Montag, 26. Juli 2010

Brothers in Arms - The Fighting in Somalia Continues

When Somali militants bombed two sites in Uganda's capital Kampala, few would have thought that the terrorist attacks would have bolstered the AU's determination to quell the fighting in Mogadishu. However, precisely this seems to have happened. Instead of talking withdrawal, more African countries are now seriously considering to send forces to Somalia, the latest being Guinea that pledged an entire batallion

This development is interesting for two reasons. First of all, it shows that al-Shabaab's reasoning to bomb Uganda and Burundi into withdrawal is flawed. Instead, African countries are increasingly determined to shoulder the burden of regional stabilisation. Second, and perhaps more importantly, it signals that the AU mission to Somalia (AMISOM) is turning into a truly pan-African mission. With Burundi and Uganda the initial AU forces were all from Eastern Africa and Eastern African nations have an increasing interest in putting an end to the fighting in Somalia. Guinea, however, hardly has a purely national security interest in Somalia (note, however, that al-Shabaab won't be able to plan and execute terrorist attacks in a West African nation as easily), though it might gain some international goodwill in return, following the recent spate of coups d'état and counter-coups.

Welcome as the new brothers in arms are, they will hardly make a difference on the ground. Logistics, training and equipment aside, what is still lacking is a political process and on that particular front there is even less progress.

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