Ethiopia: Peace Breaks Out in Somalia


December19, 2006: The Islamic Courts in Somalia have withdrawn their threat to attack Ethiopian forces, and insist they were misinterpreted anyway. Meanwhile, Yemen has arranged peace talks between the Islamic Courts and Ethiopia.

December 18, 2006: Over the past week several international organizations and international news agencies began paying more attention to the "proxy war" dimension of the Somali war. This attention is a direct result of UN Security Council Resolution 1725, which authorized IGASOM, a peacekeeping force for Somalia. The US and several African states backed the resolution, but the Somali Islamic Courts threaten to fight any foreign peacekeepers. Meanwhile, Somali Islamic Courts forces have taken positions around Baidoa, the capital of Somalia's Transitional Government. A substantial Islamic Courts force is in the town of Burhakaba, Somalia (near Baidoa). The U.S. believes that a war between Ethiopia and Somali Islamists (who are backed by Eritrea) will lead to a "humanitarian crisis" in the region. Well, the region is already experiencing several humanitarian crises. The term is code for "regional war." No one has missed the "Christian versus Muslim" dimension, either. Ethiopia is regarded as a "Christian" power (though it has a substantial - 40 percent-Muslim population). Eritrea is also politically courting Iran - and is allegedly seeking money and other support from Tehran.

December 16, 2006: October-December 2006 has been one of the wettest in recent periods ever experienced in Kenya, Ethiopia, and Somalia. While the area around Baidoa has not been severely affected, in other parts of Somalia, rainfall is twice normal. The severe flooding will affect food availability within the next three to six months - which means more suffering in Somalia. Earlier this fall Ethiopia suffered from a series of devastating floods.

December 15, 2006: An Islamic Courts spokesman gave Ethiopia "seven days to withdraw" its troops from Somalia. The spokesman said that Ethiopian troops were in Somalia's Hiran province.

December 13, 2006: Eritrea said that the UN lacks the "legal and moral responsibility" to place peacekeepers in Somalia. Eritrea complained that peacekeepers who are deployed without the consent of all sides in Somalia would make the situation worse. Eritrea also called for a special meeting of the East African Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) to discuss the situation in Somalia.


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