Sunday, April 9, 2017

Sunday Globe Flashback: Obama's Shadow War in Somalia

"Strategy in Somalia reveals new face of war for US" by Mark Mazzetti, Jeffrey Gettleman and Eric Schmitt New York Times   October 15, 2016 

I don't know if I want to look.

WASHINGTON — The Obama administration has intensified a clandestine war in Somalia over the past year, using Special Operations troops, airstrikes, private contractors, and African allies in an escalating campaign against militants in the anarchic nation.

That pretty much looks like the old face of war, too!

From the guy who came to office pledging to end the wars was awarded a Peace Prize for no reason and then proceeded to escalate the ongoing wars while starting three more!

Hundreds of US troops now rotate through makeshift bases in Somalia, the largest military presence since the United States pulled out of the country after the “Black Hawk Down” battle in 1993.

The Somalia campaign, as described by US and African officials and international monitors of the conflict, is partly designed to avoid repeating that debacle, which led to the deaths of 18 US soldiers. But it carries enormous risks — including more US casualties, botched airstrikes that kill civilians, and the potential for the United States to be drawn even more deeply into a troubled country that has stymied all efforts to fix it.

I'll be looking for those airstrikes.

But the Somalia campaign is a blueprint for warfare that President Obama has embraced and will pass along to his successor. It is a model the United States now employs across the Middle East and North Africa — from Syria to Libya — despite the president’s stated aversion to American “boots on the ground” in the world’s war zones. This year alone, the United States has carried out airstrikes in seven countries and conducted Special Operations missions in many more.

US officials said the White House had quietly broadened the president’s authority for the use of force in Somalia by allowing airstrikes to protect US and African troops as they combat fighters from Al Shabab, a Somali-based militant group that pledges allegiance to Al Qaeda.

In its public announcements, the Pentagon sometimes characterizes the operations as “self-defense strikes,” though some analysts have said this rationale has become a self-fulfilling prophecy. It is only because US forces are being deployed on the front lines in Somalia that they face imminent threats from Al Shabab.

America’s role in Somalia has expanded as Al Shabab has become bolder and more cunning. The group has attacked police headquarters, bombed restaurants, killed Somali generals, and stormed fortified bases used by African Union troops. In January, Al Shabab fighters killed more than 100 Kenyan troops.

That's Al-CIA-Bob for those that don't know.

The group carried out the 2013 attack at the Westgate mall, which killed over 60 people and wounded over 175 in Nairobi, Kenya. More recently it has branched into more sophisticated terrorism, including nearly downing a Somali airliner in February with a bomb hidden in a laptop computer.

Westgate was a fiction (that guy running down the street with the blood stain in the center off his back separating gave that away; had he been shot like that he'd be dead on the ground, certainly not moving), and I'm flying over the other thing.

About 200 to 300 US Special Operations troops work with soldiers from Somalia and other African nations like Kenya and Uganda to carry out over a half-dozen raids per month, according to senior US military officials. The operations are a combination of ground raids and drone strikes. The Navy’s classified SEAL Team 6 has been heavily involved in many of these operations.

Once ground operations are complete, US troops working with Somali forces often interrogate prisoners at temporary screening facilities before detainees are transferred to more permanent Somali-run prisons, US officials said.

So the TORTURE CONTINUES despite the media myth that Obummer ended it!

The Pentagon has acknowledged only a small fraction of these operations. But even the information released publicly shows a marked increase this year. The Pentagon has announced 13 ground raids and airstrikes in 2016 — including three operations in September — up from five in 2015, according to data compiled by the New America Foundation, a Washington think tank. The strikes have killed about 25 civilians and 200 suspected militants, the group found.

Flip those numbers.

The strikes have had a mixed record.

How callous.

In March, a US airstrike killed more than 150 Al Shabab fighters at what military officials called a “graduation ceremony,” one of the single deadliest US airstrikes in any country in recent years. But an airstrike last month killed more than a dozen Somali government soldiers, who were US allies against Al Shabab.


Outraged Somali officials said the Americans had been duped by clan rivals and fed bad intelligence, laying bare the complexities of waging a shadow war in Somalia.

End of printed Sunday Globe article and where I got the title of the post.

Defense Secretary Ash Carter said the Pentagon was investigating the strike. 

(Oh, yeah, hmm-hmm)

Some experts point out that with the administration’s expanded self-defense justification for airstrikes, a greater US presence in Somalia would inevitably lead to an escalation of the air campaign.

“It is clear that US on-the-ground support to Somali security forces and African Union peacekeepers has been stepped up this year,” said Ken Menkhaus, a Somalia expert at Davidson College. “That increases the likelihood that US advisers will periodically be in positions where Al Shabab is about to launch an attack.” 

Obama did that and you didn't even know it!

Peter Cook, the Defense Department spokesman, wrote in an email, “The DoD has a strong partnership with the Somali National Army and AMISOM forces from Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda and Burundi operating in Somalia. They have made steady progress pressuring Al Shabab.”

The escalation of the war can be seen in the bureaucratic language of the semiannual notifications that Obama sends to Congress about US conflicts overseas.


The Somalia passage in the June 2015 notification is terse, saying US troops “have worked to counter the terrorist threat posed by al-Qaida and associated elements of Al Shabab.”

This past June, however, the president told Congress that the United States had become engaged in a more expansive mission. 

Then how come I'm only finding out on October 16?

Besides hunting members of al-Qaida and Al Shabab, the notification said, US troops are in Somalia “to provide advice and assistance to regional counterterrorism forces, including the Somali National Army and African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) forces.”

US airstrikes, it said, were carried out in defense of the African troops and in one instance because Al Shabab fighters “posed an imminent threat to US and AMISOM forces.”

At an old Russian fighter jet base in Baledogle, about 70 miles from the Somali capital, Mogadishu, US Marines, and private contractors are working to build up a Somali military unit designed to combat Al Shabab throughout the country. 

How much is that costing?

Soldiers for the military unit, called Danab, which means lightning in Somali, are recruited by employees of Bancroft Global Development, a Washington-based company that for years has worked with the State Department to train African Union troops and embed with them on military operations inside Somalia.

Michael Stock, the company’s founder, said the Danab recruits received initial training at a facility in Mogadishu before they were sent to Baledogle, where they go through months of training by the Marines. Bancroft advisers then accompany the Somali fighters on missions.

Stock said the goal was to create a small Somali military unit capable of battling Al Shabab without repeating the mistakes in Afghanistan and Iraq, where the United States spent hundreds of millions of dollars trying to build up large armies. 

Ju$t mi$takes is all.

Still, US commanders and their international partners are considering a significant expansion of the training effort to potentially include thousands of Somali troops who would protect the country when African Union forces eventually left the country. 

How about an end to the funding and equipping of the terrorists?

Major General Kurt L. Sonntag, commander of the US military’s task force in Djibouti, the only permanent US base in Africa, said the proposed training plan would increase and enhance the Somali national security forces, including the army, national guard, and national police. 

That will come up later below.

“The specific numbers of forces required is currently being assessed,” Sonntag said. He added that it must be large enough to protect the Somali people but “affordable and sustainable over time, in terms of Somalia’s national budget.”

Independent experts and aid organizations say the Somali army is still largely untrained, poorly paid and poorly equipped, and years away from coalescing regional militias into a unified army. 

Well, then the U.S. will just have to be there and keep training, 'eh?

