Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Somalia: Not a vacation spot

From WaPo recently: The situation in Somalia continues to get worse. I don’t know about you, but I’m reminded of the immortal Nigel Tufnel line: It's like, how much more black could this be? And the answer is none. None more black.

And yet, in seeming defiance of the laws of nature and fake heavy metal, it gets worse.

Oh, and that quote above was not meant in any racial sense, so spare me your hate mail, please. I mean “blacker” in the sense of more grim, bleak, dark, and hopeless. Not in the sense of the ethnic makeup of the population involved.

Somalia, as anyone who saw (or read – it was a book first, you know) Black Hawk Down can tell you, has been a failed state for over 15 years. That’s bad enough, you’d think. Now there’s word that AQ has set up shop in a big way, the US-backed warlords (and that right there tells you a bunch – when a group of warlords is your most appealing option, things have gone very badly indeed) have been thrown out of the “government”, such as it is, and the cities in general, and war with neighboring Ethiopia is imminent and, by the way, heavily supported by Uncle Osama himself.

If Somalia turns into the next AQ home-away-from-home, ala Afghanistan before it, Western options will be nearly non-existent. The Ethiopians can probably be counted on to oppose, in fairly violent terms, an Islamist terrorist state next door, but they have significant problems of their own, not just with the Somalis, but also with Eritrea on the other side. There will certainly not be much of an internal, “Northern Alliance”-type outfit to support via Special Ops and airpower, as was done, with a bit of success, against the Taliban.

The Horn of Africa is an historical mess on the scale of the Middle East and Central Asia. Unfortunately, it looks like it’s going to be center stage for Phase III of the “War of Terror” (thanks, Borat).

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