Libya: Crisis Looms

As the “victorious” rebels celebrate in the renamed Martyr’s Square in Tripoli, crisis continues to loom for the rebels, extending into the realm of famine and an urgent need for humanitarian actions.

Once again, the news from Libya claim victory but problems remain and the evident fact remains that Libya will remain in this chronic state of anarchy for quite some time.  With Algeria harboring the Qaddafi family, what is there to say that Algeria will not become home to an underground “anti-resistance resistance” movement to rectify the “injustice” perpetrated on Colonel Qaddafi?  Algeria may soon resemble Pakistan, a country that receives billions in US aid but was home to both Bin Laden and Atiyah Abd al-Rahman.  With Qaddafi’s whereabouts unknown, a cult of personality remains to which the loyalists forces and tribes of Libya will defend and die for.  Frighteningly, the resistance movement has shifted from the TNC unto the loyalist forces, who will launch guerrilla forces.  Death will not frighten these forces, as it did not frighten the rebels throughout the “Arab Spring”, because of their belief in  “Martyrdom” and it death being “Allah’s wish”.

“Everyone is Moammar Gadhafi. Wherever you see the enemy, attack them.  They are weak, they have suffered lots of losses and they are now licking their wounds.” – Saif al-Islam Gadhafi, son of Moammar Qaddafi

Although the EU and UN have taken action, more so then condemning actions usually so popular from such political entities, the important factor in Libya’s future is the USA. The startgame for Libya will be decided by the US’ approach to the reconstruction of the Arab country.  With 73% of Americans voting against any American assistance to the reconstruction of the political and financial infrastructure of Libya, it will be interesting to observe whether the US will heed the American will. What may be more interesting is the answer. If the US does response with assistance and involvement in Libya, the US government will clearly be at the back -and-call of oil companies, at the liberalization of Libya has led to an oil bonanza.  If not, then the US government has finally understood its role as representing the will of the majority, representing the American people, a duty that they have so far demeaned.

So saying, despite subtle differences, the situation in Libya resembles that of the Horn of Africa and most specifically, Somalia.  As repeated often throughout the contents of Year of 1989, the famine in Somalia is one of the worst in decades, leaving millions of Somali people starving and dying.  The country was split by civil war in 1990 and has remained in a chronic state of anarchy due to its division in tribal areas, al-Shabbab territory, and a small portion designated to a corrupt and defunct government.  Similarly, the nation of Libya has been divided by civil war, is victim to a power vacuum, the loyalist forces have turned into a terrorist group, and a humanitarian crisis looms.

Tripoli’s two million residents face increasingly dire shortages of food and water.  With the TNC planning for the future, the question arises about the future involvement.  The EU and UN have long been involved in the push for liberalism and it would make sense they would maintain a strong presence due to the sensitivity of the immediate future.  The future government can easily shift towards a secular government, non-secular, anti-West, or pro-West.  Nevertheless, the response to the humanitarian crisis is a clear illustration of the international community’s determination to protect the liberty they have so long sponsored.

With 60% of Tripoli without water or sanitation, the EU and the UN have procured five million liters of water to ship to Tripoli.  The United Nations’ World Food Programme has begun to send 600 tons of food commodities for the Red Cross to distribute.  So aid has begun to enter the nation, similar to the long awaited aid in Somalia.  But as in Somalia, will it be enough?  Will the loyalist forces be able to restrict access of these humanitarian entities as the al-Shabbab did?  In regards to the loyalist forces, it is very doubtful due to the endless pressure that is physically being shot at them.

The death toll of Libya’s exploits also serve as a somber note of the price at which Qaddafi’s semi-fall has taken, as well as the future tolls that may accumulate.  TNC head Mustafa Abdul Jalil has told reports that rebels were in negotiations with the loyalists and hoped to avoid more bloodshed.  The concerns seem justified as reports have estimated the death toll of the Libyan rebellion as high as 50,000.

“We are also deeply concerned about reports that there are still thousands of people unaccounted for who were arrested or taken by Gadhafi’s security forces either earlier in the conflict or before it even started.” – Rupert Colville,spokesmen for the UN High Commisioner for Human Rights.

