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Somalia update

The news this morning is that warlords affiliated with islamic parties have captured Mogadishu, and that the warlords allied with US forces appear to be fleeing the city. The winning coalition of warlords have declared that the city is now under the jurisdiction of Sharia courts. It’s impossible to say whether US support for the anti-Sharia forces was a deciding factor, but Reuters reports, “Many Somalis have moved to the Islamic side because of Washington’s perceived support for the warlords, residents say.”

The “government” of Somalia is based in Baidoa, over 200km away. Government officials haven’t been able to enter Mogadishu, never mind bid for control of it. The spokesman of the government has expressed his hope that the Islamic coalition will contact the government soon and begin talks.

Meanwhile, the comparatively stable north – Somaliland – considers itself an entirely separate country. The New York Times ran a piece today that has a decidedly condescending tone to it, with author Marc Lacey opening with an anecdote about the tendency of Somaliland’s government to berate people who consider it a part of Somalia. Given that Somaliland has police – rather than gunmen – in the streets, an airline and a phone company, it makes some sense that the country doesn’t want to be identified with its southern neighbor. Somaliland also has a port in Berbera, which Ethiopia is very interested in gaining access to. As a result, Ethiopia is treating Somaliland’s president as a head of state, not as a “governor”, as Lacey describes him.

Perhaps Somaliland can find some hope in Montenegro, which has declared independence from Serbia. Other “micro-states” throughout the former Eastern Bloc are taking inspiration and may demand similar referenda on independence – Transdnistra, South Ossetia and Abkhazia would likely receive support from Moscow if they pulled away, while Nagorno-Karabagh already recieves support from Armenia. One problem for Somaliland? It’s not realistic to hold a referendum in a state without a government… and perhaps a referendum on Somaliland independence isn’t the first thing on the mind of the gunmen who’ve just captured Mogadishu in the name of Sharia courts.

2 thoughts on “Somalia update”

  1. Pingback: Somalia: Maa rauhan tai kansainvälisen konfliktin kynnyksellä.-- Ilja Suvanto

  2. dear sir

    itsnt all that glitters is necessarily being taken as real gold as this will never the somalia whom i know closer than any observer my husband who had just back from lasanod told me things are not clear though it did seem to him as fragile that mullahs in mogadishu versus neokarzai terrorlord (those ousted) really get sweep another roung as they are to control 3000 km of gods land that even if one takes te control need indian and chinese as in dubai even if god supply them gold as they could only say they control but people no dwelling in most areas of somalia so china in dubai and hindus all asians i knew in calcutta get to their new needed people to settle somalia wher its people took away by them selves and now need new extra
    any as white married to somali i coud only allow if my son david agrees marry a chinese or hindu otherwise i would quit

    god bless somalis and wet them from their self greediness.

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