Farewell. The Flying Pig Has Left The Building.

Steve Hynd, August 16, 2012

After four years on the Typepad site, eight years total blogging, Newshoggers is closing it's doors today. We've been coasting the last year or so, with many of us moving on to bigger projects (Hey, Eric!) or simply running out of blogging enthusiasm, and it's time to give the old flying pig a rest.

We've done okay over those eight years, although never being quite PC enough to gain wider acceptance from the partisan "party right or wrong" crowds. We like to think we moved political conversations a little, on the ever-present wish to rush to war with Iran, on the need for a real Left that isn't licking corporatist Dem boots every cycle, on America's foreign misadventures in Afghanistan and Iraq. We like to think we made a small difference while writing under that flying pig banner. We did pretty good for a bunch with no ties to big-party apparatuses or think tanks.

Those eight years of blogging will still exist. Because we're ending this typepad account, we've been archiving the typepad blog here. And the original blogger archive is still here. There will still be new content from the old 'hoggers crew too. Ron writes for The Moderate Voice, I post at The Agonist and Eric Martin's lucid foreign policy thoughts can be read at Democracy Arsenal.

I'd like to thank all our regular commenters, readers and the other bloggers who regularly linked to our posts over the years to agree or disagree. You all made writing for 'hoggers an amazingly fun and stimulating experience.

Thank you very much.

Note: This is an archive copy of Newshoggers. Most of the pictures are gone but the words are all here. There may be some occasional new content, John may do some posts and Ron will cross post some of his contributions to The Moderate Voice so check back.


Wednesday, October 26, 2011

MSM catches up on Somalia

By BJ Bjornson

This story from the Telegraph has a familiar ring.

To the northwest, Somaliland was the first to declare its independence from what was the sovereign state of Somalia, within months of the collapse of the last national administration 20 years ago.

. . .

To its east, Puntland is aiming to follow suit. . . .

Himan and Heeb, Galmudug and areas of north-western Galgaduud are now all busy declaring independence and electing provincial rulers.

To the south, Ahlu Sunna Wal Jamaa, a militia allied to the Transitional Federal Government but operating unilaterally is taking increasing territory from al-Shabaab.

And close to the Kenyan border, the latest area to break off is Azania, also known as Jubaland.

The article ends by noting that while these proto-states pretty much mean the end of any attempts to re-unify the Somali state, they are also probably the best chance for real local stability and a counter to the radical al-Shabab.

The reason it sounds familiar is because Dave was pointing that out right here two and a half years ago.

The US's best interests are served by seeing pockets of stability form and sustain themselves so that global interconnections can be made, and multi-issue linkages are possible. These pockets of stability may or may not be in the form of traditional states of the Westphalian model, but they are valuable none the less. These pockets are often a recognition of reality on the ground; local elites, networks and tribal connections as well as sometimes being the strongest group of thugs around who have fairly limited objectives can be sources of needed stability from which proto-states can emerge to better reflect ongoing realities. . . .

The same applies for Somalia and other failed or failing states --- working with the reality that there really is no such thing as a unified Somali state with an effective central government but there are regional pockets of stability that are effectively serving as limited proto-states will be far more successful in accomplishing the limited political/economic goals of the United States (smooth flow of global trade, sidelining of radical Islamists who have the capacity and intent for global strikes) then attempting to re-create a unified Somali state.

The biggest danger at the moment is that the Kenyan invasion will disrupt or otherwise delegitimize the recently forming southern pockets of stability.

Whatever its source, the instability in Somalia is making the effects of the famine there even worse, as aid agencies find it more difficult to provide aid, and the recent spate of kidnappings is only going to increase the pressure.

Somali gunmen have kidnapped three employees of the Danish Demining Group working in northern Somalia, according to officials, the latest in a series of abductions in the nation.

. . .

The nothern-autonomous province of Puntland is generally considered more stable than the rest of Somalia, which is a battleground between disparate armed groups and the weak UN-backed government in the capital.

Somalia is one of the world�s most dangerous regions for aid workers. It is also home to a number of pirate gangs who earn a living by seizing boats, but who have recently been accused of capturing hostages on land as well.

It would appear that the best case scenario at this point would be for Kenya�s punitive expedition to end before it causes further disruption to the already tenuous situation in southern Somalia and hope that the forming proto-states can establish sufficient stability in the aftermath that some semblance of security returns to the country and aid and other economic activity can return.

For the U.S., and the West in general, the best option is to stay the hell out of the way. It was in no small part the fact that the U.S. was pouring aid towards its local warlord proxies back in 2006 that helped spawn al-Shabab�s more moderate precursor Islamic Courts Union�s takeover of southern Somalia before the Ethiopian invasion, which radicalized the Islamists and led to today�s more fragmented and dangerous environment. Too much recent history for any aid to be taken at face value and not risk a backlash.

As Dave said in �09, minimalism should be the watchword for this, but we�ll have to see if it will be.

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