Posts Tagged ‘Kalter Krieg’

Somalia: Hintergründe eines komplizierten Konflikts

Samstag, Juli 24th, 2010

Somalia: Al-Shabab, extremism and US allies

By Yohannes Woldemariam

cc S W

The rise of Al-Shabab in Somalia must be seen in the context of decades of mismanagement, dictatorship and abuse, writes Yohannes Woldemariam. Following Ethiopia’s US-backed intervention in 2006, the ascendancy of Somalia’s moderate UIC (Union of Islamic Courts) was blocked and some 300,000 people were displaced, in the wake of which ‘the Al-Shabab extremists triumphed as a hegemonic force’ from within the UIC. And as the dust settles on last week’s Kampala bombing, Woldemariam contends, the governments of US allies Ethiopia and Uganda are once again seeking to capitalise on the tragedy for their own ends, ‘with Obama playing right into it’.

The emergence of Al-Shabab in Somalia is not an accident. It stems from many decades of mismanagement, dictatorship, regional and international abuse. Superficially, one expects Somalia to be a unified entity because all Somalis speak a common language and are not plagued by ethnic differences as in many parts of the post-colonial world. Yet Somalia was always beset by deep clan cleavages even as Somali elites fantasised about the notion of a ‘Greater Somalia’ and made it their mission to unite all Somali-speaking peoples. This included Somalis in neighbouring states: the Ogaden region in Ethiopia, the Issas in Djibouti and the Somalis who inhabit the area known as the Northern Frontier District of Kenya. The Horn of Africa was of course faced with the same arbitrariness of borders inherited from colonial rule, where there were cultural links with people across borders.

Notion of 'Greater Somalia' marked in yellow on map

But the project of an ethnically homogenous state by embracing neighbouring Somali minorities was a non-starter and contrary to the African charter of respecting colonial boundaries. Hence, Somali irredentism pitted it against Kenya and Ethiopia, worsening in particular its historic enmity with Ethiopia. The tension between the two countries provided one of the openings for the Soviet Union and the United States to use these nations as proxies in the geopolitical games of the Cold War. The Horn of Africa of which Somalia is a part became much like Afghanistan, Vietnam and other hot spots of that era.

Ethiopia and Somalia waged two major wars, including one that involved Cuban troops in 1977–78. A combined force of Ethiopians, 15,000 Cubans, 1,500 Soviet advisors and weaponry broke the back of the Somali army. This defeat was the beginning of the end of a functioning Somali state. It was followed by a protracted civil war in the 1980s, culminating in the disintegration of the country. Clumsy US and UN involvement in the 1990s made an already bad situation worse. Clan-based warlordism replaced the centralised dictatorship of Mohammed Said Barre, who ruled Somalia from 1969 to 1991. After the fall of Barre, Somaliland and Puntland became two separate, relatively stable but unrecognised entities. In fact, in late June 2010, Somaliland held the only election in the region which met international standards. Opposition candidate Ahmed M. Maha Silanyo won the election, defeating incumbent President Dahir Riyale Kahin. In contrast, anarchy had reigned in southern Somalia and the Mogadishu area for at least the last two decades.

For the most part, the US disengaged after the death of 18 of its marines and the downing of two Black Hawk helicopters in 1993. The gruesome scene in October 1993 – with pictures of a dead American soldier being dragged through the streets of Mogadishu and dubbed the ‘CNN effect’ – is a fixture in the memory of many Americans. It influenced the Clinton administration’s decision to withdraw US troops from the country. Somalia became of renewed interest only after 9/11 out of concern that it would be a breeding ground for global jihad and a hide out for Al-Qaida elements.

