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January 31, 2007

Iran

Iran Evidence Crisis: A Chance To Lead

Qods Force Is Killing Americans: Hold Iran Accountable

By Steve Schippert | January 31, 2007

Just as many applauded the administration’s decision that evidence of Iran's deadly activities in Iraq would be released publicly, the rug seems pulled out from under those seeking to address the undeniable fact that Iran is killing us in Iraq and fighting a war that Washington seemingly has refused to acknowledge. For, just as the unpleasantness of reality was to finally see the light of day and demand direct redress, the administration has decided to hold back the report finally making public the intelligence and detailed evidence of Iran's war against us waged within Iraq.

The American public – and the world - was to be informed of Iran’s deadly deeds in Iraq. Under the convenient cover of a world engrossed by the Iranian nuclear crisis and debate over weapons it has yet to attain, the weapons the Iranian regime possesses today are being used and have been used to kill us in Iraq, beyond the popular spotlight of nuclear talks and UN Security Council sanctions. Such touted penalties of banning travel for certain nuclear scientists and barring the transfer of nuclear components have not impacted their abundant supply of precision-milled armor-piercing explosive devices to Sunni terrorist groups like Ansar al-Sunnah and Sunni insurgents who use them to kill American and Iraqi soldiers.

That this war has been waged by the mullahcracy since 1979 and far beyond the sands of Iraq, justified by the language in the Islamic Republic’s own constitution, is neither here nor there. As the president said in his State of the Union Address just days ago, “This is not the fight we entered in Iraq, but it is the fight we're in.”

It was, after all, this very acknowledgment that was seen as the mindset and impetus for the decision to finally confront Iran’s deadly actions rather than focus on their deadly potential. And while the specter of Iranians killing Americans was not seen as a positive development, ignoring it was decidedly worse. This, it seemed, finally demonstrated a refusal to lose a war for failing to acknowledge its scope.

The reaction to the administration’s sudden decision to withhold from publicly exposing Iran’s murderous activities is initially one of a rush of anger and renewed frustration. Such anger and frustration is brought on by a political climate in which United States Senators, Congressmen and Congresswomen insist upon confrontation with the Commander in Chief more so than they demand our nation confront and defeat the enemies who seek to kill us.

To wit, during the president’s State of the Union Address, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi sat expressionless on her hands at President Bush’s call for America and its Congress to find it within itself to support victory in Iraq and success in the Middle East. Yet, when he then asked them to support the troops trying to bring such victory about, she was the first to leap to her feet in an insulting and offensive display of prolonged standing ovation. When suddenly there seem not enough yellow ribbons to go around, the enemy killing those same troops draws from the well of support perpetually replenished by such displays of internal division and disingenuous support. Iran is chief among them, orchestrating carnage in anticipation of well-timed verbal attacks on the Commander in Chief that they could hardly script better themselves.

To wit, former presidential hopeful and sitting US Senator John Kerry sat beside Iran’s former president Seyyed Mohammad Khatami in Davos, Switzerland just days ago and unleashed a verbal attack on President Bush that sounded as if it indeed had been written for him by Iran’s messianic president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Americans listened in stunned disbelief as Kerry let forth, "[W]hen we don't advance and live up to our own rhetoric and standards, we set a terrible message of duplicity and hypocrisy. So we have a crisis of confidence in the Middle East in the world, really. I've never seen our country as isolated, as much as a sort of international pariah for a number of reasons as it is today."

A sitting United States Senator, in the company of a leading figure from the world’s foremost state sponsor of international terrorism, called the United States a “sort of international pariah,” drawing presumably on some form of moral equivalence that encourages the enemy next to him to continue killing American and Iraqi soldiers and civilians. This goes beyond aid and comfort. Such reprehensible conduct is imposing self-inflicted wounds. Those are the words one expects from Ahmadinejad, not a sitting United States Senator.

And Senator Kerry, like Representative Nancy Pelosi and others, supports the troops? How so?

With the cancelled exposure of evidence, the Iranian enemy will not – at least for now – be forced to answer for acts of war clearly perpetrated before, after and during such self-serving displays engineered for political gain.

Consider the attack in Karbala, just days before Senator Kerry’s verbal revolt, where five American soldiers were killed, four of them after being abducted and later executed by gunshots into their skulls. Each detail known thus far about the attack supports – or at minimum, fits - the conclusion that the execution of four American soldiers was an Islamic Revolutionary Guards Qods Force operation carried out directly by Iranians. None of the details serves diminish that likelihood.

