Babobski's Blog: News and opinions from South Africa and around the world

A South African blog with an international flavour

Posts Tagged ‘War on Terror

War on Terror shifts to Somalia

leave a comment »

The Obama administration’s foreign policy is about to be defined. Who would have thought that the War in Iraq and Afghanistan would end up dominating the Bush Years? Now Somalia, a lawless country in the Horn of Africa and not far from Barack Obama’s ancestral roots could end having a significant impact on his presidency.


America will be out of Iraq by 2011 but already new battlefields are looming. The dramatic sea rescue of Captain Richard Phillips who had been captured by Somalian pirates is going to change and shape United States foreign policy during the Obama tenure.


President Obama did not fool around as the situation unfolded and ordered US Special Forces to engage the pirates should the life of Capt Phillips be in imminent danger. It took three exceptional shots from a distance by the Navy Seal snipers, using night vision scopes to kill all thee pirates on the raft without endangering the life of the trussed up Capt Phillips.


Earlier another pirate, who had been wounded in the hand when crew took back the hijacked Maersk Alabama, had left the life raft to seek medical attention from the Americans for his wounds. He remains in US custody.


Ship owners have been quite happy to pay ransom money to pirates for the safe return of hijacked ships and unharmed sailors in the Gulf of Aden. However, French Special Forces stormed a hijacked French yacht and killed the pirates as well the owner of the yacht in the beginning of April. The assassination of the Somalian pirates by the US Navy has upped the stakes considerably.


The Somalians have not taken long to carry out their promise for revenge against the Americans for killing their countrymen. An attempt to kill United States congressman, Donald Payne was made in Mogadishu on Easter Monday when mortars where fired at his airplane.


Payne had told reporters he met with Somalia’s president and prime minister during his one-day visit to Mogadishu to discuss piracy, security and cooperation between Somalia and the United States


Responsibility for the attack has been claimed by al Shabaab, a hard line Islamic insurgent group. Al Shabaab has been fighting in an Iraq style civil war in Somalia since the Islamic Courts Union was thrown out of power by the opposition, backed by Ethiopia in December 2006.


By December 2008 al Shabaab has taken hold of south and central Somalia in a two-year insurgency against the government and its Ethiopian military allies.


The mortar attack on the US congressman, presumably on behalf of the pirates, is being used by Islamic fighters to entice the United States onto another battlefield.


The decision by Barack Obama to use force against the pirates will see retaliation against America, partly from the pirates themselves but also from insurgency forces who will rouse the masses by saying they are defending sovereign soil against the foreign invader.


This war will be a bit different to Iraq and Afghanistan as sea warfare will be involved on the Somalian front.


“Foreign powers want to divide the country (Somalia] and the pirates are protecting the coast against the enemies of Allah,” Abu Mansur, an al Shabaab spokesman said on Radio Garowe. .


Just how far Obama must go down the pirate fighting route is a difficult question. It may be in the interests of America to allow leadership of a multi national force to go the French and to take a bit of a back seat in the War on Piracy.


Should ground forces be used to attack pirate lairs along the Somalian coastline, Al Queda aligned fighters from Africa and abroad could flock to Somalia to engage the enemy on a new front.


George Bush did not think of the consequences when he invaded a backwater country like Afghanistan and now America finds itself bogged down in a brutal guerilla war that has no end in sight.


President Obama must not make the same mistake in Somalia. The only losers should hostilities escalate, will be the people of Somalia who have suffered enough already.


Obama has signaled his intention to continue with the new American foreign policy of constructive engagement by sending an envoy to Mogadishu to engage with the Somalian government. An attempt on the life of Donald Payne must not cloud the judgment now.


Diplomacy is the answer to the pirate problem along the east coast of Africa. Nobody can fault America or France for looking after their citizens. Somalia must not be allowed to become the next Iraq either.




Zimbabwe burns while the Father of the Nation goes shopping and partying

with 6 comments

Life is all about timing. Doing the right things at the right time and seizing the opportunity when it presents itself. Graeme Smith and his cricket team are a prime example. Smith has developed a powerful team over the past year and knew that the time to defeat the Australians had arrived.
It has been incredible just how fate has dealt Robert Mugube such good timing over the past eight years.

