The defeat of the Islamic Courts has not improved clan politics.
Everyone wants more than the other clans are willing to concede. The fighting
between clans, often over ancient disputes, has resumed. The only thing a
Somali can depend on is his clan. Clan leaders with particularly good leadership
skills become warlords, and make themselves, and their followers,
wealthier via looting and extortion. This is accepted, especially by those
doing the taking.
Mogadishu. Ethiopian and Transitional Government troops fired on demonstrators,
killing three of them. The troops were seeking to arrest Islamic Courts
leaders. The neighborhoods tend to be dominated by specific clans, and some of
those clans still support the Islamic Courts. Those are the neighborhoods where
there are demonstrations. The opposition gunmen will keep confronting the
government and Ethiopians until the government either backs off, beats the clan
into submission, or works out some kind of deal. In Somalia, more time is spent
fighting than talking. It's the Somali way.
21, 2007: Kenya has arrested over a hundred Islamic Courts and al Qaeda
members at the Somali border. So far, 34 have been sent pack, in chains, to
Somalia. Others are being considered for asylum.
20, 2007: All of the major warlords have now agreed to recognize, if not always
obey, the Transitional Government. The warlords surrendered some of their heavy
weapons (truck mounted anti-aircraft guns, mortars and the like), and sent some
of their men to be trained for the national army.
Ethiopian army convoy was fired on, but the Ethiopians fired back, killing four
people (most of whom appeared to be just bystanders.) The Ethiopians would
rather be feared than loved, and are quick to open fire if threatened.
19, 2007: While the Transitional Government was negotiating with the African
Union (AU) and the UN for a peacekeeping force, someone fired eight mortar
shells at the presidential palace. The streets are dangerous, as efforts to
disarm clans have been generally unsuccessful. Peacekeepers will not arrive for
several weeks, at least, and the AU is asking Ethiopia to stick around until
the peacekeepers arrive.
18, 2007: The Transitional Government has asked for aid from the U.S., to help
in forming a police force and army. The problem is that, while there is a
Somalia, there are no Somalis. Everyone considers themselves a member of a clan
first, and everything else is a distant second. The aid money will, in theory,
go to the Somali government, but in practice will go to clans. And the clans
with more money have more power. A coalition of a few clans will dominate the
Transitional Government, freezing out many other clans, and these groups will
remain hostile to the "government."
17, 2007: Kenya has arrested over a dozen Islamic Courts and al Qaeda leaders
who attempted to cross the border. The prisoners are now asking for political
asylum, and the Kenyans are considering it. But it's more likely the Islamic
radicals will be handed over to the Somali Transitional Government. Several of
these men are wanted by the Americans as well.
16, 2007: The Transitional Government allowed radio stations back on the air,
but then shut down three of them for openly supporting the Islamic Courts or
inciting war between clans. Somali radio radio stations tend to be partisan.