Saturday, January 13, 2007

Somalia Update

It appears that Eritrea has been strongly supporting- with ground troops- what was presented by the BBC as being plucky little Islamic Courts Somalia. The secular government just wasn't wanted we were informed. No special reason, except for an Islamic government who made the trains run on time, so to speak.

2000 Eritrean troops deployed in various places and fought alongside the Islamic Courts, who have now thankfully been dumped out of their last major stronghold. That news comes via a leaked UN report. The Eritreans had been there since August 06, apparently.

The BBC, I note, have not produced a report on that but have slipped a new line into their profile of who supports whom. So they know what they're doing then. Strange how none of their wonderful on the ground journalists deigned to notice it.

The slowly slowly slowly approach to good US news.

Being captivated by a Las Vegas Porn show the BBC appears not to have noticed that the US Federal deficit has fallen to its lowest level in four years. No hurry Beeb, only a few hundred outlets scooped you.

The BBC is comfortable with the idea of hard spending porn-guzzling ham-burger consuming deficit running vehically challenged Bush Americans- a streamlined US economy boosted by tax cuts, not so much.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Beating Insurgencies

Ok, it's just a guess, of course, but I'm of the opinion one of my favourite moments from a favourite film might help, certainly in Iraq.

The film in question is Silverado, one of the great westerns from a time when westerns were going through their bleakest out of season period (they aren't exactly "in" now).

The big hero, Emmett, played by Kevin Kline, dives into the hideout of some ne'r do wells who've robbed some fetching young settlers, and his cover is provided by just a couple of friends shooting frantically trying to appear like some big posse who Emmett claims are pursuing him. The aim is to distract the bad guys long enough for Emmett to sneak the money box away. They succeed.

Emmett retrieves the booty, but not before he's rumbled. Short but immortal lines:

(indicating Emmett)
Brave man.

I think there's only a couple of
guys up there and this asshole's one
of them."

It's a great moment, full of irony.

I only say this because I was inspired to think about it by this very realistic, if overly pessimistic, Slate article from Robert Kaplan on the Bush surge and his clever new general. My response is that we should remember what chaos a few assholes can create, trying to appear a big posse. And be clear who the good guys are on this occasion.

Monday, January 08, 2007

"As I always say, there is no “stability”. We thought we’d “contained” Soviet Communism. Instead, the social pathologies that took hold during the Russian people’s half-century of “containment” will have profound consequences for us and the rest of the world long after the last Commie is dead and buried".

Mark Steyn. Rest of article found here.

Over Christmas I read America Alone. I don't think any writer has made me sit up in my chair more, ever. It may explain the deeper reason why I was thinking along the lines I wrote about in my last post, largely about the fall of communism. The People's Tragedy is another book I've read- that one specifically about Russia- and its title is adequate to its subject.

Contrary to many people's imagination, there is nothing crackpot about Mark Steyn's reasoning.

"The Toronto Star (which is Canada’s biggest-selling newspaper and impeccably liberal) recently noted that by 2015 Muslims will make up a majority of Russia’s army."

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