In 2000 Mugabe started with his program of genocide. He started with the few remaining white people who were farmers. Rhodesians, who had bought into the new country and were proudly Zimbabwean. They were producing the grain and the tobacco that had lead to Zimbabwe being able to export food to Sub Saharan Africa and sell to the international markets.


The Zimbabwean economy was thriving and the Zim dollar was stronger than the rand in the late 1980’s. Mugabe was ruling a country that could rightfully claim to be the “Breadbasket of Africa”.


The very people who were responsible for the “Breadbasket” became the innocent victims of genocide. Sure they received encouraging words from the British and the Americans when Mugabe started with land invasions in 2000. The jaw war continued well into 2001, while the Zim economy started faltering and the world was shocked at the violence with which old people were being evicted from their farms and some even murdered.


Then 9/11 happened. The airplanes being flown into skyscrapers will be the most striking images I will probably see in my lifetime. The Asian tsumani is the other major impression in my mind, of days that changed the world forever.

[picapp src=”b/3/c/2/World_Trade_Center_70f3.jpg?adImageId=6205237&imageId=6060845″ width=”500″ height=”576″ /]


(Above:  The twin towers during the 9/11 attack)


In an instance Zimbabwe was off the radar. Mugabe had won the stand off. He had been telling Blair for how long now that Zimbabwe was no longer a colony and that Mugabe quite frankly couldn’t be bothered with anything that little Bush and Blair had to say.


The world’s media became filled with images of the Twin towers, Osama Bin Laden became the most wanted man in the world and America was at War.


The War on Terror had had little impact in Southern Africa. Corruption and scandal still emerged from South Africa on a continual basis and Mugabe, after sorting out the perennial enemy, the white man, started climbing into his own people, who happened to be called the MDC. This political party became the first real opposition to the Mugabe rule.


Mugabe proceeded to ruin Zimbabwe. Foreign currency had dried up and the economy was into tailspin. A famine resulted and the Mugabe regime began to use food as a political weapon. Supported by the Chinese and to a lesser extend by Libya, Mubage kept buying weapons and oil to survive. He knew that South Africa would never ditch him, so his supply of power and access to the sea were secure.


[picapp src=”c/7/8/f/Robert_Mugabe_1b18.jpg?adImageId=6205005&imageId=4497428″ width=”500″ height=”393″ /]


(Above: Robert Mugabe when he came into power in 1980)


Thabo Mbeki seemed to be bound by unwritten rules when it came to dealing with Mugabe. Mugabe always seemed to have the upper hand and Mbeki retreated into the vague policy of “quiet diplomacy” and even blocked action against Zimbabwe by the United Nations when South Africa was sitting on the UN Security Council.


Mugabe’s nose was put out of joint by the Mandela persona and he felt that Mandela had usurped his rightful position of Father of the liberation movement in Africa. Mubage has survived five US presidents since winning the independence election in 1980.


Bob was the big daddy of African leaders and he let Thabo Mbeki know that. When the world sent Mbeki in as the front man to deal with Mubage, it was like sending a Grade One pupil to tell the Headmaster how to run the school.


Mugabe simply ignored Mbeki and continued as the weapon of mass destruction in Zimbabwe.


In 2008, when the world again had time to focus on Zimbabwe, the question of land distribution was fait accompli. Nobody even mentioned the dispossessed as a stolen election and a huge cholera outbreak caused more words to emanate from America and Britian.


America described Mugabe as being out of touch with reality and the British said that Mugabe was an obstacle and that a solution was not possible with him involved.


Ears pricked up in Southern Africa. Would Zimbabweans who were scattered around in surrounding countries like South Africa and Namibia be able to return home and rebuild their country? Was Mugabe eventually being given the boot? Even Bishop Desmond Tutu said that a military invasion must be considered in removing Mugabe.


And then timing played a part again. Israel invaded the Gaza strip and the same media that made such a huge noise that 1000 people had died of cholera are now deafening silent that nearly 2000 people are dead now and many more infected.


Are Israeli, American and Palestinian lives more important than Zimbabwean lives? Robert Mugabe seems to think so. He has killed more people through the cholera outbreak than have died on both sides in the Gaza War so far and yes, the eyes of the world are fixated on the Middle East and Zimbabwe has slipped off the radar yet again.