There were 14 unsuccessful top-down attempts for a centralised government in Somalia between 1991 and 2010. The current Transitional Federal Government (TFG) led by Sharif Sheikh Ahmed is the latest mutation of these trials. Most Somalis view Sharif Ahmed as an Ethiopian puppet, but Hillary Clinton had called him the ‘best hope’ for his country. He barely controls two blocks in Mogadishu and only because of the protection of approximately 3,000 Ugandan and 2,000 Burundian troops representing the ill-conceived AU Mission In Somalia (AMISOM). The Ugandan, Burundian and Ethiopian intervention is deeply resented by Somalis of various political persuasions. The justification for their presence is ostensibly to keep peace, but there is no peace to keep in Somalia. Uganda and Ethiopia really need peace within their own borders before pretending to bring peace to other lands. Among several insurgencies within Ethiopia is the Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF), which is waging a perennial struggle for self-determination for the four million or so ethnic Somalis. It has claimed thousands of lives and is being called ‘the other Darfur’ by some observers. Since the 1980s, Uganda’s northern region has also been ravaged by a murderous group known as the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA).

The primary reason for Ethiopian intervention is its vested interest in a weak and disintegrated Somalia. It also benefits from American financial, military and political support by positioning itself as an ally in the ‘war on terror’. Ethiopia receives the largest amount of American aid of any country in sub-Saharan Africa. Similarly, Uganda and Burundi are intervening to garner support from the United States when they don’t even share a common border with Somalia.

In return, the US keeps mum when these leaders rig elections or change constitutional clauses to enable them to extend presidential terms. It is a Machiavellian game all around.

If one were genuine about peace, Ethiopia would be among the last countries in the world to be encouraged to send troops to Somalia. Yet in 2006, it intervened in Somalia with American support and pre-empted the ascendancy of the Union of Islamic Courts (UIC), who were relatively moderate Muslims and had managed to establish a modicum of order for the very first time in 15 years. From the ranks of UIC, the Al-Shabab extremists triumphed as a hegemonic force. Ethiopia officially withdrew in 2009, but only after experiencing a quagmire which plunged Somalia into deeper chaos, displacing 300,000 Somalis and causing disarray for a grassroots movement that had seemed promising before it was nipped by Ethiopian intervention. And this official withdrawal notwithstanding, Ethiopian troops still make periodic incursions into Somalia at will.

Given the predatory nature of the governments of Burundi, Ethiopia and Uganda – which are essentially military dictatorships or de facto one-party control – little faith can be placed in them for enhancing regional stability in the Horn region. Current Kenyan President Mwai Kibaki is also believed to have stolen the presidential election from Raila Odinga (who happens to hail from the same ethnic group as Barack Obama's father), who is now prime minister in a shaky power-sharing government. Yet the country is an ally in security matters in the region and therefore immune from any serious US scrutiny.

In 2006, the Bush administration provided intelligence to Ethiopia in support of the invasion. It also used military facilities in Djibouti, Ethiopia and Kenya to launch air raids and missile strikes against Al-Qaida suspects at several sites in Somalia in 2007 and 2008. The air attacks killed several dozen Somali civilians and injured hundreds more, and they made US backing for the invasion highly visible. These periodic airstrikes are continuing under the Obama administration. The killing of Somali civilians only serves to drive Somalis into desperation and extremism. AMISOM is not any better. There are credible reports that it is responsible for civilian deaths and other excesses.

In the aftermath of the Kampala bombings, Obama said that Al-Qaida is racist and doesn’t care about African lives. No sane person would dispute that. However, the real question is whether Obama cares about African lives. If he truly does, why would he meddle and prop up dictators like Meles Zenawi of Ethiopia and Yoweri Museveni of Uganda, dictators who wilfully sacrifice their soldiers and the lives of innocents for some foreign exchange dollars? Not surprisingly, both Zenawi and Museveni are already positioning themselves to argue for expanded intervention and to milk the Kampala tragedy, with Obama playing right into it. Ironically, Al-Shabab will also welcome the escalation and regionalisation of the conflict in the hope of bolstering its waning domestic support base as ordinary Somalis become weary of the heavy-handed repression by the movement.