Why do such gruesome events befall our men and women serving our nation at the hands of the Iranian terror masters? Because, thanks in large part to the politically expedient antics of selfish politicians seeking desperately to be seen as opposed to the war in Iraq - and, thus in their eyes, more electable - there remain no consequences for the Iranian regime.

However, news that the Pentagon has opened a formal investigation into the Karbala executions may be an indication that this incident will not be treated as other Iranian acts of war, including the 1983 bombings of the US Embassy and the Marine Barracks in Beirut, the bombing of the Khobar Towers in Saudi Arabia in 1996, or even the known Iranian supply of explosives, weapons, training and cash to various enemy combatants in Iraq since 2003. In fact, it is likely that the delay in the public announcement of evidence of Iran’s warfare in Iraq is precisely because the preliminary findings of the investigation are damning for Iran. The administration may well be both ensuring that the evidence is significantly clear and pausing to contemplate the nature of the response.

Yet, the delay could also be the result of the politicization of Iran’s involvement and attacks in Iraq. In Eli Lake’s New York Sun report, the evidence against Qods Force operations in Iraq are so conclusive – Karbala notwithstanding…yet – that the debate has shifted from whether Iran has been supporting both Sunni and Shi’a attacks on US and Iraqi forces and civilians to “whether Iran's state apparatus is behind the Quds force, or whether it and the revolutionary guard in general do not reflect the policy of Iran's supreme leader and the rest of the regime.” This is precisely the mindlessly nuanced folly that prolongs the conflict, increases the carnage and emboldens the enemy to continue apace killing our men and women.

Suddenly, Qods Force and the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps are now merely rogue operations not operating at the behest of the Iranian regime? Fine, then. Let’s put them on the State Department’s Foreign Terrorist Organizations finally. Either way one chooses to approach it, our soldiers are dead, they killed them, and there must be consequence. There has been none since 1979 and it must stop.

One can only hope that the delay in the announcement of Iranian evidence is due to developments in the Karbala executions incident and not because of internal turf wars in the unfathomable debate of whether or not the Iranian regime can actually be held responsible for the actions of their own military units.

Imagine, if you will, a world where an American president is demonized and held personally responsible for the photos and misdeeds of soldiers at Abu Ghraib prison, yet the leaders of the world’s chief sponsor of international terrorism are deemed to be beyond culpability for the actions of the units they have tasked with exporting terrorism. Surreal, isn’t it?
While the postponement of publicly exposing Iran for its actions in Iraq is without pause frustrating and angering, we should perhaps withhold our judgment and give the Pentagon investigation into the Karbala executions a chance to evolve. The lessons of criticized handling of intelligence should not be lost.

Presuming with hope that this is the genuine cause for delay, we should give our president the opportunity and space to lead. The situation in the global conflict is about to undergo a massive metamorphosis as word from Pakistan is troubling beyond description. The nuclear weapons of Pakistan under Musharraf may be about to switch sides in this conflict, as his grip on power weakens by the hour. With his Air Force refusing an order to bomb an Islamabad madrassa housing two top Taliban leaders, it is a clear signal that the murky cabal of al-Qaeda, the Taliban and the Islamist Pakistani ISI are now poised to depose him and take over the nuclear state.

Iran continues to operate and export its terrorism without consequence and a new Islamic State of Pakistan will likely emerge as Iran’s nuclear armed ally against America, Israel and the West. There are difficult days ahead and America requires strong leadership from its Commander in Chief, no matter the political climate or stage in any election cycle.

Delaying the release of Iranian evidence is understandable and even acceptable. Cancelling it is neither as our enemies grow stronger.

January 20, 2007

Iran

Talk Iran's Walk: A Start

Terrorism Is Inseparable From The Iranian Nuclear Crisis, Yet Absent From Discussion

By Steve Schippert | January 20, 2007

The debate surrounding the Iranian nuclear program continues to proceed without the proper context of the pervasive, persistent and proven Iranian support for terrorist groups and attacks, regardless of any religious ideological differences. Yet the two issues – Iranian terrorism and the Iranian nuclear program – remain inseparably intertwined. And while the West continues to talk of talks, the foremost sponsors of international terrorism continue to walk the walk. It is time for the West to at least ‘talk the walk’ and discuss the Iranian nuclear crisis within the context of Iranian terrorism, for the latter must be addressed before any plausible solution to the former can be realistically entertained.

