By Rene Wadlow
AAKROSH. January 2007. Volume 10. Number 34
Although Somalia is in a crucial geostrategic position on the Horn of Africa, facing the Arabian peninsula, the country had largely slipped from world attention except for African specialists. The government had disappeared in 1991, proving that people can live without a State if there are sub-State institutions of order and dispute settlement. Thus, what order existed was the result of local warlords and clanic chiefs who provided order in very small areas, often only one town and a small area around it. In July 2006, a revitalized Islamic movement—the Union of Shari’a Courts—took control of the capital, Mogadishu, and in the months following extended its control to much of the country. There was a fear in other countries that Somalia could serve as a base for terrorist activities on the pattern of Afghanistan. On 6 December 2006, the UN Security Council passed Resolution 1725, which authorized the creation of a regional African peacekeeping force to enter Somalia. The creation of such a multistate force under the authority of the African Union seemed unlikely in the near term. The African Union forces are tied up in the Darfur-Sudan conflict. Therefore, Ethiopian troops moved in at the request, it is said, of the Transitional Federal Government. Ethiopia has the best-trained and equipped army in the Horn of Africa. The Ethiopian forces quickly defeated the loose coalition of clanic militias, which were supporting the Union of Shari’a Courts. On 28 December 2006, Ethiopian troops and representatives of the Transitional Federal Government (TFG) moved into the capital Mogadishu. Thus, an analysis of the background of the conflict in Somalia is merited as the conflict has potentially wider implications.