Political officer honored for standing up to US policy

      Home » World Terrorism » Political officer honored for standing up to US policy

Political officer honored for standing up to US policy

Now this is facinating. There still are good people around who will stand up for their principles.

It was the stuff of spy novels and action movies and it didn't sit well with Michael Zorick.

U.S. intelligence agents were dropping quietly into lawless Somalia with cash and material support for warlords fighting an increasingly powerful and radical Islamist movement with links to al-Qaida.

The covert assistance was meant to bolster opposition to the Islamists and further the war on terrorism in East Africa, yet from his desk at the U.S. Embassy in neighboring Kenya, Zorick saw it taking an ominous turn.

Instead of rallying secular Somalis around the deeply unpopular warlords, the aid was emboldening the Islamists, boosting their popularity and exacerbating already heightened anti-U.S. sentiment. It was also hurting international efforts to restore order after 15 years of anarchy by backing a feeble interim government in the fight on terror.

Disaster, including the possible formation of a Taliban-like state in Somalia, was brewing in late 2005 and early 2006, and Zorick, the only U.S. diplomat in Nairobi watching Somalia full-time, repeatedly warned his colleagues and Washington of the looming danger, particularly as word of the secret support leaked.

His advice was ignored, however.

Now he's being praised for his outspoken stand.

Zorick will be presented on Thursday with an American Foreign Service Association award for "constructive dissent" at a State Department ceremony along with Ronald Capps, a former political officer at the U.S. Embassy in Khartoum who lobbied for direct U.S. intervention in Sudan's troubled western Darfur region. It never came.

After Zorick objected to U.S. policy, he was ostracized by the foreign policy establishment and moved from Kenya to Mali. Later, even after the covert U.S. aid stopped, his dire predictions came true: the warlords collapsed, the triumphant Islamists marched into Mogadishu and began to consolidate their hold on the country.

Accused of harboring suspects in the 1998 bombings of the U.S. Embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, the Islamists imposed a hardline brand of Sharia law over much of the country, raising fears that Somalia could become a terrorist haven as Afghanistan had become in the 1990s.

It took an Ethiopian invasion in December 2006 to drive them out and remnants continue to wreak havoc with suicide car bombs and other terrorist attacks against the transitional government.

More here

Zorick is scheduled to receive the William R. Rivkin Award, which honors mid-level diplomats who exhibit "extraordinary accomplishment involving initiative, integrity, intellectual courage and constructive dissent,"
By netchicken: posted on 29-6-2007

Well, even if a few people do their job and have their priorities right, it can save a lot of lives and the world a lot of bother.
By IAF: posted on 30-6-2007

Political officer honored for standing up to US policy | [Login ]
Powered by XMB
Privacy Policy