January 05, 2007
Discussion of Ethiopia's Intervention in Somalia a Bad Precursor to More Iraq Debate

One might expect to read a thing or two in the local blogosphere and media after the upcoming Bush policy announcement on Iraq. In the meantime, it's worth examining the more limited discussion on what seems to have transpired recently with Ethiopia's intervention into Somalia to boot the Islamic Courts and their Sharia-favoring "government" out of power in that chaos of a country. Even as a small element of the global war on against radical Islamic terrorism it has drawn some passionate analysis.

Over at NPI, stilwell thinks it just another example of the Bush Administration not having its act together since Ethiopia gave the jihadists such a quick drubbing. Josh Feit at the Stranger agrees, in a meandering post along the same theme: "see, this war on terror thing goes pretty easy as long as George W. Bush isn't involved."


Here is a more balanced view from Ralph Peters in the New York Post. He too revels in the swift beat down administered by the Ethiopians, and the rapid removal of the bad guys from power, though he cautions the defeated Islamic radicals will no doubt turn to the charming ways of a guerrilla insurgency rather than continuing the traditional means of warfare at which terrorists seems exceptionally good at loosing whenever they have the gumption to try it.

Eli Sanders at the Stranger offers even more caution. While disagreeing directly with Feit, he points out the obvious yet prudent comparisons to Iraq and Afghanistan: military victories for Western-style armed forces are often quick and decisive if the enemy actually fights in a manner even somewhat akin to the Geneva Accords. But, terrorists learned their lesson after Afghanistan about tangling with the US military in open combat, and have rarely attempted it in Iraq after the collapse of the Iraqi Army in the early stages of the 2003 invasion. The Islamic Courts seemed a little slow on the uptake of this lesson until the Ethiopians were kind enough to offer a tutorial.

More importantly, Sanders emphasizes the nature of the enemy means the struggle against it is bound to be long and complex. And he correctly notes that those who plan poorly for all aspects of that struggle stand to suffer (with Rumsfeld's brilliant plan to conquer Iraq likely to be overshadowed in history by the concurrently weak plan to secure and stabilize Iraq's fractious society in the invasion's aftermath). In support of Sanders' thoughts, one can already see the Islamists laying the groundwork for the very type of insurgent campaign observers of Afghanistan and Iraq know all too well.

The specifics of the discussion on how to win the war against radical Islamic terrorism is a broader debate for another time. Yet, the dichotomy in discussion of this comparatively small example in the struggle is fascinating. This column contains a concise summary of the motivations behind Ethiopia's recent intervention (see about half way down page 2, onto page 3). In brief, the Islamic Courts declared jihad against Ethiopia. That country, seeing the ineptitude of efforts at diplomacy in the situation, obliged the jihadists by promptly thumping their skulls for them. It would be nice to see the same liberal critics so quick to use Ethiopia's military efforts as a stick with which to beat George W. Bush offer support for the same kind of moral clarity and decisive action in response to America's own sworn enemies.

Upon reflection, the disconnect between the cheering of the Ethiopians from some Bush critics coupled with the lack of support from the same critics here at home for the very principles the Ethiopians are acting on is troubling. There seem little doubt more such conundrums will be seen after the Bush announcement on Iraq as well.


Posted by Eric Earling at January 05, 2007 12:45 AM | Email This
1. 1. This is a 100 year war which involves two very different perspectives on civilization.

2. In a prior thread there was a discussion of Professor Floyd Mc Kay's take on religion. Islamofacism is a facist political movement using religion as a cover. In Mc Kay's universe all religions are a cover for evil. The Islamofacists in Somalia have killed and maimed thousands who don't agree with them. Their ideology in no way equates with most religions.