Relying on Ethiopia, Uganda and Burundi for keeping peace in Somalia is like sending Indian soldiers to occupy and pacify the Pakistani tribal areas. It is an oxymoron. It undermines the moderates and helps the extremists. The willingness of the United States to endorse interventions is rarely matched by a commitment to a comprehensive effort of securing peace. With the quagmire in Afghanistan and Iraq, there is hardly any political will in the US to effectively deal with the complexities of the issues in Somalia. Somalia does not need intervention and further militarisation by self-serving neighbours. A possible starting point for rebuilding Somalia could be to use the money that is being wasted on AMISOM to assist the Somali people and the nascent democratic experiment in Somaliland in light of the severe democratic drought in the region.


* Please send comments to or comment online at Pambazuka News.


(Quelle: Pambazuka News.)

Atomwaffensperrvertrag: Bollwerk mit Löchern

Dienstag, Juni 29th, 2010

“Bollwerk mit Löchern

Wolfgang Schwarz (In: Das Blättchen, Nr. 11 v. 7. Juni 2010)

Die am 28. Mai in New York zu Ende gegangene turnusmäßige Überprüfungskonferenz zum Atomwaffensperrvertrag (NPT) war nach Auffassung vieler Beobachter ein Fehlschlag, weil wirklich substantielle Fortschritte in Richtung einer kernwaffenfreien Welt nicht erreicht worden sind. Die Tatsache, daß alle 189 NPT-Mitgliedsstaaten auf der Konferenz einer gemeinsamen Abschlußerklärung zustimmten, nachdem dies auf der vorangegangenen Tagung im Jahre 2005 im wesentlichen an der damaligen Bush-Administration gescheitert war, könne allein nicht bereits als Erfolg gelten, da die Erklärung über Allgemeinplätze nicht hinaus gehe.

Kritik dieser Art ist nicht neu, und unberechtigt ist sie schon gar nicht, denn der Atomwaffensperrvertrag und das von ihm begründete internationale Regime inklusive der Kontrolle seiner Einhaltung durch die Internationale Atomenergiebehörde (IAEO) weisen von Geburt an gravierende Schwächen auf, an denen sich, seit der NPT 1970 in Kraft trat, nichts Grundlegendes geändert hat. Kein Staat kann letztlich gezwungen werden, sich dem NPT zu unterwerfen, wie an Israel, Indien und Pakistan unschwer zu sehen ist, die dem Vertrag nie beigetreten sind und heute über Kernwaffen verfügen. Nordkorea trat 2003 aus dem NPT aus und besitzt nach eigenem Bekunden nun ebenfalls erste Atomsprengköpfe. Ein weiteres Manko besteht darin, daß der NPT zwar die Zielstellung einer atomwaffenfreien Welt formuliert, aber bindende Vorgaben für die fünf offiziellen Atommächte (USA, Rußland, Großbritannien, Frankreich und China) zur Beseitigung ihrer Arsenale nicht enthält. Und um eine dritte Schwachstelle des NPT-Regimes zu markieren: Obligatorische unangekündigte Verdachtskontrollen in nukleartechnischen Anlagen der 184 NPT-Mitgliedsländer, die keinen Kernwaffenstatus tragen, darf die IAEO nach wie vor nicht durchführen. Das läßt Möglichkeiten zum heimlichen Überschreiten der nuklearen Schwelle offen.

