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Pattaya Daily News

28 December 2006 :: 16:12:13 pm 31122

Analysis: a military victory but Somalia vacuum looms

Rob Crilly, who has been covering the conflict in Somalia for The Times, says the Government‘s swift defeat of the Islamist militias, with the help of Ethiopia, suggests nothing more than a return to the political vacuum that has endangered the country for 15 years:
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“There are lots of things up in the air today and it’s too early to know quite what is happening in Mogadishu, but there are a few things that are clear. The first is that the Union of Islamic Courts (UIC) simply could not cope with the firepower of the Ethiopian forces, who are fighting on behalf of Somalia’s interim Government.

“The Islamic court militias, mainly made up of young, badly-trained fighters had no answer to the well-drilled, well-equipped Ethiopians and were defeated again and again.

“This has led to a rapid military victory for the Government and the taking of Mogadishu. The question is what happens next. Although until now the UIC was nominally in control of Mogadishu, and much of the country, ultimately power resides with the clan elders. If you have the support of the clan elders, you’re in business.

“What we learned today is that last night, the Government approached the clan elders in Mogadishu and asked them to withdraw their support for the Islamic courts. They have done that, and without their backing, the court leaders left the city. What is less clear is whether the clan elders will now stand four-square behind the interim-Government, which beyond the support of the UN and the international community, has little legitimacy in the eyes of ordinary Somalis.

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Reporter : PDN staff   Photo : Internet   Category : World News

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