Al-Shabbab and its human rights violations are just one of the countless gangs, killing squads and terrorist organizations in the world, but for the purpose of the running comparison between the two nations, al-Shabbab and the Libyan situation resemble one another.The Khamis Brigade,previously led by Khamis Qaddafi,has been accused of executing detainees a week ago in a warehouse near Tripoli.  Combined with the hundreds of other rights violations that have been committed and continue to be, the loyalist forces have turned into a rugged terrorist organization sworn to a cult of personality that is crumbling.

In retrospect,victory still eludes the rebels as loyalist forces are still in control of Bani Walid in the north, Sabha in the south and Qaddafi’s hometown of Sirte (though this has come under fire).

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EU: Three Levels of Failure

The European Union has failed to halt the debt crisis that has taken hold of the country’s political, economic, and social situation.  With such circumstances only growing worse, without any foreseeable end in sight, the credibility and soft power of the continent has been severely damaged.

The European Union is a unique economic and political partnership between 27 European countries.  As an international system, its purpose is to safeguard the sovereignty and security of its members.  So saying, the EU has been able to deliver half a century of peace, stability and prosperity, helped raise living standards, launched a single European currency and is aimed at progressively creating a single Europe-wide market in which all people, goods,and services can move among Member States in a free market.  Very idealistic but somewhat reasonable and noble goal that has gone wrong at some juncture.

The stability of the European Union should be a rather strong guarantee because of the ties between the Member States.  The stronger the normative and institutional the normative and institutional threads binding states, and the denser the connections between them, the greater the stake states have in preventing system breakdown.  This union, a common alliance, also creates more avenues in which the countries have available to them for resolving disagreements before they get out of hand.  Clearly, the conditions of today illustrate that the problems have gotten out of hand.  The fault does not lie at a single source, though many have taken precise aim at Greece; rather, the problems of the European society lie on an individual, state, and general system level.

The individual level can be associated with the decisions made and being made by the respective leaders of countries such as Greece, Portugal, and Ireland which were the precursors for the growing crisis.  Political leaders have a natural motivational psychology to desire power and therefore, fear any situation that may cost them any amount of public support and this power.  This illustrates the vanity that lies deeply rooted within any person too. So, leaders such as George Papandereou, used the assets available to them from the European Central Bank to raise the borrowing ability of Greece.  Using these resources, Greece was able to raise its living standards, practice much more liberal entitlement programs and welfare programs to a much more liberal extreme.  Throughout Europe, the influence of people brought on a similar age of gilded society.  The politicians were able to surmount a large level of support because of their actions in favor of the people, but underlining the exterior of society lay a deeply corrupted infrastructure.  The infrastructure was plagued by tax evasion, unrestrained spending, and cheap lending. The problems began to exact a large toll on the banks which, being connected to a larger scale of European banks, led to the widespread problems.

Nevertheless, the onset of the problem was sparked by irresponsible actions by those leaders, but the events have not been corrected because of the other individual leaders.   Leaders of the euro-zone, such as Chancellor Merkel and President Sarkozy, have not been able to appropriately deal with the significant growth of this problem.  Much of their reforms have been limited to large relief packages to some of the so-called “PIIGS”(Portugal, Ireland, Italy, Greece, and Spain).  Admittedly, Chancellor Merkel insisted that the relief packages be given only on the promise of strict restrictions and austerity cuts.  Nonetheless, the German chancellor did not remain vigilant on the implementation of such cuts and the problem has only continued to get worse.  Merkel and Sarkozy did hold a meeting that has called for the creation of a Euro-zone council which would serve as a tool to implement increased pressure on the Member States to improve their fiscal discipline, but as mentioned in “EU: Sarkozy-Merkel Meeting“, these conditions have existed in previous EU legislation. The failure exists in the system and the enforcement of such legislation, which will be mentioned later in the system level of failure in the EU.

However, the extent to which the blame can be focused on the individual level is complicated due to the state institution which in a democracy, stresses the sovereignty of the people.  In a democracy the people hold sovereignty and delegate government to their elected representatives and other state officials.  Therefore, these people serve as a tool of influence that coerce the moves of the individual leaders.  The machinery of the government leads to the state’s failure to cope with the consequences of its actions.  Once combined with the organizational dynamics of the system on a whole, the levels of significance become complicated.  The leaders, the individual level, are victim to vanity and crave power; therefore, they adhere to the popular will.  This will called for social spending in the form of investment in entitlement programs and welfare, as mentioned above.  This has led to the complications on the system level, the obvious fiscal crisis of the European Union.  So, the individual leaders must cope with the popular will and their duty to uphold the European bloc,two different levels of the institutions.

