Somalia and Endless Conflict.
The US decision in 2006 to send Ethiopian troops into Somalia in 2006 was one of the stupidestmoves in a very stupid decade. µ¶This week, some of the chickens spawned by that decision camehome to roost.¶¶siad an American citizen .On Monday the al-Shabaab militia launched a "massive war" against the 6,000 African Union peacekeepers, most of them Ugandan, who are protecting the so-called government of Somalia.In reality, however, all it actually governs is a few dozen blocks in Mogadishu, and its membersare just a group of Somali warlords and clan leaders who proclaimed themselves to be the"Transitional Federal Government" (TFG) in 2004.Six "members of parliament" were among the forty people killed when an al-Shabaab suicidesquad stormed the al-Muna hotel in Mogadishu on Tuesday, but there will be no by-elections toreplace them. They were never elected in the first place. The feeble TFG made no progress inreuniting the country, and now its surviving members sit surrounded by al-Shabaab fighters whocontrol most of the sprawling capital.Southern Somalia has been trapped in an unending civil war since the last real governmentcollapsed in 1991, but the current round of killing was triggered when the United States invitedEthiopia to invade the country in 2006. This was a bit high-handed, especially since Ethiopia wasSomalia¶s traditional enemy, but Washington¶s aim was to destroy the "Islamic Courts " inSomalia.The fragile TFG failed utterly to impose its authority and restore order in Somalia, but theIslamic Courts Union took a different approach. Its roots were in the merchant class inMogadishu, who simply wanted a safer environment to do business in, and they understood thatIslam was the only common ground on which all of the country¶s fissiparous clans and militiasmight be brought together again.The Islamic courts, applying shariah law, were the instrument by which the society wouldgradually be brought back under the rule of law ± and for about six months, it worked amazinglywell. The zones of peace and order spread throughout southern Somalia, the epicentre of thefighting, and trade and employment revived. A made-in-Somalia solution had spontaneouslyemerged from the chaos.United States panicked, or at least its intelligence agencies did. The mere word "Islamic" set off alarm bells in the Bush administration, which had the lamentable habit of shooting first andthinking later.Washington therefore concluded that the Islamic Courts Union, Somalia¶s best hope of escapingfrom perpetual civil war, was an enemy that must be removed. Since the TFG was clearly not upto that task, Washington asked Ethiopia, Somalia¶s old enemy, to provide the necessary troops.Ethiopia agreed because it does NOT want stability in its old enemy, Somalia. The Ethiopiansunderstood perfectly well (even if Washington did not) that the presence of their troops inSomalia would drive out the moderate leaders of the Islamic Courts Union and leave the countryat the mercy of the youth wing.