Somalia: For a Few Dollars More


February22, 2007: Clans that backed the Islamic radicals continue to host several dozen men who, daily to shoot at Ethiopian troops, and gunmen belonging to rival clans. One of these terrorist groups has a mortar, which they use to fire a few shells each day at their opponents. Small rockets are also fired. The Ethiopians have been responding with artillery fire into neighborhoods of the guilty clans. This violence is causing about two dozen casualties a day (including 3-4 dead) in Mogadishu. The violence is mostly about money. The clans that supported the Islamic Courts got most of the economic opportunities. That means they could collect extortion payments, in the form of "taxes" or "fees", or simply had the right to run some types of businesses. Well, now those operations are largely shut down, and pro-Transitional Government clans have control of the cash. There are now over a dozen check points set up in Mogadishu, run by various clans. Trucks have to pay a fee to get past each one of them.

February 20, 2007: The UN officially approved the peacekeeping force for Somalia, to be supplied by the African Union. A Ugandan force of some 1,500 troops is expected to arrive next week.

February 19, 2007: The government has formed a rapid reaction force to chase down the small number of clansmen who are causing the daily violence in Mogadishu. The troublemakers are believed to be members of pro-Islamic Courts clans, who believe they are on a mission from God, and won't stop the attacks until they are killed. The rapid reaction will be trained with the help of the Ethiopians and will eventually have 700 troops.

February 18, 2007: A car exploded in Mogadishu, killing the four men inside. This does not appear to be a terrorist act, but some guys getting careless with explosives. The only injuries were the passengers.

February 16, 2007: UN investigators have found that Syria, Libya and Iran provided money, weapons and training for members of the Islamic Courts. This began last Summer, after the Islamic Courts took Mogadishu. Hundreds of Islamic Courts men were flown to training camps in Syria and Libya, and some of those men participated in last Summers war between Israel and Hizbollah.


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