Somalia: Ethiopian Tanks Defend Western Civilization

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December22, 2006: Fighting continued outside Baidoa, despite peace negotiators in Sudan having agreed to stop the fighting. The problem is that there are several major factions in the Islamic Courts, and these factions often do not communicate with each other, or take orders from each other. Both sides are claiming to have inflicted hundreds of casualties on the other. But this is typical Somali bravado. There have been some casualties, and the Ethiopian troops appear to have stood fast against the raids of the Islamic Courts gunmen. There have been casualties, and a lot of ammunition used. There are also several thousand Somali civilians fleeing the areas where the shooting and fighting are going on. The factions that comprise the Transitional Government forces are demoralized. Only the presence of Ethiopian troops keeps the Transitional Government alive. The Transitional Government makes a big deal of the al Qaeda members prominent in the Islamic Courts, and the prospect of al Qaeda bases in Somalia. This has not brought forth any actions by the Western nations fighting Islamic terrorism. Apparently, none of the Western nations has figured out what the best approach to the situation would be (get involved with troops, negotiate, wait to see what happens, etc).

December 21, 2006: Ethiopia has brought armored vehicles (infantry carriers and tanks) to Baidoa, and used them in the fighting with the Islamic Courts. Both sides are using artillery and mortars. The fighting is done in the Somali style, which resembles raids and a lot of maneuvering, in an attempt to frighten the other side into getting scared and running away.

December 20, 2006: Islamic Courts troops attacked tow Transitional Government training camps outside of Baidoa, and were repulsed with the help of Ethiopian troops. There were hundreds of casualties. Meanwhile, negotiators from the Islamic Courts and Transitional Government met in Sudan and agreed to resume peace talks.

December 19, 2006: The Islamic Courts deadline for the Ethiopian withdrawal from Somalia passed without incident.

December 15, 2006: Another 200 Transitional Government gunmen have switched sides. The government forces are largely those of clan and warlord forces that either hate the Islamic Courts, or believe the Transitional Government will prevail. The latter outcome is looking less likely given the growing power of the Islamic Courts. So many players are doing what Somalis have always done, switching sides.

 

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