Sunday, 29 April 2007

Do we really not care about Somalia?

Do we not care about Somalia?

There has been ever more fighting in Mogadishu this past month, taking the lives of over 1,000 people. Nearly half a million have fled the capital since the beginning of this year, and the situation is looking bleak. One one end is the traditional warlords, only interested in their own power, and the Ethiopian forces fighting against the Council of Islamic Courts, fueled by ideology, along with other militants. The Islamists are weak, but some more radical Islamists, possibly even some members of al Qaeda, might be pouring in to assist their 'brothers' in the fight against foreign troops, the warlords, and the very weak secular government. Somalia is a hotbed for extremist insurgency; terrorist recruiters are just waiting to turn a group of disgruntled citizens to the radical side. The UIC was forced out earlier this year, but traces remain.

Ultimately there are the Somalian troops and police, the US-backed Ethiopian troops, what's left of the UIC and some radical supporters and their militias, warlord-led militias, and the ordinary citizens stuck in the middle. Sounds a lot like Iraq: foreign troop involvement, militias and parties interested in ideology and power, an influx of radical Islamic terrorists, and a weak government. Is Mogadishu becoming the next Baghdad?

The US government has shown some interest, but only in combating Islamic forces — which has so far only empowered (more) radical movements — in the 'war on terror'. America has even aided the menacing North Korea in breaking sanctions to do so.

Just as is the case in Iraq, Sudan, Burma, and Somalia, we pay less attention to the ordinary citizens effected most than any other involved party. In Iraq a soldier's death is greeted with much more attention than the death of 10 innocents. Somalia is once again receiving more of the tragic spotlight because of 'war on terror' battlefield ties it holds.

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