Thursday, July 20, 2006

Ethiopia in Somalia

Despite the ongoing war in Lebanon attracting the world's attention, things keep happening elsewhere. At the end of the BBC World Service news that I was listening to whilst cycling home from work (38 kms ridden today!), there was a report that a BBC correspondent had seen Ethiopian troops in Somalia near the seat of the provisional government in the town of Baidoa (see the BBC map to the right).

The Ethiopians are supporting the interim government against the Islamic Courts Militias who now control all of Mogadishu and large swathes of Somalia beyond the capital. The Economist described most Somalis as "loathing" Ethiopia so it does not bode well for stability - particularly because some of the senior activist in the Islamic Court Militias began their activism in secessionist groups within the Somali populated area of Ethiopia - known as Ogaden. This explains Ethiopia's support for the secular provisional government (that actually governs very little and currently meets in an abandoned warehouse) and its antipathy to the Islamists who it sees as a danger to its internal stability if Ethiopian ethnic-Somali Muslims become radicalised.

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