A discussion of Somalia's strategic geographical proximity to the Persian Gulf region has been neglected.

    When considering:
  • Iran's recent purchase of a nuclear-capable submarine from the USSR and its abandoning all former attempts to hide its military buildup.
  • The Administration's failure to remove Saddam Hussein and the increasing effort Iraq is placing on the United Nations to lift the embargo... which will inevitably result in Iraq's re-armament.
  • Europe's increasing preoccupation with domestic/economic problems rendering it unable to respond militarily to regional flare-ups, let alone intercontinental fires.
  • Cumbersome religious and social difficulties placed on U.S. troops stationed in Saudi Arabia and other Fundamentalist Muslim, Gulf-area states.
  • Somalia's need to not just tolerate but welcome non-Muslim agency personnel trained in civil and social administration.

    These and other factors make Somalia's geographic position and abundance of coastal land an essential site from which the United States can establish and maintain an unencumbered, long-term tactical base in North Africa to respond to any Gulf-area problem... along with freeing friendly Muslim nations, like Saudi Arabia, from billeting non-Muslim forces and provoking complaint from internal or external Fundamentalists.

    From a strategic perspective, Operation Restore Hope could not have been initiated sooner for the Pentagon. Operationally, it was necessary that Somalia's internal instability and population degrade to a level manageable by minimal U.S. deployment. Publicly, the imposing argument of providing humanitarian aid, which the Saudi's withheld to facilitate the operation's legitimacy, shrouds the strategic importance.

    Somalia can become to the U.S. what Cam Rahn Bay was to the USSR.

    --Phill Coleman

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