To be more direct on the failures of the state institutions, the amount being given to these bailout packages have left the “bailers” as beleaguered states, left with few resources and tools to cope with stagnation, high-unemployment, populist politics, and social instability.  Evidence of this is the widespread instability in London, Greece, and most notable is Norway (read more at The Fall of Europe).

In conjunction, a large amount of the problems exist in the specific organization, and lack of true union, in the system of the European Union.  As mentioned in “The Broken Euro”, the European Union does not fall along the lines of its stated goals, nor does it represent a true union.  There does exist a strong transnational link between all the states involved but this link seems to only allow the problems of one state to affect the others.  This reflects its resemblance of the Hobbesian state of nature, in which the system is a billiards table and the states are the billiards ball.  Once one state comes into contact with another, the balls come into conflict with all of its neighbors, creating a cycle of conflicts.  This transnational link does not allow the “meddling” of one leader, or great power, to reform and restrict the actions of its fellows.  This is because of the controversy over sovereignty of the Member States.  Sovereignty has led to the main problem of the EU, in that there exists an inability to enforce policies and reformation across the state borders.  The states involved are selfish in that they will not cede a fragment of their power to a European Finance Ministry.  An across-borders ministry as such would be able to manage the debt, the inflation, and the overall growth of a true cohesive body, a true European Union.   The EU has not delegated enough of their communal power towards investment into such a Euro-wide baking regulatory system, a centralized institution.  They must subordinate some of their individual sovereignty for the common good.

Much of the reform is at the feet of the European Central Bank.  Lately, the ECB has begun buying the debt of Italy and Spain to hopefully halt the degradation of their political, social, and financial stability to the level of Greece.  The problem with buying the debt is that it does not force reform or financial restrictions upon the countries; rather, it does allow them to lax in their cuts because the ECB will “always” be there to buy them from catastrophe. What needs to be done, is the creation of the Euro-wide ministry but also the stability fund, known as the European Financial Stability Fund, must be increased in size.  This will allow it to become a transnational fiscal authority.  This fund would be able to serve as an emergency relief for certain countries and once these countries have been helped, the concept of the Eurobonds may be dealt with.  Much popular-will has been delegated to such bonds.  Therefore, the organization reforms will fulfill the duty of the leaders towards the EU and the emergence from the crisis and the creation of the Eurobonds should be able to suffice to appease the growing tensions of society and popular will.

In retrospect, the level of failure have led to the loss of credibility both for the general organization, the individual leaders and states involved.  Leaders such as Chancellor Merkel, the most powerful women in the world according to Forbes, has lost much of her power and credibility in Germany and the CDU. President Sarkozy is also attacked by rivals and former allies in the political system in France, and with election nearing, he may soon face the all too real risk of losing reelection.  The problems also exist in the state level as the economic growth in Germany has slowed due to its involvement in the European Union and France is at risk of losing its AAA rating.  The power of the European continent has been severely weakened and does not exist all together in some countries.  The ability of these countries to present a formidable military and financial force in the world and therefore able to coerce other countries to align their interests with theirs (known as “soft power”) has been belittled.  The damage to their credibility needs not be explained as the downgrades and threats by credit rating agencies is all the evidence that is needed.

Libya: Endgame/Startgame

As the battle for Tripoli continues to rage, the liberation embodied by the rebels are now talking about the end of an era, but what is in the future for the next Libyan era?

With a price on Qaddafi’s head, with both NATO and the TNC on the hunt, the 42-year-old dictatorship seems to be coming to an end, but with the power being shifted to the people, questions about the future are on the rise.  In post-Saddam Iraq, a country in which the soil did feel the stomp of American troops, the withdrawal of troops led to chaos and the continual presence of violence and terrorism.  Libya, a country now devoid of any form of government and without any direct involvement of foreign troops, actions must be taken to break a resembling spiral of anarchy.  The TNC, the Transitional National Council, has been recognized as the legitimate governing authority of Libya, but the council established as the real governing body has been dismissed after the unsolved death of General Younis in July. The current head of the TNC, Mustafa Mohamed Abdul Jalil, has stated that the TNC will only remain as a source to establish stability for 8 months after the fall of Qaddafi and once disbanded, the people of Libya will vote for a governing council.

