CIA Station Chief in his air-conditioned posh Nairobi office
compiled his own lists of warlords accused of the anarchy and
mass slaughter in Somalia, but kept them under wraps,
apparently to be used against anyone of them as blackmail in
case he comes to power in a future government.
journalists covering the “Big Profile” persistently asked
retired Navy Admiral, a born-again Christian, about the CIA
lists, his answer was: “You don’t want to see classified
documents, do you?”
than 23 nations contributed to UNOSOM’S strength in 1993,
but the decision-makers were from the United States puffed-up
with advisers, bureaucrats and agents from the Departments of
State and Defense, ghost workers, the CIA and other agencies.
Howe, the UN Envoy, who says he was “doing God’s work in
Somalia” (Former president George Bush’s catch phrase)
probably didn’t know that the list was already in public
domain in Somalia and that all the US and UN oligarchy needed
to do was to smoke out those elements whose names were in the
LIFE RETURNED TO NORMAL IN MOGADISHU
returned to normal in the city as food and medicines were
flown in from the US Naval base of Diego Garcia aboard giant
C-141 aircraft that landed at the hastily repaired Mogadishu
Airport every two hours and the US Marines and Army Engineers
started repairing roads, bridges, the airport and seaport and
other destroyed infrastructures such as the water pumps at
Afgoi and distributed anti-malaria tablets and other necessary
masquerading as religious leaders stood in street corners
shouting that the emergency food is not Halaal, meaning
unwholesome and that the Americans were trying to convert the
Somalis into Christianity. But nobody paid any attention to
their harangues, because it transpired that they were in the
payroll of warehouse owners and other vocal interest groups.
These merchants hoarded huge amounts of food and other
essentials and sold them at exorbitant prices beyond the reach
of the people in the beleaguered city.
the shit hit the fan, as the Americans would like to say.
THE HUNT FOR GENERAL AIDEED
Mohamed Aideed was bristling with indignation at what he
thought heavy-handedness of the United Nations, particularly
the Pakistani Blue Helmets. But when the US Marines and Army
Rangers stormed the beaches of Mogadishu to spearhead an
international task force code named Operation Restore Hope,
the General restrained himself for a while and decided to keep
low profile lest he was accused of being anti-Americans.
even organized his youth wing, the United Somali Social Youth
and hundreds of colourfully dressed ululating women to welcome
the Americans at the airport, carrying posters saying: “We
Welcome the American Troops.”
road junctions and street corners members of his youth wing
handed out pieces of papers carrying Aideed’s pro-American
and anti-United Nations slogans. One poster said: “Butros
Ghali Go Home.” Butros Ghali of Egypt was the then Secretary
General of the United Nations and the man who, from the very
beginning, suggested to the Security Council that the Somali
warlords should be airlifted to the Devil’s Island, in
French Guyana, some 12,000 miles away, where Henri Charriere (Papillon)
and other hardcore French convicts were incarcerated since
Chapter Seven (Rules of Engagement) provision at their
disposal, UN and US officials could legally respond to any
resistance from the warlords, including whisking them out of
the country, by force. But some greenhorn UN officials
questioned the legality of deporting a citizen from his native
country to another.
argument would not cut ice, because there’s precedence:
former military dictator of Panama, General Manuel Noriega is
languishing in a US prison. The British had interned
Archbishop Makarious of Cyprus on the then French island
colony of Madagascar in the 1960s. But the idea was abandoned
outright as “unfeasible”.
THE GENERAL’S SNIPERS ON ROOFTOPS
that scenario, General Aideed rightly or wrongly believed that
he was being sidelined by the Americans in favour of his main
rival, Ali Mahdi Mohamed and immediately included the
Americans in his daily radio invectives for the first time.
loyal to the general zeroed on both UN peace-keepers and now
on the American troops. The situation in the capital became
extremely tense as soldiers of the US Quick Reaction Force (QRF)
and Army Rangers begun house-to-house search for weapons, and
unless you have a risk-taking gene, Mogadishu was not the
place to be.
months after the arrival of the Americans, General Mohamed
Farah Aideed begun to have second thoughts about
Washington’s much bandied “good intentions to help the
Somalis stand on their own feet.” There were more than 2000
journalists from all over the world covering what they called
“The Big Profile” with image-conscious CNN leading the
pack because Americans were involved. But they all focused on
the “Brave” American Marines who come to Somalia to save
Somalis from killing each other. The fact is that the US
Marines were most disciplined elements among the international
task force in terms of ground rules and generosity. They fed
skeleton-looking mothers, children, the infirm and the
elderly. But the real intricacy involved the UN and US
oligarchy in Mogadishu that even puzzled some of the media
a hard-hitting broadcast over his radio station the general
accused the international task force, now renamed UNITAF, of
breaking into houses and ejecting the occupants on the excuse
of looking for weapons.
a result of UNITAF’S behaviours, the attitude of the Somali
people had gone from positive to negative,” he said.
speech prompted some 400 people, mostly women and children to
demonstrate against UNITAF. US helicopter gunships hovered
over Aideed’s stronghold on surveillance duty in the south
of the city, but did not interfere with the demonstrators,
shouting “Down with Animal Howe,” meaning down with
Admiral Howe, the American UN Envoy.
day a counter-demonstration in support of UNITAF was held by
supporters of Ali Mahdi who carried slogans and chanted
“Long Live UNITAF” and “Down with Warmongers.”
to be marginalized, Aideed orchestrated his own mass rally in
his stronghold where his supporters distributed leaflets
condemning the UN troops as “looters, pirates, bandits and
stooges of the Americans”.
slogans ordered all foreign troops to leave the country
hours later General Aideed supporters took to the street again
after he protested in his daily radio broadcasts that the
US-led multi-national forces were favouring militia loyal to
another rival, General Mohamed Saeed Hirzi Morgan, son-in-law
of former dictator.
stoned cars and set up barricades with flaming tires at
intersections. Aideed repeated his allegations against UNITAF
and warned that his forces might be provoked to take action.
Howe’s office inside the fortified former American Embassy
was filled with jostling cameramen, bright television lights
and photographic lights. The Admiral endured this for
several minutes before declaring the hunt for General
Aideed with a bounty of $25,000. There were no takers, because
bounty hunters were scared to death for obvious reason.
Christine Amanpour, leading the pack as usual, provided live
coverage. The Admiral insisted doggedly that Aideed was the
primary obstacle to peace in Somalia and must be apprehended
dead or alive. In the Navy, he said, there’s no such
confusion. If a ship runs aground, the captain is responsible.
Meaning he was solely responsible for the Somalia watch,
omitting that if the ship goes down, the captain goes with it.
military mentality has brought him under fire. “He is not
qualified to perform his duties and should be replaced,”
wrote the New York Times reporter, which prompted Ambassador
Oakley, his State Department counterpart and former Ambassador
in Mogadishu to call for an urgent meeting. The meeting was
behind closed door and what had transpired between the two men
remains mystery to this day.
however, speculated that the Admiral has been acting
unilaterally, that’s over the heads of State Department
officials and the CIA. But it appeared that the Admiral’s
position prevailed over the Ambassador’s arguments to call
off the manhunt temporarily. A prove that the hunt for the
elusive general gathered momentum in the smoking ruins of
Mogadishu, they pointed out.
be continued ...@hotmail.com
M. M. Afrah,
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Phone (416) 926-8952