North Korea

North Korea
The always bombastic and unpredictable North Koreans go hysterical again. This time the country is prepared to "go to war" with South Korea because that country is playing loudspeakers directed at North Korean territory. A headline from a UK paper reads, "More than 50 North Korea submarines 'leave their bases' as war talks with South continue "

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Somalia drought brings slight relaxation by Islamists

In the "failed state" of Somalia, where the Islamist group, al-Shabab, has more control than a weak official government, the decades of anarchy and fighting have now born further bitter fruit.

With a large population already internally displaced due to the ongoing violence, reports are now of refugees streaming to neighboring Kenya and Ethiopia to seek survival from a severe drought.

Drought is found throughout the Horn of Africa, but ironically most severe right where little governance is found

In response, the BBC reports Somalia's militant Islamist group al-Shabab has lifted a ban on foreign aid agencies - one that was imposed in 2009 after the group accusing them of being anti-Muslim. Faced with an emergency bound to get worse before it gets better, al-Shabab now says all charities, whether "Muslims or non-Muslims", can give emergency aid as long as they have "no hidden agenda".

Accustomed to fighting and accommodating piracy, the largest Islamist group finds itself in an uncomfortable role of overseeing food distribution to its starving brothers and sisters.

The report goes on, analysts say the move may have been prompted by the embarrassment al-Shabab feels about the exodus of Somalis leaving areas they control in search of food. An estimated 12 million people in the Horn of Africa have been hit by this year's drought. The effect in Somalia however has been compounded by the violence which has gone on for more than 20 years - its last functioning national government was toppled in 1991. And the current internationally backed government controls only portions of the capital city, Mogadishu.

The country's recognized president, Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed,says 2.5 million Somalis are at risk.

In arid-east Kenya's Dadaab refugee camp, some 1,400 refugees from Somalia are arriving every day. Aid agencies fear numbers could rise to half a million. UN officials say more than 50% of Somali children arriving in neighboring Ethiopia are malnourished - with some of them dying on their way to or within a day of arrival at refugee camps.

The UN has 140 trucks full of food aid ready to enter Somalia as soon as the security and logistics are settled. It is enough to feed 100,000 for three months, and of course, more would be on the way.

A UN spokesperson said al-Shabab's decision to lift the ban could stem the flow of refugees, and reduce deaths. "When people decide to move they suffer even higher rates of mortality."

Somali women line up at Kenyan refugee camps

Al-Shabab rules over large swathes of south and central Somalia, and is fighting is fighting for Islamic rule in the country.
Al-shabab fighters - just another Islamist group in the Muslim world, inflicting physical and emotional damage on fellow believers.

The developing food crisis (which is really a violence and infighting crisis compounded by a natural cycle of drought) is just one more example of money going to weapons and buttressed by a violent agenda, with the sufferers being ordinary people who could use basic assistance and development.

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