Somalia: No Unity, No Peace


November 5, 2010:  The UN rejected AU (African Union) pleas for a blockade of Somalia, to help halt the piracy and violence. Western nations would have to enforce such a blockade, and don't want to. Such a blockade would require more warplanes and warships, an expense that most nations do not want to incur. Yemen would also like a blockade, largely because the pirates have ruined the Yemeni fishing industry, costing fishermen over $100 million a year. But Western governments have cracked down on al Shabaab recruiting and fund raising among migrant communities in Europe and North America. Kenya also has a growing Somali refugee community, that is also used by al Shabaab for recruiting and refuge. The UN is criticizing Kenya for trying to force many of these refugees back into Somalia. But Kenya says that most of these recent refugees (5-10,000 Somalis) expect the fighting to die down soon, and then they will go back to their homes. The UN prefers to establish refugee camps, which are a big business for them, and essential for fund raising.

Fighting with al Shabaab continues throughout southern Somalia. But these are low level operations, often just skirmishes. The al Shabaab effort to conquer Mogadishu has been halted and is being pushed back. But there is still not much unity and peace in Somalia, and no indications that there will be any time soon.

Al Shabaab is increasing its use of terror to control civilians in areas it claims to control. For example, on October 27th, al Shabaab publicly executed two teenage girls after accusing them of spying for the government. Al Shabaab's increasing violence and paranoia has made them even less popular. But the al Qaeda faction in al Shabaab is very much behind the use of terrorism and paranoia, for if they lose Somalia as a refuge, they have few places to flee to.

The Transitional National Government (TNG) admitted that hundreds of their soldiers, who were not paid (the money was stolen by commanders or other members of the TNG), had deserted and sold their weapons.

In the first ten months of the year, Somali pirates seized 37 ships (23 percent of attacks succeeded), versus 33 (17 percent success) for the same period last year. There are fewer attacks, because more ships stay out of areas pirates are known to be operating in. More ships are taking precautions, but the pirates are going farther from the north Somali coast, where their bases are, in search of prey.  

November 3, 2010: Pirates seized passenger ship moving from the Comoros islands to Tanzania. The crew and passengers were all from Comoros and Tanzania, which means high ransoms are unlikely. The 40 meter (121 foot) ship soon ran out of fuel as the pirates sought to take it north to Somalia. When contacted by the Tanzania coast guard, the pirates demanded fuel so they could reach their pirate port to the north.

North of Mogadishu, near the Ethiopian border, two clans fought over a land dispute, leaving at least 15 dead and dozens wounded. Such battles are common in this area.

November 1, 2010:  Al Shabaab made several attacks in Mogadishu, leaving about fifteen dead.

October 31, 2010: In Puntland, the government executed two pro-al Shabaab rebels, who had followed a local warlord. In the south, the TNG parliament has confirmed a new prime minister, Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed (a U.S. citizen) with 297 of 392 votes.






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