3. The Ethiopians must be supported:
"Al-Qaida Tells Somali Militants to Fight
Jan 5, 3:32 AM (ET)
CAIRO, Egypt (AP) - Osama bin Laden's deputy urged Somalia's Islamic militants to remain steadfast in their battle against "invaders" and crusaders" in an audiotape posted on the Internet Friday.
The militants have been driven out of the capital Mogadishu and much of the southern part of the country by Ethiopian-backed government forces after more than six months in power. Many have retreated to the southern tip of Somalia and vowed to keep fighting, raising the specter of an Iraq-style guerrilla war.
"I speak to you today as the crusader invader forces of Ethiopia violate the soil of the beloved Muslim Somalia," Ayman al-Zawahri, al-Qaida's No. 2, said in the audiotape.
"I call upon the Muslim nation in Somalia to remain in the new battlefield that is one of the crusader battlefields that are being launched by America and its allies and the United Nations against Islam and Muslims," al-Zawahri added.
Ethiopia is a U.S. ally and American Navy forces are deployed off the Somali coast to prevent the militants from fleeing by sea. The Somali government is supported by the United Nations."

All the rogue and tyrant nations on the UN human rights panel, of course, support the murdering thugs of Somalia. I hope that people begin to get that this is a 100 year war and whether one agrees with the decision to go to Iraq or not. Failure is not an option. Perceived weakness with this crowd will get you dead.

Posted by: WVH on January 5, 2007 01:48 AM
2. You do not get it!

First, as an Ethiopian, I can tell you that the Ethiopian Prime minister, Meles Zenawi, has opted for this adventure to consolidate his tribal dictatorship in Ethiopia. This masse-murderer hopes to shift away the attention of the international community from his inhumane, heinous repression of Ethiopians.

Second, the Islamic courts have not been defeated; they have changed their strategy to insurgency. The Somalis are fierce fighters; they cannot be defeated that easily. In my estimation, it will be worse than Iraq and Afghanstan. It is too early to celebrate!

I can tell you that unless western governments realize that other peoples of the world, particularly Muslims, are entitled to their own self-determination and national pride, there will always be terrorism. I am not Muslim but more than half of Ethiopians are Muslims. Why should we Ethiopians have to be under dictatorship so that Americans can feel delusionally victorious for a short while? Is that fair?

Posted by: Hailu Girma on January 5, 2007 02:20 AM



Posted by: Dagnachew Assefa on January 5, 2007 04:12 AM
4. Hailu Girma - I think Western governments and westerners have no problem with Muslims, or anyone else, determining their own future and national pride. We just want it to be reciprocal.

Posted by: Right said Fred on January 5, 2007 07:24 AM
5. Hailu and Dagnachew:

I do get it. I drew a very clear distinction between Islamofacists and Muslims. Most Muslims, including those I studied with a Cambridge, tell me that Islam is a religion of peace. I take you at your word since you know the religion better than I. However, even the UN and reports from charity organizations give detailed reports about the slaughter of Christians by Muslim militias in the Sudan and Northern Nigeria. There is a case is Malaysia about a convert to Christianity that has been denied the right to enroll in that country with her new religion.

"I can tell you that unless western governments realize that other peoples of the world, particularly Muslims, are entitled to their own self-determination and national pride, there will always be terrorism. I am not Muslim but more than half of Ethiopians are Muslims."

How do you define self-determination, personally?
Does this mean that all peoples - like those in northern Nigeria or Sudan must be removed from the land or convert to Islam?

I believe that this is one battle in a 100 year war and I am not celebrating.

The other question I have - when individuals immigrate from Muslim countries, should there be an attempt to integrate into the customs of the new country and adopt the culture?

As an example, the Minneapolis airport has an issue with certain cabbies who refuse to transport passengers with liquor or passengers who have service dogs. The cabbies operate by license. Should they be exempt from requirements?
There is a debate in the Isalmic community. Some say if one's own practice of the religion prohibits their carriage of all passengers, they shouldn't engage in the occupation. My point is isn't the claim of disrespect by the US really a disagreement at its core a clash of civilizations?

