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Target Africa: Pentagon to Create 'AfricaCom'; G8 Move In
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Jerry Fletcher



Joined: 21 Jan 2006
Posts: 837
Location: Studio BS

PostPosted: Sat Dec 30, 2006 5:48 am    Post subject: 'Nose'stradamus Strikes Again Reply with quote

Fintan wrote:
Back in mid-2004, when the G8 produced a "partnership" plan for the region,
we predicted Africa would be the next target for the global monopolists.
Last year at the time of the Live 8 concert we repeated our warning.


I guess it's pretty redundant to say, "You told us so," but...

It looks like the games have begun... again.

Quote:

Somalian troops take Mogadishu

Ethiopian forces join the march into the capital. The Islamic alliance flees.

By Edmund Sanders and Abukar Albadri, Special to The Times
December 29, 2006

MOGADISHU, SOMALIA — Somalia's beleaguered capital fell early today to Ethiopian and Somalian government troops who marched quietly into the city before dawn and took control without firing a shot.

An Islamic alliance that had controlled Mogadishu and much of the country evaporated Thursday after a string of military losses, and in the security vacuum violent looting broke out in the capital. Residents awoke to find forces from Ethiopia and Somalia's United Nations-backed transitional government taking up positions.

The transitional government was formed in 2004 to give the Horn of Africa country its first effective, nationwide administration since 1991, but today was the first time its troops were able to enter Mogadishu.

;The fighting is over," Ali Mohammed Gedi, prime minister of the transitional government, said late Thursday, shortly before hundreds of troops began pouring into the city. They secured the seaport, the airport and the main road into the city.

[...]

From: Somalian troops take Mogadishu - Los Angeles Times
link


I translate that byline as:

Quote:
'Remaining Muslim Somalians Scatter as UN backed Ethiopian troops loot their way to Mogadishu to install the new CIA backed warlord government.'



Merry Christmas, Somalia - Santa picked up some cheap gifts in Iraq this year, like...

a brand new Civil War!

Quote:
What does the UIC's flight mean for Mogadishu?

In the short term the move has left a power vacuum. As the Islamist militias abandoned the city, there were reports of gunfire and looting.
Clan-based militias were said to be reappearing on the streets and there were fears of a return to the anarchy that prevailed in the city for 15 years after the overthrow of President Mohamed Siad Barre in 1991.
Residents in the capital are known to be fiercely opposed to the Ethiopian presence in the country.

From: BBC NEWS | Africa | Q&A: Somali conflict
link


and the 'Islamic Insurgency Action Set'...

Quote:
So what happens next?

There are fears of a wider war. The UIC has called by foreign Islamic fighters to join the battle against Ethiopian forces.
Eritrea, which fought a bitter war with Ethiopia in the late 1990s, is also reported to have sent troops and weapons to help the UIC, although Eritrea has denied these claims.
Whether or not foreign powers end up waging war by proxy in Somalia, a lasting peace there seems as far away as ever.

From: BBC NEWS | Africa | Q&A: Somali conflict
link


... with the make believe Federal Government package, complete with presidential puppets and real IMF loan applications!

Quote:
Transitional Federal Parliament
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Transitional Federal Parliament of the Somali Republic (Somali: Golaha shacabka Federaalka ee Ku Meel Gaarka ah ee Jamhuuriyada Soomaaliya; often Baarlamaanka Federaalka Soomaaliya) is an interim Parliament of Somalia formed in neighbouring Kenya in 2004.
The Parliament formed the Transitional Federal Government of the Somali Republic (Dowalada Federaalka Ku Meel gaarka ah ee Jamhuuriyada Soomaaliya) headed by Prime Minister Ali Mohammed Ghedi. Abdullahi Yusuf Ahmed was appointed president of Somalia by Parliament in 2004.[1]
The Transitional Federal Government (TFG), the Transitional Federal Parliament (TFP), and the Transitional Federal Charter (TFC) collectively comprise the Transitional Federal Institutions (TFI) of the new Somali government.

From: Transitional Federal Parliament - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Transitional_Federal_Parliament


Meet the new boss...



Same as the old boss...



Quote:

Column One;
The Oil Factor In Somalia
Four American Petroleum Giants Had Agreements With The African Nation Before Its Civil War Began. They Could Reap Big Rewards If Peace Is Restored.

