Muddy Notebook

February 9, 2009

Another chance in Somalia

Here’s a report worth reading from the genocide-prevention group, Enough, a project of the Center for American Progress, on the window of opportunity for stabilizing Somalia and its region now that the Ethiopian troops have withdrawn. The United States botched its handling of the Islamic Courts party’s rise to power, treating everyone in the conservative Muslim group as if they were the same as the Taliban. Rather than wooing the more centrist leaders of the group, the U.S. encouraged Ethiopia to invade in 2006 and install an interim government that never, ever had popular support. More than two years later, Ethiopian troops have withdrawn, the interim government has (not surprisingly) failed, and the Islamic Courts is in charge again. Oh, and of course in these events, civilians once again were caught in extreme violence and a leadership vacuum, with the turmoil spilling over into neighboring countries. Enough’s John Prendergast predicted this from the start, so it’s worth hearing what the organization he co-founded has to say about how Secretary of State Hillary Clinton can do to try to stabilize Somalia, rather than make matters worse.

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