Andererseits sind der von Kernwaffen ausgehende Schrecken und die ihnen innewohnende Bedrohung der menschlichen Existenz seit Hiroshima und Nagasaki sowie durch die weltweit mehr als 2.000 Kernwaffenversuche – hunderte davon oberirdisch – keine nurmehr theoretischen Annahmen. Das hat die internationale Staatengemeinschaft überhaupt dazu veranlaßt, den militärischen Umgang mit dem Atom vereinbarten Regularien zu unterwerfen und eine immer weitere Verbreitung von Kernwaffen unterbinden zu wollen. Natürlich wäre die Antwort auf die Frage, wie die Welt ohne 40 Jahre NPT-Regime heute aussähe, spekulativ. Aktenkundig ist aber, daß Staaten wie Südafrika, Brasilien, Argentinien, Ägypten, Libyen u.a. in den vergangenen Jahrzehnten heimliche Kernwaffenforschungs- und -entwicklungsprogramme betrieben und dann aufgegeben haben. Aktenkundig ist auch, daß heute etliche nukleare Schwellenländer existieren, die von ihren wissenschaftlichen, technologischen und wirtschaftlichen Voraussetzungen her jederzeit Kernwaffen herstellen könnten. Dazu zählt neben Japan, Taiwan und Südkorea nicht zuletzt auch die Bundesrepublik. Und aktenkundig ist schließlich, daß über die Jahrzehnte die Idee kernwaffenfreier Zonen auf der Grundlage entsprechender regionaler Abkommen immer mehr Parteigänger gewonnen hat. Solche Zonen existieren heute in der Antarktis, Zentral- und Südamerika (33 Staaten), Südostasien (10 Staaten) und im Südpazifik (13 Staaten). Im März 2009 kam Zentralasien hinzu, wobei die fünf Mitgliedsstaaten dieser Zone besonderen Sinn für Symbolik bewiesen – sie schlossen den entsprechenden Vertrag in Semipalatinsk ab, in jener Stadt, die als Synonym für das Hauptatomtestgelände der Sowjetunion auf dem Gebiet Kasachstans steht. Dort wurden zwischen 1949 und 1989 fast 500 Atomtests durchgeführt. Und das jüngste Beispiel ist die Atomwaffenfreie Zone Afrika; der Vertrag wurde zwischen 52 Staaten im Juli 2009 abgeschlossen und ist bereits in Kraft, da die Mindestzahl von 28 hinterlegten Ratifikationsurkunden bereits erreicht wurde.

Gemessen an möglichen Alternativen ist die Bilanz von 40 Jahren NPT also beachtlich. Das gilt auch für die seit Ende des Kalten Krieges zu verzeichnende Reduzierung der Atomwaffenarsenale der nuklearen Supermächte USA und Rußland. Trotzdem ist die Perspektive einer kernwaffenfreien Welt alles andere als in greifbarer Nähe. Und die jetzige Konferenz in New York gibt leider Anlaß zum Zweifeln, etwa ob die Widerstände auf dem Weg dorthin in den nächsten Jahren oder ob sie überhaupt überwunden werden können. Vor allem das zwiespältige Agieren der USA vor und hinter den Kulissen wirft einmal mehr die Frage auf, wie ernst es Präsident Barack Obama tatsächlich mit seiner am 9. April 2009 in Prag verkündeten Vision ist. Einerseits hat Washington die jetzige Abschlußerklärung von New York mit unterzeichnet, in der die Wichtigkeit eines Beitritts Israels zum NPT unterstrichen und in der für 2012 eine Konferenz über eine masservernichtungswaffenfreie Zone im Nahen und Mittleren Osten auf die Tagesordnung gesetzt wird. Andererseits hat Washington auf die sofort erfolgte Ablehnung durch Israel nicht nur nicht reagiert, sondern Obama selbst stellte Tel Aviv quasi einen Freifahrtschein aus, als er erklärte: „Wir lehnen es entschieden ab, … daß Israels nationale Sicherheit in Gefahr gerät.‟ Ebenfalls in der Abschlußerklärung wird Pakistan zum NPT-Beitritt aufgefordert. Diesem Land gegenüber hatte ebenfalls Obama selbst erst im April erklärt, die USA hegten „keine finsteren Absichten gegen das Atomprogramm Pakistans‟. Glaubwürdige Politik hört sich anders an.