Los Angeles Times, January 18, 1993, Part A; Page 1; Mark Fineman

Far beneath the surface of the tragic drama of Somalia, four major U.S. oil companies are quietly sitting on a prospective fortune in exclusive concessions to explore and exploit tens of millions of acres of the Somali countryside.

That land, in the opinion of geologists and industry sources, could yield significant amounts of oil and natural gas if the U.S.-led military mission can restore peace to the impoverished East African nation.

According to documents obtained by The Times, nearly two-thirds of Somalia was allocated to the American oil giants Conoco, Amoco, Chevron and Phillips in the final years before Somalia's pro-U.S. President Mohamed Siad Barre was overthrown and the nation plunged into chaos in January, 1991. Industry sources said the companies holding the rights to the most promising concessions are hoping that the Bush Administration's decision to send U.S. troops to safeguard aid shipments to Somalia will also help protect their multimillion-dollar investments there.

Officially, the Administration and the State Department insist that the U.S. military mission in Somalia is strictly humanitarian. Oil industry spokesmen dismissed as "absurd" and "nonsense" allegations by aid experts, veteran East Africa analysts and several prominent Somalis that President Bush, a former Texas oilman, was moved to act in Somalia, at least in part, by the U.S. corporate oil stake.

But corporate and scientific documents disclosed that the American companies are well positioned to pursue Somalia's most promising potential oil reserves the moment the nation is pacified. And the State Department and U.S. military officials acknowledge that one of those oil companies has done more than simply sit back and hope for peace.

Conoco Inc., the only major multinational corporation to maintain a functioning office in Mogadishu throughout the past two years of nationwide anarchy, has been directly involved in the U.S. government's role in the U.N.-sponsored humanitarian military effort.

[...]


From: bailey83221: Column One; The Oil Factor In Somalia;Fo
http://bailey83221.livejournal.com/70509.html


Last edited by Jerry Fletcher on Thu Jan 11, 2007 8:22 pm; edited 2 times in total
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Jerry Fletcher



Joined: 21 Jan 2006
Posts: 837
Location: Studio BS

PostPosted: Tue Jan 02, 2007 1:56 am    Post subject: Now, the 'Insurgency' Reply with quote

Predictably, the upcoming 'Insurgency' gets some New Year's Marketing to set the context - yet another Islamic Fundamentalist 'situation' inflaming the civil war in yet another undeveloped, oil rich nation.

Sounds like a job for NATO.... eventually.

Quote:

Somalia's sudden shift in power
By Amber Henshaw
BBC News, Addis Ababa



The Somali army is backed by Ethiopian heavy weaponry
The dramatic turn-around in Somalia within the last two weeks caught everyone on the hop - journalists, analysts, even perhaps the soldiers.

Ten days ago, the Union of Islamic Courts was in control of the capital Mogadishu and large parts of the south.
The transitional government was on its back foot. But, just days later, the situation is pretty much reversed.
Things have been moving so fast that people have had little time to consider the really big question - what next?

Return to power vacuum
Here is the current situation: reports from Somalia suggest that government forces, backed by Ethiopian troops, have captured the Islamists' last stronghold of Kismayo.

The worst case scenario for the future is that the situation could end up mirroring Afghanistan or Iraq.


Translation: 'Prepare for the worst.'

Quote:

Somalia and Ethiopia timeline
Until June, warlords controlled Mogadishu which was lawless and dangerous.
The transitional government was isolated in the southern town of Baidoa where it has its headquarters.
Matt Bryden, an expert on Somalia, said the courts expanded into a vacuum left by the transitional government's failure to govern.
He says the transitional government is not popular with the residents of Mogadishu.
"So now we are here. The courts have been beaten but it is still the same old transitional government and the vacuum has been reinforced by the collapse of the Union of Islamic Courts."
He said it was unlikely that the transitional government would be able to fill that vacuum without the help of powerful clan leaders.

Many believe the government now needs to include the clan leaders and the remnants of the Union of Islamic Courts to prevent the power vacuum opening up again.

Some believe this would pave the way for an insurgency.


Because some believe they've seen this sort of thing before...