Posted by: WVH on January 5, 2007 08:46 AM
6. WVH, you seem to be a disciple of the old adage, "history keeps repeating itself". So am I and I, too, am scared of those that aren't.

Posted by: swatter on January 5, 2007 09:18 AM
7. I am sure the Ethopian's were not worried about "world opinion" when they took on this endeavor. They did not worry about the ACLU telling them that they need to give the enemy rights and they did not have the MSM going out of it's way on a PR campaign for their enemy.

Perhaps if we adopted these ROE we too could have a much quicker victory in the war on Terror.

Posted by: TrueSoldier on January 5, 2007 09:44 AM
8. Frankly, we have no issue with anyone's right of self determination. Unless of course, self determination means slaughtering millions of your own citizens or attacking us. In that case, you have a)abused the right of self determination to remove the right of others to live peacefully or b)abused our right to live peacefully. Frankly, I don't think that the millions of Somalis who have been murdered by tribal warfare would agree that they have been living with any right of self determination whatsoever. Will their lives be better under Ethiopian rule? Maybe, maybe not. But things certainly weren't working out that well before now and maybe there won't be as many terrorists coming out of Somalia as there have been.

We'll see.

Posted by: Calvin A on January 5, 2007 10:20 AM
9. TrueSolider, I have no knowledge or defense of Ethiopia's human rights record, nor do I hold them as my model. But their war with Somalia is lasting how long, a few weeks? The ACLU's main issue is with locking people up indefnitely, without charges, when it's unclear that they were ever involved in a war, and when there's not an actual war against a defined enemy that will end in our (or the prisoners') lifetimes.

Posted by: Bruce on January 5, 2007 10:49 AM
10. Bruce, the ACLU has one, and only one agenda: turn the United States of America into a totalitarian/secular/marxist government. They will use anything and everyone to do so. Read their founding papers.

Posted by: Jean on January 5, 2007 12:20 PM
11. Ignoring the merits (or lack thereof) of the Meles regime in Ethiopia, radical Islamists are penetrating deeper into Ethiopia daily. There are more mosques, and amore visible Muslim presence, in Ethiopia than ever before.

Ethiopia was a Christian country (with a small Jewish minority) a millenium before Columbus lost his way to the East Indies. Whether it was Siad Barre's Somalia with it's claims in the Ogaden or current Saudi economic intrusion, Ethiopia is in a fight for its cultural future.

While Meles and the TPLF may not represent all Ethiopians, the Islamic threat from the east (Somalis), north (Eritrea) and west (Sudan) justify their Somali incursion (in support of the transitional Somali government) as a self defense measure.

Posted by: Joe Waldron on January 5, 2007 03:38 PM
12. Geting back to Eric's original remarks -- I think the reaction we're seeing is in main merely a reflection of the Anybody but Bush crowd's mania.

As has been proven by the aftermath of rolling up organized MILITARY opposition in Iraq, the open warfare piece is the easiest part, only after that does the real work begin.

Posted by: mark on January 5, 2007 09:30 PM
13. The People of Somalia support the Union of Islamic Courts for several reasons:

First, they brought about law and order. A few weeks ago, Southern and central Somalia was safe and there was law and oredr. Today, under Ethiopian occupation, Somalia has returned back to square one: rape, robbery, killing, fear, and displacement. Any one who enjoys the suffering of other human beings (including Somalis)is nothing else but a brutal sadist.

Second, the Somalis see the UIC as the only patriotic group that defends the Somali dignity, sovereignty, and territorial integrity. They see the transitional governement as just a dog for Meles the dog of Bush.

Third, the most Somalis see the UIC as the only group who can unite the Somali people who have been divided and conquered by clanism and warlordism. Meles's Tigray regime used these divisive tools for the past 16 years to ruin Somalia (the same method he uses to ruin Ethiopia). The UIC uses Islam to unite Somalis because it is the only element that transcends clanism. Any one who hates Somalis to solve their own problems is nothing else but an enemy of the Somali women, children, the sick, and the elderly.

yusuf, Meles and Bush have been successful in recruiting more terrorists, and expanding the territory under which the torrorists operate. They are the real enemies of the American people

There is no problem between the Somali the Ethiopian and the American people. They are all suffering under warlords Yusuf, Meles and Bush.

