The rains are late, and another
crop failure is likely. Feeding the people left starving will be difficult
because of the fighting between the clans. The majority of clans are just out
for themselves, and loosely aligned with the Transitional National Government
(TNG). A smaller, and more disciplined group of clans, supports the Islamic
Courts Union (ICU). Many NGOs favor the ICU, which is more ruthless and
disciplined, and more likely to maintain the peace with their Taliban-like
tactics. As it is, the NGOs supplying food and medical aid are increasingly
being robbed, raided and looted by everyone but the Ethiopian troops and
African Union peacekeepers.
2008: Aden Hashi Ayro, the senior al
Qaeda leader in Somalia, was killed by a U.S. smart bomb, along with nine of
his followers. Ayro led an armed group that was rampaging around central
Somalia, attacking police and soldiers in towns, then driving off. The ICU
protested that this would make peace talks more difficult, and many NGOs
supported the ICU in this respect.
2008: The foreign oil exploration company that was going to begin operations
off Puntland this Summer, has delayed this until the pirates are eliminated.
2008: The UN accuses Eritrea of using a Boeing 707 air transport to fly in 13
loads of weapons (over 100 tons worth). This included surface to air missiles. Eritrea
denies breaking the UN arms embargo by supplying Islamic Courts Union (ICU)
fighters with arms. Meanwhile, in northern Somalia (Puntland), seven pirates,
arrested five days ago, were convicted of piracy and sentenced to life in
prison. One or two warlords in Puntland are supporting piracy operations off
the northeast coast of Somalia. Several other warlords along the south coast
also support piracy. There are several larger pirate ships, which can carry
speedboats several hundred kilometers out, to where ships feel they are safe.
This is where most of the recent pirate attacks have taken place, and why the
UN is trying to pass a resolution authorizing Western nations to hunt down and
destroy the pirates. That will not be so easy, as you have to destroy a lot of
pirate speedboats, and the larger "motherships." That's difficult to do because
of all the Somali fishing boats along the coast. Going ashore and capturing the
pirates isn't easy, as there are plenty of places to hide.
2008: Pirates freed a Spanish fishing
boat, and its 26 man crew, after a ransom of $1.2 million was paid.
2008: Leftist NGOs are siding with Islamic groups when it comes to accusations
of atrocities. The Islamic groups are the most unpredictable and dangerous, and
it's a good idea to try and get into their good graces. Fighting in Mogadishu
in the last week killed over a hundred, and caused over 6,000 civilians to
flee. The clans loyal to the Islamic Courts Union (ICU) continue to get driven
out of the city, and have become a major refugee problem when they camp out
along the loads leading inland.
2008: Pirates are demanding $1.6 million in ransom to release a Spanish fishing
boat and its crew.