Mugabe has survived this type of thing before. 9/11 and the loss of American lives meant that white farmers in Africa were being robbed of their land didn’t have as much meaning anymore. This time he simply informed Bush and Blair that they mustn’t think Bob was stupid. The announcement was made that Bob knew the cholera outbreak was a biological warfare assault against Zimbabwe but that he was ready to repulse a military invasion.


Mugabe understands that Little Bush is no longer relevant and that Brown will be focused on the Middle East as black Africans die in their thousands from cholera.


Mugabe has just left Zimbabwe on a month long holiday to an undisclosed overseas destination. He has told the opposition he is tired of their games and will form a new government when he comes back. Timing has once again come to the rescue of Mugabe and he has seized the moment. Zimbabwe burns while the Father of the Nation goes shopping and partying around the world.

Who has been the worst president: George Bush or Robert Mugabe?

with one comment

The throwing of shoes at George Bush during a press conference by an Iraqi journalist summed up the entire Bush presidency.

It was all in Bush’s response to the incident. He claimed that the majority of journalists supported him and the American people and what has been accomplished in Iraq. So what exactly has been accomplished in Iraq Mr. President?


It was heady days for Bush when Saddam was toppled and Bush claimed that the mission was accomplished, blindly unaware that the resistance in Iraq was in place and ready to fight the occupation. At the end of his presidency he seems to think America has won the war.


Bush has been out of touch with reality all along. In fact he played right into the hands of the militant Islamics who wanted to fight America in their own back garden and thereby bleed America financially.


The war in Afghanistan is getting uglier by the day as the Taliban gets stronger in the rural areas and is now attacking American supply lines with much success. Bush’s response was to launch attacks across the border in Pakistan.


A new card was thrown on the table when the Mumbai attacks occurred. The attackers have been identified as Pakistani’s which just adds to the confusion in the War on Terror. The shift in focus by the Pakistan government from trying to control the Afghanistan insurgents in Pakistan to a possible war with India has only played into the radical Islamists hands once again. Pakistan is very unstable and could collapse politically at any time.


George Bush could never foretell the consequences of his actions. He has caused much hatred for Americans and has made the western world a very dangerous place.


On the other hand Robert Mugabe has since 2000, embarked on a strategy to stay in power at all costs. Knowing that the brotherhood that exists from the days of fighting colonial rule is still strong on the African continent, he knew that nobody would lift a finger to stop him.


In Africa, when in doubt blame the white man for all your woes. This is exactly what Mugabe did when he started expropriating white owned farm land and distributing the farms to his cronies. The result has been a nation wide famine as the farms fell into neglect and crops ruined.  Zimbabwe, once the bread basket of Africa, became a basket case.


Sanctions were imposed which Mugabe then blamed for the famine and spiraling inflation that has bankrupted Zimbabwe. Two elections were held, one of which Mugabe stole and the other which he lost.


The lost election did not bother Mugabe in the least. After all, who was going to intervene? Thabo Mbeki tried quiet diplomacy which Mugabe just brushed aside. And now Zimbabwe is in the end game. A cholera outbreak, which has been described by the Mugabe regime as a biological warfare attack by America and Britain (when all else fails, blame the white man) is gripping the country. Mugabe then stated that there is no more cholera in Zimbabwe. This statement proved his government does not care about the people of Zimbabwe and cannot survive for much longer.


Who has been the worst leader for world peace? Well Mugabe has decimated a country and forced millions into starvation while Bush has created a scenario that will take decades to solve, and the financial collapse that has shaken the world and left millions without homes and jobs also happened under his watch. The honour therefore has to go to George Bush.

The World had a history before G W Bush

with one comment

The latest terror attacks in India have just made the world a more complicated place…..for America.


Suddenly the Americans are confronted with a new front in the war on terror and luckily the world has Barack Obama and not George Bush as the man who must decide how the most powerful nation on earth must respond.


Early indications are that the attackers who killed at least 183 people and injured a further 300 come from Pakistan. However, nothing is always as it seems in the Middle East and some the attackers might have come from India, or at least had local support.


One of the terrorist’s told an Indian News channel that the attacks were revenge for the persecution of Muslims in India.


Muslims make up about 14 % of India’s population while Hindu’s make up around 80 %.