In a Reuters article appearing in the Washington Post and elsewhere, IAEA head Mohamed ElBaradei criticized the UN Security Council's sanctions on Iran, warning that they are exacerbating the crisis rather than solving it. ElBaradei said, "I don't think sanctions will resolve the issue. I think sanctions, in my view, could lead to escalation on both sides."

The article is one of the Western reports appearing in the mullahs' regime-controlled Tehran Times English language site, as it furthers their own objectives of lifting sanctions and returning to talks for the purposes of consuming more time, crucial months as the Iranian program bounds toward weapons grade enrichment.

ElBaradei elaborated, "The idea that a dialogue is a reward for good behavior, I disagree with that. A dialogue is a prerequisite for changing behavior."

Dialogue, however, is productive toward sincere resolution when there is genuine discourse, something Iran has clearly failed to engage in.

The bombastic remarks made regularly by Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad have served to steel Western resolve to the debatable degree that such resolve is visible now. It is certainly more measurable than could have been said just a few short years ago.

In light of this, Ahmadinejad is currently enduring much criticism from Ayatollah Rafsanjani who, not coincidentally, has ambitions of being appointed by the Council of Experts to Supreme Leader amid Ayatollah Khameini’s failing health. Rafsanjani – and, almost certainly through his directive and/or influence, several state-controlled newspapers – has been sharply critical of Ahmadinejad’s demeanor and stirring up Western resistance to Iran’s nuclear program.

Yet, it is critical to note that Rafsanjani (and others) are not saying that Iran should negotiate its way toward a solution nor surrender its nuclear program ‘one iota,’ as Ahmadinejad so often puts it. The aspiring would-be Supreme Leader affirms that the program is Iran’s right and must continue apace. The displeasure is in Ahmadinejad’s openness – the absence of 'taqiyya' (dissimulation) – rather than in his beliefs. This can not be overstated, as an emerging Rafsanjani is likely to be portrayed in the West as a more reasonable figure to deal with.

While reviled and despised in the West, it is precisely Ahmadinejad’s lack of ability or desire to cloak his inner thoughts that makes him particularly useful to the West. Should he be unseated in a move to replace him as president, it is this quality that will be sorely missed, though few in the West realize it just yet.

With the potential of a Supreme Leader Ayatollah Rafsanjani along with a ‘more suitable’ president, the return of the mask of taqiyya will intentionally play to the West’s sensibilities, luring it back into more continued and prolonged talks and negotiations while the nuclear program proceeds unimpeded.

As do others, ElBaradei fails in his criticism of sanctions to recognize that the concern over an Iranian nuclear program has less to do with atoms and weapons than it does about already-proven state sponsors of terrorism that would control them.

Others such as US Senator Hillary Clinton who, while calling for swift UN sanctions on Iran, alluded to direct US talks with the Tehran regime when she said, "I believe we lost critical time in dealing with Iran because the White House chose to downplay the threats and to outsource the negotiations." She then added, "I don't believe you face threats like Iran or North Korea by outsourcing it to others and standing on the sidelines." Under President William Clinton, the North Korean crisis was addressed in the 1990's through direct talks and concessions only to see the North Korean nuclear program mature into weapons production.

More importantly, there was not a word about Iran’s global web of terrorism.

With the Iranian material support for Hizballah and others, the intent of the Tehran regime is clear, including fueling both the Shi'a and Sunni sides of Iraqi sectarian violence, supplying al-Qaeda in Iraq with shaped copper IED explosives used to kill American troops and the harboring of top al-Qaeda operatives under 'house arrest.’ No talks leaving their nuclear program in place - with or without supposed 'verifiable oversight' - will serve to ease tensions or pull the Middle East from the precipice of a bloody regional conflict.

Jordan's newly-stated desire for a 'peaceful nuclear program' is certainly not based on the generation of electricity any more than is Tehran's. Jordan joins now Egypt and Saudi Arabia in the Middle Eastern nuclear race.

We may not be able to stop a region hurtling toward a conflict that was not of our creation. But can we at least address the situation with sober honesty? The ends of preventing the world’s foremost state sponsor of terrorism from achieving nuclear capabilities is far more important and decidedly more critical than achieving the comfortable but ineffective means benchmarks offered by Mohamed ElBaradei or United States Senators.

‘Deterring’ Iran will not bring enough sense of security to Arab Middle Eastern states and others to affect their emerging drive toward their own nuclear solution. Preventing Iran from achieving nuclear weapons may, however.

This would not require a US invasion of Iran and not simply be a regime change in Iran. It could be brought about through a Regime Change by Iranians.

