Archive of Nov 2007

30.11.07
East Africa Roundup

The jackasses at Flagrancy to Reason are calling me names for making it so difficult to read all my Kenya and Somalia journals in order of publication. Seems they want some sort of separate badge or a constantly updated list of links. My excuse? I’m in freaking Somalia! So cut me some slack.  Anyways, here it is, belatedly, from [...]

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30.11.07
BBC Radio: Sounds of the Somali Aid Crisis

I was on the radio in merry England, reporting on the worst humanitarian crisis in all of Africa. Check it out. I believe my piece is around ten minutes in. Bonus: the same program features a nice little talky by Danger Room boss Noah Shachtman.

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30.11.07
Somalia Journal, Day Thirteen: Warlording 101

Ali Mohamed Siyad had a problem. As chairman of Mogadishu’s fledgling Bakara Market, he was responsible for the welfare of scores of businesses employing hundreds of people. It was the early 1990s. Somalia’s civil war was over, but its troubles were just beginning. There was the doomed U.N. and U.S. peacekeeping experiment that ended in violence following the shoot-down of [...]

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29.11.07
Somalia Journal, Day Twelve: This Cash Is Broke

“Mister, mister! It’s broken.” The purple-shawled woman chased after me waving the perfectly good 2006 series $20 bill I had just exchanged for goods at her Mogadishu trinket shop. “What are you talking about?” I examined the bill. There it was — a tiny little tear on one corner, barely big enough to notice — certainly not [...]

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29.11.07
Danger Room: Moga’s Wheeled Battlecruisers

Super-tough, nearly bomb-proof trucks are all the rage in Iraq these days.  But in Africa, these “Mine-Resistant Ambush-Protected” vehicles, or MRAPs, have been standard for thirty years. The armored rides with the v-shaped hulls first hit the road in the 1970s during a brutal war in what is now Zimbabwe. Today, they’re the truck of [...]

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28.11.07
Somalia Journal, Day Eleven: Games Kids Play

Ashen, gaping faces. Limbs bent at strange angles. Clothes all twisted and askew, chilling evidence of these Islamic Courts soldiers’ final desperate seconds, tearing at themselves to find the wounds that were killing them. Next, a band of Islamic Courts fighters hiding around a corner from a Transitional Federal Government patrol. The youngest fighter looks [...]

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28.11.07
Danger Room: Somalia’s Mystery Weapons

The Ethiopian invasion of Somalia — aimed at suppressing extremists – didn’t actually calm things down here.  Instead, there’s been more fighting — and tactics that come straight of the jihadist playbook.  Recently, there have been suicide bombings and improvised explosives – both new to Mogadishu.  And these mysterious weapons, confiscated by African Union peacekeepers. Best I [...]

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28.11.07
Tightgrid: On Urban Life in Mogadishu

Imagine a city with all the usual gripes: a growing population, ethnic tension, strained utilities, crime. Now cut off essentially all spending for 17 years. That’s right: no meaningful investment of any kind. No road repair. No new power plants. No sewerage. No garbage collection. Oh – and fire off a couple million bullets and [...]

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27.11.07
Somalia Pics!

Click on the goofy old man for more.

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27.11.07
Somalia Journal, Day Ten: Bombs are Boring

This morning something exploded. In any other city, that would be the ass-kickingest lede ever, but around here it’s downright quotidian. My fixer told me someone had targeted a vehicle belonging to the Red Cross as it passed near Ugandan positions at the strategic Four Kilometer roundabout. I grabbed my camera and we hopped in [...]

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27.11.07
Somalia Journal, Day Nine: Gunfire is Boring

Someone just unloaded what sounded like half a clip from an AK-47 right outside my hotel in Mogadishu. I was in my skivvies working on a story (it’s hot, real hot) at the time. I pulled on my pants – forgetting to zip up, of course – grabbed my camera and scampered downstairs expecting an [...]

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26.11.07
World Politics Review: U.S. Military Fumbles Requests for Nonlethal Weapons in Iraq, Afghanistan

On Oct. 19, NATO troops on patrol in Afghanistan’s Helmand province fired a warning shot to stop a civilian vehicle that had come too close to the soldiers’ convoy. The round ricocheted, killing a two-year-old girl outside her home, according to Agence France-Presse. It’s an old problem in Iraq and Afghanistan, where occupying troops find [...]

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