July 9, 2012:
While al Shabaab is being defeated, and much reduced in size and capabilities, there has been no corresponding progress in forming a national government. The many factions that grudgingly cooperate to keep the TNG (Transitional National Government) going have been unable to progress to writing a constitution and agreeing to national elections. The lack of trust and overabundance of entitlement by the many tribal and warlord factions in the country make unity extremely difficult to achieve. The UN and donor countries are also exasperated at the enduring corruption. Getting aid to those who need it most has been extremely difficult. Everything to do with good government is seemingly impossible in Somalia. The Somalis will tolerate peace but not a true national government.
In the last two months government and peacekeeper troops have been moving out from Mogadishu, mainly to the northwest, pushing al Shabaab forces away from the city. This effort is now about 40 kilometers from Mogadishu. About 20,000 civilians have fled their homes to avoid the fighting. Many al Shabaab fighters have been killed or persuaded to desert.
Over the last five years Somali pirates were more frequently spotted farther to the east (the Seychelles Islands and the Indian coast). This was tough on the Seychelles, where GDP was down four percent in 2010, because of tourists, fishing boats, and shipping staying away because of the pirate threat. In the last year better security on large commercial ships and more effective anti-pirate patrols has largely driven the pirates away from the Seychelles. The economy is reviving as the ships return. Meanwhile, the Somali pirates hold 13 ships and 185 sailors.
July 7, 2012: Over the last two days 3,000 government troops and peacekeepers went through several Mogadishu neighborhoods looking for al Shabaab members. Some 8,000 people were arrested and 507 were identified as connected with al Shabaab. The Islamic terrorist group has been able to keep up small scale attacks in the city by hiding out in neighborhoods and terrorizing their neighbors to keep quiet about who was living where.
July 6, 2012: The U.S. has imposed sanctions on six people accused of providing money and supplies for al Shabaab. Two of those sanctioned are senior officials in the Eritrean military.
July 5, 2012: Government troops and AU peacekeepers have pushed out 30 kilometers from Mogadishu, chasing away any organized al Shabaab groups.
The 4,600 Kenyan troops in southern Somalia are now under the command of the AU peacekeeping force, which is based in Mogadishu.
July 2, 2012: Four aid workers, kidnapped from a Kenyan refugee camp (for Somalis) three days ago, were tracked to Somalia and freed. One of their captors was killed and three arrested. A pro-Kenyan Somali militia led the search for the kidnappers inside Somalia and was responsible for tracking them down.
July 1, 2012: In northeastern Kenya two churches were attacked by al Shabaab terrorists armed with grenades and guns, leaving 17 dead and many more wounded. Kenya responded by increasing its efforts to track down Islamic terrorists within Kenya. The Kenyan government repeated promises that attacks like this will not lead to a withdrawal of Kenyan troops from southern Somali. The Somalis have been raiding Kenya for centuries and for once the Kenyans have the upper hand. They are not dissuaded by terror attacks.