Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Meltdown - Again - In the Horn of Africa

The glimmer of hope for a stable, peaceful Somalia is dimming rapidly. The nation appears about to relapse into the state of anarchy that has plagued it for 16-years.

There was hope for a reborn Somalia in December when the forces of the transitional government, backed by soldiers from Ethiopia, drove Islamist forces out of Mogadishu. Defeated but far from destroyed the rebels transformed themselves into an insurgency that the government is simply far too weak to contain.

Clan warfare appears to be the norm today in Somalia. Much of the unrest is blamed on the authoritarian leader, Abdullahi Yusuf Ahmed, a former warlord himself. The transitional president has failed to reach out to the clan heads, leaving himself isolated and eroding his popular support.

Much of the northeast quadrant of Africa has descended into chaos from Somalia to Sudan, Chad and the Central African Republic. Peacekeeping forces from the African Union have been unable to control insurgents, terrorists and bandits that have beset the region.

The deaths and displacement of civilians in these countries has been truly catastrophic but the West has shown no interest in intervening, probably because we're all tied up with George Bush's garden party in Afghanistan and Iraq, the Global War Without End on Terror. Hey, this is terror too and on a much grander scale than anything that has or may befall the Middle East! Oh, I forgot - these are Africans. What was I thinking?

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