21 Jun 2006

The Best Policy Is No Policy

This bleak assessement on Somalia by J. Peter Pham, director of the Nelson Institute for International and Public Affairs at James Madison University and an academic fellow of the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies:
After they make short shift of Somalia’s shambolic government—notwithstanding the last ditch attempt at the U.N. this week to shore it up with the appointment of a new International Contact Group—the (Islamic Courts) Union will turn its attention to destabilizing (neighbouring) Somaliland, whose democratically elected, secular government has already been declared anathema by the Union’s chief ideologist, Sheikh Hassan Dahir Aweys, the al Qaeda-linked head of al-Ittihad. (This month alone, the Somaliland government has intercepted two major arms shipments destined for Union-aligned jihadis from well-wishers in Arabia.) Then the Union will turn on Ethiopia and Kenya, both countries with large ethnic Somali populations with significant pockets of jihadi infiltration.
Can the US do much about this potential situation? Nearly anything the US does in Somalia, covert or overt, will be used to blame and discredit it regionally with moderate, important countries like Kenya. Already this is the media reaction locally. It is basically misplaced criticism, but it sells in the global anti-American market.

The US should rather rely on the natural ability of Somalis to implode and their penchant for pissing off everyone who happens to be their neighbour. This the Islamic Courts militia will surely do, sooner or later.

Meanwhile it should support openly the efforts of the regional AU group (IGAD) and the UN/European contact groups that are trying to build ( how I hate the word!) an "inclusive" solution.

I doubt they will succeed, but if then the Jihadis anger enough neighbours and clans, the US can use covert means, with proxy allies, to keep Somalia tied up in endless clan warfare, which traditionally renders them strategically harmless.

If an agressive, expansionist Jihadi state did emerge via the Islamic Courts, you would be surprised how quickly the US would be asked for help by various currently lukewarm "allies" like Kenya and Ethiopia.

I dont think Somalia seriously threatens any shipping lanes and is a poor choice for terrorist hideouts. The region is not vital to world energy or security, but due to large minorities of Somalis in Kenya and Ethiopia, plus Islamic ambitions to destabilize the Horn of Africa, the last thing the US should have is a searchlights-and-trumpets prescence, which will then be used by Islamists to rally a regional cause.

Tread softly, carry a big stick, shut up and keep one's eyes open. That's about it for US policy now.

19 Jun 2006

UN: Some Kenyans Are More Kenyan

Despite being the oldest group of humans yet researched by New Zealand's Massey University DNA project Kenya's Turkana people are not, according to the United Nations, 'indigenous'. Having some 35,000 years of history won't quite qualify one for favoured treatment by the UN's new Human Rights Council. Yet if you arrived in Kenya 500 years ago, you will get General Assembly recognition and special 'rights'.

This is the useful conclusion of the UN's newest body. Gone from the disbanded old Human Rights Commission are champions of humanity like Saddam's Iraq ( which once chaired it),Syria and Zimbabwe. In are new champions of humanity like Cuba, Saudi Arabia, China and Russia.

Saudi Arabia is busy modernizing it's image and industry with oil-boom cash. The kingdom just exported a batch of Hand Amputation Machines to Nigeria's sharia Kano State.

Meanhile the new UN Rights Council has the urgent task of sending to the General Assembly a 'vital' bill guaranteeing the rights of 'indigenous peoples'.

To most people, 'indigenous' has the simple meaning of people who were the original inhabitants of a land. Thus in Africa the Bushmen, Pygmies, Baka, Berbers and other groups are rightly nominated in the UN list of indigenes. However it also pays to be colourful, exotic and live next to the world's greatest wildlife parks, even if you are Tribesman-Come-Lately.

Thus Mjikenda and related Swahili Kenyans, who have lived around Mombasa for at least a millenium, are not indigenous enough. They don't wear lion's manes, red-ochre and wave long spears, but rather shapeless, white cotton tunics called kanzu.

Maybe Kenya's Agikuyu who arrived there around 1100 AD are indigenous? If you've been checking out the fate of the 35,000 year old Turkana, you will know this answer. The fact that we have have 1 million year old ancestor hominid sites at Lake Turkana, where live the You-know-who tribe , still won't swing it for those "non-natives".

They drink an awful lot of coffee in the corridors of the UN - what else is there to do in Diploland? Like Legoland it's a place where only fantasies take shape. This leads to reading lots of coffee-table books. There have been more big glossy books written about Kenya's Maasai people (arrived in Kenya around 1450 AD via Chad and Sudan)than any other East African tribe. No surprise then that the only people in Kenya who qualify for 'indigenous', in the UN's report, are the Maasai. There is talking turkey. Then there is talking Turkana, and the Unocrats have the balance right.

How the Kenya Government will vote when the Human Rights Council bill reaches the General Assembly, nobody knows. Hopefully it will be in favour of a bill which declares 90% of their own Kenyans 'foreigners'. Kenyans of Maasai origin are good, normal citizens and frankly need no special affirmation compared to any other inhabitants.

