Somalia: Not Worth The Effort

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March 18, 2008: About a hundred Islamic Courts Union (ICU) gunmen are wandering around Somalia, making appearances and photo opportunities for whatever journalists they can find. This crew calls itself Shabab. The government responded by offering to negotiate with the ICU, or anyone else who was a player and willing to talk. The Shabab and ICU said no to negotiations, as they were on a Mission From God, and we all know how that works. The ICU, and the clans that support them, have been driven out of Mogadishu, with several thousand clan members still fleeing the city each week. The ICU leadership is now headquartered in Eritrea. Most ICU gunmen have been driven out of Mogadishu (along with the clan population they were a part of) and are now operating from wherever those refugees ended up (refugee camps, or the homes of kinsmen throughout central Somalia.) The ICU can keep up the violence going indefinitely, living off plunder. This includes UN food aid, which is taken by groups of gunmen at will. The UN wants peacekeepers to prevent this, but the UN has been unable to recruit a large enough peacekeeper force. Few countries, even in the region, are willing to risk their troops lives for chaotic Somalia.  

 

The ICU related fighting is only part of the violence in Somalia, which has always been the case. Some 750 kilometers north of Mogadishu, tribes fought over real estate, leaving about three dozen dead and wounded.

 

Pirates in the north have released a Russian ocean going tug, seized last year, after a $700,000 ransom was paid. In the south, NATO warships continue to escort UN supply ships, which are bringing in food and other supplies for the ten percent of the Somali population that are refugees.

 

March 5, 2008: The target of the March 3rd cruise missile attack was Saleh Ali Saleh Nabhan, an al Qaeda leader responsible for organizing attacks in East Africa in 1998 and 2002. Nabhan has been using Somalia as a refuge for the last decade. There have been at least four attempts to kill or capture Nabhan since then, and all have failed.

 

 

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