Independent Learns The Wrong Lesson on Uganda

Some of the chaos and bloodshed of everyday life on the streets of Mogadishu was visited on the Ugandan capital on Sunday night. As the bodies of innocents ripped apart while they watched the World Cup final are buried and the burnt remains are sifted there is a keener sense of the cost of ignoring the world’s most failed state.

This was the Independent‘s lesson from last weekend’s deadly Uganda bombings, which killed some 74 people. It was also decidedly the wrong one, and based on faulty assumptions.

The world has, far from “ignoring” Somalia, been trying to install a series of illegitimate governments there for years, and Uganda has been at the forefront of this recently, contributing the most troops to the African Union’s military adventure into Somalia.

The current government got its start at an outdoor stadium in neighboring Kenya, dubbing themselves the “Transitional National Government” (TNG) of Somalia and behaving to all appearances as a government in exile, albeit a government only in its members’ minds. The history of Somalia for the past several years is a history of several nations trying to shoehorn the TNG into the position of legitimate nation-state, something no one serious believes they can do.

And this attack did not happen in a vacuum but rather came after repeated threats from the Somali militant faction to “retaliate” against Uganda for its many, many attacks on residential neighborhoods under al-Shabaab’s control.

Though one can not but condemn al-Shabaab for taking out its retaliation on innocent civilians, it is also impossible to notice that the Ugandan troops in Somalia have been doing virtually the same thing, responding to ambushes against them by shelling residential neighborhoods, on a regular basis since the troops got there.

In fact since we’re so keen on the soccer aspect of the killings, let us not forget an incident in mid-January, when AU troops responded to an attack on the presidential palace by al-Shabaab by launching artillery shells at a playground in al-Shabaab-held territory a day later, killing seven children who were playing soccer at the time.

It was shortly after this that al-Shabaab started talking about banning soccer, and while the official line on this is that it proves the group’s extremism the reality is that it largely isn’t safe to play soccer in Somalia not because of al-Shabaab but because Ugandan and Burundian troops have declared the right to attack any region under “insurgent” control, which considering the self-proclaimed government owns little more than a few city blocks in Mogadishu, puts virtually the entire civilian population of Somalia directly in the line of fire.

The notion that al-Shabaab launched this attack out of some religious dislike of watching soccer on television is nonsense, and in reality this is as classic an example of blowback for interventionism as there ever has been.

In fact it seems like Somalia could stand a little more ignoring from the outside world, as one can’t help but note that there weren’t any attacks originating from the nation before the “government” got kicked out of their hotel rooms in Kenya and convinced the African Union et al to try to prop them up. Groups like al-Shabaab simply did not exist in Somalia before then, and to the extent that they enjoy any support domestically, it is because they are one of the few groups able to oppose international troops with force of arms.

14 thoughts on “ Independent Learns The Wrong Lesson on Uganda”

  1. There is much in al-Shabaab's own productions, including a 48-minute video, “Labayka Ya Usama,” (“Here I am at Your Service, Usama”), which suggests to me that they are nothing more than a gigantic false flag operation. After all, people who actually know about these things have said for years that UBL died in 2001. Their top personnel are not native Somalis, but US-born sons of Somali emigrants; one is known as "al-Amriki". They also appear to have Egyptian personnel, and it has always been a concern of the Egyptian secret service to destabilise the countries upstream on the Nile. To compare with another atrocity-mongering 'Islamist' group: I have suspected for some time that the Pakistani Taliban was also a false flag operation. The early Mehsud videos which appeared on al-Jazeera seemed to me grotesquely artificial. I believe these false flag operations trade on our own racist willingness — and perhaps a certain internalised racism in urban Muslims too — to believe that the more 'backward' parts of the Muslim world are full of stereotypical lunatics.

  2. The governments in East Africa have done their best to destabilize an already chaotic Somalia.
    The continual support of puppet regimes comprised of warlords and outright criminals has closed
    any room for peaceful formation of a legitimate Somali governments The AMISON troops in Mogadishu regularly bombard the main market in Mogadishu and have used white phosphorus artillery shells on multiple occasions. Continual oppression of the Somali public will result in more radicalization and the probability that could result in the destabilization of neighboring countries that are gleefully participating in the ongoing demise of Somalia.

  3. Somalia is an extremely dangerous country in that seems to run just as well with or without a central government. The governing elites definitely don’t want that trend to get started.

  4. "The governments in East Africa have done their best to destabilize an already chaotic Somalia" under the directions of and support of the US government.

  5. Somalia is a good example because of recent actions. In 2007, the United States destabilized the only government to unite the country since 1991 by supporting an Ethiopian invasion and occupation. The U.S. military has also launched a number of air attacks on civilians and whole villages in Somalia, striking at supposed "terrorist dens."

    It is beyond questioning that the United States played the key role in exacerbating and intensifying the current conflict in Somalia in order to keep the African country from developing independently of U.S. imperialism.

  6. On 22 May 2009 the US government applied for exemptions from the UN Sanctions Committee to supply 19 tons of ammunition to the TFG in Mogadishu from Entebbe airport in Uganda during the last week of May. This shipment included 7.62mm (assault rifle) ammunition, 12.7mm (machine gun) ammunition, RPG-7 rocket-propelled grenades, and 81/82mm mortar ammunition.

  7. It is only when you are thoroughly informed about political issues about East Africa and the Horn of Africa that you should speak. Aside from that, say no more.

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