In 2002, Hindu nationalists went on the rampage and killed 2000 Muslims. Few of the attackers were ever caught and this has left a festering sore amongst the Muslim population in India


To understand the complexities involved in the Indian/Pakistani relationship one must go back to the days of the last great imperialist, Great Britain.


In 1857, the first war of independence was fought in India, against the British invaders. The British called the uprising the Sepoy mutiny and took revenge upon the Muslim community, who had ruled the sub-continent for 500 years, as part of the Mughal Empire. English was imposed as the official language and puppet rulers were installed. The parallels between India in 1857 and Iraq and Afghanistan 150 years later cannot be ignored.


The Muslim community in India collapsed as a result and has never recovered. Two grouping emerged in the aftermath of the British victory. One group believed that the collapse of the Mughal Empire was a result of a society that that moved too far away from the teachings of the Koran, whilst the other embraced the modern ways of their conqueror and sought Muslim advancement through Western sciences, law and culture.


The roots of the Islamic militants can be traced back 150 years as they seek, via the military option to regain power and re-instate Islamic states in the sub continent.


Following World War I, more lines were drawn on the map and Pakistan was born, to cater for the Muslim majority in that region. At the conclusion of a civil war in 1971, East Pakistan broke away to form Bangladesh.


The Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in 1979 gave new impetus to Islamic militancy as thousands of refugees poured into Pakistan. Holy warriors or Muhajedin were trained to fight the Soviets, often funded by America. These fighters came from all over the globe and were united by their religion and believed they were fighting a jihad, a holy war.


Ridding Afghanistan of the infidels was the rallying call. Did anyone really believe that anything had changed 25 years later?


The situation in the region is complex. However, what has become evident is that the military invasion by the West has only caused more problems and not solutions. America’s reasons for invading Afghanistan and Iraq have turned out to be misleading at best and outright lies at worst. The result has been a surge in Islamic militancy and India is now bearing the brunt of that surge.


And without any political solutions many will believe that only religion will be able to unite and heal the wounds in the sub continent that were inflicted centuries ago.

Written by admin

November 30, 2008 at 4:16 pm

It is the right thing for America and Barack Obama to do

leave a comment »

How long will it take before Barack Obama is labeled as just another lying politician?


One meeting with the US Army Generals



What has been refreshing about president elect Obama, apart from being an African, is his commitment to get all American troops out of Iraq by 2010. This was a shift in foreign policy that could bring a chance for peace in the Middle East. Obama stated that “I have said throughout the campaign that this war was ill-conceived, that it was a strategic blunder and that it needs to come to an end,”


The Iraqi government has asked that all U.S. troops be pulled out of Iraqi cities by June 2009 and out of Iraq by 2012


The only problem with the American withdrawal from Iraq is that civil war almost seems imminent and has nothing to do with Al Qeada or anybody else. It’s simply a case of an internal power struggle between Sunni and Shia’s who both want the same thing: Political power in Iraq.


Saddam managed to keep control over the country, often brutally and was hung for his crimes. But his removal has left a power vacuum in Iraq that is not sorted out yet.


Some of the militia armies are simply not fighting at the moment. They could just be waiting for the Americans to leave before the civil war starts in earnest.


Obama has a struggle on a wider spectrum as well. The American invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq have incensed the wider Islamic world, who has taken spiritual umbrage over the fact that infidels have invaded the promised lands and must be repelled at all cost. This becomes a jihad and a rallying call for militants from all over the world to join forces and fight the invader.


The result is that Obama might have to delay his time table to get all troops out of Iraq by 2010. And there is not much he can do about it. Should he decide to continue the war in Afghanistan, there is no doubt that it will become deadlier and with little chance of an American victory there either.


The opportunity Obama has to become a master statesman from the start of his term in office has to be taken. Instead of the military option, he must come in peace and with respect to solve the problems. It will not be easy but it is the right thing for America and Barack Obama to do.

Written by admin

November 8, 2008 at 9:29 am

At last…the world is free of George Bush….at last

with one comment



Barack Obama has won the American presidential election.  He has won 338 electoral votes by the time this post was written.  The winner needs 270 in total, which shows that Obama is likely to win with a significant majority.


George Bush will be in power until 20 January, when the new president will be sworn into office.


The world can only hope that Bush will not inflict more damage between now and the 20 January.