Quote:

Ethiopian influence

There is no way the transitional government would be in the position it is today without Ethiopia's military help.
But what about the Ethiopians' role now? Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi has made it clear throughout that he wants his troops out of Somalia as quickly as possible.
He says that Ethiopia is not in a position to help reconstruct its neighbour, although the threat of insurgency could mean he has to leave his troops across the border to help keep peace for longer than he originally wanted.
It seems, in this case, Ethiopia just wanted to protect its self-interest when it came to involvement in Somalia.
It was clearly nervous about the rise of the Islamists, fearing that extremists could create problems in the whole of the Horn of Africa.

Ethiopia's population is almost equally split between Orthodox Christians and Muslims who, in the main, live harmoniously side-by-side.

There were fears that this balance could be destroyed and problems could flare.
Three months ago, religious violence erupted in a town called Jimma west of Addis Ababa.
More than 15 people were killed. Some believed the problems started when religious extremists stirred up tensions in this predominantly Muslim area.
Vulnerable

Addis Ababa's involvement may have increased the likelihood of terrorist attacks on Ethiopian soil but, in the end, Mr Zenawi must have decided that doing nothing was not an option.
The international community was certainly sceptical about Ethiopia sending troops across the border.
There are many risks and problems facing Somalia now, even though the Union of Islamic Courts have been beaten back.

The future, it seems, depends on how the victors play their cards and what the international community can offer to help rebuild this vulnerable nation.

From: BBC NEWS | World | Africa | Somalia's sudden shift in power
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/africa/6222681.stm


All the fixins' for a fine insurgency.

Just add victims.
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obeylittle



Joined: 10 Sep 2006
Posts: 442
Location: Middle o' Mitten, Michigan Corp. division of United States of America Corp. division of Global Corp.

PostPosted: Wed Jan 03, 2007 8:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The homeruns keep coming Jerry. You been scouting the pitchers well... pays big dividends no?
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Jerry Fletcher



Joined: 21 Jan 2006
Posts: 837
Location: Studio BS

PostPosted: Thu Jan 11, 2007 4:46 pm    Post subject: Won't get fooled again...? Reply with quote

Quote:
You been scouting the pitchers well... pays big dividends no?


Well, to be honest, I'd be much happier if I was completely wrong about all this - ideally, the situation wouldn't exist, and I could spend my time unravelling history and composing epic poop jokes.

But unfortunately, the world sleeps on as...

Quote:

US strikes Qaida camp in Somalia

MOGADISHU/WASHINGTON: A US air strike in Somalia that targeted an Al Qaida cell wanted for two 1998 US embassy bombings killed large numbers of Islamic extremists, government officials said on Tuesday.

The attacks, by a heavily armed AC-130 gunship, came after the terror suspects were spotted hiding on a remote island on the southern tip of Somalia, close to the Kenyan border, Somali officials said.

It is the first overt military action by the US in Somalia since the 1990s and the legacy of a botched intervention - known as “Black Hawk Down- that left 18 US servicemen dead.

[...]

Many people died in the air strike, a Somali government source said on Tuesday. I understand there are so many dead bodies and animals in the village,; the senior source said.

Meanwhile, the Bahrain-based US Navy Fifth Fleet announced Tuesday that due to rapidly developing events in Somalia; the US Central Command has sent the carrier USS Dwight D Eisenhower to join three other warships in the coastal waters of Somalia.

Air Force AC-130 gunships are heavily armed aircraft with elaborate sensors that can go after discreet targets - day or night. They are operated by the Special Operations Command and have been used heavily against the Taliban in Afghanistan.

[...]

From: US strikes Qaida camp in Somalia-The United States-World-NEWS-The Times of India
link


So, the US Special Operations Command, after such stunning success in Afghanistan and Iraq, is now blowing up 'discreet' targets in Somalia searching for Islamic Fundamentalists disguised as Somalian civilians. Well, considering US intelligence and military technology, and the generous amount of experience they've had 'routing out terrorists', there can be only one predictable outcome.

Quote:

Air strike missed al-Qaeda targets in Somalia
Last Updated: Thursday, January 11, 2007 | 12:20 PM ET
CBC News

A U.S. air strike in Somalia missed the senior al-Qaeda members it was aimed at, contrary to earlier reports that a senior member of the group had died in the attacks, a U.S. official said Thursday.

