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Somalia Crisis Centers on Islamist Hardliners Versus Ethiopia, says Analyst

ISSUE 257
Front Page
Index
Headlines

Kenyan Parliamentary Delegation Given A Heroic Welcome In Somaliland

Islamic Courts called on foreign Muslims to fight Ethiopia

Djibouti: A Double Agent

Somali Courts Chief Threatens To Free Men Convicted Of Terrorism In Somaliland

SOPRI Delegation Travel To Togdheer Region

United Nations Issues Call For Peace During Lull In Somalia's Fighting

Peace Hopes Fade In Somalia As Fighting Rages

UIC capture frontline town

Heavy clashes in Somalia: ICRC calls for protection of civilians

Regional Affairs

Ethiopia Warns Losing Patience As Somalis Clash

Kenya: State Acts to Control Fever That Has Killed 11

Editorial
Special Report

International News

Rice Welcomes Ugandan Role in Easing Somalia

Annan Deplores Escalating Somalia Conflict

Resource warfare intensifies across "Grand Chessboard" and Horn of Africa

Somalia Crisis Centers on Islamist Hardliners Versus Ethiopia, says Analyst

U.S. Does Not Plan To Send Troops Against al-Qaida in Somalia

Gang Leader 'Incredibly Violent'

U.S. Sees Growing Threats In Somalia

FEATURES & COMMENTARY

Why The United States Should Recognize Somaliland’s Independence

Chavez Landslide Tops All In US History

Seven Questions: War in Somalia

Africa's Challenge To Hollywood Dominance

INCREDIBLE: Nomads Survive On Camel Milk For One Month

Somalia: Country outlook

Food for thought

Opinions

An Open Letter To Hon. Muite Team In Somaliland

Somaliland Constitution & Islamic Sharia Law

The Reappearance Of Siyad Barre's Henchman

Think-Tank Mission To Somaliland By SOPRI

The Need For Somaliland To Be Vigilant...

Islam Used To Oppress Women

Arabs vs. Israel

Factors Behind Ethiopia's War Against Somalia

Is Rayale Eligible For Another Term?


Somali government troops guard detain an Oromo Ethiopian separatist fighter loyal to Somalia's Islamic Court Union, in Baidoa, Somalia, Wednesday Dec. 13, 2006. The man is suspected of spying and planning suicide bombings, said General Mohamed Warsame, the head of national intelligence for the Somali transitional government. Somalia's prime minister Ali Mohamed Gedi said Tuesday that war is inevitable with the country's Islamic militants, saying thousands of them have surrounded Baidoa, the only town his government controls. (AP Photo/Jerome Delay)

By Joe De Capua

Washington, 19 December 2006 - Both the Islamic Courts Union (ICU) and the Transitional Federal Government (TFG) have indicated they are willing to talk to each other to discuss peace. But what are the odds a ceasefire agreement could be signed? For an analysis of the situation, VOA English to Africa reporter Joe De Capua spoke with Dr. Ken Menkhaus of Davidson College in Davidson, North Carolina.

“They could sign an accord, a ceasefire…the problem has always been getting them to implement what they’ve signed. We don’t even know who actually represents whom on the courts’ side. We get lots of contradictory statements, people attending meetings, making a statement and then others, who turn out to have more power in the movement…so I don’t hold a lot of hope in yet another accord,” he says.

Menkhaus says resolving the crisis involves more than tensions between the ICU and the interim government. He says, “I think the first thing we need to do is to acknowledge that the real conflict is not between the courts and the TFG. The real conflict that is propelling the eastern Horn of Africa into what looks like is going to be a devastating, long-term, protracted war is the conflict between the government of Ethiopia and the hard-line Islamists. Until they have some line of communication, until they hopefully come to some kind of an agreement to co-exist, there is going to continue to be the threat of war there.”

Asked how the two sides could learn to live side by side, Menkhaus says, “First of all, Ethiopian officials have been very clear that they have lived with an Islamist government on their border that they didn’t like, and that was namely Sudan, for years. They can do it if they have to. They need security guarantees from Somalia.”

He says that hardliners in the ICU need to say publicly state that they reject claims on territory of neighboring countries to form a greater Somalia. He says until that happens, Ethiopia has a legitimate fear of the ICU. What’s more, he says that the ICU needs “to make a binding statement that they do not support, in any way, armed insurgencies against their neighbors.”

Menkhaus says that the international community must provide security guarantees along the border between Ethiopia and Somalia. He also says that Ethiopia must make some concessions, such as withdrawing its forces from Baidoa to the border area.

Source VOA


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