Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Uganda seizes truck taking food for South Sudan rebels SPLA-IO

Article from www.monitor.co.ug
By FELIX WAROM OKELLO Kampala
Published Monday 24 June 2019

Uganda seizes truck taking food for South Sudan rebels

Image: Uganda Revenue Authority said the truck was using an illegal route known as Kampala in Koboko District at the border with South Sudan. Oraba border customs is the main entry point to South Sudan through Yei and Kaya towns 

The Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) has impounded a truck loaded with food to be supplied to the South Sudan People’s Liberation Army in Opposition (SPLA-IO) rebels.

The authority said the truck was using an illegal route known as Kampala in Koboko District at the border with South Sudan.

Oraba border customs is the main entry point to South Sudan through Yei and Kaya towns. Speaking to Daily Monitor at the weekend, the northern regional manager for Uganda Revenue Authority, Mr Godson Mwesigye, said: “It [the issue] was not smuggled goods but our problem with them is that they wanted to use an illegal route. So, we could not allow the truck to use un-gazetted route.”

He confirmed that the food stuff was bought from Uganda and was being taken to the SPLA-IO.

“For us we have no problem because once the security clears it, we shall have no problem with them. It is a security matter,” he added. 

The 409th Brigade of Uganda People’s Defence Forces public relations officer, Lt Ibrahim Ssekito, said: “Our main interest is only to check if there are ammunition being smuggled in the truck. But for us we have no problem once the food is cleared because there is already an agreement signed between two warring factions in South Sudan that those people use our routes. So, we are waiting for the clearance from Kampala where initial clearance was originated.”

The deputy spokesperson of SPLA-IO, Col Paul Lam, said: “There is nothing like illegal routes because, there is no way you can bring food from Yei to our areas.”

editorial@ug.nationmedia.com

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Ebola cases in Uganda - DR Congo is battling second largest Ebola outbreak in history


From UK Government Department for International Development
Press Release - June 13, 2019

Statement from Harriett Baldwin on Ebola in Uganda

International Development Minister comments on the cases of Ebola in Uganda, near the border with the Democratic Republic of the Congo

LONDON, United Kingdom, June 13, 2019/ -- Responding to the confirmation of Ebola cases in Uganda, International Development Minister and Minister for Africa, Harriett Baldwin, said:

"It is devastating to hear that cases of Ebola have now been confirmed in Uganda and tragically a child has lost their life".

"The UK government has been the leading donor for Ebola preparedness in Uganda, training health workers on the ground and providing medical equipment to deal with this virus".

"We stand ready to provide further support, but are also calling on the global community to step up. It is more important than ever that we work together to end this deadly outbreak".

Background
The Ugandan government has confirmed three cases of Ebola in the country. A five-year old boy has died as well as his 51-year old grandmother. The authorities have also identified eight contact cases.

Since 2000, Uganda has had five Ebola outbreaks. In the last outbreak (2012), there were 24 reported cases and 17 deaths. Efforts to strengthen Uganda’s health system to be prepared for such outbreaks, including through UK support, means Uganda should be well placed to manage and respond to these new cases.

UK aid has funded Uganda’s preparedness effort since the current Ebola outbreak began in August 2018. This has involved training for health workers, the provision of eight ambulances and sixty-three motorbikes to support the management of suspected cases, including in refugee settlements.

As a leading donor, the UK is coordinating other international donors to support Government of Uganda’s plans to limit the possible spread of Ebola. This has included working closely with the EU, US and Ireland.

UK experts have provided on the ground briefing to donor partners, using extensive knowledge of the disease to advise and guide the use of resources to prevent the spread of the disease.

Public Health England (PHE) continues to assess that the risk to the UK from the outbreak is negligible-very low, even after the confirmed cases on the border between Uganda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).

DRC is battling the second largest Ebola outbreak in history and the first-ever in a conflict zone, with more than 70 armed groups operating in the east of the country. The number of cases has surpassed 2,000 and the death toll has reached 1,390.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Department for International Development (DFID).
SOURCE: UK Government Department for International Development (DFID)

Saturday, April 20, 2019

Rice is a priority crop for Uganda - Japan's PRiDe project has trained 50,000+ farmers - 1 million S. Sudan refugees in N. Uganda

HERE is an interesting and heartwarming news report about an extraordinary South Sudanese refugee, Queen Chandia, who has taken in 19 orphaned and unaccompanied refugee children thanks, in part, to a programme to promote rice production that is bringing refugee and local farmers together.

Queen was selected to take part in a Promotion of Rice Development (PRiDe) project, an initiative of the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) that aims to promote rice production among refugee and Ugandan farmers. 

JICA’s rice project is one example of a development partner working with the government and UNHCR to support both refugees and host communities in Uganda. This approach aims to foster peaceful coexistence between groups and is part of a wider response to refugee movements known as the Comprehensive Refugee Response Framework or CRRF.

“Rice is a food crop and a cash crop,” explains Minoru Yoshino, chief advisor of the PRiDe project, which has trained more than 50,000 farmers since it launched in 2011. “[Growing it] improves both food security and livelihoods for refugees and Ugandans.”

Rice is a priority crop for Uganda. Growing it means refugees can contribute both towards the local economy and help the country meet its development targets. For Queen, it was also a golden opportunity to secure her income.

Thanks to generous neighbours, Queen now grows rice and other crops in Uganda and is able to support 22 refugee children in her care.  

Here is the story in full incase in the future the report is moved and the link becomes broken. To view photos of Queen and her children, click on the link at the end of the following report.

South Sudanese grow rice, and community ties, in Uganda
From UNHCR.org
By Josie Le Blond in Oliji Settlement, Uganda 
Thursday 18 April 2019 

South Sudanese refugee Queen Chandia scans the field, then bends down to inspect the green shoots struggling out of the earth. This land in Uganda is not hers, but the rice germinating in it is. Thanks to generous neighbours, Queen grows enough to support 22 refugee children in her care.

“Rice is so profitable for me right now,” says Queen, 34, who fled conflict in South Sudan and found refuge in Uganda as a young child in the early 1990s. “Those other crops I’m just planting to supplement the food we’re given. But rice I’m using as my income-generating business.”
Queen did not always grow rice. She has spent most of her life growing maize, sorghum and peanuts on her plot in Oliji, a settlement in a region of northern Uganda that is now home to more than one million South Sudanese refugees.

As waves of violence hit her country over the years, Queen took in refugee children at her farm – orphans and unaccompanied minors who had nowhere else to go. They joined her own three children and became part of her family. Before long, Queen found herself mother of 22 children.

“We share everything with the refugees.”
“God has seen I have that heart of motherhood,” says Queen, who has taken it upon herself to pay the children’s medical and school fees, and to see to it that they are properly fed, clothed and looked after. “That could be the reason why he has sent all these children to me.”

Queen received food assistance from the World Food Programme and grew crops on land borrowed from her Ugandan neighbour. She sold any excess crops but, with maize and sorghum prices falling, Queen was struggling to make ends meet. Then, in 2014, everything changed.

Queen was selected to take part in a Promotion of Rice Development (PRiDe) project, an initiative of the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) that aims to promote rice production among refugee and Ugandan farmers. Rice is a priority crop for Uganda. Growing it means refugees can contribute both towards the local economy and help the country meet its development targets. For Queen, it was also a golden opportunity to secure her income.

