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Blinded By War June 16, 2009

Posted by surfair in World Affairs.
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2 comments

Logo_of_the_African_Union

“If there’s a United States of America, why can’t there be a United States of Africa?”

Slowly the wrongs are being righted in Africa. The continent has been through plenty of social struggle, but thanks to the efforts of organizations such as the inspiring African Union, the continent’s infighting is being fought.

The African Union (AU) is an intergovernmental agency consisting of 53 African states; a successor to a plethora of confederations organized since the 1960’s focused on African unity. They’ve spread their resources across a variety of issues plaguing the region from AIDS to the humanitarian crisis in  Zimbabwe. Most recently they’ve been caught by the international headlines for their peacekeeping efforts in Mogadishu, Somalia. Unfortunately the story is a grave one. 11641252-11641255-large

More like suicidal. With only 4,300 troops stationed in the city, the AU defend a dismal future against the bombarding Islamist rebel forces. Their stand is a heroic one at best and with the latest wave of rebel onslaught, their efforts have once again  grabbed the media’s attention.  France 24 provided a great inside look at life in the city with cameras following military convoysALeqM5jRc0QwFHTVRdip_0oo6hG6TAtdsA

However, AU’s violent defensive efforts should not overshadow their day-to-day philanthropic actions. Helping out the city’s poor with food and basic public health has been a great benefit to the Mogodish-ian-er-um-i-think-um-people. All these military and aid operations in Mogadishu are under the fingers of a puppeteer;  the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM).

This faction of the AU is devoted to peaceful assistance in the Somali area and their recognition is long overdue. Don’t forget, that this is just one of several conflicts this confederacy remains involved with currently. So we tip our hats to you, African Union. Maybe some day there will be a United States of Africa, until then let us all strive for peace.

UGANDA-AU-SOMALIA

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Bush and Somalia April 26, 2009

Posted by Afflatus in History, World Affairs.
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1 comment so far

I’ve been really busy recently, thus I havent had a chance to post much. Writing a paper on Somalia has taken up most of my time. I’ve briefly shared some of what I’ve learned about Somalia with some of you, but its necessary that everyone understands the extent to which the US and Ethiopia, along with other Western and African countries, made disastrous policy decisions in Somalia in 2006. Without time to explain in more detail, I refer you to this short article from cfr, my new favorite source of news on international affairs.

On thing to get clear is that the piracy on the horn and the Islamic extremism in the south are independent of each other. Pirates are generally not linked to the Islamic terrorists in the south or elsewhere in the world.

Another thing the article notes is that the US has bombed militant Islamic extremists in Somalia 5 times in the past 2.5 years! Pretty crazy right?

In essence, hard diplomacy (the military) is not the solution in Somalia. Combined Western naval fleets can only patrol 1% of the waters within range of Somali pirate attacks. Likewise, it is not the solution in the fight against Islamic fundamentalists. Both problems require soft diplomacy: building up infrastructure and industry, providing much-needed food and water, and supporting the new moderate, Islamic, transitional government in their fight against the extremists.

This view favoring a soft solution is wide-ranging, and held by experts on both sides of the political spectrum. Too bad the Bush Administration did not understand what we do now.

Two more articles that help to explain the immense humanitarian crisis in Somalia are: here and here.

I’ll post more after finals, or if you have specific questions, ask!