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The game’s afoot in Somalia

If the report turn out to be true about the success of the US military attack in Somalia, that is good news indeed. It is being claimed that some of the people targeted were those responsible for the horrendous 1998 bombings of the US embassies in Nairobi in Kenya and Dar es Salaam in Tanzania, and 2002 atrocities on in Kenya against Kenyan and Israeli civilians. If those are the bastards who have indeed been killed then that is a cause for some satisfaction.

It is interesting that the attack, which took place in Somalia, has attracted praise from the Somali president, who is no friend of the Islamists. But rather more baffling is that the EU has criticised the attack, with a spokesman for EU development commissioner Louis Michel saying “Any incident of this kind is not helpful in the long term”. I wonder how killing members of Al Qaeda is not ‘helpful’ in a fight against Al Qaeda?

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19 comments to The game’s afoot in Somalia

  • Eric

    What he means is:

    “European Muslims, hear me! We don’t support the US. We don’t like them. Don’t even know them, really. Please don’t burn our cities. Do you want Czechoslovakia, now two-for-one?”

  • RAB

    We are only 10 days into the New Year and I find my optimism growing.
    This smacks of someone getting it right for a change.
    Forget the EU Development Commissioner! The only thing he is likely to “develop” is a taste for high living at our expense.

  • ResidentAlien

    I know that Eritrea is the sworn enemy of Ethiopia and that “my enemy’s enemy is my friend.” But, I have found it hard to believe that the Eritreans backed the Islamists in Somalia. I think that their actions count as a dictionary definition of short-sighted.

  • veryretired

    This is a world war. Somalia is just one more front.

    In a very real sense, as was most of the history of the 20th century, the current antagonisms are yet another continuing permutation of the effects of the WW1. The collapse of the Ottoman Empire, along with several others, is one of the primary events in the list of AQ’s grievances against the west.

    That, and most everything else we think of as constituting the “west”.

    Eventually, even the most determined EU apparatchik will realize that there is no possibility of negotiation and compromise with someone whose one and only goal is your death.

  • Yes, but that might happen too late.

  • I wonder how killing members of Al Qaeda is not ‘helpful’ in a fight against Al Qaeda?

    Because it will only radicalise them further, and provide another few thousand recruits for Al Qaeda’s cause, and will turn them into martyrs, and it will undermine the UN, and it’s what Osama Bin Laden wants, and it shows that the Cowboy Bush Administration is no better than Al Qaeda, and killing them in Africa only demonstrates the US wants to recolonise the continent. Oh, and the Arab street will be enraged. Again.

  • The BBC were in full flow demonising the Sudanese Interim Govt and hyping up how “wrong” US involvement was…you almost got the impression that the US attack of the AQ base was all part of and a reason for the mayhem in Mogadishu. UIC may have brought “order” but what else to expect from a Fascistic organisation? On the surface, it gives a freedom of sorts, but that is the “demo version”…just wait until the enforced “upgrade” is rolled out.

  • They have arrested/captured several Britons in Somalia reports are saying.

  • Jacob

    “The collapse of the Ottoman Empire, along with several others, is one of the primary events in the list of AQ’s grievances against the west.”

    Well, that can be undone, perhaps. Let’s restore the Ottoman Empire. Let us restore Turkish rule in Iraq and Syria. Maybe even in Jordan and Saudi Arabia too. It will sure be better than the current regimes there.

    The Arabs won’t like it one bit. The Turks are no Arabs, and their rule was exceptionally cruel and oppressive, but that’s probably the only way that some order can be imposed in Arabia.

  • I’ve been thinking for some time that we should ask the Turkish army to give us an estimate on Iraq and Syria. They seem to have squelched the Cyprus conflict pretty effectively and that’s held for 32 years. Of course, they aren’t very nice, but being nice is clearly wasted on some people.

  • veryretired

    Let’s see—to counter the demand for the return of the Caliphate, we enable the return of the Caliphate?

    I’m afraid I don’t see much advantage for the west vis-a-vis Islamic extremism in that approach.

    What would the next step be? Ceding Andalusia?

    It is time to come to grips with the situation, and shed some dangerous illusions.

    No one is going to step forward and take the burden off our shoulders. We either stand against the repeated attacks from islamic fascists or we surrender, whether wholly or piecemeal.

    There will be no set piece battle, no Napoleonic moment, when the game is over and the “beast” defeated. WW2 was the last of the “unconditional surrender” wars.

    There is no such thing as a “clean” war, in which everything is clear cut, and civilians and combatants are all separated out and sealed off from one another. This is especially true, of course, when one side of the conflict adopts as a primary strategy hiding within the civilian community, and violating every conventional standard of what is called the “rules of war”. (surely one of the great oxymorons of all time)

    The conflict will not end like a TV show or Hollywood movie—all wrapped up and required happy ending achieved at the end of the hour or two alotted for that segment. Reality is not “Kojack” or “Star Wars”. The heroes don’t always win, the bad guys sometimes get away, and everyone’s hands get dirty regardless of which side their on.