“Rice is a food crop and a cash crop,” explains Minoru Yoshino, chief advisor of the PRiDe project, which has trained more than 50,000 farmers since it launched in 2011. “[Growing it] improves both food security and livelihoods for refugees and Ugandans.”

Queen travelled to a site outside Kampala where she learned how to grow rice. Training with a group of fellow refugees and Ugandans, Queen learned how to prepare the land and sow in straight lines, making harvesting and weeding much easier.

At the end of training, the group were given a bag of rice seed to sow. However, Queen did not have space on her plot. She approached farmer Samuel Lagu, a Ugandan also on the training program, who agreed to donate a third of his land to her and two other refugees to grow rice. For him, the gesture was natural.

“We share everything with the refugees,” says Samuel, whose own experiences of receiving help as a refugee in South Sudan in the 1980s inspired him to return the favour. “We are not going to refuse them, they are our brothers. I give land to refugees because they have no land here in Uganda.”

“Now we know how to sow, to weed, to harvest, to store, to dry very well,” he continues. “That training came through the refugees, together with the refugees, that’s why now we are working with them.”

Queen now spends every weekend with her children at Samuel’s farm, tending to two acres of rice fields. Many of Samuel’s neighbours have given land to other refugees in individual arrangements where no rent changes hands. For Queen, as for Samuel, sharing land comes naturally.

“It’s easy, we are sharing, we are birds of a feather,” explains Queen, who says closely-related cultures, language, customs and ways of life also help to foster the tight relationship between the South Sudanese and Ugandans. “If not for the border, we are the same people.”

JICA’s rice project is one example of a development partner working with the government and UNHCR to support both refugees and host communities in Uganda. This approach aims to foster peaceful coexistence between groups and is part of a wider response to refugee movements known as the Comprehensive Refugee Response Framework [ https://www.unhcr.org/comprehensive-refugee-response-framework-crrf.html ] or CRRF.

Since the training, Queen has seen her overall yields double. With land and rice to grow on it, she has been able to diversify into livestock, keeping pigs, goats and sheep. She is planning to buy a cow with the proceeds from her next crop.

The extra income from rice has also allowed Queen to build a house for the children and keep all 22 of them in school. In return, they help out on the farm at weekends and during holidays. Now Queen looks to the new generation she has fostered to one day take up the farming baton.
“When I see my rice, as good as it is, I become somehow happy,” says Queen, adding that she hopes her children will pass on all they have learned from her about farming. “I hope what we are doing here my children are also learning. I’m really teaching teachers.”

Click here to view a video of Queen at work and at home with her children.


Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Sudan Coup Crisis: Uganda willing to offer Al-Bashir asylum: Michale Baleke

Uganda willing to offer Al-Bashir asylum
Here below is a video by SABC posted today at this blog’s parent site SUDAN WATCH.
Also, the following copy of a written report by SABC posted with the video.

From SABC Digital News
Published on Google’s YouTube, Tuesday 16 April 2019:


UGANDA OFFERS OUSTED SUDAN’S AL-BASHIR ASYLUM

“The government of Uganda says it is willing to consider granting asylum to deposed Sudanese leader Omar al-Bashir. It says, this in appreciation for his role in the South-Sudan peace deal. Uganda's State Minister for foreign affairs Henry Okello Oryem, said on Tuesday in Kampala, that if al-Bashir applied for asylum in Uganda his government could consider the matter. We are now joined LIVE for more on this story by Correspondent Michale Baleke from Kampala, Uganda.”

Click here to view the video:  https://youtu.be/CLHWaD87WtU

South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) is funded in whole or in part by the South African government. Wikipedia

Friday, July 26, 2013

“How The Crane Got Its Crown: A Ugandan Folk Tale”

From the Daily Monitor
By Charles Onyango Obbo
Wednesday, 24 July 2013
How the crane got its crown… and why today it is so sad

Sometime back I was sniffing around for the latest books on Uganda. Down at the end of the list, there was this “How The Crane Got Its Crown: A Ugandan Folk Tale”.

It is a children’s storybook, written and illustrated by Olivia Nakiingi Infield.

Since I couldn’t remember reading a folk tale about how the crane got its crown, I went on Amazon.com and ordered it. Two weeks ago the book arrived.

First to Olivia. We are told she wrote the book when she was 12. The book was published in July 2012, so knowing how long it takes to bring books to market even by the best American publishers, she probably finished it around mid-2011. Therefore, today she would be about 15. That is about right, because we learn that she is “now a high school student and lives in Kampala”.

Olivia writes that; “The characters in my book are based on my trips to various national parks in Uganda”, and that she hopes the book will encourage people of all ages (including your columnist, yes) to “appreciate the animals of the plains”.

It is a beautifully written and illustrated book. If you haven’t bought it for your little one, it’s worth all $16 of it.

So, what is the story and why should a grown bearded man like myself bother with it? The safest way not to spoil it is to quote the summary on the back, I guess.

“A long time ago on the African Plains, when the earth was flat and the sun never set, a terrible drought threatened the lives of the animals that lived there.

“Lion, king of the animals, is a wise leader and calls all the animals to an emergency meeting to see what can be done. First he sends cheetah, the fastest of the animals, and then elephant, the largest of the animals, to find water. But both fail.

“Finally, lion calls on crane. Crane devises a plan, and along with all the other Ugandan cranes, they fly into the sky to peck at the rain-filled clouds, high above the mountains. Water flows from the clouds and into the lake below.

“Crane is awarded a crown for saving all the animals. Today, the crowned crane is Uganda’s national emblem and can be seen in the centre of the Ugandan flag. And  that is How the Crane Got Its Crown.”

You must be smiling now, because I am sure you can see where this story is going. Olivia wrote the book so that we can all appreciate the animals of the plains. But  unbeknownst to her, at the age of 12, she also wrote one of the best Ugandan political commentaries of recent years.

In today’s real political life, we could say the crane got its crown for service to country. However, today every day is a reminder of how those who are trusted with power, with teaching our children, with spending our taxes prudently, and protecting the weak do everything that is against the spirit of Olivia’s crane. The crane on our flag has become a daily indictment of our failures.

Lion, king of the animals, is a strong animal. But he was wise, and democratic. He called an assembly to discuss what could be done to deal with the drought.

Today’s Uganda’s Lion King may or may not be wise. But he definitely is not democratic. He knows all, and doesn’t listen to wise counsel — except his own voice. And he beats down other animals that don’t agree with him.

Then crane flies to peck the cloud “along with all the other cranes”, i.e. with all Ugandans. And it is not just one crane that got the crown. All cranes got the crown. See? Everyone who works, everyone who is a citizen, gets to slice a piece of the cake.

That is what Uganda should be. Unfortunately, it is not. Not every Ugandan gets the cake. Not all the cranes that peck the cloud get crowns. Matter of fact, the cranes that peck the clouds today get nothing or little. The ones that don’t peck the clouds, get almost everything.

Things have changed. Today you have to be related to, be a favourite, a selected party mate, possibly even sweetheart, of a big crane or one of the big lions to get a crown.

In recent years, I have taken a very active interest in nature. Well before Olivia’s book, I had always been struck by the fact that the Crested Crane is an unhappy bird. Its eyes don’t twinkle delightfully like the parrot’s. Its crown and feathers aren’t as bright as the one that we draw on the national flag.