At least eight Somalis believed to have ties to al-Qaeda were killed in the air strike, but three wanted al-Qaeda members thought to be hiding in the region escaped, a top U.S. official in Kenya told the Associated Press.

On Wednesday, the Somali president's chief of staff said a U.S. intelligence report referred to the death of Fazul Abdullah Mohammed in an air strike on Monday. Fazul is one of three senior militants blamed for the 1998 bombings of the U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania.

But the U.S. official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said on Thursday that U.S. special forces and Ethiopian troops were still hunting for Fazul, one of the FBI's most-wanted terror suspects, as well as the two other suspects in the embassy bombings.

Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi said Wednesday that eight suspected terrorists were killed in the attack, but their identities would not be confirmed until DNA testing is completed.

[...]

From: Air strike missed al-Qaeda targets in Somalia: official
http://www.cbc.ca/world/story/2007/01/11/somali-alqaeda-070111.html


Well, they did manage to kill eight other dark skinned individuals 'hiding out' in Somalia. Brown is the 'traditional' skin color of the Islamic Fundamentalist, you see. Pretty crafty, those terr'ists - hiding out in Africa where they blend right in with the average Somalian citizen.

I wonder what the Somalian citizen thinks of all this, that is, if there are any left.

Quote:

Somali Capital Awash in Anger At Ethiopia, U.S., Interim Leaders

By Stephanie McCrummen
Washington Post Foreign Service
Thursday, January 11, 2007; A21

NAIROBI, Jan. 10 -- A messy, low-level battle for control of the battered streets of Mogadishu continued Wednesday, as a fighter shot a rocket-propelled grenade at a convoy of Ethiopian trucks passing through the combustible Somali capital.

The situation is so confused and the city so fractured and armed that the attacks, recounted by witnesses, could have come from any number of groups frustrated with the presence of Ethiopian troops, who last month swept a popular Islamic movement from power on behalf of the weak, U.S.-backed transitional government that is now struggling to assert control.

Former fighters loyal to the ousted Islamic Courts movement are hiding in the city's byzantine tin-patch neighborhoods. Sub-clans and sub-sub-clans are angry with Prime Minister Ali Mohamed Gedi, who they say is favoring his own people as he doles out power and who has announced intentions to forcibly disarm an insecure city fortified with guns.


I see. First, apparently, you marinate your insurrection in a tangy combination of religious fundamentalism, ethnic strife, and economic annihilation.

Then quickly sear the civilian population with a napalm glaze...

Quote:

And many Somalis are enraged over the U.S. airstrike in the southern tip of the country early Monday, which was aimed at suspects in the 1998 U.S. embassy bombings in Kenya and Tanzania who are thought to be among the ousted Islamic leaders on the run along the marshy coast near the Kenyan border.

"We are afraid of a long war," said businessman Abdulahi Mohamed Mohamud, 31, speaking by telephone from Mogadishu. "And people are angry at the Ethiopian troops."


The current spate of violence began Saturday, as hundreds of Somalis flooded the streets, shouting at Ethiopian troops to leave the city, smashing cars, burning tires and throwing stones in protests that were sparked in part by rumors that the Ethiopians were about to go door-to-door confiscating weapons.

After skirmishes between militias and Ethiopian troops Sunday and Monday, a full-fledged gun battle raged for several hours Tuesday amid battered buildings and shops in a busy part of the city called Kilometer Four.


Then, simply mix the ingredients and just keep stirring over an open flame...

Quote:

Haji and others remained concerned, however, that new U.S. airstrikes would further agitate the city.

The Pentagon and Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi denied Wednesday that U.S. warplanes had conducted additional attacks after the one Monday. But a Somali government official said airstrikes -- whether American or Ethiopian -- were "ongoing." An air attack is "going on today, and probably it may go on tomorrow," Abdirizak Hassan, chief of staff to the Somali premier, said Wednesday.

Two witnesses in Kismaayo, a port city about 60 miles from the area hit Monday, said they saw two military aircraft overhead about 1:45 p.m. Wednesday.


