Several hundred thousand
drought victims are in danger of starvation, and the growing pirate threat has
made it difficult to find ships willing to bring in food. Trucking food in from
Kenya is impractical because of the many local warlords who levy "transit
fees" or simply steal the food. In response, France has offered to provide
a warship to escort cargo ships carrying food aid. This might work, although no
one is providing protection for the food once it hits the docks.
The Transitional Government is providing weapons to
clans that are willing to side with the government. Ethiopia provides the
weapons, and the UN provides food aid, both of which the government controls.
Providing cash is less effective. Leaders of the Transitional Government are
accusing each other of having stolen money provided (by foreign donors) to
reestablish government institutions.
September 26, 2007: Transitional Government and
Ethiopian troops have driven over 10,000 hostile clan members from the city in
the past week. The defeated clans, which used to dominate commerce in the city,
cannot muster enough armed force to confront the government and Ethiopian
troops, and have relied on irregular warfare. This is causing a lot of terror,
but is not saving the clans from being driven out of the city. Some of the
clans have allied themselves with the Islamic Courts, but they have not found
many Somalis willing to be suicide bombers, or suicide anything. They have
found that cash works. Young teenagers are being paid $100 to toss grenades
into crowded areas, especially if soldiers are nearby. But given the risk of
being torn apart by other Somalis, or shot by soldiers, not a lot of kids are
accepting the challenge.
September 25, 2007: A survey of African
nations put Somalia at the bottom of the list in terms of its ability to govern
itself. No surprise there. Also not surprising that the other nations at the
bottom were Congo, Chad, Sudan and Guinea-Bissau. All have wars or rebellions
underway, and governments that can't govern very well.
September 24, 2007: The 1,600 Ugandan
peacekeepers have been hung out to dry by the international community. There
were supposed to be 8,000 AU (African Union) peacekeepers, but after seeing how
the clan wars have returned to Somalia, the other peacekeeper donors have
backed out, giving a variety of excuses for not showing up. The Ugandans are
basically guarding their own base and the Mogadishu airport, and not much
September 22, 2007: Acting on a tip,
Ethiopian troops crossed into Somaliland and arrested six men believed to be al