Posted by: Ganey on January 5, 2007 11:39 PM
14. Ganey:

"The People of Somalia support the Union of Islamic Courts for several reasons:"
1. How do you know this? Are you an official government representative? Has there been an opinion poll? What is the source for this statement?
"The UIC uses Islam to unite Somalis because it is the only element that transcends clanism. Any one who hates Somalis to solve their own problems is nothing else but an enemy of the Somali women, children, the sick, and the elderly."
2. Are all Somalis Muslim? What happens if one is not Muslim? Does that mean that they are forced to live under Sharia law?

Look forward to a lively discussion.

Posted by: WVH on January 5, 2007 11:53 PM
15. Ganey and Others:

1. Let me refine my question. I understand that Somalia is 99.5% Sunni Muslim. What rights, if any, should the Bantus have?

2. Depending upon your answer to question one, do you see any parallels between the situation of Somalian Bantus and the cab drivers in Minneapolis?

Posted by: WVH on January 6, 2007 12:24 AM
16. WVH,

Like Hailu has said, unfortunately, you do not still get it!

You seem to be hang up with the luxury of idealogy and different forms of government!

Please try to put yourself for a moment in the shoes of the Somali civilians who have been living in anarchy for the past sixteen years! What is at stake for the common Somali is primarily his or her life! The UIC brought about a solution for this priority concern for the civilians together with preservation of their dignity, sovereignty, and national pride.

This being said, let me address briefly the issues you have raised:

1. Under the Somali clan culture, Bantus (who are also Mulsims) were traditionally treated badly (contrary to the teachings of Islam), just like the African Americans are traditionally treated badly in America (contrary to declared American ideals). The UIC, through the teachings of Islam, started to abolish this form of discrimination by: 1) Appointing prominent bantus to high positions (example, the Mayor of the city of Jilib and other higher UIC officials were bantus). High UIC officials (like sheikh sherif sheikh Ahmed) campaigned against the clan discrimination culture in Somalia. At the social and educational levels they took specific steps to rectify this problem. For example, they urged Somalis to start intermarriage between bantus and others. In the few months the UIC was in power, this BBC report shows an example of their achievement in this regard:


They also established a center in Mogadishu specially to educate and empower lower caste women.

In contrast, Meles, Somali warlords, and the Bush administration are empowering clanism which perpetuates current suffering of the most marginal groups of the Somali society.

2. I do not see any relationship between the Somali bantu issue and Minneapolis cab drivers! The cab driver issue is a simple one.

3. Opinion polls are not the only way to estimate public opinion. Somalis have many forums in which they dialogue, making their preferences known. As a test, you also run your poll for Somalis. I estimate that more than 90% will be with the UIC.

Posted by: Ganey on January 6, 2007 02:15 AM
17. Ganey:

Thank you for your reply.

One possible parallel is the role of religious freedom in the US and the role of religious freedom in Somalia. The cab drivers want to have their faith respected here even if it means as "public" transport they do not carry individuals with service dogs. Under US law the diabled are entitled to accomodation in public places.