From: Somali Capital Awash in Anger At Ethiopia, U.S., Interim Leaders - washingtonpost.com
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/01/10/AR2007011000979_pf.html


Bring your insurgency to a rolling boil, then let simmer until the guests arrive...

Quote:

U.N. Chief Urges New Efforts on Somalia

By EDITH M. LEDERER
The Associated Press
Thursday, January 11, 2007; 3:45 PM

UNITED NATIONS -- Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon urged the global community Thursday to redouble efforts to stabilize Somalia and he reiterated his concern that a U.S. airstrike could have "unintended consequences."

At his first news conference since taking charge of the United Nations on Jan. 1, Ban stressed the importance of protecting civilians and quickly restarting political negotiations to bring peace to the country.

"The situation in Somalia is a stark reminder of the need to redouble our political efforts to bring stabilization of the political and social situation as soon as possible," Ban said.

[...]

The council backed a U.N. plan to send a humanitarian assessment mission to the border between Somalia and Kenya and strongly supported an "inclusive political dialogue among various political forces in Somalia," he said.
Churkin said the council favors speedy deployment of a new force to be set up by the African Union and a seven-nation regional group. British Ambassador Emyr Jones Parry said getting these troops on the ground quickly would enable Ethiopian troops to withdraw.
Undersecretary-General for Political Affairs Ibrahim Gambari said Nigeria, South Africa and Malawi "are said to be considering sending troops" to Somalia.
"We hope that these countries will actually go ahead and commit," he said.
Gambari said he emphasized the need to speedily organize and deploy a stabilization force and to encourage leaders of Somalia's transitional government to engage with clan elders, members of civil society, especially women's groups, and "positive members" of the routed Union of Islamic Courts

From: U.N. Chief Urges New Efforts on Somalia - washingtonpost.com
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/01/11/AR2007011100232.html


When looking for appropriate music to complete the mood, might I suggest this classic...

Pete Townshend wrote:

We'll be fighting in the streets
With our children at our feet
And the morals that they worship will be gone
And the men who spurred us on
Sit in judgement of all wrong
They decide and the shotgun sings the song

I'll tip my hat to the new constitution
Take a bow for the new revolution
Smile and grin at the change all around
Pick up my guitar and play
Just like yesterday
Then I'll get on my knees and pray
We don't get fooled again
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Jerry Fletcher



Joined: 21 Jan 2006
Posts: 837
Location: Studio BS

PostPosted: Sat Jan 13, 2007 4:42 pm    Post subject: Marshall Law Declared Reply with quote

The guests are on their way - time to make the final preparations...

Quote:

Martial law declared in Somalia

Somalia's parliament has voted to declare three months of martial law after the rout of Islamist forces.

MPs sitting in the provincial town of Baidoa voted 154 to two to ratify Prime Minister Ali Mohamad Ghedi's plan to restore order in the war-ravaged state.

The government regained control after a campaign led by Ethiopian troops which also saw US air attacks on militants.
Meanwhile, nine people have died in clashes between rival clans in a town in central Somalia.

[...]

Martial law 'necessary'

Correspondents say the government is trying to assert its authority over clan disputes and re-emerging local warlords two weeks after the Union of Islamic Courts militia was ousted from central and southern Somalia.

The government says the last Islamic Courts base at Ras Kamboni is now in government hands and operations are continuing to hunt down Islamist militiamen.

Martial law will allow the president to issue decrees on matters of national security, bans unlawful demonstrations and outlaws the spreading of propaganda.

A government statement, quoted by news agency AFP, said the vote would give it the right to take "all necessary actions to enforce security in the country".

Lawmakers opposed to the motion said too many people have arms in Somalia and it would be dangerous to impose martial law in such a situation.

Earlier this week the US launched air strikes against Islamists, who they accuse of harbouring al-Qaeda members suspected of carrying out attacks against US embassies in East Africa.

The Islamists denied they were sheltering senior al-Qaeda operatives and the strikes were condemned by some regional powers, and humanitarian groups.
From: BBC NEWS | World | Africa | Martial law declared in Somalia
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/africa/6258415.stm


The familiar aroma of simmering insurgency embraces the entire block. Even the neighbors are curious...

Quote:

Bloggers fear Somali insurgency
Members of the international blogging community have given their reaction to the role of Ethiopian troops in Somalia where Islamic militias have been defeated.