“The Gadhafi regime is coming to an end, explicitly relinquishing power to the people of Libya and calling for those forces that continue to fight, to lay down their arms.” – President Barack Obama, 44th President of the United States.

The plan laid out by the TNC is much more easily said than put into practice, as always.  With the division of rebels exacerbated by the assassination of General Younis, the long-held distrust over potential power sharing roles is once again threatening to rip the loose coalition of rebel factions apart.  As the guns fire high into the sky in celebration,it is only a matter of time till the sky-high shots begin to level and take aim at rivals for control of post-Qaddafi Libya.  The rifts of the rebel factions are clearly seen by those who defected from the dictator’s regime and those who had never been integrated into it.  Moreover, Jalil is viewed as the only true voice of a free Libya to both citizens of Libya and the international community, but it is not a view that rebels from Misrata and of the Nafusa Mountains have taken to heart.  Misrata rebels criticize the ineffectiveness and disorganization of the TNC.  The main reason for this dissent is that the rebels from these two regions were effectively the only fighters in charge of the push into Tripoli from Zawiya, Garyan and Zlitan.

“Restoring public order without resorting to indiscriminate force and falling prey to temptation of revenge against Gadhafi loyalists will be a huge challenge” – Thorsten Benner, security expert at the Global Public Policy Institute in Berlin.

The TNC does appear to have made plans for the short-term at the least; making sure that public utilities and services remain online once control is gained.  The TNC has also reveled a blueprint for a 20-month transition to democracy.  This blueprint calls for the relocation of rebel leadership from its current stronghold in Benghazi to Tripoli within 30 days of the capitol’s complete capture, as well as holding elections for a 200-member interim national congress within 8 months of claiming control.  Of course, questions do arise about which executive will oversee the fulfillment of these plans.  This brings into view the fears of the international community of a possible power vacuum in the new Libya.

NATO is fearful of being pushed into taking sides in the possible internal conflict of Libya, as it was forced to do in Afghanistan.  The results, of lack thereof, from Afghanistan demonstrate that it would undermine the possibility of reaching any durable political infrastructure. This is exactly what NATO and the international community on a whole hopes to avoid.

“Washington wants to make sure that democracy takes hold and that there is no major tribal fighting, that radial Islam does not become a major force and has no effect as far as terrorism in concerned.”– Charles Gurdon,Managing Director of Menas Consulting, London-based political risk consultant firm.

The fight for Libya was mainly a European one because of the fact that most Libyan exports go to Europe, rather than the US, but with the transitioning period approaching, the US will become more involved.  Of course, many suggest that US interests are not a matter of oil, but that is idealization.  Libya has an abundance of oil and gas, natural resources very coveted in the West.  Occidental, Marathon, ConocoPhillips,Exxon and Hess all have oil projects in the region; illustrating that oil investment of these US-based corporations.

So saying, the US has made efforts towards unfreezing the $30+ billion in Libya assets to fund reconstruction efforts.  The US will be taking a more direct form of involvement in the coming months to ensure that a downward spiral does not emerge.   With elections upcoming, this involvement will not include troop presence because American are against such intervention and popularity is something President Barack Obama will covet.

Libya: The Fall of Qaddafi

6 months after the demonstrations and the ragtag group of poorly organized rebels set out to usurp the Libyan regime of Qaddafi, the fights have appeared to be on the brink of ending the 42 years dictatorship of the infamous leader.

On Monday, Qaddafi’s desperation has been clearly illustrated by the lack of control in Tripoli.  Qaddafi;s regime has remained in control of only three site: a hospital, a military barracks, and the Rixos hotel.  The loyalist forces in charge of the hospital,located in Tajoura,have supposedly negotiated their surrender this Monday morning, expediting the disintegration of the regime’s hold in the capital.  The news only continues of progressive movement by the forces of the Transitional National Council, as reports have come in of gunfire exchange between loyalist forces and the rebels at the Rixos hotel, one of the last strongholds of Qaddafi’s forces.  This supports the claims that 95% of the capital is under rebel control.

“A great majority of the capital of Tripoli is under freedom fighters’ control” – Guma El-Gamaty, Britain-bases coordinator for Transitional National Council.

