In December of 2006, the United States sponsored the invasion of Somalia by Ethiopian forces targeting an Islamic fundamentalist group known as the Islamic Courts Union (ICU) who had taken over much of the country and the capital of Mogadishu. Thousands were killed in the ensuing fighting that resulted in the defeat of the ICU and the dispersal of its fighters. At the time, I predicted that these events would lead to a protracted guerrilla war and could incite a regional war drawing in countries like Eritrea. While a regional war hasn't (thankfully) erupted, Ethiopia is now bogged down in a guerrilla war with the ICU and doesn't seem to have an exit strategy as their Prime Minister admits:
The attacks came after Ethiopia's prime minister said his forces are unable to withdraw from the conflict in Somalia.
Meles Zenawi said he had expected to withdraw his soldiers earlier in the year, once the Islamists had been driven out of Mogadishu.
But he said not enough peacekeepers had arrived and divisions within the Somali government had left it unable to replace the Ethiopians.
Their presence is unpopular in Mogadishu. Earlier this month, insurgents dragged the bodies of Ethiopian troops through the city.
It's highly ironic that Ethiopia now finds itself bogged down in Somalia the same way that the US is bogged down in Iraq. In both cases, the existing order has been smashed and nothing substantive has emerged to take its place. Consequently, only the large-scale presence of foreign troops can keep the countries from devolving into civil wars that could result in the establishment of governments implacably hostile to US interests.
Also, like Iraq, the foreign intervention in Somalia has resulted in a massive humanitarian crisis and the dislocation of hundreds of thousands of people:
The UN refugee agency says 60% of Mogadishu residents have left their homes, including 200,000 this month, following the latest clashes between insurgents and the Ethiopian-backed government.
Once again we see demonstrated in Somalia the utter futility of the ceaseless pattern of interventionism that the US follows with respect to much of the world. After they eject the Ethiopians (which I predict they ultimately will), the Somalis are not likely to forget that the US sponsored and promoted the Ethiopian invasion. They are also not likely to forget that American AC-130 gunships participated in that invasion killing dozens (we hope not including civilians).
The end result will be more recruits for extremist terrorist organizations like al Qaeda. Another possible outcome could be the ultimate collapse of the pro-American Ethiopian regime itself. We saw what happened to politicians who lead their countries into unnecessary wars in the elections here in 2006. I'm betting the same will happen in Ethiopia before long.
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