Tag Archives: US policy

Chaos Accelerates In Somalia

The situation in Somalia continues its rapid decline into even more chaos than previously has been characteristic of this nation. The United Nations estimates about 1,000,000 people are now refugees in their own land and at least 200,000 have fled the capital of Mogadishu in the past two weeks. Several months ago, an Ethiopian invasion urged on by President Bush led to the overthrow of an Islamic fundamentalist government and the creation of an interim Muslim government lacking power or authority. The UN Commissioner For Refugees(UNHCR) describes “Families continue to lack proper shelter and consistently resort to using any material– including plastic bags– to patch up their tukuls–flimsy dome-shaped shelters.” The UN authorized a force of 8,000 soldiers to assist in the area but only 1,600 Ugandans are in Somalia.

George Bush is convinced that any type of Muslim government ruled by Islamic fundamentalist must, by definition, be a terrorist organization. He encouraged Ethiopia, a basically Christian nation, to overthrow a Muslim government and the result is even more chaos. Unfortunately, President Bush can not impose his will on people who detest his world perspective. Perhaps, America must, at times, accept the presence of a Muslim government that does not meet its standards because the alternative is chaos in the lives of millions of innocent people.

Stop Pressuring Iran Says Moderate Iranian Leader

Former Prime Minister Mohammad Khatami whose tenure in that office was marked by efforts to reduce the power of extremist religious figures, urged the world to stop trying to halt his nation from engaging in peaceful uses of atomic energy. He noted the IAEA reported “contained positive points and I believe that the Iranians and the International Atomic Energy Agency have developed cooperation in a logical manner and achieved the desired results. However,” he admitted, “the report also included some negative points and ambiguities which can provide a path for those who are seeking a pretext to prevent a diplomatic settlement of the nuclear issue.” Khatami insisted that Iran only wants to use nuclear energy for peaceful purposes and raised the issue as to why Israel is allowed possession of nuclear weapons.

There is no doubt the world has reason to be suspicious of an Iranian government headed by a man like Ahmadinejad. But, men like Khatami who reached out to western nations, including the United States, in an effort to establish peaceful relations, were rejected. The United States now lives with the consequences of a Bush policy that focused on warlike rhetoric rather than supporting forces of moderation in Iran.

US 200% Behind Me, Claims Musharraf

After concluding meetings with US envoy, John Negroponte, President Musharraf told the BBC that he had the complete support of the United States in his actions to fight terrorism. “they are liking me because we are fighting terrorism together. They show concern on the democratic front, they show concern over my uniform, they think what we are doing is the right directions.” As he spoke, the Pakistan army was launching a major effort in the Swat Valley against insurgents led by Mualana Fazullah. The Pakistan army issued its regular reports about dead militants and claims they were advancing in the valley. Most Pakistan experts believe the forces of Fazullah wiil allow the Pakistan army to kill some militants and the game will go on, the army advances, a few dead militants, and normality continues with Fazullah retaining power. It is apparent the only way Musharraf can continue ruling Pakistan is the presence of a war against terrorism.

The great mistake of the Bush administration is casting the struggle between the United States and forces opposing creation of stable governments as one against terrorism. The word “terrorism” describes an action of people, and one can not be against “terrorism” anymore than one can wage war against “crime.” These are abstractions, not realities. Bush has confused the entire situation emerging from 9/11 because he fails to grasp the nature of the struggle. It is not between democracy vs terrorism, it is a struggle to create stable viable governments committed to working slowly to foster vibrant economies that focus people on the importance of avoiding war and conflict. China is not a democracy, but it does not aid terrorism. We need more nations like China which eventually will become democracies, but in the meantime work for world stability.

Tangled Mess Continues In Pakistan

The military government of President Musharraf is both engaged in fighting militants in the northwest areas of Pakistan as it battles political opponents throughout the nation. Gelicopter gunships blasted away at suspected bunkers of militant in the north and claimed to have killed at least forty. In the mean time, police baton-charged a rally of the Pakistan People’s Party(PPP) in Gujranwala and arrested over 200. A spokesperson for the PPP claims that at least 12,000 activists have been arrested throughout Pakistan. John Negroponte, Deputy Secretary of State arrived in the nation and contacted Benazir Bhutto who heads the PPP. He urged her to continue efforts to unite political parties in an attempt to create a coalition for democracy in Pakistan.

