It's Arabs Versus the World
July 18, 2006: In a clever "info ops" move, the Somali Council of Islamic Courts has made a public appeal for international aid in providing humanitarian assistance, reconstruction, and "retraining" for demobilized warlord militias. The appeal comes with a promise of "complete freedom of movement" and protection for anyone who is helping provide assistance to Somalia.
In reality, not all of the warlord militias have surrendered to the Islamic Courts, and the UN is still having trouble obtaining security for its aid convoys. The UN is quietly trying to get a peacekeeping force into Somalia, something the Transitional Government would like. But the Islamic Courts, and Islamic nations, are opposed to peacekeepers, unless they are from Moslem countries. But no Moslem country, or any other country for that matter, wants to send peacekeepers to Somalia. That's because, despite the recent string of victories by the Islamic Courts militias, there is still no law & order throughout the country. There are still many clan based militias that oppose the Islamic Courts, and have the clout and firepower to make that opposition work.
Meanwhile, the Islamic Courts are trying to pitch themselves as a worthy recipient of foreign aid. That won't last long, even if the current information war campaigns attracts some donors. Many of the Islamic Courts leaders are simply warlords that got religion, and not much religion according to the way some of them are acting. Any foreign aid going through the Islamic Courts will get pilfered before it gets to the "suffering Somalis" it was intended for.
July 17, 2006: The Transitional Government (which is backed by the UN and the West) has changed its mind, and will now negotiate with the Islamic Courts (which is backed by Arab governments and Islamic terrorist groups).
July 16, 2006: Pirates have released twenty Filipino sailors, apparently after the payment of a ransom. Meanwhile, the Islamic Courts have agreed to respect the legitimacy of the Transitional Government, which was formed after long negotiations between clan leaders.
July 14, 2006: In southern Somalia, the Islamic Courts have eliminated most of the checkpoints that demanded payment before people and good could pass. The Mogadishu airport has been opened for the first time in eleven years, now that the warring militias that kept it closed, have been driven off. The disbandment of many warlord militias eliminated a lot of other scams and theft that further impoverished the people. But the Islamic Courts have a payroll as well, and they are collecting taxes. They are also demanding that people live a more "Islamic" lifestyle. That means no music, dancing, revealing clothes or television. This is not popular.
The Transitional Government, which is recognized by the UN, has refused to go to Sudan for peace talks with the Islamic courts.
July 13, 2006: About 2,000 Ethiopian troops have crossed into southern Somalia, where the borders of Somalia, Ethiopia and Kenya meet. The Ethiopian troops did not move much further, and appear to be there just to backstop clan militias that are opposed to the Islamic Courts.