With Saif al-Islam, Qaddafi’s son, captured, the forces of Libya are truly marching upon their “zero hour”.  In Zawiya, one a much contested oil city in Libya, the rebels are celebrating with a hail of gunfire into the sky, setting off fireworks and chanting, “Libya is free!”.  With the public either joining the freedom fighter or fleeing all together,it seems that Libya is underway to be completely under TNC control.  Of course, there is yet to be a formal establishment of government or leadership as of the moment, but with Qaddafi nowhere to be found and the rebels advancing on the coastal stretch, it seem that the end of this fight will be coming soon.

The 69-year-old leader, Qaddafi, has urged civilians to take up arms against the rebel “rats” and with two of his sons capture, many have thought that the fight has become a much more personal one for Qaddai, ensuring that Qaddafi would remain in Tripoli to personally withstand rebel attempts at usurption.  No.  There has been little sight of public opposition and no reports of Qaddafi in Libya whatsoever, leaving many to suggest his flight to neighboring Algeria or Chad.  Nevertheless, may the celebration be too soon in the coming?

“I’m being attacked right now.  This is gunfire inside my house.  There are inside my house.” – man identified as Mohammed Qaddafi

The Bab-alAziziya compound, home to the Qaddafi family, has been destroyed by NATO airstrikes and there are reports of further gunfire around the rubble as well.  Furthermore, with Saif al-Islam, an outspoken defender of his father;s regime, in custody and potentially being tried by the International Criminal Court in the Netherlands,the last remnant of Qaddafi’s rule are disintegrating.  The international community has come together to note that the dictator’s rule is “absolutely over”. However, the political statements have come at a time when there is still chronic fighting in the streets and loyalist forces still remain stubbornly entrenched in certain locales of Libya.  Yet, after 6 months of NATO bombing, the international community has taken the signs of success has a vindication of their investment and assistance in the fight for democracy.

Nonetheless, the next fight, the fight for the future of Libya, has only just begun.  Qaddafi is missing, his sons have been captured and the rebels are still pushing through pockets of resistance in Tripoli, but they do not have a plan for who is the right person to take the reigns of leadership.  The presumed transition, to a council of varying identities and ideas for the future, raises the questions about whether the future government will be pro-West or anti-West, Islamist or secular of somewhere in between.   The problems with the transitioning period are all to apparent in Egypt, where the established military junta has already come under fire from the same activists that fought for its establishment.

“Weeks from now, we’re going to see the beginning of a tension between the more Islamist part and the more secular part of the Transitional Council” – Walid Phares, Middle East analyst

Another important facet for the future are the military arsenals throughout the country. Qaddafi is known to have stockpiles a large amount of chemical weapons and explosives, which combined with the already impressive display of Western armaments in the hands of the rebels,may serve as a useful tool for any leaders planning on forceful takeover.  Therefore, civil order is important and the role of NATO as a mediator, now and in the coming months, will be very important.  In conjunction, the United Nations Security Council has also promised its assistance to the rebel in all ways: political, legal, diplomatic,and financial.

“A season of conflict must lead to one of peace” – President Barack Obama, 44th President of the United States

Addition: 8/23/11

With the emergence of Saif al-Islam, mocking all suggestions of his capture and thoughts of a swift TNC victory, the situation in Libya has only grown more confused.  Whether or not Saif had been captured has not been reported upon, but with Mohammed, another Qaddfi son, escaping capture, the supposed cohesive union of rebels seems to have many flaws.  The international community cannot believe any reports coming from Tripoli of TNC success as entrenched battles only continue to worsen.  Moreover, the fight for Saif al-Islam seems to be more a political one, driving reporters around only to secured Qaddafi neighborhoods to combat ideas of the TNC pushing through Tripoli.   Clearly,the situation in Libya will be on to monitor closely as the situation is not as simple as it was made out to be yesterday.

Time World:http://www.time.com/time/world/article/0,8599,2090033,00.html

Stock Market: Global Markets Falling and the Future

With the Stock Market falling for a fourth week in a row, Wall Street has begun to worry that the lack of confidence has set off a spiral fear that could push prices even lower, causing people and businesses to pull back investment, thus tipping the economy into a new recession.

