The sovereign can no longer say, "You shall think as I do on pain of death;" but he says, "You are free to think differently from me, and to retain your life, your property, and all that you possess; but if such be your determination, you are henceforth an alien among your people."

(Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America, 1835)

Saturday, 11 September 2010

African parallels

Just as many European nations debate what course of action to take in Afghanistan, with troop withdrawal becoming an increasingly serious option, there is a similar debate ongoing in Uganda with regard to that country's participation in AMISOM, the African Union peacekeeping mission in Somalia.

Uganda has maintained 2500 troops under AMISOM since 2007 - 33 have been killed in action and, in July of this year, over 70 people were killed by al-Shabab bombs in the Ugandan capital Kampala, that group's first attack outside Somalia and in direct reprisal for the participation of Ugandan troops in AMISOM.

It's interesting to note that the debate in Uganda features similar arguments to those we're used to hearing in Europe and in other ISAF nations - that sending troops to Somalia has made Uganda less secure, that Uganda should withdraw its troops if other nations don't pull their weight (only Uganda and Burundi currently contribute troops).

On the other hand, there is also a strong body of opinion in Uganda (and elsewhere in Africa) that AMISOM's mandate should be expanded (despite United Nations' objections) and that troops be allowed to undertake proactive military operations... just like in Afghanistan.

No comments:

Post a Comment