US policymakers tried to avoid direct involvement in Somalia for years after the Black Hawk Down episode. But in the years after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, Special Operations troops and the CIA began paying Somali warlords to hunt down al-Qaida operatives in the country.

In 2006, the United States gave clandestine support to Ethiopian troops invading the country to overthrow an Islamist movement that had taken control of Mogadishu. But the brutal urban warfare tactics of the Ethiopian troops created support for an insurgent movement that called itself Al Shabab, which means “The Youth.” 

I seem to remember something of that government

Yeah, had to get rid of those guys.

US involvement in Somalia was intermittent for several years afterward, until the Westgate attack refocused Washington’s attention on the threat Al Shabab posed beyond Somalia. 


Al Shabab still control thousands of square miles of territory across Somalia. A Somali university student who travels in and out of Al Shabab areas said the group’s fighters were becoming increasingly suspicious, even paranoid, checking the phones, cameras, computers, and documents of anyone passing through their territory, constantly on guard for another US attack. He said Al Shabab fighters were becoming younger, with a vast majority under 25 and many as young as 10.


They don't know the NSA and CIA are collecting all that crap! 


US law enforcement officials think that the bomb that nearly brought down the commercial jet in February was most likely made by a Yemeni who is believed to have constructed other laptop bombs in Somalia. Pictures from an airport X-ray machine show the explosive packed into the corner of the laptop, next to a 9-volt battery. Several aviation experts said that the bomb was obvious and that airport security officials in Mogadishu might have intentionally allowed it through.

The bomb exploded about 15 minutes after takeoff, punching a hole through the fuselage and killing the man suspected of carrying the bomb on board, though the pilot was able to land safely. Aviation experts said that if the bomb had exploded a few minutes later, with the cabin fully pressurized, the fuselage would have most likely blown apart, killing all of the approximately 80 people on board.

Yeah, whatever.


RelatedTrump inherits secret cyberwar with North Korea

He might be making it more than that, but back to the Horn of Africa:

"Pentagon seeks to expand fight against extremists in Somalia" by Lolita C. Baldor Associated Press  February 27, 2017

WASHINGTON — Currently, there are about 50 US commandos rotating in and out of Somalia to advise and assist the local troops. The new authorities could result in a small increase in the number of US forces in Somalia, officials said.

I was told 200-300 last October. WTF?

Defense Secretary Jim Mattis has approved the recommendations and sent the plan to the White House earlier this month, they added. But no final decisions have been made, and the proposal could prove politically sensitive because of the disastrous downing of two US helicopters over Mogadishu in 1993 that killed 18 American troops.

Yeah, whatever.

The White House declined to comment, deferring questions to the Defense Department.

Somalia has been without a truly functioning government for two and a half decades. 

Thanks to the U.S.

After warlords ousted dictator Siad Barre in 1991, they quickly turned on one another, making Somalia infamous for its extreme rates of violence and the proliferation of pirates operating off its coasts. Security has improved in recent years as international efforts against Al Shabab gained ground.

Oh, yeah, the pirates. Whatever happened to them?

After the bodies of American soldiers were dragged through the streets of Mogadishu when the helicopters were shot down, the United States withdrew from the country. Since then, Islamist hard-liners have vied for power, and Al Shabab’s attacks have spread to Uganda and Kenya.

Look at them flog the media myth.

Some of the US officials with knowledge of the new military proposal said it is aimed at improving the US advisory mission because the African Union is planning to pull out its 20,000 peacekeeping forces in Somalia in 2020. Observers say Somali troops are unprepared to fight the extremist threat on their own.

What's in a name? This is Vietnam stuff!

US forces now can transport and accompany local troops. But they must keep their distance from front lines and can only engage the enemy if they come under attack or if Somali forces are in danger of being defeated. The new proposal would give US forces the ability to move along with Somali troops into the fight if needed.

It looked to me like Obama was already doing that.

While the American military right now can conduct airstrikes in self-defense or to protect Somali troops if they come under attack and request help, the new authorities would be broader.

Officials said that under the new recommendations, the military would be able to launch airstrikes against militants on a more preemptive basis. For example, the United States could target Al Shabab fighters gathering for an attack rather than waiting until friendly forces were under fire. 

Oh, GREAT! Add stacks of Somalis to Trump's death toll.

Al Shabab has been ousted from most Somali cities and towns, but its suicide bombers continue to kill across large parts of the south and center of the country. That includes Mogadishu, the capital.

Somalia’s new president, Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed, inaugurated Wednesday, warned that it will take another two decades to ‘‘fix’’ his country. Mohamed, who also holds US citizenship, won election earlier this month as Somalia tries to restore effective governance. 

I'll cover the election more below.

Waldhauser said the United States sees an opportunity to work with Mohamed to ‘‘train the Somalia national security forces to a level that they can take on Al Shabab on their own.’’



Oh, the day before that article was this:

US wary as a Chinese base rises as a neighbor in Africa

That has more to do with beef up than the "Al-CIA-Bobs."

Trump Said to Ease Combat Rules in Somalia Intended to Protect Civilians


Ghosting him:

"Somali Forces, Backed by U.S., Kill al-Shabab Militants in Raid" New York Times News Service  August 17, 2016

NAIROBI — US forces assisted Somali commandos in killing several members of the Al Shabab militant group in an attack last week, a US military spokesman said Tuesday, but it was not clear whether any high-level operatives had been killed.

The raid took place Aug. 10, when a contingent of elite US troops acting as military advisers accompanied Somali forces in an assault on an Al Shabab checkpoint in Saakow, a remote outpost in southern Somalia that has become a notorious hideout for the militants.

As the Somali-led force approached the checkpoint, the militants opened fire, setting off a gun battle, said Lieutenant Commander Anthony Falvo, a spokesman for the US military’s Africa Command. Three Al Shabab militants were killed; no US soldiers were hurt.

US forces were armed but did not participate in the firefight, Falvo said.

Al Shabab, a Somali militant organization that has sworn allegiance to Al Qaeda, runs several illegal checkpoints in Saakow, where it raises funds by taxing residents and merchants for moving goods through the area.

Rumors have been circulating in Nairobi that Al Shabab’s leader, Abu Ubaidah, was killed in a US strike in Saakow last week. But Falvo said that the US military was assessing the results from the operation, and that it was too early to determine whether any senior Al Shabab commanders had been killed.

They pull these guys in an out of the grave so fast it makes your head spin.

The Somali media reported that a second raid was conducted in Saakow on Saturday.

Somalia remains in a dangerous state of limbo, with a weak central government and hundreds if not thousands of Al Shabab fighters operating across the country.

The nation, one of the world’s poorest, is scheduled to hold an election this year to choose its parliament and president, but security fears and the decrepit state of public institutions mean that citizens will not vote directly. Instead, clan elders will select delegates, who will then choose the politicians. 

Please tell me that isn't going to be hailed as "democracy" in action.


"Suicide Bombing Kills at Least 20 in Somalia" New York Times  August 21, 2016

NAIROBI, Kenya — A suicide bomb rocked the Somali town of Galkayo on Sunday, killing at least 20 people and showing that Islamist militants, despite recent setbacks, can still plan and execute deadly attacks anywhere in the country.

It's a broken record at this point.

Galkayo, a mid-sized town in central Somalia, had been quiet in recent months.