“I’m nervous that fear will lead companies to stop hiring and people to stop spending”– Jim Paulsen, chief investment strategist of Wells Capital Management.

Rather than only reflecting fears for financial stability, the recent downward spiral illustrates that the stock market is starting to feed economic fear, not only an asset for people to demonstrate their uncertainty.  The reasons for the recent plunge are multifaceted.  It started last month when the government said the economy had only gown .8%, the slowest since the supposed “Great Recession” which had (again: supposedly) ended in June 2009.  Also, home sales fall a significant percent this past week, with 16% of sales being cancelled last minute, 4 times the rate in May.  A major factor in the sellout was a survey by the Federal Reserve that said manufacturing has slowed in the mid-Atlantic states by the most in more than two years.  Clearly, the problems are racking  up and the odds are definitely against the American people.  Sadly, the hopes for recovery are not only slight, but with political brinkmanship still evident and the housing market only getting worse, the people are becoming desperate.

“People are really motivated by larger economic trends. It’s all about if you feel confident enough to buy a home right now.” – Brian Fine, loan manager at Mortgage Master in Rockville, Md.

Well, a larger economic trend is emerging and it is not one to make the public confident.  The news from Europe has only gotten worse.  The economy of Germany, which has been the European Union’s greatest source of strength, has slowed considerably. The outlook for the mass media, stating that is “no solution in sight” for the Euro-zone crisis, combined with the US markets plunge on Thursday had European Markets beginning in the red on Friday.  London’s FTSE lost 2.5%, Germany’s DAX lost 3.4% and France’s CAC 40 fell 2.9%, which only added to the 4% to 5% losses the majority of them had experienced on the previous day.  So far, the EU has responded to the debt problems in Greece, Portugal and Ireland by throwing money at the problems.  Merkel’s and Sarkozy’s meeting, analyzed in EU: Sarkozy-Merkel Meeting,  put forth policies to counter the growing problems but many analysts are skeptical, stating that the policies are far from stringent enough.  And with such news being sensationalized across the globe, the public has only continued its downward spiral of chronic selling, unemployment, and little to no investment into the economy.  Evidently, there seems to be a negative feedback loop which circulated around the world causing every piece of pessimistic financial news to create havoc across the seas and at home.

Furthermore, this week will be a stressful and symbolic of the future financial trend for the American nation and for the global economy as well.  On Tuesday, new home sales for July will be released. The housing market has always been a source for economic recovery, that is, only when the housing market is booming.  Investors will further be pressured on Thursday due to the weekly report on how many people have joined the unemployment lines.  This will all be followed up on Friday when the government will give its second estimate on how fast the economy has grown from April through June. So saying, Morgan and Stanley has stated the both America and Europe are hovering close to a recession.  Surprising considering that many people have already considered the news around the world to be a clear illustration of an already existing recession.  So, if it can get worse, meaning if it truly does become a recession, then it can also become better.

Although unemployment remains high, 9.1%, there are signs that the economy is still growing, just not at a great pace.  Moreover, retail sales grew in July at the fastest pace since March and employers have added around 117,000 jobs last month.  Though a modest gain, it is far better than the hundreds of thousand of jobs lost every month during the “Great Recession”.

Somalia: Malnourished and Cholera

In the last two months, it has been estimated that over 30,000 Somali babies have died of hunger and disease in a Kenya refugee camp near Dabaab.

“My eyes refuse to shed tears. We come from God and thus we return to God”  – Somali mother

Grim faced but with no tears, mothers ar seen burying their children all along the grounds of the refugee camp. Yet, the matters only seem to get worse for the Horn of Africa. Despite the al-Shabbab terrorist organization agreeing to withdrawal and allow the passage of international aid into Somalia, the amount of aid is still only a sliver of what is needed, according to the Mercy Corps.  As depicted by the Mercy Corps, a Portland-based international aid agency, the assistance being brought to Somalia is internationally widespread, but with 1.5 million people having been displaced in southern Somalia alone, with about 500,000 of those squatting in Mogadishu,the aid must be more substantial.

Moreover, the high counts of malnourished is not the only problem that has grown to hamper both the Somali people and international aid organization.  A cholera outbreak, along the lines of the one in 2007, has broken out and intensified in Mogadishu.  According to the World Health Organization, 4,272 cases of cholera  have been reported since January and these reports are coming from Banadir, only a single hospital in Mogadishu. With 3.6 million people at risk of starvation in Somalia alone, 12 million throughout the Horn of Africa, the outbreak has only made matters much worse, especially considering that reports have stated it has spread to another 4 regions outside of Mogadishu.