January 14, 2007

Israel

2007 - A Time Of War Or A Time Of Peace?

Will Israel Be Embroiled In Yet Another Time of War or Celebrating a Diplomatic Breakthrough Toward Peace?

By Guest Contributor, C. Hart | January 14, 2007

Israel is taking the global lead to put international pressure on Iran with shuttle diplomacy to countries like China, Japan, and South Korea, hoping the end result will be a stronger consensus in the UN Security Council for tougher sanctions against Iran's nuclear ambitions. Israeli leaders also seem to have another agenda in mind. It's likely they are garnering support for future military action against Iran if greater diplomatic sanctions fail.

Looking at other potential hot spots on Israel's borders, military leaders of Israel's Defense Forces (the IDF) are setting their budgets and improving troop preparedness for 2007. Since the Lebanon War in the summer of 2006, Israeli leaders have been re-evaluating, improving, and learning from mistakes made during the 33 day clash with Hezbollah's terrorist army. Additional training of combat units and equipping emergency storehouses is part of defense planning as troops get ready for the next confrontation.

Israeli Prime Minster Ehud Olmert and others in his government are convinced that diplomacy will win over military action. However, there is limited optimism within the general public, with many citizens feeling Olmert's government has let them down, and 85% believing that Israel's current leadership is corrupt. World leaders also recognize Israel's weakness in political power, wondering how the Jewish state can further Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations when Olmert, himself, is under criminal investigation.

War on Israel's northern front with Hezbollah and possibly Syria is expected by the spring or summer of 2007. Clashes on the southern front with Hamas and Palestinian terrorist groups may come even sooner. Looming on the horizon is the grave possibility of conflict with Iran.

According to former Israeli Ambassador to the UN, Dore Gold, ever since the 1973 Yom Kippur War, Israel's military intelligence wants to show that it is taking into account worse case scenarios.

"I think the main factor in deciding whether there will be war or peace, unfortunately, is Iran. If it suits Iran's interest to heat up the Syrian front, it might heat up, and Syria is now re-equipping itself with lots of Iranian money, and it certainly is setting the stage for an enhanced Syrian military capability," said Gold.

One of the problems for Israel has been deterrence. Before the recent Lebanon war, Israel was able to deter Syria and Hezbollah from taking action against Israeli troops on the border. However, Meir Degan, the head of the Mossad, made a rare appearance at Israel's Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee in December, indicating that the Syrians are not as deterred by Israel as they were before. This stems from the fact that Syria, along with other Arab nations, thinks Israel lost the war in Lebanon. This so-called defeat has boosted support for Syria's President Bashir Assad who has ordered his military to expand its forces along the border with Israel.

Syria continues to re-supply Hezbollah with Iranian missiles, shipping truckloads of long-range and anti-tank missiles into Lebanon, in direct violation of UN resolutions, while the global community looks on and does nothing. Learning from Israel's setbacks during the summer war, Syria knows that antitank missiles can penetrate the IDF's Merkava tanks, forcing soldiers to abandon their positions and run for cover. Syria is reportedly building death houses along the border, hoping that it can trap Israeli soldiers in any future confrontation.
Hezbollah is already threatening UN troops in southern Lebanon, determined to re-gain control of the south. The Iranian-backed terrorist army has re-supplied itself with enough rockets to hit deep into Israeli territory. Additional assessments indicate that Hezbollah may be preparing to fire missiles at Israeli military intelligence aircraft. The aircraft fly daily sorties over Lebanon in order to secure data on Hezbollah's cease-fire violations. If Hezbollah does try to strike at these low flying planes this would start a new war with Israel. Some Israeli officials claim that the "address" for an IDF military response would be Syria, not Hezbollah.

Assad is continuing to fortify his military and diplomatic ties with Iran and Iraq. By allowing terrorist leader Khaled Mashaal to control Hamas actions in Gaza directly from Damascus, Assad has further solidified Syria's terror alliances, worrying Israeli officials. Moreover, if Assad cannot get Israel to give up the Golan Heights peacefully, it's predicted he will look to do so through military action. Some Israel officials are critical of Olmert's current policy not to deal diplomatically with Syria, which is also the current policy of America's Bush Administration.

According to Gold, who is current president of the Jerusalem Center For Public Affairs, "In the case of Bashir Assad, I think he simply wants a certificate from the state of Israel that he's O.K., and use that to improve his relations with the west. But, he wants to also obtain his option of using force against Israel, and against American troops in Iraq; and, I don't see why we should give him the Good Housekeeping seal by meeting him in Geneva for some kind of negotiations."