    There is no “war in Afghanistan” or “war in Iraq”, there are only battles in a long and difficult effort to resist the imposition of a particularly brutal form of theocratic totalitarianism on various populations, some of which might desire that state to exist.

    It is not in our interests for unchecked, coercive totalitarians to be given free rein. This is another in a series of tests which the west has faced, from the autocratic empires of the 19th century to the totalitarian ideologies of the 20th to the theocratic totalitarianism of the 21st.

    Did you somehow come to believe that living in an open, reasonably free society was the “natural” state of humanity? That is the most dangerous delusion of all.

    The history of civilization is a saga of people living under the shadow of the sword, and the lash of the overseers whip. Free men and women living their lives as they see fit is the only truly radical idea. These collectivist theocrats are just one more variation on a very old, and very stale, symphony of oppression.

    We are blundering along, just as we have always done, learning and adapting as we go. The colonists could never defeat the regular British army, the merchants and farmers of the north could never defeat the “aristocrats” of the confederacy, the mongrelized and decadent democracies could never defeat the Axis juggernaut, the collapsing capitalists of the west could never stop the wave of the (marxist) future.

    Odd, isn’t it, how all those unbeatable opponents are gone, and the decadent, middle class mongrels are directing a global civilization, and preparing to explore the solar system.

    “Gully Foyle is my name,
    and Terra is my nation,
    deep space my final resting place,
    the stars my destination.”

    The universe awaits the bold, and the free, not the cringing and the fearful. Are you coming along, or not?

  • Perry E. Metzger

    If one believes in the efficacy of the state, the rational care of bureaucrats and the ability of large government agencies to carry out extremely complicated and important work with precision, one should believe the current involvement in Somalia will work well.

    If one believes that, of course, one should also believe that Hugo Chavez’s nationalization program in Venezuela is a good idea, too.

    Sure, electricity is a good idea, but are nationalized electrical supply systems a good idea? If you answer “no”, then why can you not see the distinction between the desire for something to be done about security problems in foreign lands and the desire to have large, ponderous and incompetent government agencies do something about security problems in foreign lands?

    Of course, given the vehemence of the faction that supports the Iraq war here on Samizdata perhaps people here will settle this inconsistency in their thinking by starting to applaud nationalization, too. I’m looking forward to Samizdata publishing in favor of other disasters like national health care, and castigating opponents for not seeing how important health care is, and saying “but what would you do, have us do nothing for the sick and the poor?” — since you use the equivalent of those arguments for the Iraq war and this new Somali involvement, clearly they should apply consistently and across the board.

  • RAB

    Yes Veryretired I’m coming! (Damn your posts are good)
    P.E.M. So what do we do then? Surrender?? because our little islamic buddies arnt going to stop now. It’s all too much fun!
    Turkey would be destroyed or end up like Iran did overnight if the Idea of the Ottoman empire, Caliphate whatever ever looked like getting the nod from the EU or the UN. Saudi can buy Turkey 20 times over you know, and you think that the Fundamentalists will accept their 80 year old lapsed leadership!!??
    I have been to Turkey many times and love the place, but I just know in my bones that that idea would be the end of all Attaturk believed and stood for.

  • If one believes that, of course, one should also believe that Hugo Chavez’s nationalization program in Venezuela is a good idea, too.

    Perry (Metzger) is not an idiot and I often think his heart is in the right place even if his head is not. Granted he is consistent but is that always a good thing? He is quite wrong and might just as well have written:

    If one believes gut bacteria are good for your digestion, you should also believe that bubonic plague bacteria is good for you too.

    Sorry but to believe in a small state whose job is limited to preventing plagues and dropping bombs on threatening barbarians is not to therefore accept a state which does anything more than that. I accept a state which has the power to prevent people with typhoid walking about and infecting others. I accept a state which drops bombs on Al Qaeda wherever they can be found.

    Why? Because some threats are collective, not several, much like if I set my house on fire, I should not have the right to prevent my neighbours putting that fire out in order to save their houses, even if their houses are not yet burning.

    Sure, states are not your friend, no argument there. But magnitude matters. The UK ≠ North Korea. In the real world, rather than some future Rothbardian utopia, liberty can indeed grow in contact with the state just as long as there is a culture of liberty that produces people willing to constantly prune back the weeds to stop them choking the garden.

