Occupying Ethiopian troops were the only thing keeping the U.S.- and U.N.-backed Somali Transitional Federal Government in power. When, after two years of bloody fighting, the Ethiopians gradually pulled out their last troops this week, pictured, the dominant Al-Shabab Islamic group went on the offensive.
Yesterday, the TFG’s capitol and final stronghold, Baidoa, was taken by Al-Shabab fighters. The TFG’s top officials have fled to neighboring Djibouti, where the U.S. and other foreign militaries maintain large bases.
Last fall, the State Department told me they were committed to a peace process in Somalia, but not necessarily committed to the TFG. In other words, any alliance promoting national reconciliation and, eventually, a democratic process ultimately will get Washington’s support. That clearly will not be the TFG, which now is an ineffectual government-in-exile.
* How will the TFG’s final defeat affect the U.N.-led aid effort that feeds half of Somalia’s 8 million people?
* How will the country’s other Islamic groups respond?
* How do everyday Somalis feel?
* Will the accelerating Islamification of Somalia affect the multi-national campaign against Somali pirates?
I’ve got queries out in a bid to answer these questions. Check back later.
(Photo: Somali Weyn)
Islamists occupy Mogadishu police stations
Fighting threatens Somalia food shipments
Somali president out
Don’t go to Somalia
Americans join Somali insurgency
Ethiopians change mind about withdrawal
Kenyan fighters in Somalia
Good news, bad news, in Islamists’ return
Invading Somalia a bad idea
Pirates and Islamists: enemies or allies?
Somalis welcome Islamists’ return
Port fall might help piracy problem
Is secret sea lane working against pirates?
Puntland raids pirates
No easy solutions to piracy problem
What I learned from a Somali warlord
Secret sea lane for piracy protection
Peacekeepers, insurgents swap mortar fire
U.S. planes terrify Somalis
Peace talks break down
Ship rescues Somalis
Who are Al Shabab?