“Somalia’s Transitional Federal Government and the opposition Alliance for the Re-liberation of Somalia on 26 October renewed a ceasefire agreement originally signed in June and agreed to form a unity government,” Jane’s reported today.
Yawn. I’m going to take a nap. Wake me up when the shooting stops and there’s REAL progress in Somalia.
Truth is, the ongoing negotiations between the TFG and the opposition are unlikely to bring any real change to the situation on the ground, at least any time soon. Reason being: the TFG is extremely weak in the place that matters most, Mogadishu.
On the side of the “good guys,” the big players in Mogadishu are the Ethiopians and the African Union, neither of which is likely to get too excited about a piece of paper with a few signatures on it. On the side of the “bad guys,” there are overlapping, and sometimes competing, groups of Islamic extremists, anti-Ethiopian nationalists and heavily armed criminals. The Alliance cannot just order all these fighters to lay down their weapons. Most of them follow their own rules.
Truth is that Somalia is worse off than ever, and it’s going to take more than small gestures by minor powers to reverse the spiral. Just the other day, I got an email from a Somali friend, a man who has seen and survived some of the worst fighting in Mogadishu in recent years — and has the scars to prove it. A few months back, he decided he’d had enough. He fled to Kenya “because of worsening the situation,” but now he’s “suffering.” Moga’s gotten so bad that unemployment and starvation in Kenya are preferable.
Update, 10/29/08: Suicide bombings have killed 21 people in Puntland and Somaliland, two places in Somalia previously considered relatively safe. The bombings possibly were planned to “coincide with international efforts to end the turmoil in this impoverished Horn of Africa nation.” Seems not everyone supports the talks, eh?
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Developments in kidnapping case