Monday, September 25, 2006

The language of terror


Somalia's interim prime minister has asked for international help against the "al-Qaeda" and "terrorist" expansion in the country.

NOTE: I don't think the man above is Somalia's interim PM, but the
BBC doesn't clarify...

So what happens when an 'islamist' state fights an 'islamist terror' group? Who do we side with?

The International Herald Tribune

But in the period of anarchy, the culture changed. After Western aid organizations pulled out, Arab charities rushed in, bringing Koranic-based schools and more religion. Militant Islamic groups opened camps in Somalia's deserts.

According to terrorism analysts, U.S. intelligence officers began hiring warlords to kidnap terrorism suspects and take them to bases outside Somalia. Often the suspects were innocent imams or businessmen who were soon set free.

By 2004, the Islamist groups teamed up with clan courts and businessmen to protect themselves from the warlords, calling their alliance the Union for Islamic Courts.

Last winter, the warlords announced that they, too, had formed an alliance, the Alliance for the Restoration of Peace and Counterterrorism. It was a well-known fact, buttressed by the annoying aerial drone that buzzed over Mogadishu at night, that they had American support.

This played straight into the hands of the Islamists, who quickly built an army called the Shabab, or youth, made up of young, devout fighters, to overthrow the warlords.

It's interesting how words are used to suit our needs. Who are the terrorists? The Islamists? So the terrorising warlords and their purveyors of terror instilling weapons are not terrorists?

From Afghanistan in the 80's to Somalia today, who says times are changing?

Under a UN-backed framework, Somalia is supposed to have elections by 2009.
The Islamists say the sooner the better. They know they are the most popular force in the country.

This sounds like the Islamists are only for democracy when they are sure of winning. But what of the British PM who can call an election pretty much when it suits him best? What of the French President who can dissolve parliament pretty much at will when he feels his party has a chance of winning the elections? And what of the Japanese governing party which elects a new leader mid-term hence electing a new PM without consulting the people?

Indeed, language is a wonderful thing.

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