Thursday, December 14, 2006

Holy War or proxy war in the Horn of Africa?

Ethiopia, an ardently Orthodox Christian nation, is declaring war on Somalia - with U.S. support. The primary reason appears that Ethiopia fears a neighboring nation being an Islamist State. The United States does not want that either, for the irrational fear that it could become a "terrorist" state. For some odd reason, all Somalians have the unpolitically correct label of "Islamofascists." That is who we are are war with, according to many.

Eritrea, having just regained their lands from Ethiopia, supports the Islamist government because Ethiopia does not. Isaias Afwerki , President of Eritrea, wants a proxy war with Ethiopia. With Osama Bin Laden claiming Somalia as primary front for his war on the West, America will want a proxy war through Ethiopia. Somalia, having just regained some stability in 2004, faces the prospect of another harsh conflict.

When nations insist on war as a solution in Somalia, they key questions:

1) Do Ethiopian and Eritrean citizens gain from such a war?

Their money would be better spent diversifying their economies and tending to their own citizens. Their governments seem hellbent on destabilizing the entire region. The people of both nations and Somalia lose.

Ethiopia can certainly slaughter all of its opponents, especially if America chooses a more active role supplying weapons. Prime Minister Meles Zenawi probably assumes more aid from America if he does its bidding. This is quite foolish, like attacking a bees nest assuming you will get help. Neoconservatives may care about foreign aid, but Conservatives do not. And Democrats won't likely give Ethiopia more aid because they follow Bush as blindly as Kazakhstan.

Eritrea is rushing headfirst into fatalities. But they only want a way to hurt Ethiopia without officially declaring war. Foolish, but very ego driven.

2) Does lethality really solve anything?

I have long felt that we need to change the culture of lethality. For too long humans have generally lived peaceful family lives, but accepted that "their" nations military was on "their" side. Lethality is on no man's side but deaths. We need to see militarism for what is it - a last resort and not just a big stick worth wielding at the "other" AKA "the enemy of us."

Somalia is a stabler nation, and even if Islamists control it - will lethality make things better? Somalian Women, children, in addition to men of all ages await war. They wield machine guns ready to die for their nation. They will obey the will of Allah, otherwise the Americans have won.

3) What would no war in Somalia mean?

Imagine that all sides backed off from war. Bin Laden would have nothing to rally around except "Nation Building" in Somalia - what we are supposed to be doing in Iraq. Eritrea and Ethiopia could focus on domestic needs instead of fighting a pointless and irrational proxy war. The United States could focus on real issues, rather than supporting lethality further. All other nations not directly involved, the most signifcant being Kenya, would have no refugees coming caused by a regional war.

I can't imagine why any American would think they could change the mind of another country by use of lethality. Did we end Communism through brute force? How about Socialism in Latin America?

If China becomes the next superpower, would we want them to act as we have - spreading authoritian regimes around the world? America has a reputation and legacy to rebuild. If we are to pass the torch of global power to another nation or region we must become create the standards we want them to abide by. We should start by supporting the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and ensuring the UN enforces them.


Anonymous said...

Somalia will breed more terrorists with Osama in charge. You liberals just hate America and all it stands for. We will kill all the terrorists before they kill us, unless we give up.

Anonymous said...

MR Anonymous -

While my friend here is wrong, you don't go attacking people on thier own blogs using childish statments like yours. Grow up an converse like an adult. And at least leave a sig, so we know it's you if you come back (although the language will probably be a dead-giveaway).

Now, on to Chavis.

You could not be more wrong about the situation.

1) It doesn't matter if the term "Islamofascists" is non-PC. That is what they are - fascists. I don't care if it is not a nice term. "Murder" and "child molester" are not nice names either, but that is how we label killers and pedophiles.

2) Ethiopia is NOT the aggressor here - Council of Islamic Courts is. They have declared jihad on the Somali government, and have even gone as far as to say they will behead those who do not convert and pray 5 times a day. Can you really blame a Christian Ethiopia for worrying about the CIC violently overthrowing the government and establishing a Taliban clone in Somalia?

"The Islamic courts movement has vowed to launch a holy war starting Tuesday unless Ethiopian troops supporting the government leave Somalia."

Ethiopia is not declaring war on Somalia, it is the exact opposite, they are supporting it.

Plus you admit that OBL has declared this a front in his war on the West. Obviously the regions resources would be better spent on its economy. Unfortunately, Somalia, nor Ethiopia has not asked for this fight, this fight has been brought to them. Being a pacifist to the point of ensuring your own extinction is not noble, it is just plain stupid.

Sorry Chav, but you are on the wrong side on this one.


Kevin Chavis said...

While I did not go into detail about why the Ethiopian government should not be supported, my new post has.

If America wants to support a secular government, we should do so without using Ethiopia as a stand-in.

If we topple the Council of Islamic Courts, we would have to have regime change in many of our so-called allies. Ethiopians deserve a better government also. But in no way can I support such conflict in the Horn of Africa.


Occasions of hatred are certainly never settled by hatred. They are settled by freedom from hatred. This is the eternal law. - The Dhammapada 1:5