Thanks to Olivia’s book, now I know why the modern crane is so sad.

cobbo@ke.nationmedia.com
Twitter: cobbo3
Hat tip:  Lindsey Hilsum ‏@lindseyhilsum retweet: 
https://twitter.com/cobbo3/status/359952312476774400

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Sudan files complaint to AU against Uganda's support for rebels

Report from English.news.cn published 20 July 2013; 16:55:46: 
Sudan files complaint to AU against Uganda's support for rebels           
KHARTOUM, Sudan - 20 July 2013 (Xinhua) -- Sudan has filed a complaint to the African Union (AU) against Uganda over its support for rebel insurgency against Khartoum, Almeghar Alsyasi daily reported Saturday.
The paper quoted Foreign Ministry Undersecretary Rahamtalla Mohamed Osman as saying that the Sudanese government "is waiting for the AU's response to its complaint."
"When we receive the AU's response, then every session will have a different discussion," he added.
Khartoum has been accusing Kampala of supporting and providing shelter for rebel movements fighting the Sudanese government.  Editor: Luan
Source:  http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/africa/2013-07/20/c_132558465.htm
- - -

Further Reading

URGENT: South Sudan army says it and UN unable to protect civilians in Jonglei State. Western powers are worried the violence will escalate into full civil war. (UPDATE 1: Added YouTube video link) 
Full story at Sudan Watch, Thursday 18 July 2013:
http://sudanwatch.blogspot.co.uk/2013/07/urgent-south-sudan-army-says-it-and-un.html
- - -

DR Congo:  Over 30,000 Congolese flee rebel attacks to Uganda: UN
KAMPALA, Uganda (AFP) 13 July 2013 –  More than 30,000 refugees from eastern Democratic Republic of Congo fleeing a rebel attack on the town of Kamango have arrived in neighbouring Uganda, UN officials said on Saturday...
Full story at Congo Watch, Monday 22 July 2013:
http://congowatch.blogspot.co.uk/2013/07/dr-congo-over-30000-congolese-flee.html
- - -

DR Congo:  Heavy fighting has resumed between the Congolese army and the M23 armed group in the Mutaho-Kibati area, near Goma, in N. Kivu Province
HEAVY fighting has resumed between the Congolese army and the M23 armed group in the Mutaho-Kibati area, near Goma, in N. Kivu Province, Democratic Republic of the Congo.  Excerpt from 22 July 2013 Daily Press Briefing by the UN's Office of the Spokesperson for the Secretary-General...
Full story at Congo Watch, Tuesday 23 July 2013:
http://congowatch.blogspot.co.uk/2013/07/dr-congo-heavy-fighting-has-resumed.html 
- - -

CAR:  Communiqué of the AU PSC on the situation in the CAR
Communiqué of the Peace and Security Council of the African Union (AU), at its 386th meeting on the situation in the Central African Republic (CAR) [Last Updated on Friday 19 July 2013]:  The Peace and Security Council of the African Union (AU), at its 386th meeting held on 19 July 2013, adopted the following decision on the situation in the Central African Republic (CAR)...
Full story at:  Congo Watch, Friday 19 July 2013
http://congowatch.blogspot.co.uk/2013/07/car-communique-of-au-psc-on-situation.html
- - -

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Uganda charges four in alleged coup plot

ACCORDING to the following news report by Aljazeera online, four men who worked in the office of renegade army general David Sejusa have been charged with plotting to overthrow Uganda's long-serving president, their attorney said ... intelligence agents who worked under self-exiled general David Sejusa will face court martial for suspected "treachery".  Full story:

Report from Aljazeera dated Friday 19 July 2013 18:06:
Uganda charges four in alleged coup plot

Four men who worked in the office of renegade army general David Sejusa have been charged with plotting to overthrow Uganda's long-serving president, their attorney said.

Ugandan lawyer Ladislaus Rwakafuuzi on Friday said all four men who worked as intelligence agents in the office of Sejusa will face a court martial for alleged “treachery” an offence as serious as treason under Ugandan military law and which carries the death penalty.

He said the charge sheet alleges the four engaged in "activities intended to overthrow the legitimate government of Uganda,'' the same charge Sejusa is likely to face if and when he returns to Uganda.

Sejusa's aides were secretly charged weeks ago and are now detained in a quasi-military facility near the capital, Rwakafuuzi said.

Self-exiled in London

Sejusa, 58, is a member of Uganda's military high command and a decorated hero of the bush war that brought Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni to power nearly three decades ago.

He is now in self-imposed exile in London after raising concerns that Museveni is grooming his son to become Uganda's next president. The general has since postponed his return to Uganda, saying his life is in danger.

In a letter to the head of Uganda's domestic spy agency, Sejusa had urged an investigation into reports of an alleged plan for the first son to succeed Museveni as president. The letter, which was later leaked to a Ugandan daily, also raised concerns that high-ranking army officers like Sejusa himself risked assassination if they opposed this succession project.

Museveni has never said he sees his son as his political heir. But the son, a senior army officer named Muhoozi Kainerugaba, has been rapidly promoted in recent years, leading many here to believe he is being prepared for high office.

Kainerugaba is now a brigadier with full command of the country's special forces, an elite group within the military that protects the president and guards national assets such as oil fields.

Uganda has not witnessed a single peaceful transfer of power since independence from Britain in 1962.
Photo:  Ugandan General David Sejusa is now in self-imposed exile in London [Al Jazeera]
Source: Agencies
http://www.aljazeera.com/news/africa/2013/07/2013719152359907873.html

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Eastern DR Congo: Over 30,000 Congolese flee rebel attacks to Uganda: UN

Report by AFP dated 13 July 2013 reprinted by Fox News.com:
Over 30,000 Congolese flee rebel attacks to Uganda: UN

KAMPALA, Uganda (AFP) 13 July 2013 –  More than 30,000 refugees from eastern Democratic Republic of Congo fleeing a rebel attack on the town of Kamango have arrived in neighbouring Uganda, UN officials said on Saturday.
Streams of refugees have crossed the border into western Uganda's Bundibugyo district since the attack on Thursday.

United Nations refugee agency official Karen Ringuette said that as of late Friday, more than 30,000 had entered Uganda, updating a previous tally of at least 23,000.

So far, there had been no further updates of numbers arrived on Saturday, Ringuette added.

The town of Kamango in the northernmost part of North Kivu province was attacked and briefly occupied Thursday by a Ugandan-led rebel group, the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF).

Ugandan army spokesman Paddy Ankunda said Saturday that troops have been sent to reinforce positions along the border with Congo.

"We have deployed enough forces on our common border to ensure these terrorists (ADF) do not cross the line, because Uganda is their target," Ankunda told AFP.

"We are in contact with Congolese army and the situation is getting back to normal, but people have continued to enter Uganda fearing the rebels will kill them."

The ADF was formed in the mid-1990s in the Rwenzori mountains in western Uganda, close to the DR Congo border.

Part of the ADF is now based in DR Congo after Ugandan government forces attacked their bases two years ago.

Photo:  A mother carries her baby at Rwamwanja refugee camp in western Uganda on February 28, 2013. More than 30,000 refugees from eastern Democratic Republic of Congo fleeing a rebel attack on the town of Kamango have arrived in neighbouring Uganda, UN officials have said. (AFP/File)
Source:  http://www.foxnews.com/world/2013/07/13/over-30000-congolese-flee-rebel-attacks-to-uganda-un/

Friday, March 25, 2011

Uganda's Museveni on Libya's Gaddafi and the West

Yoweri K. Museveni is President of the Republic of Uganda. This article was originally published in Uganda’s New Vision newspaper. Full copy:

From: www.zimbabwejournalists.com
First published: Friday, 25 March 2011; 11:37 GMT
Museveni on Gaddafi and the West
By President Yoweri Museveni, Uganda

BY THE time Muammar Gaddaffi came to power in 1969, I was a third-year university student at Dar-es-Salaam. We welcomed him because he was in the tradition of Col. Gamal Abdul Nasser of Egypt who had a nationalist and pan-Arabist position.

