharan desertification, it’s getting really ugly, really fast.

  5. Was there a platform with a big “mission accomplished” banner behind it? I don’t think there’s much in the way of water there (trying to remember my high-school teaching of all the countries, back when it was called Ethiopia/Eritrea and I can’t remember if it’s landlocked or on the western side – or somewhere else. Lazy American).

    So what about Darfur, hello? *sigh* Those TV ads really get me – I know we’re stretched thin, but where the fuck is the UN these days? (wow, that would open a whole new can o’ worms, wouldn’t it) disgregard…

  6. Was there a platform with a big “mission accomplished” banner behind it? I don’t think there’s much in the way of water there (trying to remember my high-school teaching of all the countries, back when it was called Ethiopia/Eritrea and I can’t remember if it’s landlocked or on the western side – or somewhere else. Lazy American).

    So what about Darfur, hello? *sigh* Those TV ads really get me – I know we’re stretched thin, but where the fuck is the UN these days? (wow, that would open a whole new can o’ worms, wouldn’t it) disgregard…

    • The UN…?

      I don’t know where the UN is… still trying to cope with the barrels of monkeys opened by the Iraqi oil-for-food program that sent tendrils of bribery and corruption all through the Secretariat and the UN bureaucracy.

      Plus, all the countries that have the manpower, the money and the will to solve a problem like Darfur either have their own problems elsewhere in the world to handle, or can’t work out the logistics of moving troops to Darfur, or can’t muster the political will to send in troops.

      Darfur is landlocked. Ethiopia is, too, but has intervened in Somalia at least in part because of its economic connections to ports like Mogadishu, where the US got its butt kicked so famously as recorded in Blackhawk Down and other literary/motion picture crossover blockbusters.

      Yet the very land-locking is precisely what keeps anyone from helping. France contributed troops to a peace-keeping mission in Cote D’Ivoire a few years ago, and it took the French Navy six months to get the troops from France to Cote D’Ivoire. The French air force doesn’t have airlift capabilities equal to Darfur’s needs. The US can’t do it, because of how we’re stretched in Afghanistan and Iraq. China doesn’t have the political will to move troops that far, and it has no strategic interests in the area yet. The rest of Africa is more worried about Ethiopia and the Congo river basin nations to direct much attention on Darfur.

      The US, France, Britain, everybody… depends on money, seaports, airports, spy satellites, spy agencies, telecommunications networks, stock brokerage systems, political systems which (however broken they may seem) nominally protect minorities, and so on. These Darfur militants just need a few machetes and some AK-47s and ammo, and they can engage in wholesale genocide. None of the things which make American power work exist in Darfur, and as a result, American power fails.

      Heartbreaking? Yes. Easily fixable? No.

      • Re: The UN…?

        I think this goes back under my accepting the fact that “the world is not always fair.”

        Sometimes the world is damned WRONG. *sigh*

  7. Yes, but they’re leaving.

    One of the reasons why Ethiopia stepped in was because it’s currently involved in disputes with Sudan. Ethiopia is nominally a Christian country and Sudan is nominally a Muslim country.

    If the Islamic Courts succeeded in taking over Somalia, Ethiopia would be pressed by Islamic countries on two fronts. So breaking the back of the Courts and getting the heck out of Dodge gives them a more sympathetic neighbor. Even if the region just falls back into lawless squabbling, it’s probably still a better deal from Ethiopia’s standpoint. Plus they get to rattle the saber at Sudan and give their military a bit of combat experience.

    Africa is such a hellish mess.

    Tom

  8. Yes, but they’re leaving.

    One of the reasons why Ethiopia stepped in was because it’s currently involved in disputes with Sudan. Ethiopia is nominally a Christian country and Sudan is nominally a Muslim country.

    If the Islamic Courts succeeded in taking over Somalia, Ethiopia would be pressed by Islamic countries on two fronts. So breaking the back of the Courts and getting the heck out of Dodge gives them a more sympathetic neighbor. Even if the region just falls back into lawless squabbling, it’s probably still a better deal from Ethiopia’s standpoint. Plus they get to rattle the saber at Sudan and give their military a bit of combat experience.

    Africa is such a hellish mess.

    Tom

    • Africa is a hellish mess, except in the places where it’s really just a mess, and some places it’s actually becoming quite nice. For a while, Africa had to be judged on the basis of where in the continent you were talking about, and what was happening there.

      But between China’s engagement, America’s disengagement, Islamic resurgence and Christian evangelical fervor, and HIV/AIDS, and sub-Saharan desertification, it’s getting really ugly, really fast.

    • More likely, they’ve made their statement and they’re getting out, and the Islamofascists will walk right back in the moment they’re gone.

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