[dehai-news] Foreignpolicy.com: Peacekeepers for Somalia?


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From: Berhane Habtemariam (Berhane.Habtemariam@gmx.de)
Date: Tue Dec 16 2008 - 05:32:05 EST


Peacekeepers for Somalia?

Elizabeth Dickinson

Mon, 12/15/2008 - 12:50pm

When I <http://www.foreignpolicy.com/story/cms.php?story_id=4571&page=1>
asked Lt. Gen. Paul Van Riper what one would need to eliminate piracy off
the Somali coast, he answered with a question: Are you fighting them on land
or at sea?

Over the weekend, it seems the Bush administration answered: both.

In addition to the international vessels patrolling offshore, a U.S.
resolution is
<http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/12/13/AR200812130
1778_2.html?hpid=sec-world> already circulating in the U.N. Security Council
calling for a limited U.N. peacekeeping force to bring stability to the East
African nation. The United States also wants
<http://www.enoughproject.org/node/1345> Ethiopian troops to stay through
the U.S. presidential transition. And they'd like to
<http://www.enoughproject.org/node/1345> add Eritrea, Ethopia's breakaway
neighbor and favorite adversary, to its state sponsors of terrorism list.

Talk about a hard sell.

First, the administration is calling for a light U.N. mission, in a country
where even heavy force has been ineffective.

Second, no one -- not the Ethiopians, not the African Union, not the United
Nations -- <http://www.undispatch.com/archives/2008/12/nobody_wants_to.php>
wants to go to Somalia. For the two-year lifetime of the tiny African Union
mission, the international community has struggled to find troops for the
operation.

Finally, you can expect this to ratchet up tensions in the region. Eritrea
is indeed rumored to supply the Somali Islamists with weapons. But Ethiopia
and Eritrea have an ongoing border dispute that has left both sides
exceedingly militarized. Acceding to Ethiopian wishes by putting Eritrea on
the terror list is like playing Russia roulette. With all live rounds.

After a weekend in which the Somali president
<http://www.nytimes.com/2008/12/15/world/africa/15somalia.html?ref=africa>
fired his prime minister (only to have him effectively
<http://allafrica.com/stories/200812151168.html> re-instated by parliament)
there is little reason to believe that the weak government will not fall
instantly once foreign troops are gone.

Light a match, and the whole place
<http://blog.foreignpolicy.com/node/10517> might just blow.

 

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