Yet that suddenly changed at 10 a.m. Sunday when militants detonated a deafening bomb in a market, sending a column of black smoke shooting into the sky. A squad of militants stormed a nearby government building, engaging in gun battles with security forces.

“One of the blasts was so huge, I was really shocked,” said Abdirahman Abdweli, a student in the city.

The explosion ripped the roofs off several buildings, scattering sharp pieces of corrugated metal and debris across the area.

Are you sure it wasn't an airstrike?

The death toll was not immediately clear. The al-Shabab militant group, which took credit for the attack, said 30 people had been killed. Somali health officials and residents said the number was closer to 20, with dozens wounded.

The United States is increasingly watching Somalia, a poor, unstable country that has spewed violence across its borders for more than 20 years. On Aug. 10, US special operations forces assisted Somali troops in killing several members of al-Shabab who were running an illegal checkpoint. Somali officials said al-Shabab had lost “senior members” in that raid. In recent years, US airstrikes have killed many al-Shabab members, including both foot soldiers and top commanders.

On Monday, Secretary of State John Kerry is scheduled to hold talks on Somalia with African officials in Kenya’s capital, Nairobi. State Department officials said he would also be focused on South Sudan, which has plunged into bloodshed and chaos as well.

He really left Sudan a sh**hole.

Somalia is scheduled to hold an election this year to choose its Parliament and president.


"Suicide car bomber kills Somali general in capital" Associated Press  September 18, 2016

MOGADISHU, Somalia — A powerful car bomb killed a Somali military general and five of his bodyguards in the capital Sunday, according to a Somali police officer.

General Mohamed Roble Jimale Gobanle and his bodyguards were killed when a suicide bomber detonated an explosives-laden vehicle next to the general’s car near Somalia’s defense ministry compound in Mogadishu, said Captain Ali Nur.

Gobanle was the commander of the Somali army’s Third Brigade, a combat team fighting the Al Shabab Islamic extremists in southern Somalia.

Al Shabab claimed responsibility for the attack, according to the group’s Andalus radio station. Al Shabab, which is allied with Al Qaeda, has been waging a deadly insurgency across large parts of Somalia and often uses suicide car bomb attacks.

Al Shabab is fighting to impose a strict version of Islam in this Horn of Africa nation. Despite losing a lot of ground in recent years, the extremist group continues to carry out lethal attacks in many parts of the country, and many recent attacks have targeted military bases.

Yup, they never seem to go away.


Time for lunch:

"5 million in Somalia don’t get enough food, UN report says" by Abdi Guled Associated Press  September 20, 2016

MOGADISHU, Somalia — Tears filled Amina Nur’s eyes as she cuddled her frail-looking child with a sunken chest.

She and her family returned to Somalia five months ago after several years in a refugee camp in neighboring Kenya, but she regrets that now.

‘‘We decided to return home voluntarily, but that was a wrong decision,’’ the mother of six said. ‘‘The small money they gave us ran out, and since then we have no assistance to survive.’’

Nur is among thousands of Somalis who fled at the height of a devastating famine that killed more than half a million people in this Horn of Africa nation in 2013. But now they are hungry again.

A new United Nations report says 5 million people in Somalia are not getting enough food. That’s more than 40 percent of the population. It blames, in part, poor rainfall in southern and central Somalia, ‘‘the breadbasket of the country.’’

The report released Tuesday says the number of people who are food insecure has increased by 300,000 since February. More than 300,000 children under age 5 are acutely malnourished.

More than half of those without enough food have been displaced from their homes, sometimes multiple times, the report says.

More than a million people inside Somalia are displaced after years of violence, famine and attacks by the home-grown extremist group al-Shabab.

Now thousands of others, like Nur’s family, are returning to the country from the world’s largest refugee camp in neighboring Kenya, which has vowed to close the Dadaab camp in the coming months.

Some returnees said aid agencies haven’t provided them with food since their return to Mogadishu and similar camps elsewhere.

‘‘Security and hunger problems are equal problems for us here,’’ Nur said. Many of the families returning from the Dadaab camp in Kenya are piling into crowded camps in sometimes dire living conditions.

Somalia is facing one of the worst food crises in years. The UN says the growing burden of returnees, and drought in some areas of the country, are other contributing factors.

According to the Famine Early Warning Systems Network, more than 1.1 million people cannot meet their daily food requirements.

‘‘Humanitarian partners are ready to scale up response to help families struggling to find food to make it through the day,’’ Peter de Clercq, the UN humanitarian coordinator for Somalia, said in a statement Tuesday.

But he noted that the Somalia Humanitarian Response Plan for this year is just 32 percent funded.

Aren't the banks stepping up?


Hey, if terrorists won't get you to get all gung-ho for war then maybe the suffering of women and children? 

I'm sure this will help with the crops:

"Somalia accuses US over airstrike" by ABDI GULED Associated Press  September 30, 2016

MOGADISHU, Somalia — The Somali government has accused US forces of carrying out an airstrike earlier this week which killed 13 Somali soldiers.


The Somali government on Thursday demanded an explanation from the United States for the airstrike, expressing concerns that American forces may have acted on a false tipoff from the rival, semi-autonomous Puntland state.

Happens a lot more than you know.

The confusion over who launched the attack in the early hours of Wednesday deepened after the Pentagon denied it targeted Somali forces but said it did carry out an airstrike in the same area that killed nine Islamic extremist fighters from al-Shabab.

Safe to say it wasn't the Russians! 

How do you like the non-denial denial?

US forces have carried out several airstrikes in Somalia in recent years, killing many al-Shabab leaders.

Photos of the aftermath of the attack showed the burned out shells of two armored vehicles and bodies burned beyond recognition. The bodies, covered in white shrouds, were later buried outside Galkayo town, as hundreds of mourners protested the attack and vowed retaliation for the soldiers’ deaths. Galkayo is a town divided between the rival states of Puntland and Galmudug.

‘‘We believe that such behavior will not serve the positive spirit and energy of fighting terrorism,’’ said a statement from the Galmudug administration. It asked the United States for an apology and compensation for the victims. The Galmudug state also warned that the strike would divert attention from fighting Islamic extremism to a political rivalry, apparently with its rival Puntland state. 

You will get the $$$. Maybe what, $2500 bucks? Not that other thing though.

In an earlier airstrike, the United States killed four al-Shabab extremists on Monday. The attack was conducted after extremists launched attacks on Somali troops and their US advisers on Monday near the port city of Kismayo, the US Africa command said in a statement.

The extremist group is now mostly active in rural regions but continues to launch lethal attacks in many parts of this Horn of Africa nation, including the capital.


We are not in Kansas anymo.... hold on!

"Somalia’s Al Shabab in comeback as Ethiopia pulls troops" by Abdi Guled Associated Press  October 27, 2016

MOGADISHU, Somalia — Somalia’s Islamist extremists, Al Shabab, appear to be making a comeback, having recently seized four towns and attacked a guesthouse in neighboring Kenya, killing 12.

Less than two weeks after Obama's successful shadow war? WTF?

The resurgence of Al Shabab, which is allied to Al Qaeda, could affect Somalia’s plans to hold elections next month and further destabilize what is already one of the world’s most fragile states.


The rebels had steadily lost ground over the past five years, first losing control of the capital, Mogadishu, in 2011 and then being pushed out of Somalia’s other major cities and most towns. This was largely the work of the African Union force of 22,000 soldiers from Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda, Burundi, and Djibouti, which is supported by the United Nations. The relatively weak Somalia army, with 35,000 troops, also participated.