    In Libertopia, even more so that now, people will trade and interact globally, not just amongst their fearful fellow survivalists in the Ozark Mountains, and that means they will be faced with threats from people who have a vested interest in a more primitive and easier to control pre-extended order.. in Libertopia the people attacking Al Qaeda in Somalia with AC-130 gunships might be a contracted PMC rather than a state military monopoly but in the here and now, that monopoly is all we have and pretending Al Qaeda are not a global threat that needs to be met with violence globally is not a position likely to lead to Libertopia any time soon, let alone conducive to survival.

  • J

    “I should not have the right to prevent my neighbours putting that fire out in order to save their houses, even if their houses are not yet burning.”

    Hmm, I never really considered that. I suppose if I lit a large bonfire in my small garden, the neighbours might also extinguish that, before it spread, and I would have no right to stop them.

    So, is it better for there to be a law preventing me lighting the huge bonfire in the first place, or is it better for there to be no such law, but instead a law preventing me from defending my property (a bonfire, in this case) from people who felt that my property endagered theirs?

    If government plans to charge for waste removal by the kilo go ahead, I predict a rise in large bonfires….

    J (sorry, was all entirely off topic)

  • TDH

    Jacob,

    “. . .Let us restore Turkish rule in Iraq and Syria. Maybe even in Jordan and Saudi Arabia too. It will sure be better than the current regimes there.

    The Arabs won’t like it one bit. The Turks are no Arabs, and their rule was exceptionally cruel and oppressive, but that’s probably the only way that some order can be imposed in Arabia.”

    Hell, the Arabs don’t like what’s going on now. Six one, half dozen the other, I say.

    Dammit, boy . . .

    Want a job? The US Departments of State and Defense sadly lack clueage. This is probably the only solution that will work over the long term. Be kinda hard on the Arabs, though – ‘sniff’ . . .

    Couple of defects – one, we won’t have to ‘restore’ Turkish anything. A 5-minute phone call to the effect that the Turks have the green light to do whatever they damned well please would suffice nicely; and, two, why stop with Syria, Iraq, Jordan and KSA (I think everything between India and Morocco would be just dandy).

    Brilliant!

    Trav.

  • Michiganny

    Veryretired, I’ve never linked WWI to all this. Nice connection.

    I am extremely proud of what the US is doing in East Africa. Effective use of proxies worked well taking Afghanistan, too. This kind of stuff is richly deserved payback. I just wish we did this more often.

  • Paul Marks

    People responsible for the deaths of many Americans (and vast numbers of nonAmericans) were or are in Somalia – killing them is clearly justified (both to punish them for their previous attacks and to stop them organizing any more).

    This is nothing to do with “nation building”, and one need not support such a social democrat projects (and I do not support them) to support killing terrorists who were trying to set up a safe base of operations in Somalia.

    By the way, one thing governments are quite good at doing is killing people (see human history). I can not explain why the heads of O.B.L. and Mullah Omar have not been delivered to the floor of the Senate (after more than five years waiting for this to be done), but the failure of the Administration to deliver them is not an argument for not killing other enemies of the United States.

    As for the antiAmerican propaganda – it is not just the B.B.C.

    The Daily Telegraph today had a cartoon showing women and children running for cover from American bombs in Somailia (of course no evidence of civilian deaths was produced).

    And the last Sunday Telegraph had an article by N. Ferguson denoucing the Americans and in praise of the regime of the “Islamic Courts”.

    I remember seeing a television advert where various people were asked what mattered most to them. N. Ferguson replied “money” – and, of course, he gets a lot of money as a Prof at Harvard. So he has gone from supporting an “American Empire” (which, for all his faults, President Bush never had any interest in creating) to attacking American operations against terrorists who have attacked Americans in the past and planned to do so in the future.

    Reading Prof Ferguson’s article reminded me of one of the actor puppets in “Team America: World Police” – I think it was the puppet of Tim Robbins.

    Supposedly before the evil Americans attacked, Somalia (like Iraq under Saddam) was a land where the regime had established “peace”, where internet cafes were on every street corner, where young men had traded in their automatic rifles for mobile telephones, where children danced in shining streams and put flowers in their hair……

    Yes the new Harvard Prof is earning the money that he so values – the only cost is his honour, and to a man like him that is no cost at all.

  • Paul Marks

    Libertarians who attack the recent American operations against terrorists in Somalia (people who had killed many Americans, and vast numbers of other people, in the past – and planned to do so in the future), should also condemn Thomas Jefferson for ordering attacks on the regime in North Africa.

    In fact they should attack Jefferson more than they attack George Bush – after all the “Islamic Courts” had only just taken power in Somalia (by force) whereas the regime in North Africa had been there for centuries.

    Capturing ships on the high seas, robbing, rapeing and killing and selling the surviors into slavery was the “cultural tradition” of these people (indeed they claimed it was a religious duty) so Washington D.C. had no right to attack them – especially as Thomas Jefferson was a slave owner (unlike President George Walker Bush).