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Sending African Troops Into Somalia 'Would Trigger War'

ISSUE 254
Front Page
Index
Headlines

Buroa Police Arrest Prominent Clan Leader

SNM Veteran Commander Hassan Yonis Habane Dies

US Seeks UN Backing For Somalia Peacekeeping Force

World AIDS Day Celebrated In Somaliland

Erigavo’s Students Trained In Leadership

New chapter in UN-Somaliland cooperation

Floods In East Africa Said To Kill 250

Somalia On Edge After Baidoa Suicide Attack

Regional Affairs

Somaliland Administration And UNDP Agree New 2007 Partnership

Uganda : Journalists Call for Respect of Media Freedom

Editorial
Special Report

International News

US Defends Somalia Peacekeeping Plan

Religious fanaticism not the main cause of political violence and terrorism

INTERNATIONAL CRISIS GROUP: Somalia Conflict Risk Alert

Somalia Needs To Be Stabilized - US

Iran turns up the Heat

Citing Spike In Somalia’s Arms Trade, Security Council Extends Group Tracking Flows

Al-Jazeera and the Truth

FEATURES & COMMENTARY

U.S. Foreign Policy Toward Somaliland Within The Context Of The Bush Administration’s War On Terrorism

Somalia: Getting It Wrong In Somalia, Again

Sending African Troops Into Somalia 'Would Trigger War'

Islamists Claim Clash With Ethiopian Troops

Iman Promotes Online Auction To Help Fight AIDS

Eritrea : The Somali Problem Should Be Left for Somalis to Tackle!

Conflicts And Peace Building in Africa

Food for thought

Opinions

More Warning Signs Of Islamic Courts Influence In Somaliland & Desperate Need For Somaliland Response And Message

Media, The Hand That Rules Somaliland

The Imminence Of A Proxy War In Somalia And Its Ramifications – From A Somalilander’s Viewpoint

Islamism Rode Democracy's Wave

The Miracles At Hargeysa And Mogadishu. What Lessons Can Be Learned And What Is The Path To The Future?

Ethiopia And Kenya In Peril: Good US Strategy?


· Thinktank warns of risks in American UN proposal
· Islamic courts would view move as provocative

Xan Rice, east Africa correspondent

Nairobi, November 28, 2006 – A US-backed proposal to send African troops into Somalia to support the weak government raises the risk of triggering an all-out war with the Islamic courts that could destabilize the entire region, a leading thinktank said yesterday. The International Crisis Group warned that approval of the draft US resolution, to be presented to the UN security council tomorrow, would be viewed by the Supreme Islamic Council of Somalia (Sics) as tantamount to a declaration of war.

Ethiopia and Eritrea, which have backed the government and courts respectively with both troops and weapons, would be further sucked into the conflict, the group said.

Backed by the African members of the security council, the draft resolution calls for the deployment of a regional military force to support the Transitional Federal Government (TFG), which has no army of its own and is vying for power with the heavily armed court militias. Countries that contribute troops, including Kenya, Uganda and Ethiopia, would be exempted from the UN arms embargo on Somalia.

While the mission's goal would be to strengthen the government and dissuade Sics - which enjoys local goodwill and controls most of south-central Somalia - from further expansion, the crisis group said the strategy would backfire.

Most Somalis, including a significant chunk of the government, are deeply opposed to any foreign intervention. Sics has repeatedly stated it will wage "jihad" on any outside troops.

"Actual deployment would be likely to fracture the parliament beyond repair and reinforce the impression that the TFG is simply a proxy for Ethiopia. The loss of legitimacy in the eyes of the Somali public would be irreversible," the ICG statement said. "Rather than wait for the TFG to arm itself, [Sics] might well launch a pre-emptive attack on [the government's] seat in Baidoa."

The US's support for the resolution has caused consternation among western diplomats dealing with Somalia, most of whom share the thinktank's prognosis if regional troops are to deploy. Previous US foreign policy decisions in the Horn of Africa have not helped engender trust.

Washington 's bungled policy of funding the Mogadishu warlords against the courts - which it accuses of harboring al-Qaida militants - is credited with speeding the rise of Sics, which gained control of the capital in June and has since expanded rapidly.

In July, the US formed the International Contact Group on Somalia, along with Britain, Italy, Norway, Tanzania and Sweden, in an attempt to help find a peaceful solution. On October 19 in Nairobi, the International Contact Group issued a joint statement declaring that it supported dialogue between the Somali government and Sics, which is scheduled to resume in Khartoum next month, as the best way forward.

Source: The Guardian

 


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