Al Shabab was reduced to roaming around Somalia’s vast, arid scrubland and staging suicide bombings in Mogadishu and other centers. In recent months there have been more attacks on hotels, and Al Shabab has directly attacked African Union bases.

But this month, Ethiopia — which has 2,000 troops in the African Union force and an unknown number operating independently in Somalia — pulled its forces out of the towns of Halgan, El-Ali, and Mahas in the Hiran region of south-central Somalia. Within hours, Al Shabab fighters had seized control of the towns and raised their black flags.

On Wednesday, Ethiopian troops withdrew from a fourth town, Tiyeglow, in the southwestern Bakool region, and Al Shabab retook it.

It is not known how many Ethiopian troops have been pulled out of Somalia, but analysts say they were withdrawn in response to Ethiopia’s need for troops at home to enforce the state of emergency imposed this month to quell months of antigovernment protests.

Aren't they also at war with Egypt?


Ethiopia arrests opposition figure for violating emergency
Ethiopia declares state of emergency to stop protests
Despite outward calm, Ethiopia extends state of emergency

I think they have finally seen the light.

Also see:

"A mountain of trash gave way in a massive garbage dump on the outskirts of Ethiopia’s capital, killing at least 46 people and leaving several dozen missing, residents said, as officials vowed to relocate those who called the landfill home. Addis Ababa city spokeswoman Dagmawit Moges said most of the 46 dead were women and children, and more bodies were expected to be found. It was not immediately clear what caused Saturday night’s collapse at the Koshe Garbage Landfill, which buried several makeshift homes and concrete buildings. Many people at the landfill had been scavenging items to make a living, but others live there because renting homes, largely built of mud and sticks, is relatively inexpensive...." 

(Blog editor pauses to compose himself) 


RelatedDeath toll reaches 62 in Ethiopia landfill collapse

I didn't see any more Globe garbage about Ethiopia -- although I must admit I never looked at the Globe on the 5th6th, and 7th (and still didn't; held the paper up in front of the computer screen. Point of principle)

Al Shabab’s swift seizures of the newly exposed towns are worrisome for Somalia, which faces a presidential election in late November.

 Somalia’s civilians are bearing the brunt of the withdrawals, with militants executing suspected government collaborators in each location they recapture, say residents.


Meanwhile, ‘‘Returning a large number of troops back home left the Ethiopian army overextended in Somalia, so abandoning some ground in Somalia is inevitable,’’ said Mohamed Sheikh Abdi, a Somali political analyst.

‘‘They left without informing us, only to find Al Shabab here and killing our elders,’’ a resident said by telephone, on condition of anonymity for security reasons. ‘‘We would rather have Al Shabab here than having unpredictable soldiers leaving us in the open.’’ 

Is it possible the "terrorists" are just people who oppose U.S. hegemony?

Ethiopia’s government spokesman, Getachew Reda, said Ethiopia’s recent pullout did not include relocating the country’s forces that are part of the multinational African Union mission.

‘‘But the troops that we sent to Somalia on our own do not necessarily have to stay there as long as (the African Union mission) does,’’ Getachew said Wednesday.

Somalia and African Union officials were not available for comment on this month’s withdrawals.

‘‘Ethiopia has more pressing troubles on its hands now, so it cannot focus on outside missions much. The focus should be to avoid the Arab Spring-style violence’’ at home, said Ahmed Mohamed, a retired Somali military colonel in Mogadishu. 

It's that serious?

Somalia’s security forces are supposed to be taking on more responsibility as the African Union force prepares to withdraw by the end of 2020, but this month’s attacks indicate that the Somali forces may not be able to hold the gains made by the African Union troops. 

Then the U.S. will just have to stay and increase its troop levels.

This week, Al Shabab also attacked a guesthouse in Kenya and killed 12 non-Muslims in Mandera County, near Somalia.

They killed women and rammed a truck into the crowd. That was after terrorists attacked the base.

RelatedRoaming telescope brings Kenyan kids views of night sky

The doctor's strike was like a comet.

Al Shabab’s resurgence comes after the group recently splintered, with some former members forming an offshoot allied to the Islamic State group instead of Al Qaeda. The fighters allied to ISIS claimed this week control of a town in the north, in the semi-autonomous Puntland region, but then withdrew on Wednesday night, according to residents.



"A car bomb exploded near a police station in a busy market in the Somali capital on Saturday, killing at least 11 people and injuring 16 others, a police official said. The attack targeted a police station in Mogadishu’s Waberi neighborhood while President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud had been visiting a university, said Captain Mohamed Hussein. He said the death toll was likely to rise, citing the severe injuries of some victims. There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack (AP)."

We all know who it was, and it delayed the election yet again.

"Somali Parliament sworn in amid UN criticism over elections" AP  December 28, 2016

MOGADISHU, Somalia — Somalia’s chief justice has sworn in 243 new members of Parliament amid criticism from the international community over irregularities in their elections.

The lawmakers are to select the country’s president on a date to be announced.

The United Nations Assistance Mission in Somalia called Tuesday for a redo of the flawed balloting that took place for some seats in October and November.

It says there were a number of ‘‘egregious cases of abuse of the electoral process, including seats reserved for women candidates only that were ultimately taken by male candidates.’’

In a statement, the UN Somalia mission said violence, corruption, intimidation, and the unauthorized substitution of electoral college delegates also marred voting.

The mission says the decision to not disqualify candidates who allegedly committed election irregularities represents a blanket amnesty.


Doesn't fill one with faith regarding the selection of a president.

"Extremist gunmen storm hotel in Somali capital, 11 killed" by Farah Abdi Warsameh and Abdi Guled Associated Press  January 26, 2017

Here we go again. Is it live or is it Memorex?

MOGADISHU, Somalia — At least 11 were killed and 50 injured Wednesday as Somali security forces ended a siege by extremist fighters who stormed a hotel in the capital, police said.

Four al-Shabab attackers were also killed in the attack on the Dayah hotel, which is often frequented by government officials, said Captain Mohamed Hussein, a senior police officer.

Smelling like total crap.

Survivors described chaotic scenes in which hotel residents hid under beds and others jumped out of windows of the four-story building to escape the attackers.

The assault on the hotel started when a suicide car bomb exploded at its gates. A second explosion soon followed.

Yeah, uh-huh.

Dozens of people, including lawmakers, were thought to have been staying at the hotel at the time of the morning attack, said Captain Mohamed Hussein.

Make sure they vote the right way.

A nearby shopping center caught fire and dozens of people helped save goods from the flames.

Somalia’s homegrown Islamic extremist group al-Shabab claimed responsibility for the attack via its online radio, Andalus, saying its fighters succeeded in entering the hotel.

Al-Shabab frequently targets hotels and other public places often visited by government officials and foreigners. Al Qaeda’s East African affiliate is fighting to impose a strict version of Islam in this Horn of Africa nation.

In June, gunmen stormed the Nasa-Hablod hotel, killing at least 14 people. Two weeks before that, gunmen killed 15, including two members of parliament, at the Ambassador hotel.

Every few months, mind-manipulating triggers like this.

Despite being ousted from most of its key strongholds, al-Shabab continues to carry out deadly guerrilla attacks across large parts of south and central Somalia.

