Monday, December 22, 2008

From Somalia to Gaza - A familiar pattern

It's getting repetitive. Muslim government X defies the interests of the West, and is immediately is demonized for treatment of its own people - as if their rights were ever the concern. Following adequate hoopla, it is brought down by a coalition of Western forces or their allies. The mission was supposed to be a cakewalk, but suddenly the cheerleaders and sensible liberals here in West come upon the bewildering realization that we were not welcomed with open arms, and wonder at how ungrateful the occupied population was, or how the powers that be had "failed" to plan properly.

Inexplicably, a motley crew of low-tech fanatics and nationalists send us packing, while those of us who knew the war was a bad idea to begin with are saying "I told you so," but it doesn't do any good: a country that once had an imperfect - perhaps even repressive - but stable, government is now in utter chaos. We failed to bring freedom and democracy, not because we didn't have a good Marshall Plan, but because we never intended to make one anyways. The wise amongst us always knew that it was never about beliefs and values as much as it was about making a small number of people very rich.

I'm talking about Iraq, I'm talking about Afghanistan, I'm talking about Palestine, and I'm talking about Somaila.

Over a year ago, in Noveber 2007, I made this comment on the situation in Somalia:

And that's the rub - the ICU is still a more legitimate government than the Ethiopians, with more local support and a better chance of being interested in Somalia, as opposed to maintaining a the integrity of the Ethiopian state, which is probably the main concern (to be charitable) in Addis Ababa. By entering Somalia, the Ugandans under the AU are providing stability to an order that is inherently unstable, and propping up the power of an aggressor instead of helping a popular, egalitarian Somali political movement to govern Somalia.
The result of the Ethiopian pullout will be a worse situation than Somalia had since the ICU united the capital.

Ha'aretz's Daniel Levy sees the parallels between this, and what the IDF is contemplating doing to Gaza, under the principle, established by the Americans, that democracy is only good if our friends win the elections. The whole article isn't long, and worth a thorough read.
Gaza is not yet Somalia. But the warning signs are there. There was nothing inevitable about the disintegration of Somalia. It happened as a result of misguided policies - notably of the current Bush administration and Ethiopia - which should not be repeated by Israel in Gaza.

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