Tuesday, January 16, 2007

"You break it, you own it!"

Bashir drew my attention this evening to an excellent piece of analysis published in today's Guardian by one of this country's few scholarly experts on Somalia, Dr. Ken Menkhaus of Davidson College in North Carolina. Bashir commented that Prof. Menkhaus "raises the issue of the US getting rid of the courts and the stability they brought and leaving the chaos to the Ethiopians and the TFG."

As always, Menkhaus makes some solid points:

Thanks to the Ethiopian intervention, the jihadist wing of the UIC is at least temporarily on the run. But Mogadishu is again ungoverned and growing more lawless by the day.

Somalia's Transitional Federal Government (TFG) is now expected to assume administrative control of Mogadishu, a city of one million hostile, fearful, and well-armed people. But the TFG is weak and intensely disliked by most Mogadishu constituencies. It is in no position to govern absent a partnership forged with the Mogadishu leadership, and will not even be able to remain in the capital without the continued presence of Ethiopian forces.

However, Bashir wonders whether Prof. Menkhaus hasn't let the U.S. off the hook, given this country's evident complicity in breaking the Somali pottery. "I have not heard [U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Africa] Jendayi [Frazer] talking about Somalia lately because for her it is mission accomplished. Jendayi is in the proverbial Somali situation of a man having just convinced a passerby (in this case Meles) to hold the lion (somalia) for him by the ears while he secures his macawiis or sarong and then departs from the scene. Meles is frantically looking for the AU troops but his American friends have gone AWOL on him."

Bashir makes a valid point himself!

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