Was die unbefriedigenden Ergebnisse von New York anbetrifft, so griffe es allerdings zu kurz, allein auf die USA zu verweisen. Die fünf offiziellen Atommächte haben dort zwar einerseits in allgemeiner Form zugesagt, die Verkleinerung ihrer Kernwaffenarsenale zu beschleunigen und dazu 2014 einen Fortschrittsbericht vorzulegen. In seltener Eintracht haben sie aber andererseits zugleich verschiedene Anliegen praktisch sämtlicher anderen NPT-Mitgliedsstaaten blockiert – nämlich in die Abschlußerklärung einen konkreten Zeitplan für die nukleare Abrüstung der fünf, quasi als Verbindlichmachung von deren diesbezüglicher Zusage gemäß Art. VI des NPT, aufzunehmen oder auch nur die Verpflichtung zum Beginn von Verhandlungen über eine Konvention zum weltweiten Verbot von Atomwaffen. Im Übrigen werden auch die taktischen Kernwaffen, für deren Abzug aus Deutschland sich die Bundesregierung nach eigenem Bekunden in New York stark machen wollte, in der Abschlußerklärung der Konferenz nicht erwähnt.

All diese Sachverhalte geben natürlich keine Veranlassung, von der nächsten NPT-Überprüfungskonferenz im Jahre 2015 grundlegend gehaltvollere Ergebnisse zu erwarten. In Resignation und Verzweiflung sollte man deswegen allerdings nicht verfallen, sondern sich – allein schon mit Blick auf die Kinder und Enkel – besser an die Luther zugeschriebene Maxime halten: „Wenn ich wüßte, daß morgen der jüngste Tag wäre, würde ich heute noch ein Apfelbäumchen pflanzen.‟ ‘

(Quelle: Linksnet.)

Demokratische Republik Kongo: Mord an Lumumba wird wieder aufgerollt

Dienstag, Juni 29th, 2010

“Belgians accused of war crimes in killing of Congo leader Lumumba

By Antonia van de Velde in Brussels

A son of Congo’s first democratically-elected leader, Patrice Lumumba, is to seek the prosecution for war crimes of 12 Belgian officials suspected of aiding his father’s assassination in 1961.

Bildquelle: Botschaft der DRC
Patrice Lumumba

Lawyers for Francois Lumumba said on Tuesday that they planned to file the complaint at a Brussels court in October – a week before the Democratic Republic of Congo celebrates 50 years of independence from its former colonial master, Belgium.

‘I want to know how he died. There are many books I can read and everything has been said, but there is no justice,’ said Guy Lumumba, the leader’s youngest son, at a news conference at which Francois was not present.

The complaint will assert that the Belgian government and military officials were involved in transferring Mr Lumumba Snr from captivity in the capital, Léopoldville, to the region of Katanga, and that they failed to prevent him being tortured and killed.

Patrice Lumumba came to power after the Congo won independence from Belgium in 1960. His government was overthrown in a coup led by the young head of the Congolese army, Joseph-Désiré Mobutu.

Mr Lumumba, who was mistrusted by Washington because of his close ties to the Soviet Union, escaped house arrest in January 1961 only to be recaptured, beaten and killed by Mobutu’s soldiers with the assistance of Belgian officers, the legal documents will say.

A Belgian parliamentary investigation in 2001 found that Belgium was ‘morally responsible’ for the murder of Mr Lumumba. Belgium has since officially apologised for its role.

‘Belgium was party to the conflict in Congo at the time,’ said Christophe Marchand, a lawyer for the Lumumba family. ‘A conflict between several sovereign states – Belgium and Congo – which makes this an armed international conflict during which war crimes were committed.’

He declined to disclose the names of the 12 potential defendants, saying only that they were all in Congo at the time of Mr Lumumba’s death. Under the Mobutu regime, the central African country was plagued by corruption.

The Belgian government’s decision to accept an invitation to Congo’s independence day celebrations next Wedneesday has stirred controversy because of tense relations between Brussels and its former colony. King Albert will be the first Belgian monarch to visit the country in 25 years. ‘This is a symbolic moment,’ Mr Marchand added. ‘Fifty years of independence is a good thing but we need to make clear that justice has not yet been done in the murder of Lumumba.'”


(Quelle: The Independent.)

