Monday, December 24, 2007

Somalia is on fire again


Television screens are awash with images of death and despair in Mogadishu, Somalia. Crowds of Somalis beat, hammer and drag dead Ethiopian troops in a manner that reminds us of the bitter experience of American troops back in October 1993, when a mob dragged the bodies of two United States soldiers through the streets of Mogadishu. The American soldiers had been ruthlessly killed in an intense street battle.

It was soon after the firefight that the US withdrew its troops from chaotic Somalia.
What had led the Americans then to intervene in Somalia was the war and famine following Siad Barre’s exit from power. The rescue effort led by the Americans began in a blaze of glory and publicity in December 1992 as the American marines stormed ashore on the beaches of Mogadishu into the lenses of waiting television cameras. Their task, code-named Operation Restore Hope, was to impose peace and democracy and feed the hungry and starving.
FIFTEEN MONTHS AFTER their colourful and triumphant arrival, the Americans made an ignominious withdrawal, leaving the United Nations to clean up the mess.

Somalia today is yet again in chaos. The hope that the Transitional Federal Government would make progress towards national reconciliation is quickly evaporating. In scenes reminiscent of the 1993 battle, the bodies of two dead Ethiopian soldiers were dragged through the streets of Mogadishu, a grim reminder that the fragile East African state of Somalia is far from stabilising.
THE WAR IN SOMALIA IS A war few would like to touch even the UN. No less a person than the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has said that sending a UN peacekeeping force to Somalia right now is “neither realistic, nor viable” and has instead suggested the formation of a multinational “coalition of the willing.”

Interestingly, Mr Ban should be aware that no one is willing to send troops into Mogadishu. The African Union, which had previously pledged to send 8,000 peacekeepers, just supplied 1,600 Ugandan troops.

The images on the television screens of dead bodies dragged through the streets of Mogadishu are a serious impediment to anyone out there with the remote wish of sending in troops.

Source: NationMedia

1 comment:

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