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Terrible to Even Worse in Somalia

By Matthew Yglesias

"Terrible to Even Worse in Somalia"

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Things are getting worse and worse in Somalia:

The pirates off Somalia’s coast are getting bolder, wilier and somehow richer, despite an armada of Western naval ships hot on their trail. Shipments of emergency food aid are barely keeping much of Somalia’s population of nine million from starving. The most fanatical wing of Somalia’s Islamist insurgency is gobbling up territory and imposing its own harsh brand of Islamic law, like whipping dancers and stoning a 13-year-old girl to death.

And now, with the government on the brink and the Islamists about to seize control for the second time, the operative question inside and outside Somalia seems to be: Now what?

“It will be bloody,” predicted Rashid Abdi, a Somalia analyst at the International Crisis Group, a research institute that tracks conflicts worldwide. “The Ethiopians have decided to let the transitional government sink. The chaos will spread from the south to the north. Warlordism will be back.”

US press coverage of this situation keeps ignoring the US role, but had American policymakers tried to dissuade Ethiopia from invading two years ago rather than encouraging the invasion, we could have saved thousands of lives, avoiding this piracy problem, and had a more manageable Islamist situation. But at the time, most conservatives applauded the US-sponsored Ethiopian invasion to be a smashing success and thought maybe we could learn a thing or two about the utility of harsh measures in sticking it to the wogs.

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