Sep 20, 2006

Suicide Bombing and Ethiopia's Interest in Somalia

It wasn't surprising that Abdullah Yusuf, the President of the Transitional Government in Somalia was the target of an assassination attempt. In 1982, he led the first armed opposition in Somalia and has been a close ally to Ethiopia ever since (to the distaste of most Somalis), the he became a warlord during the civil war and retained control. So he isn't, by any definition, a man of peace and of course he had created many enemies for himself over the years in Puntland and southern Somalia.

What was surprising and scary was the method used, suicide bomb. In the Somali civil war, all kinds of horrible things has happened but never bombing let alone suicide bombing. Suicide is not known in Somalia, in fact the Somali language doesn't have a word for suicide. We may never know for sure who did it, I personally don't think it's done by Somalis. I don't think a Somali would commit suicide, let alone for an almost 80 year old warlord. I don't think it's the UIC either, if you know Somalia then you would know these guys are mainly businessmen and already control much of the south, they've no incentive to kill Abdullah Yusuf. So far they don't seem to have the desire to kill anyone, they let the warlords go and give them all an amnesty.

Somali people are eager for an end to the conflict and a functioning government and that's why the country is largely peaceful (from Galkayo upwards). The grassroots support for the UIC in the areas they control shows that people have had enough. But the recent decision by the AU to send IGAD troops to Somalia threatens to complicate things and endanger the relative peace the country has been enjoying. Ethiopia sees its interest in a fragmented and feudal Somalia. They're afraid any future Somali government will challenge Ethiopia's occupation of Ogaden and there free usage of Berbera port and that's why they're the only country to recognize Somaliland. It will be a disaster if Ethiopian troops are sent to Somalia; it will not be seen as peacekeeping, it will be seen as an invasion.

Technocrati Tags: Somalia, Africa

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