The United States is trying to convince the African Union to send a
peacekeeping force to help the Transitional Government in Somalia. But the
Islamic Courts have declared, quite loudly, that such a move would mean war
between the Islamic Courts and the African Union. Many Arab nations, openly or
quietly, back the Islamic Courts, despite an al Qaeda connection and open
support for other Islamic terrorist groups. This has the African Union
intimidated, and reluctant to send its troops into harms way.
28, 2006: There was gunfire and artillery fire near the town of Bandiradley,
about 630 kilometers north of Mogadishu. The fighting was apparently between
Ethiopian and Islamic Courts forces.
27, 2006: The Islamic Courts have ordered everyone, except authorized Islamic
Courts troops, to hand in their weapons. Practically every business and family
has a rifle or pistol, and these are a threat to the Islamic Courts if enough
people become hostile to Islamic rule.
26, 2006: Ethiopia said it was ready to launch a major military operation in
Somalia, against the Islamic Courts forces. This will happen if Ethiopia
detects Islamic Courts engaging in, or encouraging, violence inside Ethiopia.
In response, the Islamic Courts loaded several thousand gunmen into trucks and
cars, and sent them to positions near the Ethiopian border.
25, 2006: In the north, Puntland has tried to avoid an Islamic Courts attack by
accepting the use of Sharia (Islamic) law. This pleases the powerful Islamic
clerics in Puntland.
24, 2006: The Islamic Courts are openly saying they will guarantee the safety
of foreign aid workers. The recent rains have caused flooding that has killed
dozens, and caused over 300,000 Somalis to flee for high ground. The foreign
aid groups are the only ones who can bring relief, and some of these groups are
considering leaving because of harassment by Islamic Courts gunmen. The UN says
flood aid will cease if fighting starts between the Islamic Courts and the
Transitional Government. Meanwhile, several hundred additional Ethiopian troops
were seen entering the Transitional Government capital in Baidoa.
23, 2006: Several hundred Ethiopian troops appear to be guarding a road between
the Transitional Government stronghold in Baidoa, and the Ethiopian border.