June 15, 2006


Somalia's change could be U.S. gain (Seattle Times, 6/15/06)

The United States has a real chance for positive gain in the Muslim world. To achieve it, the U.S. would have to swallow its Western pride and open talks with the Islamist militants who defeated the reportedly CIA-backed warlords in Somalia's capital, Mogadishu.

The struggling and violent nation is in dire need of stability. The secular warlords have not provided that structure since Somalia's government collapsed in 1991. Muslim clerics stepped in and created a semblance of stability in the form of Islamic courts.

The moderate clerics — with whom, historically, Somalia lined up religiously — have told Western leaders that their rule will not be like that of the severe Taliban of Afghanistan.

To be of any help, the U.S. first must pull away from the remaining warlords — who were employed in the hunt for al-Qaida cells after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, according to a wide array of news reports — and call for them to lay down their weapons. Then the U.S. and other key nations should sit down with the clerics and discuss how to bring in the weak transitional Somali government from its ineffective vantage 155 miles outside of Mogadishu in the city of Baidoa.

The U.S. would bolster its image and clout internationally by working with the Islamists to make Somalia whole again. America could demonstrate to the world that it can work with a new Islamist movement, and help a people in desperate need.

It serves our interest to work with Islamists to structure political solutions that aren't Islamicist. There's no reason the Somalis can't combine a rather puritanical social/legal regime with a freer economy and consensual government.

Posted by Orrin Judd at June 15, 2006 8:17 AM

I wonder if anyone has thought to task the CIA to help the Taliban, Hamas, etc.

Posted by: curt at June 15, 2006 9:10 AM

If saving and freeing millions of Muslim lives over the past few years didn't result in a "positive gain" then why would this? I agree with you comment, though.

Posted by: Rick T. at June 15, 2006 10:24 AM

We still have the GPS coordinates, doesn't matter if we do.

Posted by: Sandy P at June 15, 2006 10:45 AM

"There's no reason the Somalis can't combine a rather puritanical social/legal regime with a freer economy and consensual government."

For shame! You know better than that.

We all know what the reasons are. Primitive barbarism cannot compete in the marketplace of ideas. Information technology tells the inmates of the spiritual jailhouse that there is another way to live. The jailers feel their power slipping away, and crank up the repression. When even that fails, they lash out at the competition.

That's what the GWOT is all about, remember? Let us get back to recognizing the need for reformation.

Posted by: Lou Gots at June 15, 2006 12:41 PM

Sure, but strict morality is the opposite of primitive barbarism.

Posted by: oj at June 15, 2006 1:09 PM

Not if they are chopping body parts off in the public square, and stoning women on trumped-up charges of adultery.

As Lou wrote, you know better than that.

The question (with respect to 'reformation' and government) is whether sharia is compatible with consensus. Some forms probably are, but not the Wahabbi version.

Meanwhile, how about a potassium cocktail for the Indonesian terror cleric? Telling the surviving family members (from the Bali bombing) in Australia that they should convert to Islam is about as evil as you can get.

Posted by: jim hamlen at June 15, 2006 2:03 PM

Punishing thievery and adultery makes for a decent society, so long as justice is administered equitably.

Posted by: oj at June 15, 2006 2:26 PM

I understand, but it is barbaric when only the women are punished and especially when the 'public' is there cheering.

Posted by: jim hamlen at June 15, 2006 2:42 PM

No, punishment shhould be public, but it does need to be uniform.

Posted by: oj at June 15, 2006 3:56 PM

Dished out by imams and their sycophants or by an elected (i.e., 'consensual' government)?

Posted by: jim hamlen at June 16, 2006 12:43 AM

Certainly not the latter--you don't get justice via elections.

Posted by: oj at June 16, 2006 7:15 AM