[...]

"The fear is that this war is gonna become a full out war that affects the neighbouring countries to Somalia," wrote Native Female.

"It was a stupid move to have Ethiopia involved in this. Somalis are sensitive where Ethiopia is concerned. They are a sore wound where Somalia is concerned. Having them support the interim government means rubbing salt on the wound causing most to turn against the government."

Others were deeply suspicious of Ethiopia's motives in supporting the troops of the Transitional Federal Government.

Shafi of the blog Incoherent Thoughts titled his post "Mogadishu Bloodbath" and asked:
"How long do we have to wait for more Ethiopian troops to settle in Somalia? And how long before they decide to move up towards other Somali cities? My heart aches for Somalia. And though the world ignores its plight, again Mogadishu will carry the burden on its shoulders and bury its dead with streets coagulated with blood!"

Ethiopia's victory may have been surprisingly swift. But that was little comfort for the country's own band of bloggers.

Zenobia of the blog Ewenet Means Truth in Ethiopia was one of many to raise the spectre of an Islamic insurgency that could keep her country's soldiers stuck in Somalia for many months to come:
"What has Prime Minister Meles Zenawi gotten the soldiers of the Ethiopian defence forces into with his irresponsible and aggressive foray in Somalia? Are they going to be facing an insurgency similar to the type in Iraq as some Somali pundits are suggesting?"

Crigler-Somalia was thinking along the same lines:
"A return to the feudal anarchy of nine months ago and a failure of the TFG (Somalia's Transitional Federal Government) to get its act together and impose order could very well result in rekindling the Islamist movement - probably more radical than ever - as an alternative to secularist bumbling. Somalis really want an end to anarchy."

The Head Heeb summed up everyone's doom-laden thoughts in his post "Somalia: the third phase":

"On balance, I'd still rate the most likely outcome as a sham Ethiopian withdrawal followed by an extended counterinsurgent conflict, with the TFG remaining ineffectual and internally divided while the Islamist militias wage a guerrilla struggle with substantial public support... Somalia deserves better, but there are too many forces converging toward the opposite to provide much room for optimism."

From: BBC NEWS | World | Africa | Bloggers fear Somali insurgency
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/africa/6230489.stm


The response to continued US 'intervention' in Somalia from the international press isn't exactly glowing...

Quote:

SOUTH AFRICA'S BUSINESS DAY

It is difficult to think of an up side to America's military intervention in Somalia... The Ethiopian-led and US-backed overthrow of the Union of Islamic Courts and its replacement by the transitional government is no guarantee of stability. And the US attacks on sites where fleeing Somali Islamists and al-Qaeda operatives gathered could inflame the situation. Ultimately, the solution to Somalia's problems will have to come from within the country itself.

From: BBC NEWS | World | Africa | Press anger at US strikes in Somalia
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/africa/6251605.stm


Quote:

EGYPT'S AL-JUMHURIYAH

The United States gave itself the right to bombard Somali villages and kill their innocent people. Does it really want any friends?!

From: BBC NEWS | World | Africa | Press anger at US strikes in Somalia
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/africa/6251605.stm


What kind of question is that? Of course the US wants friends!

Just as long as they're friends like these:

Quote:

Telecoms thriving in lawless Somalia

By Joseph Winter
BBC News, Mogadishu

Rising from the ruins of the Mogadishu skyline are signs of one of Somalia's few success stories in the anarchy of recent years.

A host of mobile phone masts testifies to the telecommunications revolution which has taken place despite the absence of any functioning national government since 1991.

Three phone companies are engaged in fierce competition for both mobile and landline customers, while new internet cafes are being set up across the city and the entire country.

It takes just three days for a landline to be installed - compared with waiting-lists of many years in neighbouring Kenya, where there is a stable, democratic government.
And once installed, local calls are free for a monthly fee of just $10.

International calls cost 50 US cents a minute, while surfing the web is charged at 50 US cents an hour - "the cheapest rate in Africa" according to the manager of one internet cafe.

But how do you establish a phone company in a country where there is no government?

No monopoly

In some respects, it is actually easier.