“I have never ever seen so many people so close to death.  Kids are definitely starving. There is no doubt.” – Cassandra Nelson, Mercy Corps aid worker.

Why is this happening again?

Somalia’s endless agony is caused by their lack of leadership, a central structure to provide organization and reassurance.  Somali politicians have only narrowed their goals to merely seeking publicity and scrambling for a few dollars through their divisive politics, policies that have already left Somalian lands resembling small pockets of clannish enclaves.  The people are now yearning for unity and the building of a nation. Illustrated in the “Arab Spring”, informational opportunities can come in the form of pain.  There are many Somalis who truly want to win peace.  The international aid being brought to Somalia is only a short-term solution.  The people of Somalia need a functional infrastructure, in short, the need a new government.

As always, social networking has become a useful asset to activists, including some in Somalia.  The new generation, activists seeking change, have created hundreds of Facebook groups seeking a return to a peaceful era in Somalian history.  The new generation can overcome the grudges that have formed from the Civil War that left the country in shambled in the 90s.  So saying, the formation of that government in 1945 came without any political blueprint, only the actions taken by the Somalian Youth League. If history should every repeat itself, the creation of another functional government (hopefully longer and lasting and without corruption…much to ask for) should come again.

The starving people of Somalia, on the verge of death, have the motivation and the reason to rally but they need leadership, a person who will not compromise their core values of putting country first, caring for the weak and the orphans of Somalia.

Syria: Assad Must Go

Syria’s government has come under diplomatic assault today as the United States and the United Nations have taken decisive actions against the regime.

“I [Barack Obama] strongly condemn this brutality, including the disgraceful attacks on Syrian civilians in cities like Hama and Deir al Zour, and the arrests of opposition figures who have been denied justice and subjected to torture at the hands of the regime. These violations of the universal rights of the Syrian people have revealed to Syria,the regions, and the world the Assad government’s flagrant disrespect for the dignity of the Syrian people.”– President Barack Obama, 44th President of the United States of America

Along with the UN statement of “crimes against humanity”, nations around the world have banded together to condemn, internationally, the repulsive actions within the borders of Syria.  Former allies, such as Turkey and Russia have also stepped up their rhetoric against Syria. Turkey is waiting for regional consensus to determine whether further action must be taken, which may even go so far as military action, hinted at in the statement: “If these operation [military killings] do not stop, there will be nothing left to say about the steps that would be taken”.  The delay in further action is an intelligent political move due to Turkey’s cultural diversity which would come into conflict with action taken by Kurds in Syria and Iran.  (Read more at: Syria: The Power Keg)

Joining Turkey in the list of nations against Bashar al-Assad are both Jordan and Saudi Arabia, which have both issued statement against the “killing machine” and have called for UN humanitarian missions to enter Syria’s borders. King Abdallah of Saudi Arabia has demanded that al-Assad accept at least some of the demands of Syrians calling for an end to his decade old dictatorship.  The determination of the King was displayed by the recalling of Saudi’s ambassador from Damascus, which was mimicked by both Bahrain and Kuwait.  Although military intervention has been declared unfeasible by the US, the deceleration by the Saudi’s may come as welcome support to Turkey and its potential plans for future intervention.  As a country that holds a strong grudge against al-Assad for his role in the assistance of the Hezbollah, a Shia militia terror group, Saudi Arabia has long eyed Syria and Iran with distrust and aggression.

Nevertheless, the cultural tensions alone would provide endless problems in the region for any countries considering military action.  As mentioned in “Syria: The Powder Keg“, the Kurd issue between Iran, Syria and Turkey could lead to an internal division in Turkey, a country that would most likely be leading the foreign nations, militarily, into and against al-Assad and Iran.  Furthermore, with the Shabiha terror groups present, indiscriminately killing Sunni’s in an Alawite and Sunni war, the conflict would intensify into chronic mass killings and destruction of the region.  With the inclusion of aid from Iran, home to the Shia terror group Hezbollah, the cultural disparity of so many countries present within the tight constraint of Syria’s borders would lead to a full out catastrophe (worst case scenario, considering countries are attempting to avoid military conflict).