USA: Was Obama von Eisenhower lernen könnte

Donnerstag, Juni 17th, 2010

“Declassified Documents Show Cold War Origins of Global Cutoff Proposal and Why It Failed

By William Burr

Washington, DC, June 16, 2010 – U.S. presidents long before President Obama have sought an international fissile material cutoff treaty but the reasons they have failed remain with us today, according to declassified documents posted today by the National Security Archive. The proposed treaty would cut off the worldwide production of fissile material–plutonium and highly-enriched uranium–for nuclear weapons. According to President Dwight D. Eisenhower, the first president to propose a cutoff, “we have always said it is not technically feasible to ban the bomb now but we have actively urged the cutoff as a first step.” President Obama echoed Eisenhower’s argument in his speech in Prague at Hradcany Square on April 5, 2009, where he endorsed a cutoff treaty, along with a Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, to curb the proliferation of nuclear weapons and as part of his long-term nuclear abolition commitment.

The documents published today provide a close look at how the cutoff proposal developed during the 1950s and 1960s, how policymakers debated and discussed it, and why it was dropped from the U.S. arms control agenda during the 1970s, only to return after the Cold War ended. Some of the highlights are:

* Eisenhower’s early linkage of the cutoff to nuclear proliferation concerns and to short-term U.S. nuclear superiority: “we can’t go on the way we are with the nuclear build-up and the spread of capabilities.” Nevertheless, if a cutoff was implemented, it would leave the United States with a “very substantial nuclear capability.”

* Washington’s fissile material advantages informed the Soviet Union’s objections to a cutoff (paralleling Pakistan’s concerns about India today). According to Ambassador Semyon Tsarapkin, “why should [Washington] expect [the Soviets to] accept this since [the U.S.] had produced these materials for five years longer than they?”

* The controversy over the impact of a cutoff on the production of tritium, an important nuclear weapons fuel with a short half-life. During an NSC discussion, Eisenhower argued that even if the cutoff ended tritium production, the Soviets would also be affected and that would “cut down [their] ability to destroy the United States.” While current U.S. government proposals exclude tritium from a cutoff treaty, this is a controversial issue, and some nuclear experts propose its inclusion.

* A 1960 report on verifying a cutoff acknowledged that detecting clandestine nuclear facilities would be a significant challenge and that the new centrifuge uranium enrichment technology, later at issue in controversies over Pakistan and Iran, would be “easier to conceal” than gaseous diffusion plants.

* A 1961 report on the cutoff, led by Cornell University President James Perkins, which argued that a “high degree of access” was essential to check diversions and “prove the existence of a clandestine plant.” While that could compromise U.S. or Soviet technological advances, “access would improve the US intelligence position.”

* The Joint Chiefs of Staff’s changing assessment of a cutoff. Early in the 1960s, they saw a cutoff as “not disadvantageous,” but near the end of the decade, they argued that uncertainties about future stockpile needs make it “impossible to rule out … a potential for significant disadvantage to US interests.”

Declassified documents suggest that the fissile material production cutoff was integral to Cold War propaganda and diplomatic campaigns, which helps explain why it failed during the 1960s. During the 1950s and 1960s, when superpower tensions, massive production of nuclear weapons, and atmospheric nuclear tests stoked fear of nuclear war worldwide, both U.S. and Soviet heads of state tried to reduce fears with disarmament proposals, but they never let diplomacy trump their military postures. Even the strength of U.S. support for the cutoff depended on shifting military perceptions of the U.S.-Soviet balance of fissile materials stockpiles. Under such circumstances, the nuclear disarmament proposals that Moscow and Washington offered were largely nonnegotiable, whatever their merits were.

After the Cold War ended, international support for a cutoff treaty emerged as a way to check nuclear proliferation, but talks at the United Nations Committee for Disarmament (CD) negotiations have stalled. Seeking to build its fissile material stockpile, Pakistan, with possible Chinese backing, is now one of the chief obstacles. Whether the Committee for Disarmament will be able to persuade Pakistan to support the negotiations is one of many challenges facing the Obama administration.

Follow the link below for more information:

(Quelle: National Security Archive.)