Conflict Diamonds

Topics: Somalia, Siad Barre, United Somali Congress Pages: 5 (1684 words) Published: December 18, 2012
Conflict diamonds & Child soldiers: A Love story
By That guy

Africa: a land of shadows and light. A continent where the Four Horse Men thrive. Most notably in particular, war. War has plagued Africa for ages upon ages; no corner of the mighty content can escape its influence. Hostages taken off the coast of Somalia, to blood diamond mine in South Africa. Is there a solution for these conflicts? Should foreign aid be provided? Or should military action be taken imminently? To truly understand the solution one must understand the problems.

East Africa would be a focus zone on this subject; Containing Somalia, Ethiopia, Kenya, and Uganda. All these countries have a common attribute: They are locked in a state of conflict and have been so for almost a decade straight. Somali, Uganda, and Kenya: all coming into the American public’s view more recently. A virtual hot spot for how war often starts in Africa, but also rarely ends.

Somalia is currently in a civil war (between the Somali Salvation Democratic Front, United Somali Congress , Somali National Movement, and Somali Patriotic Movement) that has lasted over two decades now. Most speculate the war began in1986 when President of Somalia Mohamed Siad Barre suffered injuries in a motor incident causing the country to speculate, with his injuries and old age, who would succeed him as their leader. In a brief summary of how the officially war began: “In June 1991, General Mohamed Farah Aidid was elected chairman of the United Somali Congress by a two-thirds vote, but USC commander Ali Mahdi Mohamed refused to step down as President. By October 1991, Ali Mahdi had formed a government of eight ministers, and the Italian government promised massive financial support. Civil war erupted as various clan-based military factions competed for control after the collapse of Barre's regime.”[1]

As the Cold war ended with the USSR’s collapse, the United States took it upon themselves to lead the UN on a humanitarian and peacekeeping mission. For those who read or saw the motion picture “Black Hawk Down”, they will know this story ends abruptly and bloody like a dog on the wrong side of the highway. From March 1993-95 the UN peacekeepers (made up mostly of US, UK, German, and North Africans) attempted end the war and heal the countries wounds.

Unfortunately the mission went sour, costing significant causalities to the task force, and the UN pulled out of the area for the most part. The situation only deteriorating from there with the creation of regional governments like Somaliland and Puntland. Somaliland, being the more stable region of the two, is currently at in a regional dispute with a few of the surrounding micro region. While Puntland on the other hand, has become home to the Somali pirates plaguing the area today. But keep in mind there’s a just a large mass of Pirates in Somaliland, they’re not just limited to that region.

It was around the early 21st century that bands of Somali pirates began to for off the Horn coast. “In Somalia, pirates are well-funded, well-organized and have easy access to heavy weapons in a country that has been in tatters for nearly two decades. Pirates travel in open skiffs with outboard engines, working with larger ships that tow them far out to sea. They use satellite navigational and communications equipment and have an intimate knowledge of local waters, clambering aboard commercial vessels with ladders and grappling hooks.”[2] Of course with their barely functioning government, the pirates are the only real Somalis to have contact with foreigners. While that “contact may come in the form of a ransom note 9 times out of ten, it still counts as contact. While in recent memory, Navy SEAL’s have become the pirate’s latest pin-pal. But it takes more than a few SEALs using .308 caliber letters, so German, French, Japanese, Canadian, and even the Russians and Chinese maritime programs have come into the area to help deal with the pirates....
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