WHEN RATIONALITY IS ECLIPSED BY DUPLICITY, ...
edited: Sunday, July 09, 2006
By Abdinasir A Mohamed
Rated "G" by the Author.
Posted: Sunday, July 09, 2006
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WHEN RATIONALITY IS ECLIPSED BY DUPLICITY, UNDESIRABLE RESULTS POP-OUT OF THE BLUE.
WHEN RATIONALITY IS ECLIPSED BY DUPLICITY, UNDESIRABLE RESULTS POP-OUT OF THE BLUE.
The mystifying or, as some call it, duplicitous policy of America towards Somalia is quite perplexing. On one hand, we saw American officials argue that the best way to deal with “Somali government” is to employ a “Wait and see” policy. This has been the official stand since the failed Operation Restore Hope of 1994 until the end of the warlord tyranny in Mogadishu a month ago. On the other hand, Americans bank-rolled the notorious warlords, who’d committed crimes against humanity including assassinations, abductions, arbitrary killings, rape and many more as recorded by local and international rights groups. Since 9/11, American advocacy for democracy, human rights and good governance had transformed from an active role to a humbug. Thanks to one of our great-grandfathers who once said “History teaches people, teaches what you’d drifted away from …” I sometimes marvel how they’d articulated truth in simple words that were destined to last for centuries to come. Let us take a look briefly at what we can learn from this great teacher—History.
The Fall of Saigon.
In the 1960s when America sided with one Vietnam against the other, thousands of books were penned, from different perspectives, to illustrate the Vietnam War. Saturday, at 10:45 on 30 April 1975, was the fall of Saigon. Two communist tanks smashed into the presidential place, with the cabinet and their president inside, nervously sipping Vietnamese tea. The attack was swift and surprise. Colonel Bui Tin, a journalist for the Communist Armed Forces newspaper Quan Doi Nhan Dan, had just arrived to report on the battle of Saigon. “I went inside the palace. All of them stood” he said. "I recognized ‘President’ Duong Van Minh because he was very tall. Duong Van Minh stepped forward and said: 'We've been waiting for you since morning to hand over the government'." Colonel Tin later confirmed to have uttered the now famous response “You don’t have any government to hand over to us!”
They took the South Vietnam president, whom the Americans defended so much, by car to Saigon Radio to record his statement of capitulation. "Saigon has been liberated. At 1330, President Duong Van Minh has just announced unconditional capitulation of America’s 'puppet regime' in Saigon," the radio announcer said. The message was broadcast across the city, making more than a million South Vietnamese soldiers drop their weapons and run for their lives. Some even committed suicide. With thousands of US troops dead, America was on the losing side of a war, far away from home, in Vietnam. Months before the fall of Saigon, November 19, 1974 - William Calley is freed after serving 3½ years under house arrest following his conviction for the murder of 22 My Lai civilians. How justice was done!
The 1st Battle of Mogadishu.
December 1992, after two years of clan warfare, and more than quarter million people on the brink of starvation, US marines landed on the shores of Mogadishu to prevent, as they’d claimed, a looming humanitarian disaster. They took-over the main airport, seaport, the immense campus of Somali National University, and numerous other vital facilities. The operation was code-named Operation Restore Hope, as it was designed to disarm militias of the two Mogadishu warlords, General Farah Aideed and Businessman Ali Mahdi. The disarmament plan of Gen. Aideed’s militia had gone wrong and led to the Operation Capture Fugitive illustrated one-sidedly by the BLACK HAWK DOWN movie. Aideed went underground as his armored vehicles were destroyed in a pre-dawn attack on the ex-air force base, where he gathered most of his artilleries and other major military hardware as required by the United Task Force (NUITAF). His arrest was supposed to be as easy as General Manuel Noriega of the central American nation—Panama, because in the eyes of Bill Clinton, and Boutros Boutros-Ghali —the former UN secretary; Admiral Jonathan Howe was capable of neutralizing Aideed’s militia and could put the fugitive General behind bars with minimum effort, just as he did to General Noriega in the late 1980s. Britain offered a detention center if the warlord Aideed senior is caught, in one of its islands. Some called the offer as “Putting the cart before the horse”
Apparently, the American leadership, and the Admiral in Mogadishu had miscalculated the circumstances that surrounded the ominous capture of Aideed. Thousands of Leaflets were dropped on the streets of Mogadishu. The fliers had urged and promised reward for information that might lead to the seizure of the Fugitive General. The leaflets distributed by the Americans suggested how misinformed the leadership was, and it was this half truths that led to the deaths of thousands of innocent Somalis and 18 US servicemen. The end result was a U-turn policy out of the blue. From a hot pursuit, to a cool one! Consequently, the US/UN mission, the death of so many innocent lives, and the lives of members of US military’s most respected Rangers had ended in utter vain.
Lessons of the later battle
The enormous disaster of Rwanda, though preventable, with about million people dead, the world lifted no finger to do anything because of America’s humiliation in Mogadishu at the hands of Aideed’s militia. Since that failed mission—Operation Restore Hope; we are told that US policy towards Somalia is “Wait and see” as we have witnessed in the Rwandan tragedy. We’ll examine whether that is truly the case in the succeeding paragraphs.
The Covert Operation of Mogadishu
After the defeat of the Democrats in much contested election, the nation turned towards the South—America’s fertile ground for evangelism. A new episode had begun with Bush, the junior. This was when US policy towards Somalia got duplicitous. In September 2000, Somali civil societies formed the first Transitional National Government (TNG) in Arta town of DJIBOUTI. The US invoked its “Wait and see” policy, and suitably argued that the TNG was not inclusive. How truthful! Because all of the warlords were left in the cold. Many people including myself said “Fair-enough”, but what followed was heart-rending. Many Muslim scholars (MS), ex-military commanders and doctors were targeted with a lethal assassination campaign. Most of the MS members, who were kidnapped, were handed over to either America or Ethiopia. The US official policy is still “wait and see” with even the new Transitional Federal Government (TFG)! But behind the scene, there was the unseen hand—secret CIA cash so generously channeled to warlords to report, assassinate or snatch and ferry “militants” from Esiley and Daynile airstrips, killing and maiming many innocent people in the process.
