The world’s greatest humanitarian crisis, as quiet as it is kept, is not in Darfur. While the situation there deserves the attention it is getting it is far less grave than the humanitarian disaster unfolding in Somalia. The nature of that crisis demonstrates much about the nature of US foreign policy and the blatant emptiness of American claims to support popular rule in the Muslim world.
Upon gaining control of most of Somalia in June of 2006 the Islamic Courts Union (ICU) established stability in that war-torn country, a state that had endured over twenty years of strife, the last fifteen without a central government. The ICU was able to stabilize the country, reopen the airport in the capital Mogadishu, reopen the seaports, and revive a ravaged economic system.
However, because they advocated Islamic rule, they were seen as potentially disruptive of American efforts to both fight “terrorism” and establish “full spectrum dominance” in the Middle East. Under the pretext that the ICU had ties to al-Qaeda, allegations that have never been substantiated, the US deemed the regime unacceptable. Realizing that the unpopular warlords, who were instrumental in ravaging the country, would not be able to oust the popular ICU—those warlords had received millions of dollars in US aid over the past few years—America fostered an Ethiopian-led invasion of the country in December 2006 that resulted in the toppling of the ICU, returning Somalia to the anarchic conditions that prevailed before the coming to power of the Islamic Courts regime. Since then over 850,000 Somalis have become refugees, many of whom face the threat of death as relief supplies have been slow to arrive, security is virtually non-existent, and the international community has not even acknowledged the crisis, due to the tacit endorsement most western powers have given to the US-orchestrated Ethiopian invasion.
Those civilians who have not fled the cities are being terrorized by the prospect of being massacred by Ethiopian troops in revenge killings for Ethiopian troops killed by the forces of the ICU, which is waging an increasing effective guerilla war against the Ethiopians and their Somali warlord allies.
Most people in this country are totally unaware of this looming humanitarian disaster that America has precipitated. Others view the prospect of hundred of thousands of dead Muslims, in Somalia and elsewhere, as acceptable “collateral damage” in our efforts to fight “terrorism” and “secure the homeland.” Deeper questions related to the nature of our policies, and the real forces both driving those policies and benefiting from them are seldom asked.
There is a question we need to ask. What have we become? As a nation, generally speaking, we usurp the resources of other countries to support our so-called way of life. We turn a blind eye to the suffering and terrorism we encourage or directly inflict on others in order to enhance our own security. When it is in our interest we mobilize public opinion to condemn the atrocities of others, such as the Sudanese government and her allies in Darfur, while we turn a blind eye and employ every tactic we can find to cover up our own atrocities such as those visited upon the civilian population of Iraq since our invasion and occupation of that country, and now in Somalia.
We should think deeply of the nature of our policies, for God will not forever bless the destructive excesses of an impetuous child. Every American should find the following words of Thomas Jefferson sobering, “Indeed I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just, that his justice cannot sleep forever.”