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"Remember that all through history there have been tyrants and murderers and for a time they seemed invincible. But in the end, they always fall. Always." (Mahatma Gandhi)

"If, one day, a people desires to live, then fate will answer their call. And their night will then begin to fade, and their chains break and fall." Abul-Qasim al-Shabi.

"Tyrannies are doomed because they destroy the togetherness of men: by isolating men from one another they seek to destroy human plurality. They are based on the one fundamental experience in which I am altogether alone, which is to be helpless (as Epictetus once defined loneliness), unable to enlist the help of my fellow men." - Hannah Arendt, The Promise of Politics.

"Bunch together a group of people deliberately chosen for strong religious or tribal feelings, and you have a practical guarantee of dark morbidities expressed in crime, perversion, and insanity." - H. P. Lovecraft

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Arab Spring

Displaced Somali children line up at a food distribution center in Mogadishu

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Somalia' New Era of Dysfunction and Dissonance (2)

Ethiopia at the same time denies its troops have invaded Somalia or are inside it’s borders while numerous eye witnesses report Ethiopian army units entering Balanbale district in Galmudug region in central Somalia.

Ethiopia in a clumsy attempt to conceal their invasion tasked government spokesman Bereket Simon to insist to Reuters that "This is absolutely false. The army is within the Ethiopian border. There is no intention to go back . Going “back” would also be a key talking point to the current president of Somalia, Sheik Sharif who fought the Ethiopians in 2007 and had to flee the country when pursued by U.S. and Ethiopian military. Drum roll, save the applause for the end.

The Fragmented Future

Even with Kenya government frequent flyer miles piling up due to frenetic shuttle diplomacy, a sense of disconnect and chaos should continue based on the latest discussions between invasion partners. The TFG reacted with horror to Kenya’s invasion but was quickly schooled to begrudgingly submit to the unwanted military probing of Somalia’s nether regions. The forced public show of unity is not going to magically remove Somalia's historically proven reaction to foreign military intervention.

The apparently, Post-It sized strategic planning used to launch Kenya’s untested army was bad enough. But the premise that launching 2000 troops into Jubaland to grab Kismayo would be enough to stabilize Jubaland is optimistic. Exactly what is required to "stabilize" the border region and prevent terror attacks from al Shabaab inside Kenya? The world waits patiently for the magic formula. Kenya has not even explained how it will hold Kismayo once invaded.

To add perspective Kismayo has barely a couple of hundred thousand Somali’s about half of Dadaab refugee’s camps. There are between a million and 3 million ethnic Somali’s in Kenya. Current counterinsurgency rule of thumb is around one security person for 250 residents. That is where AMISOM gets it's "12000" troop requirement estimates for Mogadishu and pencils out to around 800 peacekeepers just for Kismayo alone. This does not include the vast distances of Jubland and the border or AMISON shortfalls. 2012 is going to get interesting.

AMISOM is already complaining about being a few million light on its financial requirements just for Mogadishu. Both France and the U.S. have both publicly distanced themselves from the adventure.

The strategy makes no mention of how Kenya intends to destabilize the much larger refugee and illegal population of Somali’s inside Kenya and convince them to return home. Their crackdown's in Eastliegh and along the border have simply led to more violence inside Kenya.

On Saturday Kenya was defending their previous meetings in Addis Ababa to invite Ethiopians to join their foray. Something that has most observers on edge. Ethiopia’s rough handed invasion and occupation created al-Shabaab after the Islamic Courts were destroyed.

In an optimistic but completely bizarre comment, Kenyan military spokesman said Maj. Emmanuel Chirchir said, “Ethiopia is supposed to build (military) capacity in Somalia. That could apply to cross-border operations.” Apparently Kenya's view of Ethiopia is akin to telling Californian's that the Mexican Army will help with crime in Los Angeles.

On Thursday Kenya made an official request that the US provide intelligence and surveillance since it already has significant naval, air and special operations assets in the region. It appears that the American “Stand Off” position on hunting down al Qaeda terrorists in Somalia makes the more robust Kenya effort embarrassing. It was after all the US that equipped and trained Kenya’s army for the invasion.

A Clown Car Powered by Diplomatic Dissonance

Diplomats can be excuse for being the Somalia information curve. But not intelligence agencies. U.S. assets continue to conduct air strikes against bases and convoys inside Southern Somalia. The same targets that un-smart aging Kenya air force bombs have promised to hit.

The U.S. has paid $700 million to support Kenya's military, and untold millions to arm and support AMISOM, They also previously supported Ethiopia’s incursions and dropped off cash to fund proxy forces to defeat al-Shabaab

Yet American diplomats have been steadfastly unimpressed by the Kenyan and now Ethiopian venture.

The US finds itself looking like a truculent spoil sport on one hand creating the dual track program to support essentially anyone who fought al-Shabaab and ignoring Kenya for doing what they did in Afghanistan but dared not do in Somalia. Pull out terrorism by it’s roots.

The US is now warning Ethiopia, the very same allies they used to clear out the Islamic Courts. To aid poignancy, the American backed moderate-ish Islamist President Sheik Sharif who was a senior member of the ICU now finds himself supported the return of Ethiopia to aid Kenya and biting his tongue as they cheerfully offer to join AMISOM, a de facto occupying army of foreign troops.

Confusion on Land....and Sea

The chaos is not confined to land. Today the UN reaffirmed its commitment to provide authorization for those cooperating with Somali Government to use all necessary means to combat piracy

This sweeping document provides "authorization for States and regional organizations cooperating with the Somali Transitional Federal Government to enter Somalia’s territorial waters and use “all necessary means” — such as deploying naval vessels and military aircraft, as well as seizing and disposing of boats, vessels, arms and related equipment used for piracy" Note the term "regional organizations" which could within the broad strokes of this mandate be anything from TFG-hired private security firms to government contracted repo man/bounty hunters.

This appeared to be unintentionally synced up with EU's announcement that due to fiscal problems they will have a problem finding navy ships for the region. This is also the same UN that is working overtime to shut down an indigenous government sponsored program in Puntland specifically set up to fight piracy on land using foreign contracted trainers while the U.S is aggressively promoting OK with foreign security guards on ships in the region.

Overarching all this call to foreign adventuring, profiteering and social engineering the UN continues to work against "the recruitment, use, financing and training of mercenaries would contribute to the eradication of these nefarious activities and thereby to the observance of the purposes and principles enshrined in the Charter of the United Nations" It is difficult to chose between the term irony or hypocrisy when sorting out these competing activities within the same theater.

Lost amongst the current chaos seems to be the Kampala Accord (let alone the Djibouti Agreement) which sets a timetable for the Somali people to actually choose their own government and reap the benefits of what looked like a minor movement towards stability when al-Shabaab left Mogadishu.

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