May 13, 2007


Ethiopia's Iraq (David Ignatius, May 13, 2007, Washington Post)

"Get it done quickly and get out." That, says a senior U.S. diplomat here, was the goal of the little-noticed war that Ethiopia has been fighting, with American support, against Islamic extremists in Somalia. But this in-and-out strategy encounters the same real-world obstacles that America is facing in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Conflict is less the problem than what comes after it. That's the dilemma that America and its allies are discovering in a world where war-fighting and nation-building have become perversely mixed. It took the Ethiopians just a week to drive a Muslim radical movement known as the Islamic Courts from Mogadishu in December. The hard part wasn't chasing the enemy from the capital but putting the country back together.

"The Ethiopians are looking for an opportunity to exit, but not until they are confident that the security environment will prevent a return to chaos," says a State Department official who helps oversee policy for the region. And in Somalia, a backward country that has had 14 governments since 1991, that process of stabilization will be anything but easy.

The obvious difference is that the Ba'athists will never return to power in Iraq while the Courts will resume their leadership of Somalia, and with our blessing.

Posted by Orrin Judd at May 13, 2007 12:00 AM

To wait in heavy harnass, on fluttered folk, and wild,

Your new-caught, sullen peoples, half devil and half child.

Posted by: Lou Gots at May 13, 2007 10:46 AM

OJ, maybe. Maybe not. Depends on if they figure out the lesson. Funny, I think that there's probably only one country that has gotten the lesson, and they got it a long time ago. Britain. 1812.

The lesson isn't hard, nor is it difficult to discern. It's written in plain sight.

The lesson:
As long as you don't present a threat to America you can do just about anything else you want. But if you *do* present a threat to America you will get taken out.

Posted by: ray at May 13, 2007 10:54 AM

Ray: Indeed, which is why OJ is in La-La Land regarding Somalia. Why should we help a group get into power when they are pro-Al Qaeda?

Posted by: PapayaSF at May 13, 2007 12:23 PM

No one presents a threat to America.

Posted by: oj at May 13, 2007 3:34 PM