The Law of Unintended Consequences

(9 AM – promoted by TheMomCat)

  Late last June the Obama Administration decided to ship 40 tonnes of weapons to Somalia so that the Transitional Government there could build up an army. Yesterday we got to see the results of this effort.

 Hundreds of Somali soldiers trained with U.S. tax dollars have deserted because they are not being paid their $100 monthly wage, and some have even joined the al-Qaida-linked militants they are supposed to be fighting, The Associated Press has learned.

  The desertions raise fears that a new U.S.-backed effort beginning next month to build up Somalia’s army may only increase the ranks of the insurgency...

  Earlier this year, trainee soldiers had their guns confiscated and replaced with sticks after a riot broke out between those who had been paid and those who had not. The African Union, which has peacekeepers at Camp Jazira, temporarily suspended payments over fears that men who had been paid would be killed by those who had not, an official involved with the training said.

The Associated Press should have read the Globe and Mail six months ago when they interviewed former prime minister Ali Mohamed Gedi. He said, “All those weapons will end up in the hands of the terrorists.”

  The weapons are being sold to the insurgents by members of the Somalia government.

Law of Unintended Consequences: ‘Any intervention in a complex system may or may not have the intended result, but will inevitably create unanticipated and often undesirable outcomes.’

  Like every other American effort in Somalia, this latest attempt at creating a working government from outside the country is a horrible failure.

 In this case, training an army to turn over to a government that only controls a couple blocks of Mogadishu. How would that government ever be able to raise the money to pay the salaries of the troops?

 Our record in Somalia is one of uninterrupted failures that always cost lives.

It’s not easy to get absolutely everything wrong. Usually you get something right, if only by accident. In order to get everything wrong you have to be totally misunderstanding the subject.

 For instance, we approached Vietnam as if it was about international communism, when in fact it was a civil war. We approached Iraq as if it was about WMD’s, when in fact it was about oil. We approached Somalia as if it was about international terrorism, when in fact it was about internal tribal conflicts.

 The weapons fiasco is just the latest of a long list of bad decisions dating back to December 13, 2005, when the U.N. decided to make an unprecedented ruling of lifting an arms embargo on Somalia. The reasoning for that move was to allow the Somalian government to arm itself. You can see how that worked out.

  On the other hand, America has halted food and medical aid to Somalia since January because some of it might wind up feeding insurgents. This is being done in the face of the worst famine in Somalia since 1991.

  What does it say about the value that the American government puts on the lives of Somalians, that we would send them guns but not food? Are we trying to tell the people of Somalia that they aren’t dying quickly enough?

“Of all the situations in Somalia, today is the worst. There is no food, no medicine, no education, no jobs, no hope. People are dying every day. It is a slow genocide. We are hopeless now. Hopeless.”

 – Dr Hawa Abdi, Médecins Sans Frontières

 Somalia is home of the largest refugee crisis in the world. Few in America know this because, well, judging by what we send Somalia, few in America care.

 What makes it even more sad is the fact that America was so instrumental in creating Somalia’s suffering. Just one month after America convinced the U.N. to lift the arms embargo the CIA decided to become directly involved in the tribal conflicts of Somalia. They did this by sending money and guns to some of the exact same warlords that killed American soldiers in 1993.

  The people of Mogadishu, who had suffered under the warlords for over a decade, rebelled, and in fierce fighting, kicked the American-backed warlords out of Somalia. It was just the first of many Unintended Consequences.

 Mogadishu then experienced six months of relative peace, the first such peace in 15 years. There were 72 functioning hospitals in Mogadishu when the Islamists controlled the city. Now there are only two. The Mogadishu airport and harbor were opened up to commercial use for the first time since 1991, and the price of an AK47 had fallen to less than half due to lack of demand.

 However, the Bush Administration had heard that the ICU was full of al-Qaeda terrorists. Where did they get that information from? Why the very same warlords that the ICU just chased out of Somalia.

 So the Bush Administration decided that the ICU had to go. Somalia couldn’t be allowed to have peace in our time.

 Less than two weeks before the invasion, mid-December 2006, Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Jendayi Frazer publicly declared that “The Council of Islamic Courts is now controlled by al-Qaeda cell individuals, east Africa al-Qaeda cell individuals.”  The claim was dubious and the Assistant Secretary of State provided no evidence.  Horn of Africa specialist Ken Menkhaus notes that the Islamic Courts “movement as a whole was far from an al-Qaeda front. Only three foreign al-Qaeda operatives were said by the US to be in hiding in Mogadishu, a number far lower than those suspected of residing in neighboring Kenya.”