Earlier this month, a bomb explosion at a restaurant in Mogadishu killed three, and a suicide bomber detonated an explosives-laden vehicle at a security checkpoint near the international airport, killing at least three. That blast occurred a few hundred meters from the main base of the African Union peacekeeping mission.

Al-Shabab’s assaults have threatened this nation’s attempts to rebuild from decades of chaos. The presidential election, a key step toward recovery, already has been delayed several times because of security and other concerns.

Really harping on the election, aren't they?


"Graft, threats as Somalia faces historic presidential vote" by Abdi Guled Associated Press  February 08, 2017

MOGADISHU, Somalia — Colorful campaign posters in this seaside capital give the impression that Somalia’s presidential election on Wednesday will be like any other. That’s far from true.

Mogadishu is in lock-down because of threats from homegrown Islamic extremist group al-Shabab. The airport will be closed, and the vote will be confined to a heavily protected former air force base nearby. Police said two mortar rounds fired by suspected extremists struck in the area Tuesday night. Fears of attacks already have delayed the vote several times.

But suicide bombings aren’t the biggest threat as this Horn of Africa country, after a quarter-century, tries to put a fully functioning government in place under strong international pressure. Graft — vote-buying, fraud, intimidation — is the top concern in a nation that Transparency International now rates as the most corrupt in the world.

After decades of chaos and warlord-led conflict, the vote will be historic in this country of about 12 million. But some observers worry whether it will be credible.

Already the country’s auditor general, Nur Jimale Farah, has said two of the seats for Parliament members who will elect the president have gone for $1.3 million apiece. Unlike in elections elsewhere, Somalia’s next leader will not be chosen by popular vote but by legislators, who were selected by the country’s powerful, intricate network of clans.

‘‘Some votes were bought with $5,000, some with $10,000, and some with $20,000 or $30,000,’’ Farah recently told Voice of America.

‘‘This is probably the most expensive election, per vote, in history,’’ the Mogadishu-based anti-corruption group Marqaati said in a report released Tuesday.

The United States and others have pressed Somalia to move ahead with elections as an important symbol of recovery. In the past decade, the United States has given $1.5 billion in humanitarian aid and another $240 million to support Somalia’s political and economic recovery, and $196 million in overall funding is planned for 2017. Mogadishu remains so unstable that the United States does not have an embassy there.

But the international community also has expressed growing concern about the election. A joint statement by the United Nations, United States, European Union, and others cited a number of ‘‘egregious cases of abuse of the electoral process, including seats reserved for female candidates only that were ultimately taken by male candidates.’’

Some involved in the vote remain confident, calling it an important step for a nation so unstable for so long that it was included on President Trump’s recent executive order blocking immigration from seven Muslim-majority countries.

‘‘We are well-prepared to elect a new president. It’s a test for a maturing democracy,’’ said Ahmed Ali, a Somali lawmaker. The president will be elected by the 275 members of the lower legislative house and by 54 senators.

Among the 22 candidates, many who also hold foreign passports, Somalia’s incumbent president, Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, is seeking reelection and may have an edge to win a second five-year term.

But rival candidate and Prime Minister Omar Abdirashid Sharmarke has accused regional countries of interfering in the process.

Good thing U.S. never doe$.


"US citizen wins vote to be president of long-chaotic Somalia" by Abdi Guled Associated Press  February 08, 2017

OMG! A rigged vote!

MOGADISHU, Somalia — A former prime minister who holds dual Somali-US citizenship was declared Somalia’s president Wednesday, immediately taking the oath of office as the long-chaotic country moved toward its first fully functioning central government in a quarter-century.

Incumbent President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud conceded defeat to former prime minister Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo after two rounds of voting, saying that ‘‘history was made; we have taken this path to democracy.’’

Fears of attacks by the . . . extremist group al-Shabab limited the election to members of the upper and lower houses of Parliament instead of the population at large. Lawmakers voted at a heavily guarded former air force base in the capital, Mogadishu, while a security lockdown closed the international airport.

OMG! Not democracy!

Thousands of cheering Somalis quickly poured into the streets in jubilation, chanting the new president’s name. Cheering soldiers fired into the air. ‘‘Somalia will be another Somalia soon,’’ said Ahmed Ali, a police officer celebrating in the crowd.


Mohamud held a slight lead over Farmajo, 88 votes to 72, after the first round of 21 candidates, but Farmajo won the second round among the three candidates remaining, with 184 votes to Mohamud’s 97.

‘‘This victory represents the interest of the Somali people. This victory belongs to Somali people, and this is the beginning of the era of the unity, the democracy of Somalia and the beginning of the fight against corruption,’’ Farmajo said. ‘‘There is a daunting task ahead of me, and I know that.’’

They had that in 2006.

Farmajo, who is in his mid-50s and holds degrees from the State University of New York in Buffalo, was prime minister for eight months before leaving the post in 2011. When he was in office, al-Shabab was expelled from Mogadishu, his campaign biography says. He had lived in the United States since 1985, when he was sent there with Somalia’s foreign affairs ministry.

Oh, so either way the U.S. got their man!

Somalia began to fall apart in 1991, when warlords ousted dictator Siad Barre and then turned on each other. Years of conflict and al-Shabab attacks, along with famine, left this Horn of Africa country of about 12 million people largely shattered.


Across Mogadishu, Somalis had gathered around TV screens at cafes and homes, eagerly watching the vote. ‘‘We need an honest leader who can help us move forward,’’ said Ahmed Hassan, a 26-year-old university student.

Somalia’s instability landed it among the seven Muslim-majority countries affected by President Trump’s executive order on immigration, even though its government has been an increasingly important partner for the US military on counterterrorism efforts, including drone strikes against al-Shabab leaders.

The new president, Farmajo, can travel to the United States on his US passport.

In a sign of the dangers that remain in Mogadishu, two mortar rounds fired by suspected extremists late Tuesday hit near the election venue. There were no such attacks reported in the capital Wednesday and no public statements by al-Shabab.

Unreal! CIA-Bob helps U.S.!

The international community pushed Somalia to hold the election as a symbol of strength, with the United States pouring in hundreds of millions of dollars in recent years for political and economic recovery. But the election was marred by reports of widespread graft in a country recently ranked as the world’s most corrupt by Transparency International.

No Russian influence?

The legislators voting — 275 members of the lower legislative house and 54 senators — were selected by the country’s powerful, intricate network of clans. Weeks ago, a joint statement by the United Nations, United States, European Union, and others warned of ‘‘egregious cases of abuse of the electoral process.’’

With reports of votes being sold for up to $30,000 apiece, ‘‘This is probably the most expensive election, per vote, in history,’’ the Mogadishu-based anticorruption group Marqaati said in a report released Tuesday.

‘‘We encourage Somalia’s new administration to take credible steps to stamp out corruption and to establish strong electoral institutions to enable a free and fair one person one vote poll in 2020,’’ State Department spokesman Mark Toner said as the United States congratulated Farmajo.

Tremendous challenges remain for Somalia and its president, even beyond graft, al-Shabab attacks, and an economy propped up, in part, by the country’s diaspora of more than 2 million people. An African Union peacekeeping force of more than 20,000 is making plans to pull out of the country by the end of 2020, leaving the job to national security forces that observers have said remain underprepared.

Meanwhile, hundreds of thousands of Somali refugees are under pressure to return home as neighboring Kenya’s government seeks to close the world’s largest refugee camp, Dadaab, by the end of May. Human rights groups have warned that [say] Somalia is [could] hardly equipped to support [them] the returnees — especially as the United Nations and others warn that drought is creating a humanitarian crisis for almost three million Somalis.