Soon, however, problems cropped up with Col. Gaddafi as far as Uganda and Black Africa were concerned. Idi Amin came to power with the support of Britain and Israel because they thought he was uneducated enough to be used by them. Amin, however, turned against his sponsors when they refused to sell him guns to fight Tanzania.

Unfortunately, Col. Muammar Gaddafi, without getting enough information about Uganda, jumped in to support Idi Amin. This was because Amin was a ‘Moslem’ and Uganda was a ‘Moslem country’ where Moslems were being ‘oppressed’ by Christians. Amin killed a lot of people extra-judicially and Gaddafi was identified with these mistakes.

In 1972 and 1979, Gaddafi sent Libyan troops to defend Idi Amin when we attacked him. I remember a Libyan Tupolev 22 bomber trying to bomb us in Mbarara in 1979. The bomb ended up in Nyarubanga because the pilots were scared. They could not come close to bomb properly. We had already shot-down many Amin MIGs using surface-to-air missiles.

The Tanzanian brothers and sisters were doing much of this fighting. Many Libyan militias were captured and repatriated to Libya by Tanzania. This was a big mistake by Gaddafi and a direct aggression against the people of Uganda and East Africa.

The second big mistake by Gaddafi was his position vis-à-vis the African Union (AU) Continental Government “now”. Since 1999, he has been pushing this position. Black people are always polite. They, normally, do not want to offend other people. This is called ‘obufura’ in Runyankore, mwolo in Luo – handling, especially strangers, with care and respect.

It seems some of the non-African cultures do not have ‘obufura’. You can witness a person talking to a mature person as if he or she is talking to a kindergarten child. “You should do this; you should do that; etc.”

We tried to politely point out to Col. Gaddafi that this was difficult in the short and medium term. We should, instead, aim at the Economic Community of Africa and, where possible, also aim at Regional Federations. Col. Gaddafi would not relent. He would not respect the rules of the AU. Something that has been covered by previous meetings would be resurrected by Gaddafi. He would ‘overrule’ a decision taken by all other African Heads of State. Some of us were forced to come out and oppose his wrong position and, working with others, we repeatedly defeated his illogical position.

The third mistake has been the tendency by Col. Gaddafi to interfere in the internal affairs of many African countries using the little money Libya has compared to those countries. One blatant example was his involvement with cultural leaders of Black Africa – kings, chiefs, etc. Since the political leaders of Africa had refused to back his project of an African Government, Gaddafi, incredibly, thought that he could by-pass them and work with these kings to implement his wishes.

I warned Gaddafi in Addis Ababa that action would be taken against any Ugandan king that involved himself in politics because it was against our Constitution. I moved a motion in Addis Ababa to expunge from the records of the AU all references to kings (cultural leaders) who had made speeches in our forum because they had been invited there illegally by Col. Gaddafi.

The fourth big mistake was by most of the Arab leaders, including Gaddafi to some extent. This was in connection with the long suffering people of Southern Sudan. Many of the Arab leaders either supported or ignored the suffering of the black people in that country. This unfairness always created tension and friction between us and the Arabs, including Gaddafi to some extent.

However, I must salute H.E. Gaddafi and H.E. Hosni Mubarak for travelling to Khartoum just before the Referendum in Sudan and advising H.E. Bashir to respect the results of that exercise.

Sometimes Gaddafi and other Middle Eastern radicals do not distance themselves sufficiently from terrorism even when they are fighting for a just cause. Terrorism is the use of indiscriminate violence – not distinguishing between military and non-military targets. The Middle Eastern radicals, quite different from the revolutionaries of black Africa, seem to say that any means is acceptable as long as you are fighting the enemy. That is why they hijack planes, use assassinations, plant bombs in bars, etc. Why bomb bars? People who go to bars are normally merry-makers, not politically-minded people.

We were together with the Arabs in the anti-colonial struggle. The black African liberation movements, however, developed differently from the Arab ones. Where we used arms, we fought soldiers or sabotaged infrastructure but never targeted non-combatants. These indiscriminate methods tend to isolate the struggles of the Middle East and the Arab world. It would be good if the radicals in these areas could streamline their work methods in this area of using violence indiscriminately.

These five points above are some of the negative points in connection to Col. Gaddafi as far as Uganda’s patriots have been concerned over the years. These positions of Col. Gaddafi have been unfortunate and unnecessary.

Nevertheless, Gaddafi has also had many positive points objectively speaking. These positive points have been in favour of Africa, Libya and the Third World. I will deal with them point by point.

Col. Gaddafi has been having an independent foreign policy and, of course, also independent internal policies. I am not able to understand the position of Western countries which appear to resent independent-minded leaders and seem to prefer puppets. Puppets are not good for any country.

Most of the countries that have transitioned from Third World to First World status since 1945 have had independent-minded leaders: South Korea (Park Chung-hee), Singapore (Lee Kuan Yew), China People’s Republic (Mao Tse Tung, Chou Enlai, Deng Xiaoping, Marshal Yang Shangkun, Li Peng, Jiang Zemin, Hu Jing Tao, etc), Malaysia (Dr. Mahthir Mohamad), Brazil (Lula Da Silva), Iran (the Ayatollahs), etc.

Between the First World War and the Second World War, the Soviet Union transitioned into an Industrial country propelled by the dictatorial but independent-minded Joseph Stalin. In Africa, we have benefited from a number of independent-minded leaders: Col. Nasser of Egypt, Mwalimu Nyerere of Tanzania, Samora Machel of Mozambique, etc. That is how Southern Africa was liberated. That is how we got rid of Idi Amin. The stopping of genocide in Rwanda and the overthrow of Mobutu, etc., were as a result of efforts of independent-minded African leaders.

Muammar Gaddafi, whatever his faults, is a true nationalist. I prefer nationalists to puppets of foreign interests. Where have the puppets caused the transformation of countries? I need some assistance with information on this from those who are familiar with puppetry. Therefore, the independent-minded Gaddafi had some positive contribution to Libya, I believe, as well as Africa and the Third World.

I will take one little example. At the time we were fighting the criminal dictatorships here in Uganda, we had a problem arising of a complication caused by our failure to capture enough guns at Kabamba on February 6, 1981. Gaddafi gave us a small consignment of 96 rifles, 100 anti-tank mines, etc., that was very useful. He did not consult Washington or Moscow before he did this. This was good for Libya, for Africa and for the Middle East. We should also remember as part of that independent-mindedness he expelled British and American military bases from Libya, etc.

Before Gaddafi came to power in 1969, a barrel of oil was 40 American cents. He launched a campaign to withhold Arab oil unless the West paid more for it. I think the price went up to US$20 per barrel. When the Arab-Israel war of 1973 broke out, the barrel of oil went to US$40.

I am, therefore, surprised to hear that many oil producers in the world, including the Gulf countries, do not appreciate the historical role played by Gaddafi on this issue. The huge wealth many of these oil producers are enjoying was, at least in part, due to Gaddafi’s efforts. The Western countries have continued to develop in spite of paying more for oil. It, therefore, means that the pre-Gaddafi oil situation was characterised by super exploitation in favour of the Western countries.

