Amid celebrations in Mogadishu over the withdrawal of Ethiopian forces from Somalia’s war-torn capital after their bloody two-year, United States-backed military campaign, the BBC reports that four of the six bases vacated by the Ethiopian troops “have been taken over by [Islamist] insurgents from different factions, seemingly working together.”
Not a huge surprise, given the anarchic state of affairs in Somalia today — in case you missed it, the President resigned last month and aid workers are assassinated on a regular basis — and the rapid strengthening of the Islamist shabaab militia throughout the country. However, to be clear, the new developments in Mogadishu following Ethiopia’s withdrawal do not warrant the deployment of a United Nations peacekeeping mission (see Enough’s “Bush Administration’s ‘Transition Land Mines’ in Somalia” statement for more). Thankfully, U. S. ambassador to the U.N.-designate Susan Rice voiced her strong skepticism about this ill-conceived idea yesterday at her Senate confirmation hearing. Here’s to hoping for the dawn of a desperately needed new era in U.S. policy on the Horn of Africa.