August 30, 2007: The battle for Mogadishu
continues, with the rebel clans unable to control the Islamic radicals in their
midst. As a result, the rebellious clans are being driven out of the city,
neighborhood by neighborhood. In the last few months, over 400,000 have fled
the city of two million (or about 1.5 million now), for refugee camps outside
the city. There, the UN will supply food and medical aid, and the Islamic
terrorists will tax the aid, and try to keep up the fight. Meanwhile, a drought
has caused crop failures in the south, and over a million people face famine.
Foreign aid donors are reluctant to help, because Somali pirates attack ships
carrying food and other aid, demanding ransom for hijacked ships and crews.
Bringing food in by truck from Kenya is much more expensive. Not just because
trucks are more expensive to operate than ships, but because of the dozens of
roadblocks established by warlords and bandits, demanding a bribe from the
truck driver, or taking part of the cargo. Foreign countries with warships off
the coast are reluctant to get involved suppressing the pirates. Because to
really do that you have to go ashore and control the coastal villages the
pirates come from.
The Ethiopians are staying until they are sure the
Islamic militants are crushed. Despite criticism from the West, the Ethiopians
are dealing with hostile Somalis the same way they always have. Basically, they
kill large numbers of Somalis until the Somalis agree to stop attacking
Ethiopia. Makes for ugly headlines in the West, but no one has ever come up
with a better solution. It gets worse this time. Now the Islamic radicals have
combined clan politics with religious goals and kept the Ethiopians involved.
This means that the central Somali clans will get stronger, as they are able to
take possession of parts of Mogadishu. And so it goes, the centuries old cycle
of violence that has kept Somalia a place, rather than a country.