I have never taken time to investigate socio-economic conditions within Libya. When I was last there, I could see good roads even from the air. From the TV pictures, you can even see the rebels zooming up and down in pick-up vehicles on very good roads accompanied by Western journalists. Who built these good roads? Who built the oil refineries in Brega and those other places where the fighting has been taking place recently? Were these facilities built during the time of the king and his American as well as British allies or were they built by Gaddafi?

In Tunisia and Egypt, some youths immolated (burnt) themselves because they had failed to get jobs. Are the Libyans without jobs also? If so, why, then, are there hundreds of thousands of foreign workers? Is Libya’s policy of providing so many jobs to Third World workers bad? Are all the children going to school in Libya? Was that the case in the past – before Gaddafi? Is the conflict in Libya economic or purely political?

Possibly, Libya could have transitioned more if they encouraged the private sector more. However, this is something the Libyans are better placed to judge. As it is, Libya is a middle income country with GDP standing at US$89.03 billion. This is about the same as the GDP of South Africa at the time Mandela took over leadership in 1994 and it is about the current size of GDP of Spain.

Gaddafi is one of the few secular leaders in the Arab world. He does not believe in Islamic fundamentalism that is why women have been able to go to school, to join the army, etc. This is a positive point on Gaddafi’s side.

Coming to the present crisis, therefore, we need to point out some issues. The first issue is to distinguish between demonstrations and insurrections. Peaceful demonstrations should not be fired on with live bullets. Of course, even peaceful demonstrations should coordinate with the police to ensure that they do not interfere with the rights of other citizens.

When rioters are, however, attacking police stations and army barracks with the aim of taking power, then, they are no longer demonstrators; they are insurrectionists. They will have to be treated as such. A responsible government would have to use reasonable force to neutralise them. Of course, the ideal responsible government should also be an elected one by the people at periodic intervals.

If there is a doubt about the legitimacy of a government and the people decide to launch an insurrection, that should be the decision of the internal forces. It should not be for external forces to arrogate themselves that role, often, they do not have enough knowledge to decide rightly. Excessive external involvement always brings terrible distortions. Why should external forces involve themselves? That is a vote of no confidence in the people themselves.

A legitimate internal insurrection, if that is the strategy chosen by the leaders of that effort, can succeed. The Shah of Iran was defeated by an internal insurrection; the Russian Revolution in 1917 was an internal insurrection; the Revolution in Zanzibar in 1964 was an internal insurrection; the changes in Ukraine, Georgia, etc., all were internal insurrections. It should be for the leaders of the Resistance in that country to decide their strategy, not for foreigners to sponsor insurrection groups in sovereign countries.

I am totally allergic to foreign, political and military involvement in sovereign countries, especially the African countries. If foreign intervention is good, then, African countries should be the most prosperous countries in the world because we have had the greatest dosages of that: slave trade, colonialism, neo-colonialism, imperialism, etc.

All those foreign-imposed phenomena have, however, been disastrous. It is only recently that Africa is beginning to come up partly because of rejecting external meddling. External meddling and the acquiescence by Africans into that meddling have been responsible for the stagnation in Africa.

The wrong definition of priorities in many of the African countries is, in many cases, imposed by external groups. Failure to prioritise infrastructure, for instance, especially energy, is, in part, due to some of these pressures. Instead, consumption is promoted.

I have witnessed this wrong definition of priorities even here in Uganda. External interests linked up, for instance, with internal bogus groups to oppose energy projects for false reasons. How will an economy develop without energy? Quislings and their external backers do not care about all this.

If you promote foreign-backed insurrections in small countries like Libya, what will you do with the big ones like China which has got a different system from the Western systems? Are you going to impose a no-fly-zone over China in case of some internal insurrections as happened in Tiananmen Square, in Tibet or in Urumuqi?

The Western countries always use double standards. In Libya, they are very eager to impose a no-fly-zone. In Bahrain and other areas where there are pro-Western regimes, they turn a blind eye to the very same conditions or even worse conditions.

We have been appealing to the UN to impose a no-fly-zone over Somalia so as to impede the free movement of terrorists, linked to Al-Qaeda that killed Americans on September 11; killed Ugandans last July and have caused so much damage to the Somalis, without success. Why? Are there no human beings in Somalia similar to the ones in Benghazi? Or is it because Somalia does not have oil which is not fully controlled by the western oil companies on account of Gaddafi’s nationalist posture?

The Western countries are always very prompt in commenting on every problem in the Third World – Egypt, Tunisia, Libya, etc. Yet, some of these very countries were the ones impeding growth in those countries. There was a military coup d’état that slowly became a Revolution in backward Egypt in 1952. The new leader, Nasser, had ambition to cause transformation in Egypt. He wanted to build a dam not only to generate electricity but also to help with the ancient irrigation system of Egypt. He was denied money by the West because they did not believe that Egyptians needed electricity.

Nasser decided to raise that money by nationalising the Suez Canal. He was attacked by Israel, France and Britain. To be fair to the USA, President Eisenhower opposed that aggression that time. Of course, there was also the firm stand of the Soviet Union at that time. How much electricity was this dam supposed to produce? Just 2,000 mgws for a country like Egypt!! What moral right, then, do such people have to comment on the affairs of these countries?

Another negative point is going to arise out of the by now habit of the Western countries over-using their superiority in technology to impose war on less developed societies without impeachable logic. This will be the igniting of an arms race in the world. The actions of the Western countries in Iraq and now Libya are emphasising that might is “right.” I am quite sure that many countries that are able will scale up their military research, and in a few decades we may have a more armed world.

This weapons science is not magic. A small country like Israel is now a super power in terms of military technology. Yet 60 years ago, Israel had to buy second-hand fouga magister planes from France. There are many countries that can become small Israels if this trend of overusing military means by the Western countries continues.

All this notwithstanding, Col. Gaddafi should be ready to sit down with the opposition, through the mediation of the AU, with the opposition cluster of groups which now includes individuals well known to us – Ambassador Abdalla, Dr. Zubeda, etc.

I know Gaddafi has his system of elected committees that end up in a National People’s Conference. Actually Gaddafi thinks this is superior to our multi-party systems. Of course, I have never had time to know how truly competitive this system is. Anyway, even if it is competitive, there is now, apparently, a significant number of Libyans that think that there is a problem in Libya in terms of governance. Since there has not been internationally observed elections in Libya, not even by the AU, we cannot know what is correct and what is wrong. Therefore, a dialogue is the correct way forward.

The AU mission could not get to Libya because the Western countries started bombing Libya the day before they were supposed to arrive. However, the mission will continue. My opinion is that, in addition, to what the AU mission is doing, it may be important to call an extra-ordinary Summit of the AU in Addis Ababa to discuss this grave situation.

Regarding the Libyan opposition, I would feel embarrassed to be backed by Western war planes because quislings of foreign interests have never helped Africa. We have had a copious supply of them in the last 50 years – Mobutu, Houphout Boigny, Kamuzu Banda, etc. The West made a lot of mistakes in Africa and in the Middle East in the past. Apart from the slave trade and colonialism, they participated in the killing of Lumumba, until recently, the only elected leader of Congo, the killing of Felix Moummie of Cameroon, Bartholomew Boganda of Central African Republic, the support for UNITA in Angola, the support for Idi Amin at the beginning of his regime, the counter-revolution in Iran in 1953, etc.

