Some Western military analysts told policymakers that Somalia was too chaotic for even al Qaeda, because it was impossible for anyone — including terrorists — to know whom to trust. Nonetheless, the administration of George W. Bush devised a strategy to stamp out the Islamists on the cheap. According to one Somali warlord I spoke with in March , an American agent named James and another one named David showed up in Mogadishu with briefcases stuffed with cash. Use this to buy guns, the agents said. Drop us an e-mail if you have any questions.
The plan backfired. Somalis like to talk; the country, ironically, has some of the best and cheapest cellular phone service in Africa. By June , the Islamists had run the last warlords out of Mogadishu. Then something unbelievable happened: The Islamists seemed to tame the place. I saw it with my own eyes. I flew into Mogadishu in September and saw work crews picking up trash and kids swimming at the beach. For the first time in years, no gunshots rang out at night. Under the banner of Islam, the Islamists had united rival clans and disarmed much of the populace, with clan support of course.
They even cracked down on piracy by using their clan connections to dissuade coastal towns from supporting the pirates. But it was one thing to rally together to overthrow the warlords and another to decide what to do next. A rift quickly opened between the moderate Islamists and the extremists, who were bent on waging jihad. One of the most radical factions has been the Shabab, a multiclan military wing with a strict Wahhabi interpretation of Islam.
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The Shabab drove around Mogadishu in big, black pickup trucks and beat women whose ankles were showing. Even the other Islamist gunmen were scared of them. By December , some of the population began to chafe against the Shabab for taking away their beloved khat, the mildly stimulating leaf that Somalis chew like bubble gum. Shabab leaders were widely rumored to be working with foreign jihadists, including wanted al Qaeda terrorists, and the U.
State Department later designated the Shabab a terrorist organization. American officials have said that the Shabab are sheltering men who masterminded the bombings of the U. Somalia may indeed have sheltered a few unsavory characters, but the country was far from the terrorist hotbed many worry it has now become. In , there was a narrow window of opportunity to peel off the moderate Islamists from the likes of the Shabab, and some U. Donald M. Payne, the chairman of the House subcommittee on Africa, were trying to do exactly that.
Payne and others met with the moderate Islamists and encouraged them to negotiate a power-sharing deal with the transitional government. But the Bush administration again reached for the gunpowder. The United States would not do much of the fighting itself, since sending large numbers of ground troops into Somalia with Iraq and Afghanistan raging would have been deemed insane. Instead, the United States anointed a proxy: the Ethiopian Army. This move would be Strike Three. The Ethiopian leadership savvily told the Bush administration what it wanted to hear: The Islamists were terrorists and, unchecked, they would threaten the entire region and maybe even attack American safari-goers in Kenya next door.
Of course, the Ethiopians had their own agenda. Ethiopia is a country with a mostly Christian leadership but a population that is nearly half Muslim. It seems only a matter of time before there is an Islamic awakening in Ethiopia. On top of that, the Ethiopian government is fighting several rebel groups, including a powerful one that is ethnically Somali.
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The government feared that an Islamist Somalia could become a rebel beachhead next door. Not everyone in Washington swallowed the Ethiopian line. The country has a horrendous human rights record, and the Ethiopian military which receives aid for human rights training from the United States is widely accused of brutalizing its own people.
But in December , the Bush administration shared prized intelligence with the Ethiopians and gave them the green light to invade Somalia. Thousands of Ethiopian troops rolled across the border many had secretly been in the country for months , and they routed the Islamist troops within a week. There were even some U. Special Forces with the Ethiopian units. The United States also launched several airstrikes in an attempt to take out Islamist leaders, and it continued with intermittent cruise missiles targeting suspected terrorists.
Most have failed, killing civilians and adding to the boiling anti-American sentiment.cumquetiri.ga
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The Islamists went underground, and the transitional government arrived in Mogadishu. There was some cheering, a lot of jeering, and the insurgency revved up within days. The transitional government was widely reviled as a coterie of ex-warlords, which it mostly was. It was the 14th attempt since to stand up a central government.
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None of the previous attempts had worked. True, some detractors have simply been war profiteers hell-bent on derailing any government. But a lot of blame falls on what this transitional government has done — or not done. From the start, leaders seemed much more interested in who got what post than living up to the corresponding job descriptions.
The government quickly lost the support of key clans in Mogadishu by its harsh and unsuccessful tactics in trying to wipe out the insurgents, and by its reliance on Ethiopian troops. Ethiopia and Somalia have fought several wars against each other over the contested Ogaden region that Ethiopia now claims. That region is mostly ethnically Somali, so teaming up with Ethiopia was seen as tantamount to treason.
The Islamists tapped into this sentiment, positioning themselves as the true Somali nationalists, and gaining widespread support again. The results were intense street battles between Islamist insurgents and Ethiopian troops in which thousands of civilians have been killed. Ethiopian forces have indiscriminately shelled entire neighborhoods which precipitated a European Union investigation into war crimes , and have even used white phosphorous bombs that literally melt people, according to the United Nations.
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Hundreds of thousands of people have emptied out of Mogadishu and settled in camps that have become breeding grounds for disease and resentment. Death comes more frequently and randomly than ever before. I met one man in Mogadishu who was chatting with his wife on her cellphone when she was cut in half by a stray mortar shell. Study in India. The Banks to provide financial assistance for demand based businesses.
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This will also have beneficial impact on demand situation for the government securities in domestic market. Not making enough money in stocks? Click here for real-life stories of successful investors. Read more on Budget Highlights. Digital India.
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Air India. Niti Aayog. Nirmala Sitharaman. Indirect Tax. Direct Tax. Follow us on. Download et app. Become a member. What the Church proclaims to the world is the Logos of Hope cf. We cannot keep to ourselves the words of eternal life given to us in our encounter with Jesus Christ: they are meant for everyone, for every man and woman.
Everyone today, whether he or she knows it or not, needs this message.
May the Lord himself, as in the time of the prophet Amos, raise up in our midst a new hunger and thirst for the word of God cf. Am The Synod of Bishops forcefully reaffirmed the need within the Church for a revival of the missionary consciousness present in the People of God from the beginning. The first Christian communities felt that their faith was not part of a particular cultural tradition, differing from one people to another, but belonged instead to the realm of truth, which concerns everyone equally.
Once more it is Saint Paul who, by his life, illustrates the meaning of the Christian mission and its fundamental universality. We can think here of the episode related in the Acts of the Apostles about the Athenian Areopagus cf. In person. And now the way to him is open. It is the word itself which impels us towards our brothers and sisters: it is the word which illuminates, purifies, converts; we are only its servants. We need, then, to discover ever anew the urgency and the beauty of the proclamation of the word for the coming of the Kingdom of God which Christ himself preached.
Thus we grow in the realization, so clear to the Fathers of the Church, that the proclamation of the word has as its content the Kingdom of God cf. Mk , which, in the memorable phrase of Origen,  is the very person of Jesus Autobasileia.
The Lord offers salvation to men and women in every age. All of us recognize how much the light of Christ needs to illumine every area of human life: the family, schools, culture, work, leisure and the other aspects of social life.
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