 “What is certain is that we have taken a group of the world’s most destitute, desperate, and brutalized people, and brutalized them some more.”

 – Matthew Blood

   On Christmas Day 2006, tanks from christian Ethiopia rolled into Islamic Somalia. The invasion was unprovoked, and was financed and directed by America.

Ethiopia was not acting alone. The US had given its approval for the operation and provided key intelligence and technical support. CIA agents traveled with the Ethiopian troops, helping to direct operations.

 During the invasion the Bush Administration had refugees renditioned into other countries where they were tortured and “disappeared”.

 Meanwhile our military was busy bombing refugees in the hopes that some of the ones we killed were actually hostile to America beforehand.

 There was only one problem. According to local Somalis, and confirmed by western diplomats and aid officials in Nairobi, none of the dead was connected to the Courts. Instead, a group of pastoralists gathering around a fire to keep the mosquitoes away had been killed.

 Dozens of civilians have been killed and it has stirred anti-American sentiment. The bombings have also had the effect of getting peacekeeping soldiers killed in retaliation.

 Eventually the Ethiopian occupation had to end. However, the invasion radicalized the islamists in Somalia so that they now openly cooperate with al-Qaeda. Once again, American policy caused the exact effect it was trying to prevent.

200 years ago, everyone called terrorists by another name: pirates

 – Washington Post

 While all this killing and suffering is unknown to the average American, many people know about the Somalian pirates. What most Americans don’t know is that the pirates are also a creation of American policy.

  You see, we are the ones who got rid of the people who kept the pirates at bay.

 “Under the Courts, there was literally no piracy,” says Hans Tino Hansen, chief executive of Risk Intelligence, a maritime security consultant in Denmark.

  Then the U.S. helped drive out the Muslim rulers to prevent the East African country from becoming a terrorist haven, leaving behind a lawless chaos in which piracy has flourished.

 Before being shut down, the pirates demanded tens to hundreds of thousands of dollars for each boat they seized, mostly preying on ships plying trade routes along Somalia’s east coast.

  Now they use more powerful boats and also strike ships in the Gulf of Aden on their way to the Suez Canal, usually demanding between $500,000 and $2 million per ship, according to a report by Chatham House.

 It’s yet another case of Unintended Consequences. We turned a local issue into an international problem.

  Historically, naval action has never been enough to solve a piracy problem. This time is no exception. It takes troops on the ground to eliminate it.

 Fortunately, we have allies against the pirates in Somalia that are about to score a major victory. They also happen to be the exact same guys we are trying so hard to kill.

 Fighters from the al Qaeda-linked militia al-Shabaab were advancing on Harardhere, the pirate stronghold on the Somali coast, a local journalist in contact with pirate sources told CNN…The journalist reported that the pirates appeared to be retreating from Harardhere to the port town of Hobyo, Somalia with their captured ships.

 The islamists control most of Somalia, and their eventual conquest of the country, if we allow it, will solve the piracy problem.

 Isn’t it interesting that in a measurable war against terrorism, in the form of piracy,

we have valuable allies who could win. But we are willing to go to extremes, even to the point of allowing a devastating famine to occur, in order to prevent those allies from winning against terrorists.

  When you consider the fact that we are funding terrorist groups in Pakistan and Iraq, this sort of makes sense. The War on Terror was never meant to be “won”. It was only meant to be fought.

  Of course there is one other element in the Somalia piracy issue that few people discuss.

 Pirates operating off the coast of Somalia are being controlled by crime syndicates, including foreigners lured by the multi-million-dollar ransoms, Interpol and other officials said on Wednesday.

 “It is organized crime,” said Jean-Michel Louboutin, executive director of police services at Interpol, the France-based global police organization.

 I’m not sure how exactly this fits into the picture, but I bet it isn’t an accident.


Skip to comment form

    • gjohnsit on April 28, 2010 at 19:08
  1. “All those weapons will end up in the hands of the terrorists.”

    The more weapons “the terrorists” have, the more we will be told what a “real threat” they are and how we must bomb and/or invade an other country.

    Part and parcel how the MIC creates bogus threats just grease the gravy train.

  2. In a desperate bid to gain legitimacy for the “transitional” (puppet) government, the US and the AU have brought in none other than a former member of the Islamic Courts Union to be the President of the Transitional Government.

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