Medeshi Oct 19, 2008
No End in Sight in Somalia But the Future bears Little Hope
by Scott A Morgan
There are Indications that the US Military is not even sure about which part of its Command Structure will take the lead in Fighting the Piracy in Somalia. For the Time Being it will be CENTCOM (US Central Command) not AFRICOM that will be leading the effort. Currently Naval Elements from the Fifth Fleet are part of the International Armada that is attempting to eradicate Piracy at the South End of the Red Sea.
Despite this International Effort to Combat Piracy the situation involving the MV Faina shows little sign of being resolved any time soon. This Ship with its Cargo of 30 Russian Made Tanks and other crew served weapons and ammunition was seized by Pirates almost a month ago. This capture created such a buzz and a guessing game that would make one think that Tom Clancy himself created the scenario.
One thing that people can agree upon is that the Ship had a Destination of Mombasa, Kenya. After that the stories get interesting. The Initial Reports were that the Armor was intended for the Kenyan Military. But the BBC uncovered a Bill indicating that the Weapons were in fact intended for the Government of Southern Sudan. The Diplomatic part of this crisis has seen the Ambassadors from both Kenya and Ethiopia called to the Foreign Ministry in Sudan.Add this caveat to the unfolding crisis. The Kenyan Government is reportedly planning on training 10,000 soldiers of the Transitional National Government (TNG) in Sudan. And the Islamist Militias are furious. They are threatening to Attack Kenya if it follows through with the current plan to train the Somali Military.
So what will happen next? First of All the Current Government of Kenya has to once again work on its image. Earlier this year the World watched as the Country almost Imploded after the Controversial Elections. A Month of violence led to the deaths of Hundreds of People and led to a GNU. A Controversy such as this one and the threat of attacks will place the Country under increasing scrutiny by International Donors and Counter Terrorism Experts.
Secondly there is Somalia. The Piracy Efforts will have people asking about how much control does the TNG actually have. Another Question may be how long will some people support the TNG. The Hingepin on this will be when/if Ethiopia pulls out its forces. This could be seen in two ways. Either the Country will be ready for the AU to send in a Peacekeeping Mission or the current attempt at supporting the TNG is an utter failure. It does make those who are advocating an Independent Somaliland look very intelligent lately.
Lastly there is Sudan. They did take the Diplomatic Step and Called in the Ambassadors from Kenya and Ethiopia to complain about the Tanks. The scrutiny that they are facing regarding the Darfur situation has caused the President of the Country to be indicted by the International Criminal Court. Although the Authorities in Khartoum have a Peace Deal signed with the South the attempt by GOSS to purchase these weapons could leave one to wonder why they are arming. In recent weeks GOSS has had several clashes with the LRA along the border with the DRC.
The entrance of the Armor into a very volatile region is an escalation of tensions. One country has a region with a large autonomious region. Another had a violent aftermath to a controversial election and has been working on restoring peace and harmony. The Other is the perfect example of a failed state. This is a Good Recipe for a War to Break Out.
The rest of the World has deployed Naval Assets to protect a vital Shipping Lane. But How far will the rest of the world be willing to prevent the Armor from falling into the hands of Groups that have plans to use them for a Political or Military Agenda? What steps will be used to prevent another war from breaking out in the Horn of Africa? Or will the Powers that be Yawn and let it happen and make Money!