U.S. Government of Somalia Collapsing
August 3, 2008
by William P. Meyers

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The U.S. government of Somalia installed against the will of the vast majority of the people of Somalia appears to be falling apart. Aside from an actual invasion by U.S. or allied troops (beyond the current occupation forces from Ethiopia and Uganda), there seems to be little the U.S. government can do to impose its will on Somalia. While no actual U.S. invasion is likely until after Barack Obama is elected President of the United States, it would not be surprising if the U.S. resumed bombing Somalia before the end of the Bush adminstration.

The tiny group of men styling themselves the government of Somalia (not long ago known as the Provisional Government of Somalia, and probably soon to be know as the former warlords financed by the CIA who briefly got the world press to call them a government) just split up. According to the Associated Press, a majority of the cabinet ministers resigned on Saturday, August 2nd, 2008. They were led by President Abdullahi Yusuf Ahmed, who had a dispute with Prime Minister Nur Hassan Hussein over who should be the warlord, I mean mayor, of Mogadishu.

This follows the collapse of peace talks with the democratic opposition. The opposition had restored a semblance of good government in Somalia in 2006, but called itself the Islamic Justice Courts. Fearful that the establishment of justice in the Horn of Africa would endanger U.S. military and economic interests, the U.S. CIA (directed, of course, by President George W. Bush) picked a favored warlord told him and his friends to call themselves the Provisional Government. Detested by the people of Somalia, this provisional Government was later propped up by an invasion of marauders from Ethiopia and Uganda, financed by the U.S.

Somalians are used to foreigners. As I wrote in Portuguese Catholics Destroyed East African Islamic Societies in 1500's, the role of "civilized Europe" in the Horn of Africa has always been one of piracy. Colonial rule only ended in 1960.

The only civilized approach to the Somalia mess (this is a mess that means millions of people are starving, without housing or medical care) is to withdraw all foreign troops and let the people decide the issue for themselves. That may mean anarchy. It may mean a patchwork of warlord-dominated regions. It might mean an Islamic state. It might even mean a peaceful democracy. Left to themselves, the people of Somalia will find a solution to their problems. Short-term solutions will evolve into long-term solutions. Short term, the issue will be settled partly with guns. But who the people point their guns at will depend on the popular consensus. Elections might make sense, but no outside government can be trusted to run fair elections. When the people themselves organize elections, they may be ready to rely upon the results of those elections.

For more insight into the history of what has been happening in Somalia since 2006 see my main Somalia page.

For New York Times (registration required) archives (mostly Associated Press articles) see NYT Somalia archives (but note these are highly biased in their descriptions of factions in Somalia).



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