Somalia: The Bad Neighbor

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February6, 2007: The Transitional Government is holding "reconciliation talks" with clans who supported the Islamic Courts. Clan feuds have been a constant in Somali politics for centuries. The clans just can't get along, so the current peace talks hold little promise of producing results. The remaining Islamic Courts fighters in Somalia have made it clear that they will fight any UN peacekeepers. Meanwhile, the African Union (AU) and UN have been unable to get peacekeepers into Somalia. The Ethiopian troops continue to leave, and will soon be gone. The neighbors consider Somalia a lost cause, with a culture that resists compromise and encourages endless clan feuds and violence.

February 5, 2007: For the last week, someone in a pro-Islamic Courts neighborhood has been firing a few mortar shells a day into nearby areas controlled by pro-Transitional Government clans. Taking out the mortar would require a major battle in a hostile neighborhood, which is currently the home to hundreds of pro-Islamic Courts gunmen. The mortar attacks and sundry gun battles have resulted in 30-40 casualties a day in Mogadishu.

February 4, 2007: The head of the Islamic Courts, Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed, who surrendered in Kenya last week, has received asylum in Yemen. The Transitional Government is willing to negotiate with Ahmed.

February 3, 2007: Some of the notable Islamic radicals operating in Somalia have apparently escaped the recent collapse of the Islamic Courts government, and have been showing up in Saudi Arabia and Eritrea. Over a hundred Islamic Courts members, and foreign "guests" have been captured, including Americans, and other foreigners, wanted for terrorist activities in their home countries.

 

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