NAIROBI, Kenya, Feb. 20 — Fierce mortar attacks killed at least 15 civilians in Somalia on Tuesday, and for a country that had seemed on the verge of ending 16 years of chaotic violence this is the new status quo.
Nearly every day, government forces and insurgents shell each other across Mogadishu’s already dilapidated neighborhoods, scattering bodies and any remaining traces of hope. Gun prices are soaring and more clans are joining the underground, while an outbreak of cholera sweeps the countryside.
This is not unexpected, nor is this sudden. If you've been keeping up with our coverage of Somalia, you'll have seen that after the fall of the SICC, peace reigned for only the briefest of moments, as fighting began in Mogadishu within days of its conquest by the TFG (with Ethiopian troops, of course).
What angers me most is the refusal to acknowledge that the SICC was both a legitimate government and refusal to credit it for bringing peace where there was none. It's like we're so blinded by our distrust of all Muslims that we couldn't even see that it would have been easiest to at least deal with the SICC diplomatically and treat them as the leaders of the country instead of first attempting to overthrow them by backing warlords and then brokering a deal to get Ethiopia to stand in as our proxy army. That's just immoral behavior.
And this is the government we chose to back:
All analysts agree that the violence will continue and probably intensify unless the government reconciles with clan leaders, who control, as much as anyone controls, what happens in Somalia.
But so far, there’s been very little of that. Instead of reaching out to truly influential figures, analysts say the government has picked ministers not because they have any substantial support among their clans but because they will do the government’s bidding. The result is an increasingly isolated, authoritarian and unpopular government in which the transitional president, Abdullahi Yusuf Ahmed, is accused of behaving more like a clan warlord — which he was — than a national leader.
Dammit, when will our leaders quit sacrificing others for their ideology? We didn't think it was right when Hitler did it. It's no more right now that it's our President doing it.
Will the UN step in? Sure, if certain conditions will be met first:
The Security Council on Tuesday authorized the dispatch of an African Union peacekeeping force to Somalia to help stabilize the country so a United Nations operation can take over in six months.
The British-drafted resolution, passed 15 to 0, urges African countries to furnish troops. The numbers pledged total less than half of the 8,000 needed, officials said.
It also demanded guarantees of safety and access for international aid workers.
Will any of those conditions be met? I doubt it. So long, peace in Somalia. It was good of you to visit.