Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Getting the hump with the Horn

A strange consensus seems to be building about the overthrow of the Union of Islamic Courts rebel regime in Somalia. The first is that this was little more than a popular drive for greater stability in war-ravaged Somalia. This is patently absurd. The UIC was an oppressive theocratic dictatorship that was making it a capital offence not to pray 5 times daily, was banning music, dancing and most inter-sex mixing and, which would probably have guaranteed its eventual demise, was trying to ban qat the mild narcotic that's chewed all over the horn of Africa (hence the title, clever wasn't it?).

The second is that the Ethiopian intervention was entirely without justification. Given that the UIC was calling for the re-unification of all 'ethnic Somalis' into a 'Greater Somalia' the threat to Ethiopia, which has had a significant 'Somalian' population for centuries is clear - it's akin to Hitler's call for a Greater Germany in the 1930s.

The third is that Ethiopia's response has been an illegal invasion. Wrong on both counts in my opinion. The Ethiopian army is in Somalia at the invitation of the legally-constituted, internationally recognised Provisional Government. It's no more an invasion than the American airbases in the UK are.

Given the tacit US support for the toppling of a potentially very nasty regime in Somalia, it is obvious where most of the new support for the UIC comes from of course. In determining whether or not a regime is for supporting or opposing, chaps like this simply determine the attitude of the US and then kick against it.

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