Recently, there has been some improvement in the arrogant attitudes of some of these Western countries. Certainly, with black Africa and, particularly, Uganda, the relations are good following their fair stand on the black people of Southern Sudan. With the democratisation of South Africa and the freedom of the black people in Southern Sudan, the difference between the patriots of Uganda and the Western governments had disappeared. Unfortunately, these rush actions on Libya are beginning to raise new problems. They should be resolved quickly.

Therefore, if the Libyan opposition groups are patriots, they should fight their war by themselves and conduct their affairs by themselves. After all, they easily captured so much equipment from the Libyan army, why do they need foreign military support? I only had 27 rifles. To be puppets is not good.

The African members of the Security Council voted for this Resolution of the Security Council. This was contrary to what the Africa Peace and Security Council had decided in Addis Ababa recently. This is something that only the extra-ordinary summit can resolve.

It was good that certain big countries in the Security Council abstained on this Resolution. These were: Russia, China, Brazil, India, etc. This shows that there are balanced forces in the world that will, with more consultations, evolve more correct positions.

Being members of the UN, we are bound by the Resolution that was passed, however rash the process. Nevertheless, there is a mechanism for review. The Western countries, which are most active in these rash actions, should look at that route. It may be one way of extricating all of us from possible nasty complications.

What if the Libyans loyal to Gaddafi decide to fight on? Using tanks and planes that are easily targeted by Mr. Sarkozy’s planes is not the only way of fighting. Who will be responsible for such a protracted war? It is high time we did more careful thinking.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Uganda: Surely, we are not as simplistic as the Tunisians; are we? (column) - North Africa: Dispirited Arabs burning for change (analysis)

In the past week, nearly two dozen attempted self-immolations have been reported across the Arab world, three of them fatal.

The horrifying public suicide attempts echo the iconic act of Mohamed Bouazizi, a 26-year-old Tunisian who set himself on fire in mid-December after police confiscated the produce cart he was using to make a living. Bouazizi died weeks later of his burns, but his desperate act triggered protests that eventually led Tunisian president Zine Al-Abdine Ben Ali to flee the North African country he had ruled with an iron fist for 23 years.

On Jan. 15, one day after the fall of Ben Ali, a 37-year-old Algerian man died after setting himself alight. Since then, at least 22 attempted self- immolations have been reported in Algeria, Mauritania, Morocco, Saudi Arabia and Egypt.

"The self-immolations appear to be political acts," says Michael Biggs, a sociologist at Oxford University. "These people may have personal grievances, but they're clearly attributing those grievances to the political system. They may be thinking that 'if Bouazizi can set himself on fire and precipitate a massive, popular uprising then why can't I to resolve my problem?'"

According to Biggs, incidents in which protestors deliberately set themselves on fire are extremely rare, "but much less rare than people might think."

Since the 1960s, over 1,000 cases of self-immolation have been recorded in more than 25 countries worldwide. It often occurs in waves and is most prevalent in India, Vietnam and South Korea, which account for more than half of all cases.

Read more below, in four articles, courtesy of The Norwegian Council for Africa - www.afrika.no

North Africa: Dispirited Arabs burning for change (analysis)
Inter Press Service (IPS), by Cam Mcgrath
Monday, 24 January 2011
Cairo (Egypt) — Upset over a policy that prevented him from buying subsidised food, Egyptian restaurant owner Abdou Abdel Moneim travelled to Cairo to find someone in parliament to help.

When security officers prevented him from submitting his complaint to MPs entering parliament, the 49-year-old man doused himself in fuel and cursed the Egyptian regime as he disappeared into a ball of fire.

Abdel Moneim survived with severe burns to his legs and face, but by the end of the day similar incidents had occurred in three different North African countries. In the past week, nearly two dozen attempted self-immolations have been reported across the Arab world, three of them fatal.

The horrifying public suicide attempts echo the iconic act of Mohamed Bouazizi, a 26-year-old Tunisian who set himself on fire in mid-December after police confiscated the produce cart he was using to make a living. Bouazizi died weeks later of his burns, but his desperate act triggered protests that eventually led Tunisian president Zine Al-Abdine Ben Ali to flee the North African country he had ruled with an iron fist for 23 years.

Analysts say the Tunisian revolt has resonated with millions of Arabs living under repressive regimes who are frustrated with their difficult economic conditions and limited opportunities to improve their lot. Many are drawing parallels to the situation in their own country, and wondering if a similar uprising will take place.

It's not surprising then that the heroic story of a vegetable seller whose horrific yet spectacular death brought down a tyrant has taken on an almost legendary flavour. But it may also be inspiring more tragic stories.

On Jan. 15, one day after the fall of Ben Ali, a 37-year-old Algerian man died after setting himself alight. Since then, at least 22 attempted self- immolations have been reported in Algeria, Mauritania, Morocco, Saudi Arabia and Egypt.

The suspected motive behind each incident has varied. One man was protesting corruption and injustice, another was reportedly upset at being unable to secure cheap housing, and two textile workers objected to their employer's decision to transfer them to other departments.

"The self-immolations appear to be political acts," says Michael Biggs, a sociologist at Oxford University. "These people may have personal grievances, but they're clearly attributing those grievances to the political system. They may be thinking that 'if Bouazizi can set himself on fire and precipitate a massive, popular uprising then why can't I to resolve my problem?'"

According to Biggs, incidents in which protestors deliberately set themselves on fire are extremely rare, "but much less rare than people might think."

Since the 1960s, over 1,000 cases of self-immolation have been recorded in more than 25 countries worldwide. It often occurs in waves and is most prevalent in India, Vietnam and South Korea, which account for more than half of all cases.

There are examples of Kurdish nationalists setting themselves on fire during protests in Europe in the 1990s, but until now the practice has not been common in the Muslim world, possibly due to Islam's strong prohibition of both suicide and cremation.

"It's mostly an Eastern practice. In Buddhism and Hinduism burning has a more sacred character and is an accepted form of disposing of dead bodies, so it's not the terrible thing as we think of it in Christian and Muslim religious traditions," Biggs told IPS.

The spectacle of a fiery death can be highly effective in focusing world attention on a cause or injustice. A photograph of Thich Quang Duc, the elderly Buddhist monk who immolated himself in the middle of a busy intersection in Saigon in 1963, became one of the iconic images of the Vietnam War. It was also instrumental in turning the tide of U.S. public opinion against the war.

The brutal act of setting oneself on fire usually elicits reactions of shock and horror, but also sympathy, Biggs explains. It has been utilised as a political form of protest by South Korean labour activists, Czechs opposed to Soviet occupation, and by upper-caste Indians, among others.

"Bouazizi's is probably the most successful example," he says. "The Tunisian government fell very quickly because his one action inspired many other people to go into the streets. It was also successful in South Vietnam in the 1960s, but it took five months and six monks and a nun to die before the regime was overthrown."

The historical efficacy of self-immolation protests may be one reason Arab officials and state media have attempted to portray the series of "copycat" suicide attempts as the non-political acts of opportunistic and mentally unstable individuals.

"Suicide has become a fad and is being used for blackmail," declared Egyptian state-run newspaper Al-Akhbar, deriding a man who reportedly threatened to set himself on fire after his request for public housing was repeatedly turned down.

Arab governments have appealed to religious leaders to stress Islam's injunctions against suicide in order to discourage Muslim youth from taking their own life. Imams at state-monitored mosques in Egypt and Algeria condemned self-immolation during their weekly sermons on Friday, claiming suicidal thoughts stemmed from a lack of faith.

