Sister Publications

Home | Contact us | Links | Archives | Search

Issue 356 / 15th-22nd November 2008


Suicide bombers strike in Somaliland


Africa's Best Kept Secret

Our Trip to Somaliland

Front Page
News Headlines
Britain Drafts New UN Somalia Sanctions
The Fate Of The Voter Registration Shrouded In Mystery
Spokesperson For Somalia 's Community In Somaliland Refutes BBC's Claims
Somalia : Italian Head Of NATO-Anti-Piracy Operation Hopes For "Deterrent Effect"
thiopian Police Arrest Members Of Opposition Political Party Suspected Of Terrorist Offences
Local and Regional Affairs
Yemen , Egypt To Co-Host Red Sea Security Talks
Somali Islamists Set Sights On Capital Radical group seizes vast territories
U.S. Embassy In Ethiopia Warns American Runners Of Terror Threat
Statement from US Embassy in Ethiopia
Somaliland Authorities Urged To Explain Why Journalist Held For Past Ten Days
Ethiopia Says That Its Envoy In Somaliland Is alive
Four Killed In Somalia Khat Fight
Somalia Leaders Locked In Internal Dispute While Rebels Advance On Mogadishu
Somaliland's Security Needs A Paradigm Shift
Supporting Somaliland's Democracy Against The Terror Act ?
Somaliland & Unisa's Department of Religious Studies represented at London 's 2008 Think Tank of the
Features & Commentry
Somali Rival Forces On Collision Course Again
British Navy Kills Two Somali Pirates
Somalia President, Premier Arrive For Talks In Addis
Q+A-Will Somalia Ever Enjoy Peace?
International News
Obama Meets With Economic Experts For Advice
Abdulqawi Ahmed Yusuf Elected To The International Court Of Justice For A Term Of Nine Years
‘Don't Go To Cops Or I Will Kill You'
Palin Camp Tries To Squelch Talk Of Infighting
Obama's Kenyan Grandmother Says Will Attend Inauguration
At First News Conference, Obama Promises Stimulus Push


Republic of Somaliland – AU And IGAD Need To Engage With Preventive Diplomacy
Stranglehold Of Tribalism On Somali Society - The Case Of Somaliland
Indonesia – No Recession In World's Top Rank Economy
A Joint IGAD And Ethiopian Initiative On Somalia
Somaliland - Growing Stronger As A State Within A State
Sympathy To The Victims Of The Recent Terrorists' Attacks In Somaliland From South Africa

Q+A-Will Somalia Ever Enjoy Peace?


Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Somali Islamist insurgents captured Merka port on Wednesday, given them their closest foothold to the capital and raising the stakes in a two-year insurgency.

Below are some questions and answers on the intractable Somali conflict:


* An Islamist insurgency spearheaded by the al Shabaab ('Youth' in Arabic) militia has been fighting the Somali government and its Ethiopian military allies since being chased out of Mogadishu at the end of 2006.

* Ethiopia , determined to contain the Islamists, has thousands of troops in Somalia protecting the weak local government and fighting the rebels. Addis Ababa is unhappy at the cost of its military operation and the criticism of its intervention and would like to withdraw.

* The African Union (AU) has about 3,000 peacekeepers in Somalia , fewer than its 8,000 target, and a larger force is seen as a prerequisite for Ethiopia 's exit.

* President Abdillahi Yusuf leads Somalia 's government but is at odds with his prime minister, Nur Hassan Hussein. International backers are furious at the split. The government's mandate runs out in August 2009.

* The United Nations, mindful of its disastrous intervention in Somalia in the early 1990s, is resisting calls to take over peacekeeping from the AU until the security situation improves.

* Ethiopia 's neighbor and foe Eritrea hosts some of Somalia 's hardline Islamist leaders and is accused of channeling support to fighters on the ground.

* Diplomats view the United States as using Ethiopia as its proxy in Somalia . Washington says al Shabaab is al Qaeda's agent in Somalia and fears a spread of extremism in the Horn of Africa.


* Many a peace process has come and gone since warlords toppled dictator Mohamed Siyad Barre in 1991 and ushered in the modern era of chaos and anarchy in Somalia .

* U.N. envoy Ahmedou Ould-Abdallah is leading the latest peace drive. He has persuaded the government and moderate members of the umbrella opposition Alliance for the Re-Liberation of Somalia (ARS) to sign a ceasefire and agree in principle to form a power-sharing administration.

* The hardline faction of the ARS has rejected that, and insurgents have stepped up their attacks every time the peace process has made some progress. They now control most of south Somalia , except the capital Mogadishu , the seat of parliament Baidoa and the garrison town Beladwayne.

* Diplomats and analysts see the U.N. peace process as the best hope, but are privately skeptical it will work, given disunity among Somali leaders and the strength of the rebels.

* Western and regional backers of the government, known as the Transitional Federal Government, are unhappy with its lack of progress but may be prepared to endorse an extension of its mandate beyond 2009 if the peace process progresses.


* Some analysts believe the insurgents may now be strong enough to overrun Mogadishu and Baidoa, where they often carry out assassinations and plant roadside bombs. But they are not a homogenous group and may be hampered by internal divisions.

* Should the Ethiopians leave, as foreseen under the U.N. plan, the insurgents would have a better chance of seizing power again if they stay united. A Somalia security force is being built up, but the insurgents are seen as far stronger.

* Some analysts say the insurgents are content with the current chaos that has made Somalia something of an "African Iraq." Ethiopian and AU troops are bogged down, and foreign militants are attracted to Somalia as another perceived front in a global struggle.


* The conflict, on the northeast shoulder of Africa and close to the Middle East , has destabilized the whole region. Militants have entered Somalia , the United States has carried out air strikes there, Kenya is on high alert, and the Ethiopia-Eritrea feud persists.

* The chaos has fuelled piracy in the busy Gulf of Aden and Indian Ocean sealanes off Somalia . Dozens of ships have been seized this year, eight are still being held. Insurance costs are soaring, some shippers are considering using the Cape of Good Hope instead of the Suez Canal , and various countries are sending naval patrols to the area.

* Somalis are suffering dreadfully as violence compounds the misery caused by drought and soaring food prices in a country that was already one of the world's poorest. About one million Somalis are internal refugees. Aid workers, hampered by attacks on them, say it is one of the world's worst crises.

Source: Reuters, Nov 12, 2008



Somaliland Times Newspaper: Publisher Haatuf Media Network, Published in Hargeysa, Somaliland


Editor in Chief: Yusuf Abdi Gabobe.

Assist-Editor: Abdifatah M Aideed

Somaliland Times Web Editor, Media and Technology specialist: Abdullah Mohamed Ahmed

Home | Contact us | Links | Archives| Search

Hits since 25/02/2003

Any views or opinions are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of Somaliland Times unless specifically stated.