2008: In Mogadishu, the Islamic radical
refuse to join the peace deal recently hammered out, unless the Ethiopian
troops withdraw. But Ethiopia will not pull its troops out until the Islamic
radicals give up on their efforts to take control of Ethiopia's Ogaden province
(long in dispute between the two countries). The peace deal calls for Ethiopian
withdrawal once a UN peacekeeping force is in place. That might take a while.
years of violence in Somalia isn't unusual. The sustained peace from the 1970s
to 1991, now that was unusual. The Somali clans have been fighting each other
for centuries. There's a warrior culture in Somalia that admires murder and
theft. Check out the history of the region. Somalis have long been feared by
their neighbors because of the culture of violence. Somali raiders have long
terrorized Ethiopia and Kenya. Thus the refusal to make peace isn't unusual, it's
what's expected. The Islamic radicals that refuse to buy into the recent peace
deal are acting in accordance with a long tradition of homicidal irrationality.
As a result, several hundred people were killed or injured in Mogadishu in the
week after the peace deal was signed. The majority of Somalis want peace, but
they have to either kill the Islamic radicals, or persuade them to join the
peace. Islamic radicalism is nothing new for Somalia either. Comes along every
few generations, and sometimes that causes spectacular violence for a while.
this year, over 20,000 Somalis have fled to Kenya, where refugee camps have
been established along the border. Many of the refugees are fleeing starvation
(drought, or bandits stealing foreign aid food), not the clan violence. There
are nearly half a million Somalis living as refugees throughout the region,
mainly in Kenya.
members of foreign aid organizations are currently being held for ransom. The
aid groups are seen as a source of loot by many Somalis, who then act
accordingly. These criminal activities are keeping food, and other aid, from reaching
20-30 percent of the 2.5 million Somalis that need it. One reason the UN wants
to get its own peacekeepers in is to provide better security for aid workers
and food shipments.
2008: Nigeria has a battalion of 800
peacekeepers ready for movement to Somalia. There are already 1,600 Ugandans
and 600 Burundians there, but they do little but defend themselves, and the
main airport at Mogadishu.
2008: A Dutch ship, and its crew of nine,
were freed. They had been hijacked on May 25th. Apparently, ransom
2008: Somali pirates kidnapped four
Europeans from a yacht anchored off the coast of Yemen. The captives were
brought back to Somalia, and are being held in the hills along the
Somaliland-Puntland border. Ransom is demanded. Ransom is increasingly popular
among armed Somalis. The word about how many Somalis are suddenly prosperous
from large ransoms, is rapidly spreading and inspiring thousands of armed men.
2008: Al Qaeda has issued another video
in which Somalis are urged to resist UN peacekeepers and help establish Somalia
as an Islamic terrorist sanctuary. This idea is popular with a minority of