Somalia: UN peacekeepers in Somalia

Ethan Zuckerman asks whether sending UN peacekeepers to Somalia is a good thing, “The presence of UN peacekeepers is clearly provocative to UIC forces, who say they’ll consider UN troop “an invading force” – does it make sense to try to destabilize the one force that’s provided stability in Southern Somalia in the past decade.”

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  • hashi

    Somalia’s transitional government, which was increasingly pressured by the Union of Islamic Courts military expansion, has supported the Security Council resolution. The government that is based in the small town of Baidoa is now protected by Ethiopian military forces in the area.

    The resolution also advises Somalia’s Union of Islamic Courts to halt military expansion and negotiate with the transitional government, threatening unspecified action against those who try to oust the fragile government seated in southern Somalia led by President Abdulahi Yusuf.

    Member states of Intergovernmental Authority on Development known as IGAD and the African Union (AU) will have their military forces deployed in Somalia as peacekeeping mission. Frontline states or countries bordering Somalia are excluded from sending troops to Somalia, although the UN resolution did not mention Ethiopia’s military involvement in Somalia.

    Union of Islamic Courts chairman Sheik Sharif Ahmed pointed the security council resolution as biased with one side. Ahmed urged African states that would contribute forces known as IGAOM to Somalia not deploy their forces to Somalia.

    Somalia’s Islamic Courts is in control of most central and southern Somalia, including the capital Mogadishu. It declared a jihad war against Ethiopian troops in Somalia, inviting Muslim jihadists around the world in Somalia to fight with Ethiopian military in the country. Ethiopian parliament approved defending against Islamic Courts jihad war after Prime Minister Meles Zenawi passed the motion to the parliament.

    Experts fear Somalia could become a proxy battleground for Ethiopia and Eritrea that fought border wars from 1998 to 2000. Ethiopia was accused of having thousands of troops in Somalia while Eritrea supported Islamic Courts. Eritrea denied providing Somalia’s Islamists with arms and Ethiopia admitted it only has several hundred military advisors and trainers in Somalia to protect the impotent Somali government based in Baidoa, 250 km southwest of the capital.

    The African forces that will come to Somalia will provide the government troops with military training for the first six months to enable the government establish security forces which may be able to secure the government institutions in Baidoa. The forces will also monitor peace talks between the government and the Union of Islamic Courts.

    Ibrahim Hassan Adow, the Islamic Courts secretary for foreign affairs, warned that the African troop deployment in the country would trigger bloodshed, stressing that Islamic Courts will fight any foreign troops that set their feet in the soil of Somalia.

    United States ambassador to UN John Bolton said regional troop deployment in the war ravaged country, Somalia, would help maintain the peace talks between the Somali government and Islamic Courts mainly headquartered in the Somali capital Mogadishu

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