There's a debate in Israel about whether Assad is serious about making peace with Israel. Those who want to give up the Golan Heights feel that Israel has become a banana republic simply accepting Washington's positions. Those who want to retain the Golan Heights, because they think it is strategic for Israel's security concerns, are satisfied with current Israeli and U.S. policies.

While the debate goes on, Members of the European Parliament (MEP's) have held meetings on EU-Syrian relations, hoping to break the Iranian-Syrian axis by luring Syria into economic incentives. Looking at past situations, Gold doesn't think that trying to help Syria out of its current isolation will be effective.

"You can try, but what will get Syria to change its behavior, carrots or sticks? When I say sticks, I'm not saying military sticks. I'm saying, pressure of sanctions; threats of sanctions; diplomatic isolation. I believe that sanctions and threats work. During the 1990's, Syria received carrots every day, and we didn't get Syrian behavior to change....Syria has a lot to lose if it jettisons its relationship with Iran."

While many eyes are watching for Bashir Assad's next move, more eyes are focused on Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Not only is Ahmadinejad repeatedly calling for Israel's destruction, he is also in defiance of UN sanctions, as he belligerently continues to expand his uranium enrichment program. His attempts to "go nuclear" could be achieved by mid-2009, according to Israeli military intelligence.

Israeli officials have gathered data on Iran's nuclear program which they continue to share with global leaders. Recently, NATO defense officials expressed an interest in seeing this information, a sign that NATO may be quietly strengthening its forces to help Israel in any future war with Iran.

If UN sanctions don't work, and global efforts to put effective pressure on Iran are limited because of intervention by certain nations within the UN Security Council, Israel may proceed with military action, or wait for the U.S. Administration to form a unified coalition outside the realm of UN approval.

Gold's assessment is, "Don't depend on the UN Security Council when it comes to vital national security interests, because you are just giving a veto power to the Russians, the French, or anybody else who has a problem with American interests." Gold feels that the U.S. should put together a sanctions regime based on NATO countries and Japan, hoping that whoever ends up outside the umbrella of sanctions will not have sufficient strength to collapse the entire effort.

One of the risks involving Iran going nuclear is the possible proliferation of nuclear weapons and bombs throughout other states in the Middle East region. Already, moderate Arab countries are trying to unite in their efforts to obtain nuclear capability... more as a response to Iran's threat than in regard to their own interests. In light of the global community's appeasement and current unwillingness to confront Iran, militarily, these Arab nations are implementing what they believe are necessary precautions against a Persian take-over of the Middle East.

British MEP, Charles Tannock, believes that Iran clearly poses a formidable challenge to western powers. "Ahmadinejad Is trying to maneuver himself to become the leader of the Moslem world, and bridge the Sunni and Shiite divide. This is causing huge anxieties in the moderate Gulf Arab states. It's a very worrying trend. Everybody recognizes it. It's probably the biggest threat to international security right now."

Paulo Casaca, another member of the European Parliament, believes it is a clear mistake to think of the Iranian bomb in isolation. He explains that it is only part of the global threat that the Islamic regime is posing to the civilized world. "The bomb is being prepared in tandem with the expansionist agenda of the regime. The terrorist moves promoted by the regime and its proxies, both in Lebanon and in Iraq, have two immediate objectives: (1) to make a direct threat to Israel's territory, and, (2) to put the entire Gulf region under its command, therefore, being able to impose prices on oil and gas in concert with others."

Should Iran obtain nuclear weapons, it will have the capability of providing a nuclear umbrella to terrorist organizations in the future. As Iran seeks to dominate the Middle East, persistent in its efforts to obtain weapons of mass destruction, as well as long-range missiles that have the capacity of reaching Europe and eventually the U.S., the issue is increasingly taking front and center stage within the global community.

Right now, many Israelis are hoping for a change in their government leadership as they go through a time of healing after the Lebanon War of 2006. The question remains, will 2007 find citizens of this nation embroiled in yet another time of war, or celebrating a diplomatic breakthrough toward a time of peace? Signs are pointing toward the former scenario.

C. Hart is a 25-year veteran journalist in print and broadcast media, living in Israel since 1995, reporting on political, military and diplomatic issues in the Middle East.

