April 4, 2007


A failed state that threatens the region: No one, it seems, can stop Somalia's capital from imploding again (The Economist, 4/04/07)

Remnants of the Islamist fighters have regrouped. Together with disaffected fighters from the powerful Hawiye clan, which is used to controlling much of the capital, they threaten a proper insurgency.

Furthermore, as many had predicted, the continuing presence of Ethiopian soldiers in the capital is exacerbating the conflict. Indeed, far from leaving, as they had started to do, the Ethiopians have called for reinforcements. Not that this is entirely their fault. The African Union (AU) had promised to fly in 8,000 peacekeeping troops to replace the Ethiopians to enforce a fragile ceasefire, but only 1,200 or so Ugandans have actually arrived in Mogadishu, where they have been restricted to protecting the airport and other installations. Nigeria and others have promised troops but not yet sent them.

That has left the Ethiopians to do most of the fighting on behalf of the government, with covert assistance from America. Ethiopian soldiers had done a mostly impressive job of policing Mogadishu with little incident for three months. But they are seen as invaders by most Somalis and will remain unpopular, and thus targets, whatever they do. The same goes for the Americans. They have backed the government and the Ethiopians as a way of rooting out suspected al-Qaeda men who had operated on the fringes of the Union of Islamic Courts, the Somali Islamists whose brief reign had brought a modicum of order until they were pushed out.

So not only can the Union restore order but we'll welcome their doing so.

Posted by Orrin Judd at April 4, 2007 2:23 PM

If you really want to know what has been going on in Somalia for the past 40 some odd years, read this:


Posted by: Hardeep at April 4, 2007 4:40 PM

What happened to "There is no Somalia" as a title? Somaliland has already split off. Why shouldn't the rest be partitioned?

Posted by: Brandon at April 4, 2007 4:58 PM

Because the Union is universalist.

Posted by: oj at April 4, 2007 7:30 PM

No, the union is just the most successful of the militias, same as the Taliban.

Posted by: Brandon at April 4, 2007 11:12 PM

"Universalist" Muslims with guns, huh? Yeah sure, it always works out well when folks like that gain power....

Posted by: PapayaSF at April 5, 2007 1:07 AM

Yes, as The Econpomist points out it was working.

Posted by: oj at April 5, 2007 6:20 AM