Somalia: The Somali Headache


July 10, 2009: Just what is US policy regarding Ethiopian involvement in Somalia? The signals are mixed. A senior US official recently said that the US did not want Ethiopia to send troops back into Somalia because it would not be in Ethiopia's or Somalia's interest. But the US also wants the Somalia Islamists defeated. The US is trying to support the Somali Transitional National Government (TNG). The African Union (AU) is looking for more African peacekeeping troops, and the US supports the AU force in Somalia.

July 4, 2009: Djibouti has said that it will provide support (possibly troops) from the African Union AMISOM peacekeeping force in Somalia. Djibouti and Eritrea have an on-going border dispute. On June 10, 2008 Eritrean troops crossed the border (Ras Doumeira "hill and village" area) and engaged Djibouti security forces in a major firefight.

July 3, 2009: The African Union (AU) appealed to the UN Security Council to impose economic and political sanctions on Eritrea. The AU, like everyone else, knows Eritrea is providing Somali Islamists with weapons, ammo, money, and training. The AU has a peacekeeping force in Somalia, and the peacekeeping force is a frequent target of Islamist assaults.

July 2, 2009: A senior US spokesman said that "it is clear" that the Eritrea is providing support to Somalia's al-Shabaab Islamist militia.

July 1, 2009: Police in Ethiopia killed two Ethiopian Christians in the town of Dessie (250 kilometers  north of the capital). The police reported that a Christian group had attacked them but the group denied the accusation. Six other people were injured in the violence. Dessie has been the site of confrontations between Christians and Muslims. The nominal issue is control of a piece of property where the Christian group is building a new church. However, Christian-Muslim relations have been uneasy in the area. Whatever happened (a riot, or police brutality), the Ethiopian government wants to stop any hint of sectarian fighting.

A spokesman for the Somali Islamist organization Kismayu said that his organization is declaring war on Kenya and Ethiopia. He said that "mujahedeen" would "attack Ethiopia directly."

June 27, 2009: The government of Eritrea berated the United States for supplying arms to Somalia's Transitional National Government (TNG, also called the Transitional Federal Government).

June 26, 2009: The Ethiopian government said that security forces had arrested three members of the Oromo Liberation Front (OLF) who are suspected of being involved in an attack on a damn construction site. Three Chinese workers were robbed and beaten in the attack.



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