Peace in Somalia

I don’t know if anyone has noticed, but for the past few months there has been fighting going on in Mogadishu. The press was first reporting it as a Inter-clan dispute, however this was proved incorrect, as the clans were not fighting **themselves **but in fact joining forces to fight a newly formed Islamic power.

Fast forward a few weeks and the fighting still hasn’t quieted, in fact more then 100 people are said to have died in the fighting; and now their are heavy rumors floating around in the international press that the US is quietly supplying the warlords.

Fast forward a month… The fighting has continued to become an all-out-never-ending battle until… The warlord controlled clans lose, they are ejected from the city to the town of Jowhar where the new Islamic power hopes to advance and destroy the remaining fighters. Can you believe this?

I repeat … there is now a new single power in control (if only temporary) over Mogadishu, and it is not the TG (Transitional Government). This is amazing. What could happen next? If given a few years and the right moves this Islamic Union could do what no other power could do in 16 years which is control a United Somalia.

The Players

The warlords - Huge Losers, and smaller losers - Things look bleak for a good lot of them. They tried their best to slow and weaken any attempt at building a functional government for the fear that they would be at the wrong end of a power struggle. Now they have been kicked out of Mogadishu, this crushing defeat cannot be more strongly highlighted. This is really bad for them. - They make money through road blocks, “taxes”, and are backed by Ethiopia, the USA

The Transitional government - Good or Bad - Formed in Nairobi where the Kenyan government had to literally threaten the warlords with reporting them too the war crime tribunal to get them too settle with on the final TG, finally move to Somalia, and get out of their hotel rooms. This could be the thing that finally moves the transitional government from a theoretical government into something that is functional. With a good chunk of the warlords out of the way the TG might be able to grow properly and gain some power. However, now that there is a single powerful force in Mogadishu they could easily tell the TS to go to hell and convert Somalia into an Islamic state by themselves. They have the power to do it, but the TS has the legitimacy of the international community. A union of some sort would be best. - Backed by Kenya, Djibouti, International community in general.

UIC The Union of Islamic Courts - BIG WINNERS - Like it or not these courts have been ruling for some time now and have brought law and order to many parts of the country even before taking the capital. If they play their cards right they might be able too destroy the Mogadishu warlords and from their the rest of the country will be easy to take through force or political movement. - Backed by local businesses and Eritrea

Somaliland - possible losers - A United Somalia is bad news for this self claimed republic. It has been 15 years since they declared independence, they have their own: Passports, money, free elections, government, and every thing else a real nation has. Except for a seat at the UN, and simple recognition from it’s neighbors. - No backers -

Ethiopia - Possible loser - Putting aside the recent elections last summer and the following political clamp down the current (Christian and ethnic minority ruled) Ethiopia has done, this country has a long history of political instability. A united Somalia is the last thing Ethiopia needs right now let alone an Islamic state Somalia. Ethiopia has always hoped for a divided Somalia so that there is no replaying of the Ethiopian-Somalia war where the “Said Barre controlled Somalia” invaded Ethiopia to reclaim Ethiopia’s entire eastern border. You see this region of Ethiopia is inhabited by Somalis, Barre wanted to take over this place a build a “Greater Somalia” in the horn of Africa. If it wasn’t for Soviet help to the Ethiopians this “Greater Somalia” would have happened and history (the fall of Somalia) as we know it might not have happened. -Wild Card-

Eritrea - Possible winner - Eritrea is willing to support anything that can annoy Ethiopia. Eritrea and Ethiopia are in the ceasefire of a long standing and bitter border war. In the end and Internationally created committee awarded Eritrea a key town in the disputed areas and Ethiopia has been refusing to allow any demarcation of the border, keeping the two countries in a fatal staring contest. War is a strong possibility.

The USA - Loser - An Islamic court has risen to power, this is not good. If they gain control of the country and erect a Taliban style Islamic state. This will not be good for their WAR ON TERROR tm. I think in the end the US backed the wrong Dog in this fight, they should have supplied the TG with some support instead of the warlords directly. They still have their Anti-terrorism base in Djibouti , but this doesn’t look to good.

The Somali people - Have no Clue- In reality anything is better for them then what is currently happening. I hope if UIC come to power they provide some stability.

I have been following this for some time now, but this new development has thrown me off completely. So… what do you think the future holds for Somalia; the region; Africa as a whole; and the West… Any guesses?

I guess no one really cares?

There’s no reason the international community should not recognise Somaliland (the former British Somaliland) now.

I have mixed feelings about the whole situation.

On the one hand, Somalia has suffered for far too long with civil war. Any prospect of ending that strife is a welcome change. Of course, if civil war stops but war with Ethopia starts, the average citizen won’t come out very far ahead on the deal, I’d think. Still, war with Ethopia is far from a given, and any prospect of peace has to be a hopeful sign.

On the other hand, theocracies of any sort make me nervous. Islamic theocracies cause me even greater consternation, given the history of women’s rights and civil liberties under sharia law. I do hope that the transitional government continues to play a role in whatever government is formed now in order to temper theocratic tendencies, but I’m not very optimistic about that.