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UN To Somalia: No food for you!

Old 01-05-10, 07:02 PM
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UN To Somalia: No food for you!

U.N. stops food aid to 1 million in Somalia
Agency cites attacks on workers; hungry people face ‘dire’ situation

HARGEISA, Somalia - The U.N. food agency on Tuesday suspended the distribution of aid in southern Somalia because of attacks on its staff, a decision affecting up to 1 million people that highlights the dangers of humanitarian work there.

The lawless Horn of Africa nation is one of the most dangerous places in the world to live, but few can remember a time when aid workers have faced so many attacks.

At least 43 aid workers were killed between January 2008 and fall 2009, according to the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. Four humanitarian workers remain in the hands of their captors.

The U.N. decision is the latest setback for Somalia, which has not had an effective central government for two decades and sees near-daily violence in its capital.

'Indirect killing'
In the southwestern Somali town of Jilib, Abdullahi Awnur blamed Islamic militants for interrupting the food aid distribution, saying it was an "indirect killing."

"We have been forced to flee from our houses and depend on food aid and now that it is finished, that means the armed group here does not want us to live," said Awnur, who lives with his eight children in a camp in Jilib — one of the towns where WFP suspended operations.

Further exacerbating the situation is the flight of hundreds of thousands of Mogadishu residents into rural Somalia, where drought has ravaged farms and life-sustaining livestock herds. Aid agencies estimate 3.6 million of the country's 8 million people now need food and other aid.

CARE International and Doctors Without Borders are among the agencies that already have pulled out of southern Somalia because of attacks and kidnappings. The World Food Program said Tuesday it, too, is stopping aid distribution because armed groups also had demanded that aid agencies remove women from their teams.

The agency is moving staff and supplies to northern and central Somalia from six areas in the south that are largely controlled by the al-Shabab Islamist group, said Emilia Casella, a WFP spokeswoman. The U.S. State Department says al-Shabab has links to al-Qaida.

"Up to a million people that have been dependent on food assistance in southern Somalia face a situation that is particularly dire," Casella told reporters in Geneva.

Militants deny claims
The WFP said that al-Shabab controls up to 95 percent of the areas affected, but al-Shabab spokesman Sheik Ali Mohamud Rage called WFP's claims "baseless."

"All we ordered them was to buy food from Somali farmers and distribute it. They do not want to do that and because of that they have made this very ridiculous justification," Rage said.

Somali government spokesman Abdi Haji Gobdon called WFP's decision "very, very sad news."

"But we understand who is behind the country's problems. It is the opposition," said Gobdon. "We are hopeful that WFP will resume their operations as soon as possible, and not leave those suffering people to their fate," he said.

CARE International's Somalia director, David Gilmour, said that despite the enormous suffering ordinary Somalis have experienced the past two years, agencies are not able to reach those who need aid.

"Right now aid agencies are delivering where they can and not necessarily where it's needed most because of all the blockages, issues, incidents and threats which occur," Gilmour told The Associated Press. "There's never been this spate (of violence) directed towards aid agencies and their programs as has happened in the last two years in southern Somalia."

Abdirahman Meygag, a former senior Somali government official, said disputes over supply contracts are a key factor in many of the attacks on aid workers.

'Revenge tactics'
"Transport companies also resort to revenge tactics once they lose contracts," said Meygag, a former chief cabinet secretary. "Regional governments and local administration enforce road taxes and (aid agencies') refusal to renew contracts or to comply with local administrations' demands may lead to a death sentence."

WFP said armed groups also had increasingly been demanding that it and other aid groups pay tens of thousands of dollars in protection money. The agency tried to resolve the demands through meetings with village elders, but was unable to win security guarantees for its staff, said Casella.

Rage, the al-Shabab spokesman, denied the group had demanded money from the WFP.

The World Food Program is now preparing for a mass exodus of hungry Somalis from the south to other parts of Somalia and to neighboring countries, she said.

Somalia "has been described as the most complex emergency in the world and perhaps the most dangerous to operate in. The world is not hearing this," Gilmour said.

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/34710512...d_news-africa/
This seems like a horrific mess. It would take a massive international effort to even start this in the right direction, and clearly the desire is not there.

About the only thing that could get people moving would be terrorist breeding concerns it would seem. But the level of terror already rampant against the people themselves in this area is unimaginable.

Any thoughts on what the best approach would be here? Is minding our own business prudent in an area so inhospitable that even aid agencies are unsafe? Are we making any efforts politically or just letting this run its course?

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Old 01-05-10, 07:18 PM
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Re: UN To Somalia: No food for you!

Originally Posted by Thor Simpson View Post
This seems like a horrific mess. It would take a massive international effort to even start this in the right direction, and clearly the desire is not there.

About the only thing that could get people moving would be terrorist breeding concerns it would seem. But the level of terror already rampant against the people themselves in this area is unimaginable.

Any thoughts on what the best approach would be here? Is minding our own business prudent in an area so inhospitable that even aid agencies are unsafe? Are we making any efforts politically or just letting this run its course?
Both the terrorists and local governments (strongmen?) seem more interested in controlling and making money off the aid agencies than seeing their people helped.

This could only be stopped by a strong occupying force. Our current efforts in other countries show that we are not particularly good at this type of mission. As it does not seem to be the type of problem that can be solved by bombing (the only war we are good at) I suggest we stay the hell out of it.

Getting into it will only get thousands of our troops killed, while all factions will hate and resent us. Screw it.

(I can think of at least two other countries that have these problems on a smaller scale, and will not have stable democracies after we finally leave.)
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Old 01-05-10, 07:20 PM
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Re: UN To Somalia: No food for you!