Please comment on the following:
"The UK-based Barnabas Fund is hoping to draw international attention to an unreported situation in the Horn of African country, which has been without a functioning administration for more than a decade.
A regional observer here said crimes against Christians and Westerners would likely lead to further isolation of Somalia, and also accelerate the growth of Islamic fundamentalism there.
About 99.5 percent of the Somalia population is Muslim. The small Christian minority comprises ethnic Bantus as well as humanitarian workers and expatriates.
The recent wave of violence began early last October, when two armed men killed an elderly Italian nun, Dr. Annalena Tonneli, in front of a hospital in Borama. Tonneli had been involved in humanitarian work in Somalia for 30 years.
Later that month, expatriates Richard and Enid Eyeington, were shot dead by several gunmen in their home inside a school compound.
The Eyeingtons, a British couple in their 60s, had been working for SOS Children's villages in Somaliland.
A Kenyan national working for a Seventh Day Adventist mission southwest Somalia, was murdered last month by Islamist radicals.
Campaigners believe these victims may have been targeted for their faith.
Early last year an extremist Islamist group in Mogadishu called Kulanka Culimada issued a statement saying all Somali Christians were apostates from Islam and should be killed.
The Barnabas Fund, which works among Christians in Islamic nations, said the threats were reportedly prompted by the Christian decision to send delegates to peace talks, which are currently being held in neighboring Kenya.
It said extremists were trying to prevent representatives of the Christian community from participating in the efforts to bring an end to decades of war and unrest.
At a session of the peace talks, where Somali Christian representatives called for freedom of religion and assembly, movement and political representation, they were shouted down by Muslim delegates, Barnabas Fund said.
The Muslims insisted Somalia had no Christians needing representation at the negotiating table, and declared Islam to be the country's official religion.
Several religious figures in the Kenyan capital, Nairobi, told CNSNews.com there seemed little hope that the issue of Christian persecution would be addressed soon.
They said evangelism efforts were not going ahead in Somalia because of the volatile security situation.
One Catholic priest, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the persecution issue was "the greatest challenge" facing Christians in countries neighboring Somalia.
"It's a problem very close to our hearts, but action is yet to be taken," he said.
Somali Bantus are a minority Christian group whose physical, cultural and linguistic characteristics distinguish them from the Cushitic majority.
They have long been considered as second-class citizens in Somali society, exploited as laborers, and excluded from education, land ownership and political opportunities and representation.
Many are in refugee camps in Kenya, and a significant number has migrated to the United States, to avoid further persecution in their homeland.
Earlier this year, Somalia delegates participating in the peace talks agreed to a charter providing for freedom of worship but also recognizing Islam as the official religion.
According to the Barnabas Fund, Somali Muslims regard Christianity as "a foreign religion of their historic enemies in Ethiopia and of their former colonial masters, the Italians and the British."
"Most Somalis take it for granted that a true Somali is a Muslim and converts to Christianity must be traitors," it said in a statement.
The State Department's recently released report on international religious freedom described the Christian minority in Somalia as "small" and "extremely low profile".
It also reported that the number of Somalis adhering to "strains of conservative Islam" was growing, as was the number of Islamic schools funded by "religiously conservative sources.""


For all the blather by Professor Floyd Mc Kay and others, is the freedom according individuals in this country to practice their religion found in other countries? Does the religious majority in this country treat others in a similar fashion?

Posted by: WVH on January 6, 2007 08:06 AM
18. I studied in England. For one viewpoint on the BBC:
BBC confesses bias
on religion, politics
Internal memo reveals execs saying
Bible tossed in trash OK, not Quran

Posted: October 23, 2006
5:00 p.m. Eastern
© 2006 WorldNetDaily.com
"An internal British Broadcasting Corporation memo reveals senior figures admitted the national news agency was guilty of promoting left-wing views and anti-Christian sentiment.
News of the memo, reported by British media, comes as the BBC continues to struggle against claims of biased reporting on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and distorted coverage of the global fight against terror, reports the Israeli YnetNews.com.
The admissions of bias were made at a recent "impartiality" summit the BBC held. Most executives admitted the corporation's representation of homosexuals and ethnic minorities was unbalanced and disproportionate, YnetNews.com said. The British news agency, the report said, leaned too strongly towards political correctness, the overt promotion of multiculturalism, anti-Americanism and discrimination against the countryside."

(Story continues below)


Posted by: WVH on January 6, 2007 08:17 AM
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