Warriors: Life and Death Among the Somalis by Gerald Hanley

By Gerald Hanley

This significant portrait of 1 of the world's such a lot desolate, sun-scorched lands, inhabited through fiercely self sustaining tribesmen, is Rageh Omer's favourite booklet on his fatherland. A grueling description of a little-known point of WWII, Warriors describes a bunch of British military squaddies charged with fighting bloodshed among feuding tribes at a distant outstation in Somalia. Hanley turns this era of his existence, a tough time that drove seven officials to suicide, right into a devastating critique of imperialism.

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South Africa wanted to remain the economic focal point for the region. It hoped to be able to force the neighbouring states to reduce their links with the socialist bloc. It wished to force the neighbouring states to sign non-aggression pacts to ensure that they would refrain from actively supporting the SA Regional Policy 1977-89 35 armed struggles led by SWAPO in Namibia and the ANC in South Africa, and it obliged them to act as virtual policing agents for South Africa, by prohibiting political activity by South African and Namibian refugees in their territory.

The second was actual military action. Here, a distinction must be made between what FLS themselves were capable of, and what their allies or supporters could do to support the liberation struggle or in support of FLS. Realistically, direct military threat from FLS even as a combined force was highly unlikely. 103 South Africa was anxious not to allow countries like Zimbabwe, which had a potentially powerful infrastruc- SA Regional Policy 1977-89 27 ture, to become economically strong enough to develop a military base to rival their own.

In practice, it was really the single most important government organ in the land, effectively a 'Cabinet' beyond the cabinet. It was the only committee with a mandate to deal with issues wider than those normally associated with the cabinet. SA Regional Policy 1977-89 21 The meetings of the other committees were open to all government ministers whereas those of the SSC were exclusive occasions. In short the SSC was shrouded in secrecy because of the sensitivity of its agendas. Its composition comprised the very highest leaders of the ruling party, government and SADF.

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