In the 1979 animation adventure, Puff the Magic Dragon and the Land of Living Lies, the Dragon takes a little girl called Sandy, who has a vivid imagination and lies a lot to escape the problems of her troubled home, to the Land of the Living Lies, where she meets such famous fibbers as Pinocchio and the boy who cried wolf, and honesty is prosecuted:
Puff: That is the famous purple cow that no one has ever seen.
Puff: That some see too often.
Puff: Kilroy. Always was there, and never was anywhere.
Prosecutor: Little girl, isn’t it true you zipped the zapper when you snipped the snoo?
Puff: Because he’s the prosecuting attorney: a genuine flim-flam.
Prosecutor: And furthermore, you frightened the flip by frying the frisbee. Uh huh!
Therefore I put to case that all the while the fluster flittered, your velocipede matriculated. DIDN'T YOU?
Puff: [eating homework]
Arithmetic. Ketchup goes well with lower mathematics.
Puff: Oh, a long way from your house, I'm sure.
Puff: Don't you think it’s odd that I, a dragon, should eat homework for lunch? Of course it’s odd, for it never happened. It was a falsehood, a canard, a prevarication. Oh, why beat about the bush. It was a simple lie told by a little girl named
The jihadists are coming! The jihadists are here. Poof! They are gone. “It was a falsehood, a canard, a prevarication. Oh, why beat about the bush. It was a simple lie told by….”
And so the horned jihadists of the Horn of Africa have come and gone like the “purple cow that no one has ever seen” or “the pink elephant that some see too often.” Across the dusty Ogaden border, we were told, lurked 8000-strong wild-eyed jihadists poised to overrun
The Fireman and the Jihadists
The current invasion of
Zenawi invented a jihadist bogeyman in
The truth of the matter is that the whole jihadist menace in the Horn of Africa -- the “New Talibans” -- is a figment of Zenawi’s imagination. The jihadist bogeyman was invented to divert international attention from Zenawi’s massive and gross violations of human rights in
The year 2006 was not a particularly good one for Zenawi. His cherished image of “democratic reformer”, “new breed of African leader dedicated to democracy, human rights and development”, etc. was gone, forever. He became known as the tyrant, the butcher, the mass murderer, the thief, and so on. Undaunted, he kept on tyrannizing, butchering, murdering….
The Somali jihadist PR offensive was supposed to provide respite and cover during a period of extremely bad publicity for Zenawi. He was facing increasing international condemnation for his brutal suppression of opposition and dissent in the country. The kangaroo trial of the opposition leaders, civic society advocates and human rights defenders provided comic relief to all (but not the defendants) as the prosecutor paraded screwy perjurers before the court. When their lies were exposed on cross-examination, the perjurers fingered lead prosecutor Kamal as their coach for lying. The Inquiry Commission charged to investigate the massacre of unarmed protesters in November, 2005, returned its verdict, albeit in a briefing to the U.S. House of Representatives: “Zenawi, your boys did it! Ain’t nobody here to blame, but you. You are responsible!”
So, the Somali jihadist bogeyman was a God-send (no pun intended) to create a convenient diversion from from the adverse international attention, and hoodwink the locals. The initial PR for the diversionary campaign was handled in standard “Keystone Cop” style. At the outset, Zenawi denied having any military presence in
One can not overlook the subtextual attempt to inflame religious passions in the war rhetoric. Zenawi charged the Islamists are fundamentalists who want to govern
The Fire Department and the Jihadist
The Bush Administration has been supportive of Zenawi’s adventures in
For the past 15 years,
The bombing of the U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania in 1998 oriented U.S. policy in Somalia towards counterterrorism, particularly, the capture or killing of a small number Al-Qaeda operatives and Somali collaborators who are believed to be responsible for the attacks. Repeated
The CIA effort failed to neutralize the terrorists, but contributed to the ascendancy of the Islamic fundamentalists, who were presumably coddling these terrorists. The Islamists, apparently spooked by all of the covert and no-so-covert CIA activity launched their own preemptive strikes, overrunning their opponents in a relatively short time and capturing
This past summer, the State Department took over the policy role for
The Truth About
It is apparent that the
Recent comments by important American policy makers on
Sen. Russell D. Feingold (D-WI), the incoming chairman of the Senate Africa Subcommittee criticized Rice for failing to develop a “comprehensive strategy” and give high-level attention to
Gen. John P. Abizaid, chief of the U.S. Central Command, following his recent meetings with Zenawi urged “restraint” ahead of the inevitable invasion. According to Zenawi, Abizaid “shared his experiences in
John Prendergast, an expert on
Following the sweeping victory of the Islamists, Prendergast argued: “A successful counterterrorism effort would require the
In response to the scathing criticism from all quarters, the administration announced the formation of the Somalia Contact Group to hold talks with representatives of the Islamic Courts, the STG, other regional actors and
Throughout the crisis, the State Department has gone to extraordinary lengths to help shape favorable American public opinion, including issuance of a memo advising: “The press must not be allowed to make this about
Quick Flashback: Why did Zenawi Invade
Zenawi has asserted that he has a legal and moral obligation to support and defend the STG, which is purportedly recognized by the international community. Of course, the claim of a “legal obligation” to invade a sovereign country is nonsense, and unsupported in international law; and there is no such thing as a “moral” obligation or justification for military invasion. (See e.g. ENDNOTES for international legal authority on the use of force.) If external military action needs to be taken against a sovereign country legally, that authority belongs to the U.N, first and foremost. Even intervention motivated by humanitarian concerns requires U.N action, except under the most extraordinary circumstances (which
Assuming, for the sake of argument, that Zenawi had a “legal and moral obligation” to invade
Is there a Possibility for a Negotiated Settlement to Put Humpty Dumpty together?
