Monday, January 15, 2007

The Somalian conflict

Somalia? Most people barely remember the invasion of Somalia by the U.S. late in the Bush administration. They might remember the movie Black Hawk Down. But nothing much has been happening, in the American consciousness, in Somalia ever since. That's because the main stream media hasn't bothered to tell anybody what's been going on there. Other than to vaguely discuss warlords and turmoil.

Late in December 2006 Ethopia declared war on Somalia. Hmm... I thought that Newsweek or Time or that ilk would have a front page story about this, a new War being fought somewhere. But, no, not a peep. Well, probably there was a peep or two buried in the back but at $5 an issue I didn't want to go broke buying magazines just to get a little snippet of a story.

I'm really curious about is the genesis of this war. Especially as it seems Ethopia was told to invade Somalia by either the U.S. or U.N. This posting is drawing on the excellent archive at antiwar.com.

I came to this study thinking it likely the war in Somalia was a ploy by the U.S. to extend further control. Turns out to be yet another round of Christian versus Islamic fighting. What happened is that an Islamic government friendly to al Qaeda took over in Somalia and pushed out the officially recognized government that had been installed by the UN. The Islamic government initiated Sharia law, etc. Ethopia is a Christian nation whose Christian history dates back nearly 2000 years. It's a little confusing but it appears both Ethopia and Eritrea were in some kind of power struggle to establish some control over Somalia. However Ethopia was basically employed by the U.S. to launch the war against Somalia's Islamic government so I suppose it's Ethopia who will come out on top.

November 4, 2006

Somali Islamists deny suicide attack order: The US is alleging the supreme leader of the Islamist movement had authorized suicide attacks in neighboring Kenya and Ethiopia. The Islamists deny the allegation.

November 16, 2006

UN Report Says 10 Nations Violating Arms Embargo in Somalia: A U.N. report lists a slew of countries with supplying arms to factions in Somalia. Eerily it also describes Iran supplying arms in exchange for access to Uranium mines.

November 19, 2006

UN Discusses Illegal Somali Arms: Both Ethopia and Eritrea have been funneling arms into Somalia to support their preferred factions. This is in violation of a U.N. embargo and in general the shipments are described as illegal. ... Egypt Rejects UN Report It Broke Arms Embargo on Somalia ... Libya Denies Arming Islamists in Somalia ... Syria Denies Arming Somali Islamists ... Uganda Denies Violating UN Arms Embargo on Somalia

November 20, 2006

Islamic Leader Urges 'Greater Somalia': An Ethopian convoy operating inside Somalia was ambushed and many Ethopian soldiers were killed.

November 21, 2006

Somali Puntland to Switch to Sharia: One of the Somali provinces decides to switch over to Islamic (Sharia) law.

November 22, 2006

EU Experts Fear US Move Could Spark Somalia War: The U.S. is pushing for an international peacekeeping force, but many are predicting this could lead to a broad war in the Horn of Africa.

Somali Leaders Seeking Way to Avoid War: Ethopia is leading a bloc of seven African countries known as the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development and insists that the government it helped create is the only legitimate authority. The Council of Islamic Courts has close ties to the 22-nation Arab League. Given that Ethopia is largely a Christian country this is yet another instance of the war between Islamists and Christianists that is raging elsewhere.

November 24, 2006

Ethiopia 'Ready for Islamist War': Islamists, known as The Union of Islamic Courts, are said to have made "rapid gains" over the past year and have repeatedly declared Jihad against Ethiopia. Ethopia, the Somali government, and others, are claiming that The Union of Islamic Courts is linked to al Qaeda, which they deny. A UN report this month accused Ethiopia and Eritrea, among other countries, of breaking an international arms embargo by supplying arms to Somalia.

November 25, 2006

Somalia rivals massing troops: Ethopia has been sending troops into Somalia to support the "Transitional Government". The transitional government was established two years ago with the support of the United Nations to serve as a transitional body to help Somalia emerge from anarchy. But it includes some warlords linked to the violence of the past, and wields no real power outside Baidoa. The United States accuses the Islamic government of harboring al-Qaeda members involved with the 1998 bombings of US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, but the Islamic government denies these allegations.

November 26, 2006

Ethiopia says seeks no permission to defend itself: Ethopia claims it has a right to self defense, and it does not need permission from the U.S. or others against aggression and threats from the Islamists leading Somalia. The Islamists for their part insist the U.S. has given Ethopia permission to conduct a war. Talks between the two sides collapsed in October, with the Islamists saying they would not negotiate unless Ethiopian troops withdrew from Somalia.

November 28, 2006

Letters that sparked US Somalia alert fake-Islamists: On November 2 the U.S. revealed two letters written by Islamist leader Sheikh Hassan Dahir Aweys, who appears on U.S. and U.N. terrorism lists. The letters ordered many assassinations of leaders in Somalia and Kenya, an uprising by ethnic groups in Kenya and Ethiopia and for militia fighters of the Islamists' feared Shabab arm to mass on the Kenya-Somali border. The Islamist government denies the letters and claims these "false" letters are being used to prop up the onrush to war.