Al-Azhar, the highest authority in Sunni Islam, issued a statement last week reaffirming that suicide violates Islam even when it is carried out as a social or political protest.

"Islam categorically forbids suicide for any reason and does not accept the separation of souls from bodies as an expression of stress, anger or protest," its spokesman said.

Sheikh Yusuf Al-Qaradawi, the spiritual leader of Egypt's outlawed Muslim Brotherhood, had a different take on the state-endorsed message. In a statement the influential cleric urged Arab youth to honour the sanctity of life, blaming repressive regimes for conditions that have driven them to despair.

"Dear young men, take care of your life because it is a great bounty from Allah, and do not set yourself on fire as it is the tyrants who should burn. Be patient, endure and be steadfast. Tomorrow will come soon enough."
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Uganda: Surely, we are not as simplistic as the Tunisians; are we? (column)
The Monitor (Uganda), by Fredrick M. Masiga*
Monday, 24 January 2011
Kampala (Uganda) - Life sometimes brings along very strange coincidences and you cannot help but wonder if some of these parallels are accidental or could be interpreted as merely fateful coincidences. The events unfolding in Ivory Coast and Tunisia in the last few weeks draw a familiar line or might have a futuristic similarity to Uganda.

Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali is the disgraced former president of Tunisia. He fled the country after a 'protracted' mass revolt that started off from the flimsiest of events. A Tunisian fruits and vegetable vendor, Mohamed Bouazizi, who was accosted by local municipal council authorities, decided he had had enough with the authorities and decided to torch himself. He did not live long enough to witness that his callous act led to the ouster of Ben Ali who has ruled the country for 23 years.

Twenty six-year-old Bouazizi, like many of his youthful countrymates, woke up on the day to go out in the streets to fend for his family. He was evicted from the streets, his cart, his only means of survival was impounded, he was beaten by authorities, and his attempts to get redress from higher authorities were met with a thick wall of bureaucracy.

What drove this young man to commit what has become a celebrated act of crime in most of the Arab North Africa was not an act of cowardice rather the futility of life in a police state deficient of various freedoms and where the State has failed to provide employment and food for its people.

Some quarters in Uganda have discussed similarities of life in Tunisia to Uganda's. That the level of unemployment is high yet more and more graduates continue to be delivered from the various institutions of higher learning.

In his 23 years at the helm, Ben Ali has organised only three presidential elections and one constitutional referendum in 2002 in which not the presidential term limits were removed but the maximum term limits for a president was moved from 70 to 75 years which ironically is how old Ben Ali is now.

There were fears he would seek to return in the country's presidential elections in 2014 but first he was preparing to revisit the constitution to amend the age issue. Only now have the vast wealth of the Tunisian first family come to light to the rest of the world. Amid all the chaos, Madam Ben Ali was still able to pack up gold and other expensive metals worth $1.5 billion. But the question that many Tunisians, and Ugandans can ask the same, is how would one family accumulate wealth so much that even at the delicate one moment of total national madness they are still able to almost grab ($1.5b) and run with it?

Ben Ali's flight has thrown the country into an unexpected situation of economic woes. An economic crisis is looming with further unemployment expected because the family is said to own more than half of the large businesses that employ most urban Tunisians. The family owns businesses in real estate, financial institutions, leisure and hospitality, media and various manufacturing outfits.

Tunisia is going to its knees because a family has left under such circumstances such as Ben Ali's, the question being asked are embarrassing and point to a nation that slept while its leader implemented kitchen economic policies.

With a promise of an oil economy in the pipeline, Ugandans need to watch who is getting into the oil industry and how the oil revenue will be shared. An oil policy that is transparent and takes care of individual and national interests of Ugandans would be a positive point to start from.

Come February 18, we shall be more concerned about who, among the presidential candidates, will refuse rather than accept the results of the elections. I doubt we want somebody to do a Cote d'Ivoire here but more than half a century of politics after African countries received independence from their colonial masters, nothing is surprising anymore.

Ugandans, even with all the accolades they have of life and fun-loving people, as a people are very hypocritical individuals and therefore their real emotions and thoughts are most times shrouded in falsehood. So, a Cote d'Ivoire or a Tunisia could be the jinx embedded beneath our skin.

* Mr Masiga is the managing editor - Weekend editions of the Monitor Publications Ltd.
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Tunisia: To the tyrants of the Arab world...(opinion)
Al Jazeera, by Lamis Andoni (http://english.aljazeera.net/)
Monday, 17 January 2011
The Tunisian uprising, which succeeded in toppling Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, the Tunisian president, has brought down the walls of fear, erected by repression and marginalisation, thus restoring the Arab peoples' faith in their ability to demand social justice and end tyranny. Click here to read full article at www.afrika.no.
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Tunisia: The wombs of African women will fell dictators and bring freedom (opinion)
The East African (Kenya), by Charles Onyango-Abbo
Monday, 17 January 2011
Nairobi (Kenya) - We have just seen something we haven’t witnessed in a North African, or Arab, country for donkey years. Click here to read full article at www.afrika.no

Monday, January 03, 2011

Al-Shabab and Al-Qaeda: Playing Americans for suckers - Clooney Falling Into Bin Laden’s Sudan Trap

Al-Shabab and Al-Qaeda: Playing Americans for suckers
Source: Michael Scheuer's Non-Intervention.com
Author: Michael Scheuer
Published: 15 July, 2010. Full copy (excluding 4 Comments):
The suicide bombing in Uganda’s capital of Kampala by the Somali Islamist group al-Shabab serves several agendas. While the facile and clueless Western media call it an “anti-World Cup attack” and the lame Obama White House says it proves al-Qaeda’s “racism” toward Africans, the reality is that from al-Sahbab’s perspective the attack is a logical and necessary response to the prolonged U.S.- and Western-backed intervention in Somalia. (How long, one wonders, will it take U.S. and Western officials to learn people don’t like being occupied?) The Kampala attack also is another episode in al-Qaeda’s ongoing campaign to lure the United States into more interventions in the Muslim world.

At the most basic level, there would be no al-Shabab in Somalia — at least not at its present strength, reach, and popularity — if Washington had not panicked several years ago at the thought of an Islamist organization known as the “Islamic Courts” taking power in Somalia. The Islamic Courts’ had all but displaced a feckless, corruption-ridden UN-backed Transitional Federal Government (TFG), and was beginning to bring a harsh but effective law-and-order system to Somalia for the first time in decades. Under President Bush, however, Washington could not stand the thought of a working Islamic government and so labored overtly and covertly for its demise.

Ultimately, Washington supported Ethiopia’s late-2006 invasion of Somalia without thinking through that it would henceforth be seen as the sponsor of Christian Ethiopia’s invasion of Muslim Somalia. The invasion turned Somalis of most factions against the interloping Christian occupiers. The large and better-armed Ethiopian conventional forces prevailed, broke up what was left of the Islamic Courts, and protected the UN-backed TFG, which now appeared even more as the imposed creature of hostile Christian countries. The Ethiopians fought a growing guerrilla war against the Somali militias and insurgents until casualties became too heavy and Addis Ababa decided to withdraw its forces. The African Union then acted to supply the 5,000 military personnel from Uganda and Burundi who now are the peacekeepers and TFG-protectors in the capital of Mogadishu.

