Somalia

The Perilous Chaos of Forgotten Somalia - The Daily Star, Lebanon

Date: 
Jan 31, 2005
Author: 
Matt Bryden and John Prendergast
Driving across Mogadishu in a battle wagon full of machine-gun-toting, khat-chewing militiamen, crossing an area of inter-clan fighting involving mortar attacks in densely populated urban areas, we felt we were in a time warp. This could easily have been a decade ago, when 30,000 U.S. soldiers were deployed in Somalia, a country then and still without a permanent national government.
 

But things have indeed changed, and the way they have changed matters to U.S. national security. During the last decade, international Islamist groups, including Al-Qaeda, have invested with Somali partners, building a commercial empire in the country that rivals that of any other faction and which is increasingly asserting itself as a political and military force. 

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State Building or Terrorist Vacuum? Time to Pay Closer Attention to Somalia - The Chicago Tribune

Date: 
Jan 16, 2005
Author: 
Matt Bryden and John Prendergast
MOGADISHU, Somalia
Driving across Mogadishu in a battle wagon full of machine-gun-toting, khat-chewing militia, crossing an area of interclan fighting involving mortar attacks in densely populated urban areas, we felt we were in a time warp. This could easily have been a decade ago, when 30,000 U.S. soldiers were deployed in Somalia, a country then and still without a permanent national government.
 

But things have indeed changed, and the way they have changed matters to U.S. national security. During the last decade, international Islamist groups, including Al Qaeda, have invested with Somali partners, building a commercial empire in the country that rivals that of any other faction and which is increasingly asserting itself as a political and military force. 

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The Chance for Peace in Somalia - The East African Standard

Date: 
May 5, 2004
Author: 
John Prendergast and Matt Bryden
The international response to the failed state of Somalia to date has been tepid and insufficient. The Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD) ministers meeting in Nairobi this week has a chance to change that, but only if they adopt a new approach.
 

Over thirteen years after the collapse of the Siad Barre regime, Somalia remains the only country in the world without a government. It is a classic example of the humanitarian, economic and political repercussions of state collapse, including a governance vacuum that terrorist groups can take advantage of for safe haven and logistical purposes.

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Failing Somalia at Our Peril - The Balimore Sun

Date: 
Jun 25, 2004
Author: 
John Prendergast and Andrew Stroehlein
It is a failed state in which the United States knows al-Qaida and its allies have operated, where endemic lawlessness provides a haven for terrorists. Yet Washington isn't investing in talks aimed at addressing the failure of the state.
 

The failed state is Somalia, possibly the only country in the world without a government, and a perfect example of the humanitarian, economic and political consequences of state collapse. Most important from the U.S. perspective, Somalia's governance vacuum makes the Horn of Africa country a comfortable home for terrorist groups looking for refuge or a logistical staging area.  

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Our Failure in Somalia - The Washington Post

Date: 
Jun 7, 2006
Author: 
John Prendergast

 It was before "Black Hawk Down," before Somalia became the only country in the world without a government, that I took my first trip there. It changed my life. This was in the mid-1980s, when the United States was underwriting a warlord dictator in support of our Cold War interests, at the clear expense of basic human rights. As a young, wide-eyed activist-in-training, I couldn't accept the idea that my government would use defenseless Somali civilians as pawns on its strategic chessboard -- in a strategy that ultimately produced only state collapse, civil war and famine.

 
Twenty years later the enemy has changed, but the plot is hauntingly similar. In recent trips to the capital, Mogadishu, I have seen evidence of U.S. support to warlord militia leaders in the name of counterterrorism operations. Since the beginning of the year, pitched battles between U.S.-backed warlords and Islamist militias in Mogadishu have claimed hundreds of lives and displaced thousands of families.
 
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Only Sanctions Can Stop Mugabe - The Guardian

Date: 
Oct 28, 2001
Author: 
John Prendergast

President Robert Mugabe can't believe his luck. At the beginning of September, he faced humiliating public criticism and an ultimatum for the first time from fellow African leaders.

A special delegation of Commonwealth foreign ministers meeting in the Nigerian capital Abuja secured Mr Mugabe's commitment to upholding Commonwealth principles of democracy and restoring the rule of law. South African Development Commission (SADC) leaders had also given Mr Mugabe four weeks to address the land crisis or face isolation. The Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) loomed in early October, with Zimbabwe possibly facing suspension. The European Union and the United States had also threatened moves against Zimbabwe. Then, on 11 September, the attacks in the United States blew the steady diplomatic march on Zimbabwe off the map. CHOGM was postponed until next year, and Mugabe now believes, quite rightly, that the world's attention is focussed elsewhere. 
 
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Getting it Wrong in Somalia, Again - allAfrica.com

Date: 
Nov 29, 2006
Author: 
John Prendergast and Colin Thomas-Jensen

Washington, D.C. — Already notorious as the world’s only state without a functioning government, Somalia may be about to deteriorate even further. The country is rapidly sliding back toward war. As an Islamist militia, the Council of Somali Islamic Courts, consolidates control over large swathes of southern Somalia, neighboring Ethiopia has sent thousands of troops over the border, and both sides are preparing for a showdown. A return to war could bring about the same horrific famine conditions that precipitated a US military intervention 14 years ago, and damage rather than advance US counter terrorism objectives in a vulnerable region.

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U.N. Chief Visits Africa

Ban Ki-Moon
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