January 13, 2007

Somalia

A Military Approach is Not Enough in Somalia

A Glimmer of Hope for the Horn of Africa Warrants Further Support

By Kyle Dabruzzi | January 13, 2007

The ousting of the Islamic Courts Union in Somalia provides a window of opportunity for reconstructing the nation, which has been torn by strife and violence for the better part of two decades. Somalia has gone through a rap sheet of different organizations and bodies who have tried to assert control over the country. All have failed miserably. The warlords who ran the country until this year produced only violence and chaos. And while the Islamic Courts Union initially provided some stability, their brutal implementation of sharia law vexed Somali citizens. With the ICU on the run, Somalia’s Transitional Federal Government (TFG) has the opportunity to fill the power vacuum. To do this, they need our help.

The latest military incursions in Somalia have helped root out some of the remaining remnants of the ICU. On January 9, an Air Force AC-130 gunship bombed hideouts in southeastern Somalia where suspected al-Qaeda fighters were holed up. More recently, Somali troops backed by the Ethiopian military routed the Islamic Courts Union's (ICU) final stronghold in Ras Kamboni. Both of these operations have succeeded in forcing the ICU to try to regroup outside the country. In fact, the New York Times reports that the Pentagon is looking to adopt these strategies of isolated military incursions as blueprints for further operations around the globe.

However, these military operations won’t solve the problem completely. Proper training and personnel, as well as a desire to fight the long fight, are also needed. Although tactics like these help keep civilian casualties down, they aren’t effective unless military forces are able to keep insurgents from re-occupying previously cleared areas. This has become a persistent problem, as President Bush addressed in his latest statement regarding the military situation in Iraq. The ICU seems to be planning an Iraq-style insurgency, so Ethiopian and US military strategists must take into account the lessons learned from Iraq. A half-baked plan for establishing security in Somalia will only lead to an infestation of insurgents.

There is another way to help Somalia rise from the ashes. The Transitional Federal Government, a UN-recognized body, has the opportunity to take hold of the country and rebuild its infrastructure. The current situation is dismal in Somalia. Not only has it been wrecked by these most recent battles, but also the country was ravaged by floods that killed at least 47 people, displaced over 279,000 and destroyed homes and farms. According to a New York Times article, Somali elders are now asking how to provide security; what to do with the remaining Islamists; how to determine the proper role for religion, an important theme in Somali society; and how to rebuild infrastructure. These are important questions and the TFG has the opportunity to answer them.

It isn’t hard to comprehend why the ICU was successful in initially gaining popularity within Somalia. Terrorist groups thrive in regions of anarchy and in the absence of true leadership, people will accept any rule of law in return for stability. Thus, the ICU’s strategy was to bring stabilization to the country, help rebuild parts of its infrastructure, win the support of the people and then go on to establish their harsh form of sharia law; a tactic reminiscent of the Taliban in Afghanistan. However, the failure of both the Taliban and the ICU to take complete control is evidence that people not only want stability, but they want the freedom to take control of their lives.

I recently had the opportunity to spend time with Dahir Jibreel, former chief of staff for President Abdullahi Yusuf and current permanent secretary in charge of international cooperation for the TFG. He stated that for the first time ever, the governments of Somalia, Kenya and Ethiopia are cooperating with each other. This is an unprecedented event and one that offers a glimmer of hope for the Horn of Africa. However, he also noted that there are serious problems within Somalia: civil servants and soldiers aren’t getting paid, clean drinking water and basic sanitation is unavailable, police forces are ill-trained and ill-equipped to provide security, and the job market is hurting. It is in these areas where the United States, through public and private investment, can provide assistance.

The United States is in a unique position to help the TFG rebuild Somalia. That help cannot stop at small military incursions though. The U.S. and the international community must help the Transitional Federal Government and the people of Somali take control of their destinies. Our previous lack of diplomatic interest is evidenced by the fact that the United States doesn’t even have an official ambassador to Somalia. It is critical that, in this window of opportunity, the United States reach out to Somalia by opening up diplomatic channels and providing both material assistance and expertise.

A two-pronged approach is necessary for helping Somalia rebuild itself. The military forces in the country must be prepared for any attempt by the ICU to create an insurgency, and as such must be ready and willing to fight the long fight. Simultaneously, the Transitional Federal Government must work diligently to rebuild Somalia’s infrastructure. Mohamad Hilowle echoes the sentiments of many Somalis, stating, “I need peace; I need a government and I need employment as a labourer to support myself and my family.” The TFG has the ability to help men like Mr. Hilowle and there are people like Dahir Jibreel who are dedicated to bringing stability and democratic values to Somalia. But the TFG needs assistance. In this capacity, the United States has an opportunity to help Somalia realize the blessings of liberty and democracy that we enjoy in this country everyday.

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