Wasn't there a Seinfeld quote about writing off an entire continent? I think it applies here.
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Old 01-05-10, 07:22 PM
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Re: UN To Somalia: No food for you!

Who would be stupid enough to be tempted to even try to take up a role in solving some of the problems there?

The last case I can think of where someone actually put an end to the problem in one of those hellholes where the almost sub-human morons were killing and doing unthinkable atrocities to each other was Executive Outcomes in Sierra Leone. They got incredible results and easily saved tens of thousands of lives, ended the RUF's reign of terror, and brought stability to the nation ending the bloody civil war.

The UN shit its pants(tragic incontinence is a much wider problem than many realize) over that, so did many nations in Africa and around the world.

A propaganda war was started against Executive Outcomes that ultimately led to the end of the company.

The UN oversaw Rwanda, as an example of their fine work. Apparently the machete arms got tired of chopping at around 800,000 dead or so. Thanks to the UN's fine military forces and leadership.

I don't see why anyone would be interested in trying to make a real difference there. We could half ass it again like Clinton did, but I would be against anything of that type going down again. With a pussy president getting our finest killed by drugged up zombies in the third world.
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Old 01-05-10, 07:32 PM
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Re: UN To Somalia: No food for you!

If a million lives could be saved at the expense of 10,000 brave men, would it be worth the cost? In much of the world, the answer would be a resounding Yes.

Perhaps this is only possible when there is a meaningful outcome in sight. Nobody wants to lose their finest only to leave a place in poor condition. I believe the lack of such a vision is the culprit here. There are too many factors to make it worth approaching for anything but the finest of dreamers.

But our waiting to conjure such a dream is not without a price. Is it not certain that more will be lost from lack of effort than would be lost in any effort? The cost early on would be severe to be sure. But certainly some action could be a catalyst towards resolution that seems impossible to realize while the situation is allowed to fester.

The only reasonable conclusion: "But they are only Africans."
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Old 01-05-10, 07:40 PM
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Re: UN To Somalia: No food for you!

Executive Outcomes did it in Sierra Leone with ~200 men IIRC, all A-team types.

IIRC they didn't lose a single man, but had some injured. They probably indirectly saved hundreds of thousands of lives, but directly it was a minimum of tens of thousands.

The 'world community' didn't approve.
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Old 01-05-10, 07:44 PM
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Re: UN To Somalia: No food for you!

I agree with the UN. They want to help people, but aren't willing to go to war to remove the obsticles. The only thing they can do is to pull out. Even if there were genocide going on, they wouldn't do anything. Those Somalians seriously need to convince the world that they are white.
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Old 01-05-10, 07:49 PM
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Re: UN To Somalia: No food for you!

I think it's hard to disagree with the UN decision to pull out. They are unable to perform their role there without unacceptable loss. So... now what.
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Old 01-05-10, 07:50 PM
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Re: UN To Somalia: No food for you!

The best predictor of future behavior is past behavior. They will do nothing.
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Old 01-05-10, 07:59 PM
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Re: UN To Somalia: No food for you!

Originally Posted by kvrdave View Post
The best predictor of future behavior is past behavior. They will do nothing.
You are so cynical... as if the Somalis were late on their rent again.
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Old 01-05-10, 08:21 PM
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Re: UN To Somalia: No food for you!

Originally Posted by Thor Simpson View Post
If a million lives could be saved at the expense of 10,000 brave men, would it be worth the cost? In much of the world, the answer would be a resounding Yes.
That part of the world should feel free send troops and project power.

Oh, wait, they can't. THEIR idea is to send OUR men, and then nitpick the job. Screw that.
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Old 01-05-10, 08:38 PM
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Re: UN To Somalia: No food for you!

Originally Posted by OldDude View Post
THEIR idea is to send OUR men, and then nitpick the job.
Oh, come on. I'm sure they'd settle for some weapons instead.
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Old 01-06-10, 01:18 AM
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Re: UN To Somalia: No food for you!

Rwanda was a failure of worlwide proportions. That includes the UN and all the governments who just sat there and did nothing while UN forces under general Dallaire's leadership were left hanging.
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Old 01-06-10, 01:26 AM
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Re: UN To Somalia: No food for you!

And they would do it again without blinking.
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Old 01-06-10, 02:28 AM
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Re: UN To Somalia: No food for you!

Originally Posted by OldDude View Post
This could only be stopped by a strong occupying force. Our current efforts in other countries show that we are not particularly good at this type of mission. As it does not seem to be the type of problem that can be solved by bombing (the only war we are good at) I suggest we stay the hell out of it.
Agreed. Send in the French.
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Old 01-06-10, 09:56 AM
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Re: UN To Somalia: No food for you!

Somalia would be a perfect case for the original mission of US Special Forces. 1 of the indigenous groups should be taken over and be used as a core to build up a stable platform to begin taking back the country. Build up a guerilla government and infrastructure and secure that area. Build schools and hospitals and so on for the people. Get future leaders from the people that will have close ties and support from the US. Make it worthwhile for the people there to actually do something that they believe will help themselves and their land and not just get them killed. Shoot anybody that gets in the way.
I do not believe the west has the balls for this. Letting them die is more something.
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Old 01-06-10, 10:05 AM
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Re: UN To Somalia: No food for you!

Let's identify the best pirate leader, give him a million dollars and a copy of The Prince and let it go from there.
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Old 01-06-10, 01:38 PM
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Re: UN To Somalia: No food for you!

Originally Posted by kvrdave View Post
And they would do it again without blinking.

Not necessarily, see the Congo.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_...ublic_of_Congo
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