With so much of the world convulsed by crisis, little attention has been paid to this unfolding disaster in the Horn. The UN Security Council, however, did take up the issue, and in another craven act which will further cement its reputation as an anti-Muslim body, bowed to American and British pressure to authorize a regional peacekeeping force to enter Somalia to protect the transitional government, which is fighting the Islamic Courts.
The new UN resolution states that the world body acted to "restore peace and stability." But as all major international news organizations have reported, this year Somalia finally experienced its first respite from 16 years of utter lawlessness and terror at the hands of the marauding warlords who drove out UN peacekeepers in 1993, when 18 American soldiers were killed.
Since 1993, there had been no Security Council interest in sending peacekeepers to Somalia, but as peace and order took hold, a multilateral force was suddenly deemed necessary because it was the Islamic Courts Union that had brought about this stability. Astonishingly, the Islamists had succeeded in defeating the warlords primarily through rallying people to their side by creating law and order through the application of Shariah law, which Somalis universally practice.
The transitional government, on the other hand, is dominated by the warlords and terrorists who drove out American forces in 1993. Organized in Kenya by U.S. regional allies, it is so completely devoid of internal support that it has turned to Somalia’s arch- enemy, Ethiopia, for assistance.
If this war continues, it will affect the whole region, do serious harm to U.S. interests and threaten Kenya, the only island of stability in this corner of Africa.
Ethiopia is at even greater risk, as a dictatorship with little popular support and beset also by two large internal revolts, by the Ogadenis and Oromos. It is also mired in a conflict with Eritrea, which has denied it secure access to seaports.
The best antidote to terrorism in Somalia is stability, which the Islamic Courts have provided. The Islamists have strong public support, which has grown in the face of U.S. and Ethiopian interventions. As in other Muslim-Western conflicts, the world needs to engage with the Islamists to secure peace.