There is no need to get a licence and there is no state-run monopoly which prevents new competitors being established.
And of course there is no-one to demand any taxes, which is one reason why prices are so low.

"The government post and telecoms company used to have a monopoly but after the regime was toppled, we were free to set up our own business," says Abdullahi Mohammed Hussein, products and services manager of Telcom Somalia, which was set up in 1994 when Mogadishu was still a war-zone.

"We saw a huge gap in the market, as all previous services had been destroyed. There was a massive demand."

The main airport and port were destroyed in the fighting but businessmen have built small airstrips and use natural harbours, so the phone companies are still able to import their equipment.

Despite the absence of law and order and a functional court system, bills are paid and contracts are enforced by relying on Somalia's traditional clan system, Mr Abdullahi says.

Mobile target

But in a country divided into hundreds of fiefdoms run by rival warlords, security is a major concern.

While Telcom Somalia has some 25,000 mobile customers - and a similar number have land lines - you very rarely see anyone walking along the streets of Mogadishu chatting on their phone, in case this attracts the attention of a hungry gunman.

The phone companies themselves say they are not targeted by the militiamen, even if thieves occasionally steal some of their wires.

Mahdi Mohammed Elmi has been managing the Wireless African Broadband Telecoms internet cafe in the heart of Mogadishu, surrounded by the bustling and chaotic Bakara market, for almost two years.

"I have never had a problem with security," he says and points out that they have just a single security guard at the front door.

Mr Abdullahi says the warlords realise that if they cause trouble for the phone companies, the phones will stop working again, which nobody wants.

"We need good relations with all the faction leaders. We don't interfere with them and they don't interfere with us. They want political power and we leave them alone," he says.

Selling goats on the net

While the three phone companies - Telcom, Nationlink and Hormuud - are engaged in bitter competition for phone customers, they have co-operated to set up the Global Internet Company to provide the internet infrastructure.

Manager Abdulkadir Hassan Ahmed says that within 1.5km of central Mogadishu, customers - mostly internet cafes - can enjoy service at 150Mb/second through a Long Reach Ethernet.
Elsewhere, they can have a wireless connection at 11Mb/s.
He says his company is able to work anywhere in Somalia, whichever faction is in charge locally.

"Even small, remote villages are connected to the internet, as long as they have a phone line," he says.
The internet sector in Somalia has two main advantages over many of its Africa neighbours. There is a huge diaspora around the world - between one and three million people, compared with an estimated seven million people in Somalia - who remain in contact with their friends and relatives back home.

[...]

And Somalia's telecoms revolution is far from over.

"We are planning to introduce 3G technology, including live video calling and mobile internet, next year," says Mr Abdullahi.

But despite their success, the telecoms companies say that like the population at large, they are desperate to have a government.

"We are very interested in paying taxes," says Mr Abdullahi - not a sentiment which often passes the lips of a high-flying businessman.

And Mr Abdulkadir at the Global Internet Company fully agrees. "We badly need a government," he says. "Everything starts with security - the situation across the country.

"All the infrastructure of the country has collapsed - education, health and roads. We need to send our staff abroad for any training."

Another problem for companies engaged in the global telecoms business is paying their foreign partners.
At present, they use Somalia's traditional "Hawala" money transfer companies to get money to Dubai, the Middle East's trading and financial hub.

With a government would come a central bank, which would make such transactions far easier.

From: BBC NEWS | World | Africa | Telecoms thriving in lawless Somalia
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/africa/4020259.stm


I see ... and with friends like these, well....
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zak247



Joined: 13 Apr 2006
Posts: 949

PostPosted: Sun Jan 14, 2007 9:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Check this out on Nigeria. All that oil wealth and still one of the poorest countries in the world.

While Nigerian revolutionaries can threaten US oil supply.
GREAT ARTICLE

http://www.vanityfair.com/politics/features/2007/02/junger200702
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RedMahna



Joined: 07 Sep 2006
Posts: 1512
Location: USA

PostPosted: Sun Jan 14, 2007 7:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
What kind of question is that? Of course the US wants friends!

great post, jerry. it was logical and to the point, even a caveman like me could understand it...
i'm completed depressed thinking about how effectual the PTB's work is, and feel helpless knowing about it.
you illustrated the raw situation very well.

red

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