Stand by for waves of professional Masaai activists clad in beads and shukas claiming back the whole country they once ruthlessly conquered from the 'pre-indigenous' people who were inconveniently in Kenya before them. One of the special UN rights for the 'indigenous' is naturally land. That's material enough for 56 more books, 3 mini-series and "Maasai, The Movie!".

16 Jun 2006

Somalia's Endless Sorrows

The recent victories by the Somali Islamic Courts militia over various "Anti-Terrorist Alliance" warlords, supposedly funded by the USA, may seem a small story in these days of Iran, Al-Zarquawi and such. However, it has the potential to become a very large issue in the global war on terror, for Kenya regionally and for Al-Qaeda. The BBC has an excellent primer on the situation here.

East African countries have reacted by making the losing warlords persona non grata, calling for their trial at the ICC, freezing assets and other measures, led by Kenya. This they may later come to regret, if the Islamic Courts militia harden their stance to implementing a Sharia style "Taliban" state on Kenya's borders - a move that could have devastating consequences. It could easily extend to Kenya's north eastern tribes demanding a similar Sharia sytem in Kenya itself. However, in face of the Islamic Courts winning hand, there seems little to do for Kenya but offer them a cautious welcome and see what's next.

There is no doubt the Islamic Courts militia are sheltering a Al-Qaeda members, including one involved in the vicious East African embassy bombings of 1998. The Islamic Courts militia have certainly received training from outside Somalia. The defeated warlords might have remained a card in the deck to temper the courts and could re-emerge in Somalia's chaotic snakepit of clan politics.

On the other hand Kenya via the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development has employed immense time and effort to get the provisional Somali government off the ground, and the fractured,fractious body actually has set up in the town of Baidoa - but the capital Mogadishu is held by the Islamic Courts and the Somali government has no armed forces at all. If anything the warlords alliance was their "armed force". The Islamic Courts militia could crush the provisional government in a day. Ominously, the Islamic Courts have rejected a Somali government idea for African peacekeepers.

All the more reason to heed the 1858 "Compedium of African Geography", when that vintage book said that the inhabitants of the Somali coast are "violent, boisterous and turblulent" and "best left well alone".

Beeb Boob

It's nice that even the BBC corrects it's bias now and then. Regarding the open distortion of the "Hadji Girl" U.S. Marine song I said to BBC Newsonline:
"Kill Iraqis Marine Song" by Adam Brookes Updated 21:53 GMT 13/06/06 contains a crucial omission. Nowhere does it state the Marines song is about insurgents killing children (not Marines) and Marines trying to save the children and kill the insurgents.

In fact it gives the complete opposite "hint" that it is the Marines who are killing children and enjoying it. Seeing the song ( as I have) shows very clearly the Marines are singing about killing hostage taking/human shield type of insurgents.

Is this not a totally crucial piece of information? Why the omission that makes the story seem biased?"

Rightspeak was surprised and delighted to receive the following reply from the BBC:
"Thank you for your comments. We accept that our initial story was deficient and should have made it much clearer what the killing in the song lyrics referred to. We revised the story in the light of this. We subsequently did an updated story to include the marine's apology, which spelt out much more clearly the thrust of the song.


But you made a fair criticism about our first story. We do aim to cover stories as objectively and accurately as possible."

Kind regards
BBC News website

Red-Faced Ken

Elsewhere in the blog is noted the low-life Mayor of London, "Red" Ken Livingstone, and his lavish welcome of anti-semitic, suicide-bomber blessing "moderate" sheik Yousuf Al-Qaradhawi in 2005. Such is the quality of public life in UK that creatures like Livingstone and George Galloway thrive in politics. The left apparently sees no disconnect between the anti-feminism,anti-sexuality,anti-democracy and anti-free speech of radical Islam and itself.

However, the left is not about "equality", "human rights" and "inclusion" but about a ruthless, self-righteous elite who hope to seize power and hold it through social coercion, in the name of a mythical and abstract "collective good". Therefore anything anti-American or anti-Western, however disgusting, is preferred in all circumstances. This is the real reason for the love affair between the radical left and radical Islam, which operates exactly the same way.

Even Red Ken might be taken aback by Qaradhawi's latest remarks, courtesy of the wonderful MEMRI service:
Yousuf Al-Qaradhawi: Kerry who ran against Bush, was supported by homosexuals and nudists. But it was Bush who won [the elections], because he is Christian, right-wing, tenacious, and unyielding. In other words, the religious overcame the perverted. So we cannot blame all Americans and Westerners.

Interviewer: How should a homosexual or a lesbian be punished? We mentioned the story of the people of Sodom and how Allah punished them, but how should someone who commits this abomination be punished today?
Yousuf Al-Qaradhawi: The schools of thought disagree about the punishment..... Some say we should throw them from a high place, like God did with the people of Sodom. Some say we should burn them, and so on. There is disagreement. The important thing is to treat this act as a crime."
This is the sheik who Livingstone said was "just like" Pope John Paul II.