Somalia, Arab-Israeli conflict, Russsian prices soar

Published: 1992
Play Audio Archive Story - UPI

Howard Dicus: No sooner had the US wrapped up an election season dominated by domestic issues, then a calamity overseas grabbed public attention.

Senator Paul Simon: “The children so weak, flies get into the corners of their eyes and they don't brush them away.”

Howard Dicus: Illinois Senator Paul Simon, after touring arid East Africa. People had been starving there all year, but in November the US and the UN suddenly seemed ready to do something about it.

Unknown Speaker: “15 votes in favor, 0 against...”

Howard Dicus: A civil war had worsened the famine and the UN Security Council decided to send troops mostly Americans to stop it.

Unknown Speaker: “The draft resolution has been adopted.”

Bill Clinton: “I have given the order to move a substantial American force into Somalia.”

Howard Dicus: Something weird happened. The press landed before the marines did. Rubber neckers met the leather necks. Men trained to peer into the darkness for the enemy where instead casting frightened looks into the living room of the global village.

Colin Blaine: “The first four marine commandos was spotted by camera teams among the sand Junes.”

Howard Dicus: BBC correspondent, Colin Blaine, on the scene, on the beach.

Colin Blaine: “An astonishing pursuit developed with the pack of reporters chasing camouflaged marines along the glassy slopes above the beach.”

Howard Dicus: Suddenly Somalia had the world’s attention. The world’s most famous Somalian, fashion model Iman, pleaded send more food.

Iman Abdulmajid: “Please help Somalia help itself.”

Howard Dicus: As the year ended, UN forces were making Somalia safe for food, but rebels simply berried their rifles wrapped in plastic bags for use another day.

Marlin Fitzwater: “Thanks in large part to our efforts direct piece talks between Arabs and Israelis are underway for the first time.”

Howard Dicus: Arabs and Jews sat down to new Middle East peace talks in 1992; the Bush administration did get them together; spokesman Marlin Fitzwater.

Marlin Fitzwater: “Multilateral negotiations on regional arms control have begun.”

Howard Dicus: But the talks floundered at year’s end when radical Palestinians kidnapped and killed an Israeli soldier and Israel reacted with mass deportation.

James Baker: “Russians shiver in red lines.”

Howard Dicus: When Secretary of State, Baker, wasn't coaxing Middle East parties together, he was coaxing the West to help the reforms in Russia.

James Baker: “Hospitals without vaccines, plains grounded by a fuel shortage.”

Howard Dicus: Price controls in Russia were lifted at the very start of the year and immediately the price of everything soared. UPI correspondent, Jeff Berliner in Moscow said this was a big risky step.

Jeff Berliner: “In fact the President, Boris Yeltsin, is so worried that in his new year’s address to the nation. He urged people not to panic.”

Howard Dicus: The rest of the world did send aid, trade, and credit. Yeltsin said, thanks.

Boris Yeltsin: “And I am grateful to the world community for its support of our efforts.”

Howard Dicus: But as the year ended anti-reformers forced Yeltsin to accept their choice for Prime Minister and Yeltsin’s future was in doubt. Would Richard Nixon be a profit?

Richard Nixon: “We have to realize, that if Yeltsin fails the alternative is not going to be somebody better, it’s going to be somebody infinitely worse.”

Howard Dicus: Yugoslavia which broke up after the Soviet Union did, became a battle ground in 1992, as Serbs shelled Bosnian from mountains so fortified not even the US dared to stop them. UPI’s John Landay in Belgrade said don't expect this one to end happily.

John Landay: “The people who are doing the fighting have basically burnt their bridges. They can never live together again. Everybody knows who is guilty of the bombardments and the killings and the ethnic cleansing right down to the street level.”