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Editorial: Confrontational Approach

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?


December 21, 2006

Somalia has been at war with itself for 16 years. A generation has grown up knowing nothing but fear and insecurity. In 1991, the socialist regime of Muhammad Siyad Barre was ousted by warlords who then fell to fighting among themselves. The country descended into chaos. A year later, the UN, prompted by Washington, sought to intervene and restore stability. In front of the world’s press and media, US Marines stormed ashore unopposed but within weeks the peacekeeping operation was crumbling as warlords launched increasingly savage attacks on US troops. After four years of failure, the UN quit.

Now thanks to Security Council Resolution 1725, the UN is about to try again to insert peacekeepers and restart peace talks between the warring parties. The position now is, however, very different from the earlier abortive international intervention. The grip of the warlords has been broken by Islamic fighters grouped together under the Union of Islamic Courts (UIC). They now control the capital Mogadishu and the greater part of the country. The interim government finally agreed to by the warlords in 2004 is now confined to a relatively small area around the western town of Baidoa. In the northwest of the country, the former British-ruled area of Somaliland has declared itself autonomous and has thus far managed to avoid becoming embroiled in the rest of Somalia’s troubles.

It is hard to see how the UN can believe its new intervention will work. For a start, it has made it clear that it is acting in support of the interim government in Baidoa. This has inevitably enraged the UIC which has vowed to attack any UN peacekeepers sent to the country. The UN’s thinking is clearly that if the warlords and clan chiefs have finally buried their bloody differences, their unity government deserves support. Unfortunately, this is to ignore the reality which is that the UIC has finally brought peace and security to those large areas of Somalia it already controls. At the very least, the UN would have been wise not to line itself up behind either side.

This partial stance is certainly informed by a Washington-inspired fear that the UIC is another Taliban and is already giving shelter to elements of Al-Qaeda. Implicit in the stance the UN has taken is that the UIC should be persuaded to enter into partnership with the transitional government. Given the military success the UIC has enjoyed and the longed-for peace they have brought to the areas they control, it is debatable how much popular support a return of the failed warlords and clan chiefs would attract.

It would have been far wiser had the UN sought to accept the reality of events on the ground and worked with the UIC. Much-needed aid and reconstruction could be delivered through the UIC while the UN sought to undermine militant Al-Qaeda supporters by fostering moderates within the UIC ranks.

Instead, the current confrontational approach favored by Washington promises further violence which could still spill over into a regional conflict.

Source: Arab News


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