tip off

Oil and blood: Kenyan mall attack is Somali payback

The Al-Shabaab attack on a Kenyan shopping mall was retaliation for Kenya’s intervention in Somalia, writes United Nations adviser in Nairobi Robert Johnson. And there’s also the matter of oil …

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Vulnerable Kenya on the brink of collapse

Kenya is facing very testing multifaceted challenges to national unity, writes Robert Johnson, a UN adviser/consultant in Nairobi.

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Africa famine … campaign to name and shame governments

A new campaign led by 12 NGOs and a slew of African musicians is breaking this cliché by proposing a string of concerts that will take place on the continent over the next five years, writes Adrian Craddock, a freelance journalist in London

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Economist | LINKS|

How the Horn of Africa famine will play out

Another two regions of Somalia are offcially in famine. This Economist graphic shows the areas projected to be affected in East Africa, and notes that less than half of the $650 million in aid needed for Ethiopia alone.

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LIFE | LINKS|

The hungry children of Somalia’s famine

Nearly 11 million people in the Horn of Africa are currently in desperate need of emergency food aid. This heartbreaking LIFE photo gallery takes a look at the lives of starving Somalian refugees.

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Telegraph (UK) | LINKS|

Horn of Africa to be declared official famine zone

The humanitarian situation in Somalia, Kenya and Ethiopia is so dire — with an estimated 11 million urgently in need of food — that one UN official says it’s 99% certain that a full-scale famine situation will be declared tomorrow.

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Telegraph (UK) | LINKS|

Horn of Africa hunger crisis affects 12 million

An extremely severe drought and rising global food prices means a famine is likely to be declared across Somalia, Kenya and Ethiopia. More than a quarter of children in parts of Kenya are malnourished, says aid agencies.

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Slate | FOOD & TRAVEL|

Sailing through pirate waters

A terrifying tale of sailing through the Gulf of Aden waters, notorious for hostage-taking Somali pirates. Rose George explains how “pirate watch” works. Will jets of water hold up against an AK-47?

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Aid workers will face terror charges after new US court ruling

Bringing warring terrorist groups to the negotiating table and using them to help deliver aid is a desirable means of reducing conflict. But a US Supreme Court ruling has just made it a whole lot harder.

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Newsweek | THE REST|

Something’s rotten in the UN’s World Food Programme

News that half of the food aid sent to Somalia ends up in the hands of contractors, militants and UN staffers is just the latest scandal in a long history of corruption in the UN’s World Food Programme.

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The Guardian | THE REST|

Somali President: We are not a “failed state”

In an op-ed for the Guardian, Somalia’s President Sharif Ahmed says that although the country may be one of the most dangerous in the world, it has not yet “failed”: there is nothing “Somali” about piracy and extremism.

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New York Times | PEOPLE & IDEAS|

How an all-American kid became a jihadist

As a teenager, Omar Hammami was the class president, attended Bible Camp, and dated the most popular girl in school. Now he’s Abu Mansoor Al-Amriki, a key leader in a ruthless Islamist guerrilla army in Somalia.

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The Guardian | THE REST|

Warning to the US: tip toe softly, softly into Yemen

It’s still not clear exactly what US military intervention is going to occur in Yemen, but Barack Obama needs to be careful of the ripple effect that intervention will have in the Horn of Africa, writes Simon Tisdall.

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The Times (UK) | THE REST|

Somalia: the real victim of Bush’s War on Terror

Iraq and Afghanistan may have grabbed the headlines, but Somalia has been the real victim of the War on Terror, with the US inadvertently delivering the country into the arms of Islamic extremists with ties to al-Qaeda., writes Martin Fletcher.

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Senator Brown versus the Somali Pirates

Greens Senator Bob Brown has continued his personal philanthropic crusade after it was revealed he had made secret donation to free Australian photojournalist Nigel Brennan from captivity in Somalia.

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Christian Science Monitor | THE REST|

The world’s most corrupt governments

Watchdog Transparency International has released its annual list ranking the world’s most — and least — corrupt countries. Heading the list is Somalia, while Australia is the eighth least corrupt.

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Foreign Policy | THE REST|

Why is the US starving Somalia?

Despite sending 40 tons of weaponry to Somalia earlier this year, the United States is withholding humanitarian aid until relief agencies agree to comply with a set of strict conditions. And the country is going to run out of food within weeks.

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Global Post | THE REST|

Meet the president of hell on earth

In Somalia — the “land of a thousand gunshots” — Mark Scheffler interviews Sheik Sharif Sheik Ahmed, who’s battling his fledging presidency with violence, extremists and pirates.

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VIDEO: How the West trained Somali pirates

Al Jazeera reveals many of the pirates operating out of Somalia were given special forces-style training from western maritime security firms — the very companies who is now making millions by protecting ships from the pirates.

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Christian Science Monitor | THE REST|

Saving Somalia from itself

Somalia could become Obama’s new Afghanistan, says the Christian Science Monitor: if he doesn’t flex some muscle there now, it could easily become the next terrorist nesting ground.

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Join Captain Jasper aboard the Saucy Swan!

And have your poopdeck swabbed for marsupial chlamydia

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Wired | PEOPLE & IDEAS|

Blistering barnacles! Interview with a Somali pirate

A real life Somali pirate tells Wired about the ins and outs of running a successful swashbuckling operation on the high seas.

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Foreign Policy | ECONOMY|

The failed state index 2009

How collapsed is collapsed anyway? Foreign Policy and the Fund for Peace have compiled their annual list, with no big surprises pirate ridden Somalia topping the charts.

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Christian Science Monitor | THE REST|

Ethiopian troops return to Somalia

Less than a year after fleeing in the face of an Islamist insurgency, Ethiopian forces have come back to help prevent a moderate government from collapsing at the hands of militant Islamists.

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New York Times | JOURNALISM|

How to be a photographer in a warzone

Straight out of school and dreaming of some hair-raising adventures on the battlefield with your Coolpix? Slow down there, Larry: photographer Michael Kamber has a few hard-learned lessons from the frontlines of Somalia to share with you.

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