It is disturbing to note that American forces have attacked targets within Pakistan and Syria, with little regard for the sovereignty of these countries.  The Pakistani’s have been trying to tell the Americans that attacks like these will have an adverse effect on the War on Terror, to no avail.


Obama has some serious challenges facing him.  Bush has left him a financial crises that took eight years of bad decisions to create and a foreign policy that has caused America to become hated around the world at worst and with no respect at best.


The War on Terror was ill conceived from the start and played into the Islamic extremists hands all along.  A war being fought in Afghanistan has never been won by an imperial force, going back to the British invasion in the early 1900’s and the Russian invasion in the 1970’s. 


Iraq will erupt into a civil war once the Americans leave.  Obama has stated that he will withdraw American forces from Iraq.  What George Bush did not realize or failed to acknowledge was that Saddam Hussein was actually keeping an extremely splintered country intact, albeit with heavy handed tactics.


Saddam did not have the time or resources like weapons of mass destruction, to have been a threat to the West, despite the lies told by Bush and his cronies.  Right up until the American invasion of Iraq, Saddam genuinely believed that the attack would never happen.  After all, even the United Nations weapons inspectors had gone on record saying there was no evidence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.


The lack of preparedness of the Iraq army bears testament to this.  The indecent haste with which Saddam was executed was bizarre and could even be regarded as a war crime, but probably never will.  Did Saddam do anything worse that what Robert Mugabe has done in Zimbabwe?


Obama will have to stem the tide of militancy from the Islamic people, who rightfully regard America as being an imperial invader.  The only way out for Obama is to withdraw from the Middle East and try help with the reconstruction of the countries ruined by the Bush doctrine.


And that is the easy part of his job.  The financial crises which has been caused by poor fiscal policies by the Bush regime has affected the entire world and could prove to be even harder to fix than the damage caused by the War on Terror.


The world can breathe a collective sigh of relief that Obama has won the election and thank Americans for doing the right thing and voting for a president who will hopefully rectify the many mistakes that have been made by America over the past eight years.


It is time for America to rise up and become a force for good in the world. 


Written by admin

November 5, 2008 at 4:52 am

US continues with military attacks in Pakistan

leave a comment »

A missile attack launched from an unmanned drone airplane killed two people in Pakistan on Thursday.  In what is becoming known as America’s secret war, this is the 12 confirmed attack in the new front in the war on terror.


There are hundreds of thousands of Pakistani refugees who have crossed the border into Afghanistan to flee the fighting between government forces and Taliban militants.  The refugees say the invasion of Afghanistan caused the problems as many soldiers moved into Pakistan to launch their attacks from the tribal areas against the US led coalition.


According to Richard Engel, NBC News Chief Foreign Correspondent in Afghanistan there are US special forces who are waging war in Pakistan.  “There are troops in bases in Afghanistan who don’t wear uniforms and who don’t shave to in order to blend in with local populations when on covert operations”.

“They eat in their own chow halls, plan their own missions and don’t talk much. They don’t talk at all to the media.  They’re the men who have been called in to cross into Pakistan when the drones can’t get deep enough to find and kill their targets. 

They are elite Special Operations Forces, the most-highly trained and covert of the U.S. military. They are America’s ghost warriors. According to Pakistani villagers who claim to have witnessed their operations, the “Special Ops” work in small teams, fast roping out of helicopters, air assaulting their objective before the enemy can re-group.

Their strengths are rapid violence, stealth, mobility and surprise. The Special Operations Forces don’t receive much attention or credit in the media, but they’re leading America’s secret war inside Pakistan, at least for now”.

A Pakistani official, according to Engel said that there has been up to 50 drone incursions and around 10 ground force attacks into Pakistan since the new front in the war has been opened.

In further proof that a civil war is also underway in Pakistan, at least four security personnel were killed and 28 others wounded when a police station here came under a rocket attack, followed by a suicide bombing late on Wednesday night.

Swat district police chief, Delawar Khan Bangash told newsmen that militants fired rockets on the station. A heavy exchange of gunfire followed but soon an explosive-laden coach was rammed into the rear wall of the city police station.

Pakistan has turned to China to assist with their financial crises as all western aid goes to the military.  Asif Ali Zardari, the Pakistani prime minister is on a four day visit to China seeking hundreds of millions of dollars of emergency aid.


Written by admin

October 17, 2008 at 5:34 am