January 7, 2007


Ethiopia's intervention may destabilize region: Unless it is followed by diplomacy and aid, the battle against Somalia's Islamists may radicalize moderate Muslims. (Edmund Sanders, January 7, 2007, LA Times)

By launching a war against Somalia's Islamists, Ethiopia says it was drawing a line in the sand against religious extremism in East Africa. But without quick diplomacy and international aid, analysts caution that the war could radicalize the region's traditionally moderate Muslims.

"This could bode ill for both Somalia and eastern Ethiopia, but perhaps even northern Kenya," said John Prendergast, Africa analyst at International Crisis Group, a conflict-resolution think tank based in Washington.

Signs of a budding insurgency already are emerging in Mogadishu. Gunshots and riots rocked Somalia's capital on Saturday as Ethiopian troops clashed with Somalian protesters. A 13-year-old Somalian boy was killed. Anonymous pamphlets distributed in some neighborhoods warned locals to steer clear of Ethiopian and allied soldiers from Somalia's transitional government. The pamphlets pledged guerrilla tactics and suicide attacks.

At least one Ethiopian soldier was killed by Somalian gunmen last week near the town of Kismayo. On Thursday, a group of Ethiopian soldiers in Mogadishu was attacked with a hand grenade tossed from a truck; no one was injured.

"They will never take our country!" anti-Ethiopian demonstrators chanted Saturday as they marched through Mogadishu. "We will fight for our religion."

Yes, but Islamophobes got a brief feel-good story.

Posted by Orrin Judd at January 7, 2007 8:39 AM

So when all the layers get peeled back, you are just another one of those self-proclaimed "realists" who believe in "stability uber alles", eh? And what makes you think your little pets would've stayed on their leash, when they were already snarling and snapping through the fence at their neighbors?

Posted by: Raoul Ortega at January 7, 2007 2:49 PM

No, I'm an Islamist. They were headed in the right direction. We've just delayed the creation of a decent society by a year or two.

Posted by: oj at January 7, 2007 5:52 PM

"....destabilize region."? Discounting some years during the Cold War period, history doesn't demonstrate many periods when the region was stabilized. The Horn of Africa, Pakistan's Tribal Provinces, India's Assam are still entities that reject government.

Posted by: ed at January 7, 2007 6:42 PM

Decent? Had the Islamic Courts proved to be not a tool of Al Qaeda, they would still be there, trying to build their nation. Instead, they went all Taliban and exposed themselves as gangsters and bullies. Then, they had to run. The issue is not so much Islam as decency itself.

ed is right about the lawlessness - parts of the Balkans and the Caucasus are the same way. So is Haiti.

Posted by: jim hamlen at January 7, 2007 10:43 PM

"Build their nation"?


Posted by: Barry Meislin at January 8, 2007 3:01 AM

We hired the Ethiopians to chase them out, but even they have sense enough not to try and govern the place. The Islamists will be back shortly. They're the only viable government.

Posted by: oj at January 8, 2007 8:05 AM

Don't you mean the most demanding conforming force?

Posted by: ratbert at January 8, 2007 9:58 AM

FYI, the Ethiopians and Somalians have rival nationalisms. Ethiopia rules part of the ethnic Somalian heartland in its south. Ethiopia would use any excuse to keep Somalia down or compliant. I think OJ is right when he says if Ethiopia stays, this will get worse.

Posted by: Chris Durnell at January 8, 2007 12:05 PM