The Bush administration is now caught in a dilemma. It has been a strong and fervent supporter of the Musharraf government while also arguing democracy must be fostered in Pakistan. There apparently is emerging a new democratic union of political parties, but this group is extremely hostile to Musharraf and will not work with his administration. What then, does the United States do? What if it comes down to Musharraf or the new coalition? One can only suspect if past history hold true, the Bush administration is completely confused on how to handle a complex foreign policy issue.

Towards A Government Of National Consensus In Pakistan

Benazir Bhutto, leader of the Pakistan Peoples Party, met with US Consul General Bryan Hunt who asked her if it was possible to work with President Musharraf in order to extricate Pakistan from the current crisis. She informed the American diplomat is was extremely difficult working with a man “who instead of taking us forward toward democracy took us backward toward military dictatorship.” Ms. Bhutto is working with all opposition parties in an effort to create a government based on the principle of a national consensus that democracy offered their nation the best opportunity to create a vibrant society and deal with issues of militancy. In the meantime, students, lawyers and journalists have formed the Free Pakistan Movement under leadership of Jemima Khan.

The United States is obviously concerned an Islamic fundamentalist government might seize control of Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal. Ms. Bhutto assured Mr. Hunt that her consensus government would not allow such an event to occur.

I Am The Law, Claims Musharraf

President Pervez Musharraf made clear to American newspapers and TV that he will not back down in the fight which has erupted between himself and Pakistan political activists. He told the New York Times that opposition leader, Benazir Bhutto, could not tell him to resign and classified activists as lazy people who don’t even bother to vote. He told an American TV interviewer that “When the nation is about to be declared a failed state, tell me whether the restoration of so-called democracy is important or efforts to save the country? Of course, it is important to save the country.” In other words, is democracy more important than survival of the nation of Pakistan? As he spoke, a 100 car caravan of Bhutto supporters took off from Lahore on the opening stages of a long march for freedom. Ms. Bhutto is still confined to house arrest and when supporters attempt to visit her, they are being arrested.

President Musharraf certainly raises a key issue — which comes first, democracy or survival of a nation? However, he fails to note present problems in Pakistan occurred on his watch as president so some responsibility for it being termed a “failed state” must rest on his shoulders. Ms. Bhutto, and other political opponents, are justifiably asking whether or not Pakistan can become a functioning state only after getting rid of Musharraf. Perhaps, the emerging grand alliance of political parties covering a spectrum of views may become the coalition which can institute reforms that make Pakistan a functioning nation. The current crisis undoubtedly raises new issues for President Bush regarding aims of American foreign policy in Pakistan and Asia.

Fruit Of Bush African Policies– Chaos In Somalia!

Several months ago, President Bush encouraged Ethiopia, which is predominantly Christian, to invade and conquer its Islamic government because he regarded the fundamentalist Muslims as part of the international terrorist movement. The Islamic government was wiped out and a new Somalian government put in place. In the past few days bloody fighting has erupted on the streets of the Somali capital, Mogadishu which has left at least 51 people dead in one of the goriest 24 hours the city has seen. Ethiopian soldiers fought insurgents in up-close battles that resulted in at least 10 soldiers being killed and one of the dead was stripped of his shirt and dragged through the streets in a scene reminiscent of the killing of American soldiers in the 1990s. The Ethiopian soldiers became infuriated and went through the city shooting people in an indiscriminate manner. A resident, Zakaria Adde, said, “We collected 12 bodies, mostly elderly people, women and children. They were shot by Ethiopians. Some of them bled to death in the streets where they were left all night.”

Thousands of people have left the capital and flooded into outlying towns where they create a new humanitarian crisis. The Bush administration provided air and naval support for the Ethiopian invasion. This is simply on more example of the inability of George Bush to conceptualize what happens after you overthrow a government?