Election seems to be more important.


"Marketplace blast in Somalia kills 34" Associated Press  February 19, 2017

MOGADISHU, Somalia — A powerful car bomb explosion hit a busy market in the western part of Mogadishu on Sunday, killing at least 34 people and highlighting the security challenges that Somalia’s new government faces. 

Help, U.S., help!

Somalia’s new president, Mohamed Abdulahi Mohamed, visited victims wounded by the blast and offered a $100,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of those who planned it.

‘‘It was a horrific and barbaric attack only aimed at killings civilians,’’ police Captain Mohamed Hussein said.

The explosion was the first major attack since Somalia’s new president was elected on Feb. 8. Although no group had claimed responsibility, it bore the hallmarks of Somalia’s Islamic extremists rebels, Al Shabab.

Don't even need any evidence.

A few hours before the blast, Al Shabab denounced the new president as an ‘‘apostate’’ and a puppet of the United States. Mohamed is a US citizen and spent years in the United States, working as a contracting officer for the New York State Department of Transportation.

Seems to be, yeah, same as them.

Mohamed condemned the attack in a tweet, saying it shows the ‘‘cruelty’’ of Al Shabab.

The bomb, which was in a car parked near a restaurant, went off when shoppers and traders were gathered inside the market, district commissioner Ahmed Abdulle said. 

That will win the people to your side.

Mohamed Haji, a butcher who suffered shrapnel wounds, pointed to a clothes shop devastated by the blast. ‘‘Someone had parked the car here and left before it was detonated,’’ he said. Pieces of wood and metal sheets on the ground were all that remained of the shop.

Women sobbed and screamed outside the market as rescue workers tended to the wounded.

Sabriye Abdullahi, an ambulance driver, said some of the injured victims died on their way to the hospitals. Many of the victims had severe burns and shrapnel wounds.

Italian Foreign Minister Angelino Alfano, in a statement condemning the attack, said that ‘‘Italy remains solidly on Somalia’s side in the process of the country’s stabilization.’’ He added that ‘‘together we will act so that the terrorists don’t succeed in stopping the path of peace and reconciliation that is underway.’’


"Drought, hunger push Somalis to flee amid fears of famine" by Abdi Guled Associated Press  February 28, 2017

MOGADISHU, Somalia — She is one of thousands of desperate people streaming into Somalia’s capital seeking food as a result a prolonged drought, overwhelming local and international aid agencies. The Somali government warns of a looming famine.

About 363,000 acutely malnourished children ‘‘need urgent treatment and nutrition support, including 71,000 who are severely malnourished,’’ said the US Agency for International Development’s Famine Early Warning Systems Network. 


Fears are rising of a full-blown famine in Somalia. Large-scale aid is needed to avert an imminent disaster, according to the Somali government.

‘‘The dire situation calls for international collaboration and regional partnership between governments, civil society, aid organizations, business and international donors,’’ the government said this month, encouraging regional cooperation to combat the effects of the drought.

Somalia’s ongoing conflict against the Islamic extremist rebels of al-Shabab has compounded the problems of harvest failure.

The widespread hunger ‘‘is taking a particularly heavy toll on children and women, and makes people vulnerable to exploitation, human rights abuses, and to criminal and terrorist networks,’’ said the government statement.

Two consecutive seasons of poor rainfall, more in some areas, have caused large-scale crop failures and high levels of livestock deaths, according to the United Nations Office for Humanitarian Coordination.

The UN humanitarian appeal for 2017 for Somalia is $864 million to provide assistance to 3.9 million people. But additional funds are needed to cope with the worsening situation, and last month, the UN World Food Program requested an additional $26 million plan to respond to the drought....

Ask Wall $treet.


Hungry to send more troops and drop more bombs yet?

"110 Somalis dead from hunger in 48 hours" Associated Press  March 05, 2017

MOGADISHU, Somalia — Somalia’s prime minister said that 110 people had died from hunger within 48 hours in a single region — the first death toll announced in a severe drought threatening millions of people across the country.

Somalia’s government declared the drought a national disaster on Tuesday. The United Nations estimates 5 million people in this Horn of Africa nation need aid, amid warnings of a full-blown famine.

Prime Minister Hassan Ali Khaire announced the deaths Saturday during a meeting with the Somali National Drought Committee. The figure is from the Bay region in the southwest of the country.

Somalia was one of four regions singled out by the UN secretary general last month in a $4.4 billion aid appeal to avert catastrophic hunger and famine, along with northeast Nigeria, South Sudan, and Yemen. All are connected by a thread of violent conflict, UN Secretary General António Guterres said.

Thousands have been streaming into Mogadishu in search of food, overwhelming aid agencies. More than 7,000 internally displaced people checked into one feeding center recently.

The drought is the first crisis for Somalia’s newly elected Somali-American leader, President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed. Droughts and a quarter-century of conflict have left the country fragile.


"UN chief, visiting Somalia, pleads for aid to avert famine" by Hussein Mohamed New York Times  March 08, 2017

NEW YORK — The secretary general of the United Nations, António Guterres, arrived in Somalia on Tuesday and appealed for $825 million in aid to address drought and cholera in the East Africa nation on the brink of famine.

Guterres said the money was needed to help 5.5 million people, about half of Somalia’s population, survive the next six months.

A former prime minister of Portugal who was picked in October to lead the United Nations, Guterres announced his visit on Twitter.

Last week, he declared that famine was underway in part of South Sudan and warned that people in areas of Nigeria, Somalia, and Yemen were also at risk of dying from hunger.

At the airport in Mogadishu, Somalia’s capital, Guterres met with President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed, a former prime minister who was elected last month.

I heard the U.N. puts out quite a spread.

Prime Minister Hassan Ali Khaire said that droughts and cholera had killed more than 200 people in southern and central Somalia.

Not that, too.

The country has had two consecutive years of drought, and meteorologists expect crops to fail again this year. Famine was last declared in Somalia in July 2011, after an estimated 260,000 people died, most during a two-month period.

In a joint news conference, Mohamed and Guterres pleaded for assistance.

“We need massive support from the international community to avoid a repetition of the tragic events of 2011,” Guterres said.

He added that this was “a moment of tragedy” but also “a moment of hope,” because prompt action would make it possible to avoid the worst and allow the country “to be able to turn the page and for Somalia to, finally, find the way to stability, peace, and prosperity.’’

Empty words for empty bellies.

Guterres recited a litany of statistics: Some 330,000 acutely malnourished children, a number that could rise to 1 million; 3.3 million people in need of medical care to deal with diseases in a country that lacks health infrastructure; and 7,731 cases of cholera in the past two months.

“Just last week, 1,352 cases of cholera and 38 people dying — it’s a process in acceleration,” he warned.

Ahmed Abdi Hassan, the Somali consul general in Aden, Yemen, who was part of a delegation that welcomed Guterres, called the visit historic, likening it to one last year by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey, who opened an embassy in Mogadishu and called for deeper ties between the nations.

? First I've seen of it.

The Somali government has created an emergency committee of federal and regional levels to handle fund-raising and to register people affected by drought.

The government is functioning but does not control the entire country, and there are vast pockets where militants from al-Shabab group are active.

Somalia is one of six predominantly Muslim countries whose citizens are blocked from entering the United States under President Trump’s revised travel ban.

