Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Once More Into the Breach

The Ethiopians are returning to Somalia, it seems:

With or without an international mandate, Ethiopian forces have entered Somali territory to back up a fast-failing Somali government.

Sources close to Western embassies in Nairobi confirmed news reports that Ethiopian troops have taken positions in the Central Somali town of Beledweyne, and that Ethiopian troops were also active in the Gelgadud region north of the capital of Mogadishu. Kenyan forces, too, are reportedly amassing along the Somali border as a defensive measure, in what Kenya's foreign minister described in a press conference as a matter of "national security."

The intervention – officially denied by the Ethiopian government – comes as Somalia's parliament speaker, Sheik Aden Mohamed Nor Madobe, sent an urgent call Saturday for military intervention by Somalia's neighbors within the next 24 hours. At present, pro-government militias and a 3,000-strong contingent of African Union peacekeepers control a few city blocks around the presidential palace in Mogadishu, along with the airport and seaport. The rest is firmly in the hands of hardline Islamist militias. ...

Security experts say that the influx of foreign fighters into Somalia have created a more credible regional threat, not just to Somalia but to all of its neighbors. "We are getting reports that perhaps 1,000 trained Al Qaeda insurgents have come to Somalia, along with mid-level commanders," says Ms. Roque. "With Al Shabab in control of southern Somalia, it might be viable for Al Qaeda to have a base of operations, which they haven't had before."

I guess we'll go in there eventually, in some form greater than our minimal presence, given that it seems as if al Qaeda are fleeing to Somalia.