This deadly program was short-lived, probably, because MS members on their part, started to identify those involved in the campaign and had begun to track and liquidate them. During the years of 2004 and 2005, Mogadishu had seen a sharp rise of this new phenomenon of hit-and-run. Hundreds of people in a high social stand were removed from the face of the planet. Many of them lie rotten in their graveyards, while many more are believed to be incarcerated in classified prisons only to be released once the world becomes free from “terror” and tyranny. This could only be a product of CIA’s so called “Extraordinary renditions” The CIA is believed to have helped set up the now disbanded Alliance for the Restoration of Peace and Counter-Terrorism (ARPCT), with cash and intelligence. As the US claimed, they were after three suspected “militants” in Mogadishu, allegedly sheltered by Islamic Courts Union (ICU)—a charge vehemently denied by the ICU. The CIA’s so called ARPCT alliance waged a disastrous war on the ICU on behalf of America, to apprehend suspects wanted by the US authorities. This led to their total capitulation!
All of a sudden, the US scrapped the “Wait and see” policy, and had begun to drum up support for the TFG in a bid to counter the ICU. Every muscle to rid the ICU off the political arena was flexed. A Contact Group was also announced by Washington within one week of the CIA supported warlords’ expulsion from Mogadishu. Relentless media campaign is put-into place, parallel with the America’s political and military front. Personal opinions, expressed by unrepresentative individuals, with often rival views, appear on countless American news headlines; labeled Taliban-Style, as official policy of the ICU. No wonder, US may be too sensitive to anything “Islamic” and thus support warlords, Washington is well acquainted with the brutal acts they’d carried out. No matter how long, I must reiterate that the day of checks and balances will come for those slaughtered mercilessly, on behalf of Capital Hill, in a recognized court of law.
Axis of Evil
Jan.29 2002, in his state of the union address, President Bush, the junior, resonated his famous phrase—the “Axis of evil” If I pick Iran as a case example here; the president said “Iran pursues these weapons (of mass destruction) and exports terror, while an unelected few repress the Iranian people’s hope for freedom” alas, Was Bush better elected than Khatami? The election of Bush, with all the Florida vote fiasco, and Khatami’s landslide election!!! How pathetic when President Bush says “Unelected few repress the Iranian …” I happen to be not a defender of an individual, be it Bush, Khatami or anyone else for that matter; but both elections took place in front of TV cameras, and I watched them in full conscience. I could hardly applause in agreement with what Bush uttered that evening in front the great chamber in Washington D.C. may be people did not grasp the opinion expressed, or … nonetheless the president was speaking to a nation supposedly under “attack” and the war rhetoric, revenge and show of force was running high in the nerves of every member of the audience. This had eclipsed rational thinking and sometimes truth itself.
Bush’s bullying of Iran’s mullahs yielded some fruits as the regime agreed in 2004, to halt all its suspected uranium enrichment in exchange for Iran’s dossier not to be referred to UN’s Security Council. The case dragged on until Ahmedinejad won by 61.69% of the votes in a second round of elections in Iran. The first thing he did after he was sworn in to office, was to re-activate a year long suspended enrichment facilities and scrapped all the good-will-gestures Khatami had committed; and told the US and EU three—Britain, France, and Germany to do what they can. A war of words had escalated, and uncompromising Iran was referred to UNSC but with little success. Ahmedinejad was a man least expected by the west to come to power. His rise to presidency was partly because of America’s pressure on his predecessor, the designation of Iran as one of three “Axis of Evil” and Bush’s famous black and white vision of world affairs “Either with us or against us” Now they’ve to deal with an unyielding right match of Bush coming from the east. This is what happens when rational thinking, wisdom, and contextualizing events is completely ignored and brushed aside.
The purpose of this article is to point out some of the wars, the US lost due to its duplicitous policies.
When the US sided with “Good” Vietnam against “Bad” Vietnam the result was disastrous.
In mid 1993, when it sided with “Good” warlords against “Bad” warlords in Somalia, the outcome was that members of US Rangers were dragged in the streets of Mogadishu.
When Rumsfeld took over US foreign policy toward Iraq, in his Shock-and-Awe war waged against Iraqis, the consequence needs not my pen. Million people, by some estimate, and thousands of occupying troops lost their lives. Cities leveled, and now, God forbid, a civil war, no matter how good of a picture one paints.
When opportunities offered by Khatami were ignored, and miscalculate pressure was applied on Iran, it gave birth to Ahmedinejad out of the blue.
Last year, when the CIA financed warlords in Mogadishu, who opposed the TFG government, to hunt down three suspected “Militants” and showed total disregard of the government and the innocent lives lost in the course of action, the end result was exact opposite of what Washington expected.
Now the US is on the wrong truck—by rallying to finance the TFG to counter the ICU. Instead, the US should quit its pride and the divide and rule policies. The US should engage meaningful talks with the ICU and the TFG to sort their differences peacefully. In this way, America’s fear of Somalia becoming safe haven for Al-Qaeda can be expelled. Remember how courageous the decision by Bill Clinton was, to drop hostile policy toward General Aideed when he saw that his strategy had backfired. It’s never too late. The ICU is the best partner in the arena, and to try to eliminate them will come with a dear price, if it ever happens. I wonder how long it will take for this administration to learn from the great teacher—history?
Abdinasir A. Mohamed