Before President Obama’s term ended, the US government intensified a largely clandestine war in Somalia, using Special Operations troops, airstrikes, private contractors, and African allies in an escalating campaign against al-Shabab militants.

What did that do to the food supply?

In other countries dealing with famines or near-famines, aid workers have also struggled to reach the hungry. In South Sudan, the government has created ‘‘administrative and bureaucratic impediments’’ for humanitarian groups, Stephen O’Brien, head of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, told The Washington Post.

In northeastern Nigeria, aid workers have been unable to reach desperate people, because of military restrictions and the threat posed by Islamist Boko Haram fighters. In Yemen, clashes between pro-government forces and Houthi rebels have made it difficult for aid groups to travel.

Across the four countries, the United Nations estimates that 20 million people are caught up in hunger crises.

‘‘In modern world history, we've never confronted the prospect of four major famines in four countries,’’ O'Brien said.


Very people wringing their hands brought this to you! 

Time to catch some fish:

"It has been almost three years since Somali pirates successfully hijacked a large commercial vessel, but they retain the capacity and intent to resume the attacks and have lately shifted to targeting smaller foreign fishing boats, according to a UN report...."

Pirates resurfacing, how convenient!

Somali pirate says 26 Asian sailors freed after 4 years

"Monday’s hijacking of an oil tanker off Somalia’s northern coast surprised the international shipping community after several years without a pirate attack on a large commercial vessel there. Naval patrols by NATO members and other countries like China had calmed the crucial global trade route that once saw hundreds of attacks, but in recent years, local officials have warned that rampant fishing by foreign trawlers was destroying the livelihoods of coastal communities, stoking fears of a return of piracy as a way to make money. They have blamed Yemeni, Chinese, Indian, Iranian, and Djibouti-flagged fishing boats and trawlers. Local elder Salad Nur told the Associated Press young fishermen, including former pirates, had gone searching for a foreign ship to seize out of frustration...."

It's an ‘‘illegal fishing problem,’’ not piracy.

"Ship hijacking shows Somali piracy risk still high, UN says" by Felix Njini and Mohamed Ahmed Bloomberg News  March 17, 2017

The hijacking of a fuel tanker off Somalia’s coast shows the threat pirates still pose to one of the world’s busiest shipping lanes, a risk that might also hamper the Horn of Africa country’s efforts to explore for offshore oil and gas, a United Nations official said.


‘‘This is absolutely a return of piracy,’’ Alan Cole, head of the UN’s Global Maritime Crime Programme, said of the March 13 hijacking of the Aris 13 freighter in waters off Somalia’s semiautonomous Puntland region.

The tanker was the first commercial ship seized off the eastern African seaboard in five years. Hijackings in the region caused havoc for international shipping from about 2001 to 2012, peaking with 176 attacks in 2011. They declined in part because of actions by the European Union’s antipiracy mission.

The Aris 13 was released by the assailants late Thursday, with the Puntland Maritime Police Force now in control of the vessel, Mohamed Jama Hersi, a PMPF officer, said by phone. He declined to comment on whether a ransom that the hijackers demanded had been paid.

Somalia, which chose a new president last month and is trying to emerge from decades of civil war and defeat Al Qaeda-linked militants, is seeking to encourage foreign companies to explore for oil and gas in its waters. Piracy represents a ‘‘setback’’ in the government’s efforts, Cole said in a phone interview from Nairobi, the capital of neighboring Kenya. 

Not the right companies?

Somalia’s government is keen for companies such as Royal Dutch Shell, ExxonMobil, and BP to return and resume exploration for what it says are probable offshore hydrocarbon deposits. The state has held talks with those companies about reactivating dormant contracts.

IHS Inc., the Englewood, Colo.-based risk adviser, in January 2016 said there was an increased risk from Somali pirates and that the majority of commercial shipping in the area no longer carried privately contracted armed security because of costs and perceptions there was no significant danger. Somalia’s government has also warned that illegal fishing by foreign vessels is threatening the livelihood of citizens, potentially leading some into piracy.

Somalia’s waters are remote and difficult to police, with no EU navy patrols in the area where the tanker was seized, Cole said. The vessel might have traveled too close to shore and not fast enough, he said. 

They have excuses for everything.

‘‘Those parts of Somalia are still very dangerous,’’ Cole said. ‘‘Vessels need to take measures to protect themselves.’’

Pirates are still ‘‘very much around’’ and, for them, ‘‘there is nothing else to do to make yourself rich other than criminal activities,’’ he said.


Mistaken for pirates?

"Military attack kills 42 Somali refugees off Yemen’s coast" by Abdel-Karim Al-Ayyashi and Jamey Keaten Associated Press  March 17, 2017

HODEIDA, Yemen — The boat packed with dozens of Somali refugees was more than 30 miles off war-torn Yemen’s coast when a military vessel and a helicopter gunship swooped in, opening fire in the dead of night Friday, killing at least 42 people. Yemen’s Shi’ite rebels blamed the attack on a Saudi-led coalition, highlighted the perils of a heavily used migration route running from the Horn of Africa to the oil-rich Gulf, right through Yemen’s civil war.

The coalition has been heavily bombarding the nearby coast around the Yemeni port of Hodeida, where it accuses the rebels, known as Houthis, of smuggling weapons in small boats. There was no immediate coalition comment.

A Yemeni trafficker who survived the attack said the boat was filled with Somali refugees, including women and children, who were trying to reach Sudan from Yemen, which has been racked by conflict for more than two years.

Why would they want to go there?

Al-Hassan Ghaleb Mohammed said in an interview that the boat left from Ras Arra, along the southern coastline in Yemen’s Hodeida province, and was 30 miles off the coast, near the Bab al-Mandab strait, when the military vessel opened fire, followed by the helicopter gunship.

He described a scene of panic in which the terrified refugees waved flashlights, apparently to show they were not combatants. He said the helicopter then stopped firing, but only after dozens had been killed. Mohammed was unharmed in the attack.

Video of the aftermath showed dozens of slain migrants, along with others who suffered gunshot wounds, lost limbs, or had broken arms and legs.

The UN refugee agency said on its Twitter account that it was ‘‘appalled by this tragic incident, the latest in which civilians continue to disproportionately bear the brunt of conflict in Yemen.’’ 

What are they doing about it?


"Car bomb kills 6 near Somalia presidential palace" Associated Press  March 21, 2017

MOGADISHU, Somalia — A car bomb exploded Tuesday at a military checkpoint near Somalia’s presidential palace in the capital, killing at least six people, the spokesman for Mogadishu’s mayor said.

The dead included a soldier and five civilians, Abdifitah Halane said. Another dozen people were injured.

The explosive was detonated after soldiers tried to stop the car and the bomber tried to speed through the checkpoint, police Captain Mohamed Hussein said.

The checkpoint is one of several that motorists must go through before reaching the heavily guarded presidential palace, which has seen previous attacks by the Al Qaeda-linked extremist group Al Shabab.

I'll bet he is not starving.

The group later claimed responsibility for the blast via its radio arm, Andalus.

The blast came a few hours after Somalia’s new prime minister unveiled a 26-member Cabinet, the latest step as the fragile central government tries to further assert itself beyond the capital.

The threat of Al Shabab attacks is a major challenge for the country’s new Somali-American president, Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed, who has vowed to make security a priority in this Horn of Africa nation.

