08 January 2007

A word on Somalia

I've been following the recent unrest in Somalia for a bit, even though I've been relatively silent on it. Honestly, I don't know whether Somalia is on the verge of a new era of stability and the gradual repair of a very broken country, or if this is just the start of another round of violence. If the former is the case, then we need a whole lot of international engagement fast. If the latter ends up being true, then increased engagement wouldn't hurt, and should probably be aimed at keeping violence to a minimum. There's talk of a new peacekeeping force, led by a sub-regional group (IGAD) with no previous experience in such missions. Who knows how that will turn out. Organizations' first ventures into peacekeeping have historically been failures. I think at this point I shall remain cautiously optimistic.

U.S. media coverage of the conflict, while surprisingly voluminous, has unfortunately been quite skewed, as was pointed out by a friend recently. The Washington Post tends to be overly focused on the supposed victory of U.S. policy against Islamist forces, while the New York Times seems just excessively optimistic. The situation on the ground, from what I can tell, is tenuous at best. Anyway, you can find my collection of these articles here, though I recommend you pursue other sources. I do, however, recommend this op-ed by a professor from the Naval War College (and its less biased towards the U.S. than you might think).

Apologies for lack of further analysis.

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