The sum of this complicated story is that al-Shabab was born, developed quickly, and now appears to have the manpower, political savvy, and military wherewithal to compete for control of much of the central and southern portions of Somalia. Al-Shabab’s quick evolution is the result of several factors, including foreign occupation, which historically radicalizes Somalia’s usually moderate form of Islam, and the availability of help from al-Qaeda, especially in the form of veteran fighters, who offer training and a leaven of combat experience, and media operatives whose expertise has dramatically improved the quality of al-Shabab media capabilities during the past two years. In addition, a substantial inflow of aid from Arab Peninsula countries who are nominally U.S. “allies” has allowed al-Shabab and other Somali Islamists to deliver food and health services to destitute Somalis and improve their weaponry.

Having helped destroy the less radical Islamic Courts regime and still backing the moribund TFG, Washington now confronts the potential of al-Shabab controlling two thirds of Somalia and — after the Uganda bombing — the specter of the group slowly destabilizing heretofore reliably pro-U.S. regimes in Ethiopia, Kenya, and elsewhere in East Africa.

Neither Ethiopia nor Kenya is as stable as it was before the Islamic Courts were destroyed. Ethiopia paid a high price for its invasion and occupation of Somalia not only in terms of funds and lives, but in earning the durable enmity of Somali Muslims and their Islamist allies in Africa and overseas. Kenya has likewise earned al-Shabab’s wrath for supporting the corrupt TFG regime and for its willingness to host the dozen or more UN agencies and multiple Western NGOs who are operating in Somalia with intentions that are perceived by many Somalis as anti-Islamic.

And here is where al-Qaeda is luring the United States into another potentially disastrous intervention. Even though it has expended a minimum and mainly media-focused effort to support al-Shabab, Washington’s abject fear of al-Qaeda — notwithstanding Obama’s cocky and denigrating words about the group — has made bin Laden’s al-Shabab ally a primary U.S. target and therefore yet another vehicle for luring America into an expensive fight on Muslim territory.

Even before all the causalities from the bombing were counted, for example, the FBI had sent investigators to the “crime scene” in Kampala — as if the Ugandans need help from the helpless — and yesterday Rudyard Obama said he would “redouble” U.S. efforts in Somalia, which certainly means more U.S. military involvement there and the pouring of more taxpayer money into the maw of the corrupt-to-the-bone TFG. And as it becomes clear that Ethiopian and Kenyan security are also threatened by al-Shabab, those countries too will be the recipients of Mr. Obama’s resolute eagerness to dig us ever deeper into expensive, Bush-like foreign adventures.

Overall, Bush and Obama took a problem that was on the periphery of top U.S. security issues and through mindlessness and intervention made it an agent of destabilization in East Africa and a growing drain on U.S. resources. Renewed U.S. efforts against al-Shabab, together with Washington’s efforts to undermine the Muslim government of Sudan and get U.S. military forces involved in the irrelevant-to-America Darfur civil war, will again do al-Qaeda’s work for it by validating for Muslims bin Laden’s claim that Washington intends to destroy all Muslim regimes except those of the Arab tyrants who supply oil to the United States and its allies.

Years ago Osama bin Laden said something akin to: “All we need to do is send two mujahedin anywhere on earth to wave a flag that has ‘al-Qaeda’ on it and the Americans will arrive the next day with their troops and an open wallet.” As Obama hungrily gobbles down this latest lure from al-Qaeda, one can only think that there truly is a sucker born every minute.
[End of copy]
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Further Reading

Clooney Falling Into Bin Laden’s Sudan Trap
Source: FOX News - http://nation.foxnews.com
Date: Monday, 03 January 2011. Full copy (excluding 271 Comments):


With the U.S. government and such scintillating strategic thinkers as George Clooney, Don Cheadle, Angelina Jolie, and Mia Farrow in the lead, the West is about to help rip Darfur and the rest of Muslim Sudan's oil-rich southern territories out of the country and create an independent, largely Christian state.

Under the guise of a "referendum" (set for 9 January 2011) that will be observed by a 110-person European Union team of imperial busybodies, Sudan's primarily Christian south will be severed from the Sudanese nation-state, setting the stage for a continuation of the decades old Muslim-Christian Sudanese civil war. The difference will be that henceforth - as is occurring in Somalia - the U.S. and the West will be obliged to protect the new nation they created by theft and oil lust with diplomacy, funding, arms, military training, and eventually troops.

And what is America's interest in becoming involved to the hilt and inextricably in Sudan? What is so vital to the United States in Sudan that President Obama is pressing the leaders of Chad, Egypt, Ethiopia, Kenya, Nigeria, Rwanda, South Africa, and the other states of the African Union to support "our intense interest in having a successful referendum" - read that as "our intense interest in carving up Sudan to suit our imperial purposes and corner access to Sudanese oil." (As an aside, one must admit Rudyard Obama is nothing if not an aggressive proponent of improving - that is, "Westernizing" - the lives of "our little brown brothers," although the blatant theft of Islamic land is a rather odd component for the kinder and more gentle "Muslim outreach program" Obama announced in Cairo and Jakarta.)

The answer is that Obama, our bipartisan political elite, the mainstream media, and the rich, immature, libertine, and anti-U.S. Hollywood set lead by Clooney, et al, want to feel good about themselves by doing "good" for foreigners. For these elite U.S. citizens-of-the-world, ordinary Americans and their kids can starve, freeze, live on the streets, fail to find work, and remain illiterate forever. In essence, they can rot while Washington spends their taxes on Darfur - a place where absolutely no genuine U.S. interest is at stake.

Now, that's a bit harsh and in one aspect even wrong. The Democrats and Republicans must ensure that ordinary Americans are kept well-off enough to keep having children who will join the U.S. military that will be used to fight the wars their interventionism start. And there can be no doubt that Washington's leading role in championing Darfur's secession from Sudan will intensify America's war with Islam and the evolving Islam-vs-Christianity war in Africa. And, not surprisingly, the ever-adept Osama bin Laden began setting this trap for the United States over the course of the last decade.

Bin Laden, Ayman al-Zawahiri, and Abu Yaha al-Libi, one of al-Qaeda's leading theologians, have spoken publicly and on multiple occasions about Washington's intention to intervene in Somalia and Sudan to halt the spread of Sunni Islam in the Horn of Africa; to eliminate the Islamic regime in Sudan; to champion the spread of Christianity in Africa; and to ensure Sudan's massive oil reserves are in pro-U.S. hands. Obama's administration, with full Republican support, is about to make these three al-Qaeda leaders appear omniscient to the Muslim world.

READ THE FULL STORY AT NON-INTERVENTION.COM [By Michael Scheuer entitled "U.S. intervention in Sudan and Somalia: Sowing war’s whirlwind for Americans" published Wednesday, 29 December 2010]
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Postscript from Uganda Watch editor
Note the following copy of two quotations published in the sidebar of Michael Scheuer's Non-Intervention.com:
My policy has been and will continue to be ... to be on friendly terms with, but independent of, all nations on earth. To share in the broils of none. To supply their wants, and be carriers for them all; being thoroughly convinced that it is our policy and interest to do so; and that nothing short of self-respect, and that justice which is essential to a national character, ought to involve us in war.
George Washington

Don't patronize the enemy. They mean business. They mean every word they say. They're killing us now. Their will is not broken, They mean it. ... If they're there, your job is to kill them all. I did not want to have them just retreat and have to fight them all over again.
Maj. Gen. James Mattis, USMC
Also, note that according to Michael Scheuer's About page, he resigned from the CIA in November, 2004 and since that date has written for Antiwar.com and LewRockwell.com.
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