Nur al-Cubicle

A blog on the current crises in the Middle East and news accounts unpublished by the US press. Daily timeline of events in Iraq as collected from stories and dispatches in the French and Italian media: Le Monde (Paris), Il Corriere della Sera (Milan), La Repubblica (Rome), L'Orient-Le Jour (Beirut) and occasionally from El Mundo (Madrid).

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Our Ally Ethiopia, the War Criminal

Forget about Georgia (although I think Saakashvili deserves to be humiliated for his actions in South Ossetia) and Russia, Ethiopia should be charged with war crimes in Somalia. From reading this report from Corriere della Sera reporter Massimo Alberizzi between the lines, you understand that the Ethiopians appear to be using Somali women as human minesweepers as part of an innocent-looking NGO program.

In any case, the US-sponsored Ethiopian occupation of Somalia is going to hell. I have no kind words for Jendayi Frazer, the U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs, who was the No. 1 cheerleader for this bloody mess. I hope her career will forever bear this stain.

Unpaid Troops Extort the Populace as the Warlords Gain Strength.

A ruthless bombing occurred on Sunday morning in Mogadishu, the Somali capital where the current wave of violence continues unabated. Each day brings bombings, cold-blooded murder and pitched artillery battles between the Ethiopian-backed government forces and the rag tag Islamic insurgents.

On Sunday morning at 8:30 terrorists struck a group of 30 women hired to remove the garbage from the main avenue, Maka Al Mukarama, near the Hotel Ambassador. The women were employed as part of an NGO project sponsored by ADRA that provides food (wheat and oil) for trash.

"It was horrible. At least 25 women [mothers] between the ages of 29 and 40 were torn to pieces by the blast, says Yussuf Hannan, a stringer for the Corriere della Sera, who ran to the scene. The street had been heavily guarded by Ethiopian forces [the likely target] and Ethiopian [and US] intelligence is billeted in the Hotel Ambassador where most of Transitional Federal Government ministers are lodging. No one understands how a bomb could have been be placed in such a high-security location. Some think the bombing was a reprisal aimed at the women. [It is likely the women were employed as human minesweepers].

The cleaning program was organized to prevent anyone from placing bombs in the mountains of garbage that have been growing in the streets of Mogadishu for 15 years. Last week, the streetsweepers found a mine, which was defused by Ethiopian explosives experts. The bombing was condemned by all sides, including the radical Islamists fighting against the transitional government and the troops from Addis Abeba, who back it.


The situation is chaotic and violence is generalized. The population is surrounded by unpaid government soldiers, who extort the money from the locals to make up for their unpaid wages and to support their families, and by Islamic fighters doing the same. There is zero security. The warlords are gaining strength and selling protection....One warlord, Mohammed Dehere, was the cause of a political clash between the Somali President, Abdullah Yussuf, and Prime Minister Nur Adde. Mr. Adde dismissed the governor of Benadir, an area of Mogadishu, who had been accused of tolerating if not encouraging, murders and gang violence. The President then restored the dismissed governor to his position: without the loyal troops, the transitional government would collapse. The feud with the Prime Minister is creating big problems for the [another bogus] peace process engaged with those moderate Islamists who are willing to negotiate.

Five ministers loyal to President Abdullah resigned, hoping to cause Nur Adde’s government to fall – they were immediately replaced.

Representatives of the the country are now in Nairobi in an attempt to end the crisis. At his crucial time, they are urging...continuity..."to keep the peace process from derailing", says the Special Envoy of the Italian Government, Mario Raffaelli.