Magazine article New Internationalist

Grim Future

Magazine article New Internationalist

Grim Future

Article excerpt

For the average American, the current Ethiopian invasion of Somalia is just another military operation taking place in a distant land in the war against Islamic terror. For many Somalis, this invasion is nothing short of a humiliating catastrophe.

Last year, the Somali people allowed the Union of Islamic Courts to take power to help end the anarchy that resulted from a 15-year civil war in the battered country. Before then, brutal warlords, backed by the US and Ethiopian governments, had raped, plundered and occupied a terrified citizenry. The US asserted, without evidence, that the Islamists were providing a safe haven for al-Qaeda terrorists.

The Islamic government denied this. But Ethiopian soldiers, supported by Somalia's transitional government, recently routed the Islamists.

Ethiopia is a historical enemy of Somalia. Now US support of the Ethiopian invasion, coupled with its recent bombing raids on suspected al-Qaeda targets in southern Somalia, will only add fuel to the hostility towards the United States.

The reason the Islamists rose to power in the Somali capital of Mogadishu in the first place was because the CIA covertly financed Somali warlords, channelling hundreds of thousands of dollars over the past year to them, according to news reports.

Even Somalis who are not religious saw their own safety and security Improved under the rule of the Islamists. They were willing to give them sufficient time to clean the streets of guns and violence. After restoring law and order on the streets, the Islamists could have chosen to modernize, albeit slowly, some of their interpretations and applications of Islamic Shari'a law, which are already part of the Somali cultural value system. …

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