The familiar children’s rhyme goes:
Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall.
Humpty Dumpty had a great fall
All the king's horses and all the king's men
Couldn’t put Humpty together again.
The questions is: After 15 years of clan warfare, anarchy and chaos, is it possible to put
The answer is: Only Somalis can put
For well over a decade, there have been countless efforts at national unity and reconciliation in
Where do we go from here in
First and foremost, all foreign troops must go, immediately withdraw from
Second, diplomacy must be given priority over any military solution, including one imposed by Zenawi as a matter of “legal and moral” imperative. The Arab League and various neighboring countries have called for dialogue and negotiation among the various Somali factions. Even the
Third, U.N. Security Council Resolution 1725 which passed just a few weeks ago should be vigorously implemented and monitored so that “all Member States, in particular those in the region,…refrain from any action in contravention of the arms embargo and related measures.” This resolution also authorized an East African peacekeeping force to prevent the overthrow of the STG by the Islamic militias. With the exception of
Learn from the American Experience of “Shock and Awe” and “
When the U.S. invaded Iraq on March 20, 2003, it adopted a strategy called “Shock and Awe”, based on the military doctrine of using overwhelming military might to destroy not only the material capabilities of the enemy, but also his will to fight and resist. Six weeks later on
The parallels between Zenawi’s invasion of
The bottom line is that
“We Will Not Let
As Zenawi’s forces entered the Somali capital, he made a curious statement of special interest to history buffs. He said: “We will not let
In 64 A.D., when fire broke out among the shops lining the Circus Maximus in
If Zenawi “will not let
Anyway, now that the jihadists have come and gone (Rah! Rah! Rah! They have gone, haven’t they? ), along with the “famous purple cow that no one has ever seen and the pink elephant”, could we please talk about the serious issues of human rights, release of political prisoners, arrest and prosecution of the murderers of 193 peaceful protesters and 2500 Anuaks, …, and that sort of thing?
Article 2 (4) All Members shall refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state, or in any other manner inconsistent with the Purposes of the United Nations.
Article 33(1) The parties to any dispute, the continuance of which is likely to endanger the maintenance of international peace and security, shall, first of all, seek a solution by negotiation, enquiry, mediation, conciliation, arbitration, judicial settlement, resort to regional agencies or arrangements, or other peaceful means of their own choice.
Article 35 (1). Any Member of the United Nations may bring any dispute, or any situation of the nature referred to in Article 34, to the attention of the Security Council or of the General Assembly.
Article 37 (1). Should the parties to a dispute of the nature referred to in Article 33 fail to settle it by the means indicated in that Article, they shall refer it to the Security Council. (2) If the Security Council deems that the continuance of the dispute is in fact likely to endanger the maintenance of international peace and security, it shall decide whether to take action under Article 36 or to recommend such terms of settlement as it may consider appropriate.
Article 4 -- The [African] Union shall function in accordance with the following principles:
(a) sovereign equality and interdependence among Member States of the Union;
(b) respect of borders existing on achievement of independence;
(e) peaceful resolution of conflicts among Member States of the Union through such appropriate means as may be decided upon by the Assembly;
(f) prohibition of the use of force or threat to use force among Member States of the Union;
(g) non-interference by any Member State in the internal affairs of another;
(i) peaceful co-existence of Member States and their right to live in peace and security;
(p) condemnation and rejection of unconstitutional changes of governments.
 Imaginary fighters believed to have shadowed allied fighter planes during WW II.
 The Crisis States Research Centre defines a “failed state” as a condition of “state collapse” -- e.g. a state that can no longer perform its basic security, and development functions and that has no effective control over its territory and borders. Among the various characteristics of such a state are: mounting demographic pressures, massive movement of refugees, legacy of vengeance, sharp and/or severe economic decline, criminalization or de-legitimization of the State, progressive deterioration of public services, widespread violation of human rights, rise of factionalized elites, intervention of other states or external actors.
 Security Council Resolution 794 (
 United Nations Security Council Resolution 733 (Implementing an Arms Embargo on
 Hippodrome or open air stadium for mass entertainment and games.