“The United States cannot and will not impose this transition upon Syria.  It is up to the Syrian people to choose their own leaders, and we have heard their strong desire that there not be foreign intervention in their movement.  What the United States will support is an effort to bring about a Syria that democratic, just, and inclusive for all Syrians.  We will support this outcome by pressuring President Assad to get out of the way of this transition, and standing up for the universal rights of the Syrian people along with others in the international community.” – President Barack Obama, 44th President of the United States of America

To focus on more plausible circumstances, the international community has taken a step up in indirect but direct actions against Bashar al-Assad.  Barack Obama has issued an Executive Order issuing the immediate freeze of all assets of the al-Assad government which are subject to US jurisdiction and also prohibits US persons from engaging in any transaction involving the Government of Syria.  The Executive Order also bans US imports of Syrian-origin petroleum or petroleum products.  This is an interesting order considering these sanction will put the US at odds with Iran as well, and with such oil-rich nations against the US, oil prices will increase…once again (Saudi Arabia will not argue as it will increase their exports to US and EU).

Along with the new sanctions, the pressure by the international community has gone so far as a referral to the International Criminal Court.  With reports coming in of Syria’s “shoot-on-sight”policy, the news from Syria have only become more desperate and grievous, escalating humanitarian efforts and ICC actions.  With tanks, snipers, killing squads, and artillery; the Syrian people, civilian and rebels alike, have been targeted by the merciless military.  Moreover, if the killing were not enough, the regime has attempted to slander all reports by lying any and all global media assets.  A few week ago, Bashar al-Assad promised multi-party elections which were followed up by the brutal crackdown in Hama, killing 200 people, and artillery strikes in Lakatia.  Circumstances only grow worse as reports have come in that killing squads have repeatedly gone into hospitals killing any injured demonstrators, a clear violation of human rights.  In conjunction, al-Assad’s regime stated on 8/17 that there would be a halt to military operation, which has been true to the extent that the  military has not been as cruel as usual.  Only 4 people have been reported killed and only a few hundred have been arrested in Hama and Lakatia.  Clearly, steps have been taken by al-Assad to demonstrate the rainbows and sunshine enshrined throughout Syria.

“Widespread modus operandi to kill civilians by using a) forces on the ground, b) snipers on rooftops and c) air power … consistent with an apparent shoot-to-kill policy” – Navi Pillar, UN Human Rights Commissioner

On Monday, the UN Human Rights Council is to hold a special session on Syria which has been requested by 24 members of council, including the European Union, Washington and all 4 Arab members – Jordan, Kuwait, Qatar, and Saudi Arabia.  Although many officials have acknowledged that the move is not likely to have any immediate impact on the Syrian regime’s behavior, the officials have said it would send a powerful signal that Assad is no longer welcomed in the international community.  Also, they noted that the additional sanctions will further boost pressure on Assad and his inner circle.  Evidence of this is supplied by al-Assad reportedly agreeing to receive UN humanitarian missions within access to different sites in Syria.  Though this may not accomplish anything beyond confirming the gruesome reports of death, torture, and chaos; it does illustrate a “thaw” to some extent of Syria’s strict policies.  Moreover, Bashar al-Assad has also enumerated the reforms he will undertake in the next few months, how true this may be is debatable but the only choice now is take everything at face value.

So saying, the international community has seen the presence falsification of countries such as Libya.  After multiple statements by the West against Qaddafi, the regime promised repeatedly of reforms and some going so far as stating Qaddafi’s withdrawal of power, but clearly none of this has come true as the rebels are only now encircling Tripoli with direct military intervention by the West.  Therefore,Syria should be undertaken with similar steps as Libya.  For once, military intervention by the West is nigh impossible because of geopolitical conditions throughout that region, age-old cultural grudges, and the mere fact that hose people within those territories, more likely than not, have had enough of Western intervention.  Clearly, the situation in Syria is more tricky than that of Libya and yet, harsher steps will be needed.  If none of the sanctions, humanitarian missions, and potential ICC cases do not yield any progress or success; interventions should come from countries such as Turkey, Saudi Arabia, and Jordan.  Military assets, medical assistance, and financial aid should be given, indirectly, by the West; which should be the extent to their intervention.