But the extremist group, which was kicked out of Mogadishu under Mohamed’s brief term as prime minister in 2010-2011, has denounced the new president as an ‘‘apostate’’ and warned Somalis against supporting him.

Al Shabab has lost most of its key strongholds across Somalia but continues to carry out deadly attacks.


"Drought-stricken Somalia battles hunger and cholera" Associated Press  March 26, 2017

BAIDOA, Somalia — Thousands of desperate Somalis have streamed into Baidoa in southwestern Somalia seeking food and medical care as a result of the country’s prolonged drought. The influx is overwhelming local and international aid agencies.

The new patients, mostly children, are showing signs of chronic malnourishment when they arrive at therapeutic clinics in Somalia run by UNICEF, aid workers said.

The UN is also concerned about keeping a cholera epidemic from getting out of control in the country. Cholera outbreaks often occur in refugee camps because of overcrowding and poor sanitation.

Yeah, sure they are. They probably brought it with them like in Haiti.

In recent weeks, aid agencies have started a cholera vaccination campaign across Somalia.

Aaaaah! Cui bono?

Somalia’s drought is threatening 3 million lives, according to the United Nations. In recent months, aid agencies have been scaling up their efforts but they say said more support is urgently needed to prevent the crisis from worsening.

The failure of the West.

More aid ‘‘is very important if we want to prevent the cholera from going out of control and also to prevent famine. We have to get the funding now to prevent it,’’ Steven Lauwerier, UNICEF’s representative for Somalia, said as he stood inside a Baidoa hospital ward.

‘‘We are still ahead of the curve of the famine because now is when we can save lives,’’ he said. ‘‘This is not the time to have doubts that funding is not needed.’’

Somalia’s emergency parallels similar hunger crises in South Sudan, northeastern Nigeria, and Yemen, which together make the world’s largest humanitarian disaster in more than 70 years, according to UN officials. 

That gets you back to WWII.

In Somalia, drought-stricken families have had to move from one place to another to reach international aid agencies that cannot distribute food in areas under the control of Al Shabab, Somali’s homegrown Islamic extremist group, which is affiliated with Al Qaeda.

With her newborn baby, just 40 days old, Sangabo Madey walked for two days to reach a camp in Baidoa in search of food and water. Standing beside a hut of sticks and plastic sheeting, buffeted by the wind, the mother of five said she does not know what to do next.

‘‘We were unable to feed our children. Because of the drought we did not have anything to eat,’’ Madey said. ‘‘We left our hometowns to come here, but there is little aid coming in and we still continue to suffer.”



Here is Somalia West:

US to step up deportation of Haitians amid surge at border

That was just before the hurricane.

Powerful Hurricane Matthew soaks Colombia, heads for Jamaica

Better put the joint out now.

"The impoverished country is particularly vulnerable to devastating floods because of the steep terrain, with hillsides and mountains often devoid of the trees that hold back the water because they have been cut down to make charcoal for cooking fires. Many people live in houses, typically built of scraps of wood with flimsy corrugated steel roofs, that are not able to withstand such a storm."

Also see:

Haiti, Jamaica, and Cuba in crosshairs of Hurricane Matthew
Thousands flee hurricane flooding in Haiti, Jamaica
Haitians and supporters worry about Caribbean nation in storm
After pounding Haiti, Hurricane Matthew eyes Cuba, Florida
Fla., S.C. on high alert as Hurricane Matthew bears down on Bahamas
Hurricane Matthew hits the Bahamas as Haiti tries to dig out

I see something:

"Haitians await aid, help each other regain some normalcy" by Ben Fox and David McFadden Associated Press  October 12, 2016

LES CAYES, Haiti — People throughout Haiti’s devastated southwest peninsula formed makeshift brigades Tuesday to clear debris and try to regain some semblance of their pre-hurricane lives as anger grew over the delay in aid for remote communities more than a week after the Category 4 storm hit.

The UN humanitarian agency in Geneva has made an emergency appeal for nearly $120 million in aid, saying about 750,000 people in southwest Haiti alone will need ‘‘life-saving assistance and protection’’ in the next three months. UN officials said earlier that at least 1.4 million people across the region need assistance and that 2.1 million overall have been affected by the hurricane. Some 175,500 people remain in shelters.

Those who survived the storm still faced great challenges, including going days without food.

Crops have been lost, and ‘‘crisis is not the word to describe it. There is no food.’’

At least there are no terrorists to hinder delivery of aid and supplies.

Food was slowly reaching remote communities, but there was also a growing need for medical supplies.


The Haitians ‘‘hear helicopters flying overhead, but [they]’re not getting anything’’ and ‘‘it's misery.’’

Concern also was growing about an increase in cases of cholera, which has already killed roughly 10,000 people and sickened more than 800,000 since 2010.

I just want to cry.

Dr. Dominique Legros, a top cholera official at the World Health Organization, said Tuesday that the agency had decided to send 1 million doses of cholera vaccine to Haiti ‘‘as soon as possible’’ and said safe drinking water and treatment of those affected by the disease are top priorities.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon told reporters in New York on Monday that a ‘‘massive response’’ was needed to help Haiti emerge from the storm’s aftermath. He noted that crops and food reserves were destroyed and that at least 300 schools have been damaged.

‘‘At least 1.4 million people need assistance at this time,’’ he said. ‘‘These numbers and needs are growing as more affected areas are reached. Tensions are already mounting as people await help.’’



"Cholera is caused by bacteria that produce severe diarrhea and is contracted by drinking contaminated water or eating contaminated food. It can lead to a rapid, agonizing death through complete dehydration, but is easily treatable if caught in time. ‘‘It is not looking good,’’ said Dr. Unni Krishnan, director of Save the Children’s Emergency Health Unit in Haiti. ‘‘We should act very quickly to contain this, otherwise it could get out of control.’’ And cholera is not the only health emergency in the country. Krishnan and others warn about growing malnutrition. Also complicating matters are shortages in hospitals and clinics ill-equipped to respond...."


Expert calls UN response to cholera in Haiti ‘a disgrace
Haitians struggle for clean water weeks after hurricane
After UN apology, real work on cholera in Haiti begins

hard-earned apology, and four months later they are still waiting (actually been waiting seven, but....). 

The only thing missing is.... (sob).

"Across the country, balloting appeared to be mostly calm and orderly. Some 12,000 police officers were deployed — essentially the entire Haitian National Police Force — to maintain order. There were a handful of disturbances reported by mid-afternoon, including one in the central town of Mirebalais, where somebody threw tear gas outside of a polling station, sending voters into a panic. Turnout elsewhere appeared to be paltry...."

At least they finally have a president

Party's over, I swear.


Kenyans will be sad to see Obama’s presidency end

I doubt it.

"A bomb explosion at a restaurant in the Somali capital, Mogadishu, killed three people and injured more than 16 others Saturday. The bomb is believed to have been concealed in the restaurant, often frequented by government soldiers in Hodan district, police said. There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the bombing, but suspicion centered on the Islamic extremist group al-Shabab (AP)."

"Ethiopia is struggling to counter a new drought in its east that authorities say has left 5.6 million people in urgent need of assistance. UN humanitarian chief Stephen O'Brien visited the region Saturday, saying that ‘‘these people are really struggling to survive.’’ Last year’s drought left 10.2 million people hungry and killed much livestock. For this drought, the government is appealing for $948 million from donor nations (AP)."