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U.S. Air Strikes in Somalia

In it's first intervention since "Black Hawk Down," the U.S. launched air strikes inside Somalia at Al Qaeda members suspected of masterminding...




In it's first intervention since "Black Hawk Down," the U.S. launched air strikes inside Somalia at Al Qaeda members suspected of masterminding the '98 U.S. embassy attacks. This conflict is enormously complex. Here is some background info: After being run by warlords since 1991, a group called the the Union of Islamic Courts (UIC) took over the Somalian capital of Mogadishu in June. The UIC's popularity was mixed. Lots of Somalis were happy to have some kind of law and order, but weary of their hardline elements (such as public executions and floggings). In early December, a U.S.-backed plan to strengthen the Transitional Federal Government (TFG) escalated resistance against the UIC. By the end of the month, Ethiopian forces awkwardly claimed self-defense and bombed Mogadishu for the TFG. Within 10 days, the TFG took control of the city and the UIC fled to the south.

Now what? The UIC has threatened an insurgency and the TSG will likely continue military strikes. It's a gigantic proxy war. The UIC and TFG are primarily backed by rivals Eritrea and Ethiopia, and wealthier countries like Saudi Arabia and the U.S. are also taking sides. Meanwhile, Somalis are embarrassed by an American/Ethiopian presence in their country, and want them out now. The TFG will crumble without that support, so there is an effort to get a large UN peacekeeping force in ASAP. So far, only Uganda has offered troops. What a mess.



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