November 29, 2006

Ethiopian Troops Clash With Somali Islamists: Fighting occurs between Ethopian troops and the Islamist forces in Bandiradley, a strategic town near semi-autonomous Puntland. The Puntland has strong ties with Ethopia.

December 2, 2006

US Seeks UN Backing for Somalia Force: The U.S. is proposing a regional peace-keeping force to "prop up" the shaky interim government. They'd also have to lift some of the embargo against arms shipments into Somalia, even though that embargo has been widely ignored to legal send military aid to Somalia the embargo restrictions would have to be eased.

December 3, 2006

Islamists Seize Key Somali Township: The Islamists seized another town about 270 km west of Mogadishu, expanding their area of control.

December 4, 2006

Ethiopians Meet Somali Islamists: The Ethopian government has met with the Islamists to discuss matters, presumably to try diplomacy rather than war.

December 13, 2006

Islamic Militants Surround Somali Govt's Last Town: Something like a final showdown with Islamists bringing in more fighters every day. Ethopian and Somali fighters wear the same uniforms making it hard to tell whether the troops in Baidoa, the "last town" held by the officially recognized government, are actually Ethopian or Somali.

December 14, 2006

Ethiopia Plays Down Somali Threat: The Islamists have demanded that Ethopian forces have seven days to leave Somalia or to face a battle. The Ethopians aren't worried.

December 15, 2006

UN: Looming Somalia War Menaces Whole Region: The UN is warning that the rising tensions are leading to a war that threatens to be pretty broad across the neighboring countries. The officially recognized government is described as being little more than a name, since that government really only controls a small part of Somalia, namely Baidoa and surrounding land. The Islamists are the real power in Somalia.

December 16, 2006

Somali Leader: Peace 'No Longer Possible': The leader of the officially recognized government has declared "We are no longer under the illusion that peace is possible with the [Islamists]". For their part the Islamists say they will not attack the officially recognized government, but instead the Ethopians. "Our country has been invaded by Ethiopia ... we should have thrown them out a long time ago."

US Insists al-Qaeda in Control of Mogadishu: The U.S. is insisting the Islamists are infiltrated with al Qaeda operatives who are in position to be in control of Somalia. So of course under the U.S. theory of the world, it is not permissible to give al Qaeda control over any country, so therefore a war must be launched to get them out.

December 23, 2006

Ethiopia Edges Closer to Somalia Invasion: The growing conflict between Ethiopia and Somali Islamists escalated further yesterday as Ethiopian tanks rolled towards the front line and the Islamists announced that ground troops would begin attacks today. Ethiopia, which has always rejected claims that it has combat troops operating in Somalia, last night hinted that it would be prepared to launch an official invasion. In a statement released by its Foreign Ministry, Ethiopia claimed it "has been patient so far". But, the statement warned, "there is a limit to this". Fighting in Somalia continued for a fourth consecutive day with each side hammering the other with heavy artillery and rockets. Two fronts have opened up near the town of Baidoa in central Somalia, where the weak transitional government is based.

Ethiopia Warns Somali Islamists

December 24, 2006

Ethiopian PM: Country at War With Somalia Islamists: Ethiopian fighter jets bombed Mogadishu International Airport in the middle of Somalia’s capital on Monday, witnesses said, in the first direct attack on the headquarters of an Islamic movement attempting to wrest power from the internationally recognized government...Ethiopia’s prime minister announced Sunday night that his country was “forced to enter a war” with Somalia’s Council of Islamic Courts after the group declared holy war on Ethiopia.

December 25, 2006

Ethiopia Declares War, Bombs Somalia Towns

Somalia's Rivals Battle in Sixth Day of Fighting

Eritrea: President Denies Sending Troops to Somalia

December 26, 2006

Ethiopia Intervenes in Somali Civil War

December 27, 2006

Airport Attack Opens New Chapter in the Miserable History of Mogadishu

Ethiopia Seizes Key Somali Town

Ethiopia Claims It Has 'Broken the Back' of Somalia's Islamists

UN Security Council Calls Emergency Meeting on Fighting in Somalia

December 28, 2006

Ethiopian Forces Advance on Mogadishu

Somali Pro-Govt Forces to Encircle Mogadishu

African Union Urges Ethiopia to Leave Somalia

Arab States Urge Foreign Forces to Leave Somalia

December 29, 2006

US-Backed Ethiopian 'Victory' May Return Chaos to Somalia

Somali Government Troops Enter Capital

Specter of Rival Clans in Mogadishu

December 30, 2006

Somali PM: Ethiopian Troops Will Remain

Islamic Leader Vows to Stay in Somalia

Anxious Times for Somali Capital

December 31, 2006

US Trainers Prepare Ethiopians to Fight

Hunt for al-Qaeda Men in Mogadishu

January 17, 2006

Parliament sacks Somali speaker: The speaker of the Parliament over his role before the war to try and broker peace. He suggested opening negotiations with the Islamists and had held meetings on his own. Due to this he fell out of favor with the Prime Minister of the officially recognized government, and now that the officially recognized government has won the war he is out of power.