July 26, 2012:
The UN investigators are proving embarrassing to Somali and Kenyan leaders. Both countries are reported to be very corrupt, even to the extent of keeping known Islamic terrorist supporters (usually leading clerics) out of jail in Kenya and leading to leaders of the TNG (Transitional National Government) of stealing 70 percent of the foreign aid sent to Somalia over the last few years. While all these thieves will be, in theory, out of a job when the TNG is dissolved next month (to be replaced by an elected body), the corrupt officials are maneuvering to ensure that they obtain influential positions in the new government as well. The UN and many donor states are opposed to that. But the corrupt Somali leaders are willing to disrupt Western sponsored attempts to bring peace and government to Somalia, if that will provide them more opportunities to steal foreign aid and plunder their fellow Somalis. This attitude is the main reason there has been no peace, or government, in Somali for over two decades. As long as these attitudes persist Somalia will remain a mess.
An example of how high the corruption goes can be seen in a recent UN report that accused the president of the TNG (Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed) of issuing a diplomatic passport to the leader of a pirate group. This made it easier for the pirate boss to travel overseas and also gave him diplomatic immunity in case anyone tried to arrest him.
Somali pirates are still holding seven Indian sailors, whose ship was ransomed in April, 2011. The pirates are demanding that India release 120 imprisoned Somali pirates. India refuses to trade.
Now that Kenyan troops are under AU (African Union) peacekeeper command, the AU is planning an attack on Kismayu. For the last eight months al Shabaab has been forcing civilians to help dig trenches and prepare buildings for defense in Kismayu. Some civilians have been armed and told to fight back when the Kenyans attack, or be killed by al Shabaab. Kismayu is considered a key economic asset for al Shabaab, which collects fees from merchants bringing goods in via the seaport or the airport outside town. Kismayu is believed to bring in over $4 million a month to al Shabaab. The AU is planning a combined land, air, and naval assault on the city.
The growing international pressure on Eritrea to stop providing support for al Shabaab is apparently working, as less cash and weapons are getting to al Shabaab via Eritrea. This explains the growing number of attempts to move al Shabaab supplies in via Yemen.
Al Shabaab has been pulling its best units south, to the southwestern Gedo Region (along the Ethiopian and Kenyan border) and Kismayu (a port in the southeast). The AU (in cooperation with Ethiopia, Kenya, and some Western nations) are planning to attack both areas before the end of Summer.
July 25, 2012: There was gunfire in central Mogadishu, after TNG (Transitional National Government) fired on a real or imagined threat. Otherwise, the city has been pretty quiet for weeks. What gunfire there has been was usually connected with raids on suspected al Shabaab hideouts.
July 21, 2012: Al Shabaab announced that it had killed three of their members after accusing them of spying for the United States and Britain. The three were accused of attaching homing devices to the cars of senior al Shabaab leaders, who were killed by missiles from UAVs earlier in the year. Al Shabaab says it is investigating others suspected of spying. Al Shabaab might not have actually caught American informants but they were responding to internal unrest over the inability to do anything about the growing number of UAV missile attacks.
July 20, 2012: In the north (Puntland) police seized a boat from Yemen that was found to be carrying weapons (apparently from al Qaeda, which recently suffered a major defeat up there) and meant for a Puntland warlord, Mohamed Said Atom, who has close relations with al Shabaab. Atom apparently planned to smuggle most of the weapons south to al Shabaab.