Many commentators fear for the security of the region
Newspapers in Africa and the Arab world express serious concerns over the fighting in Somalia, fearing the unrest could spread to other countries in the region.
Some commentators accuse Washington of backing Ethiopia and warn that rather than defeating extremism, the opposite could happen and al-Qaeda could establish a foothold in the region.
One commentator fears the start of "a hundred-year war" while another criticises the Arabs for failing to take effective action to stop the fighting.
LEOUL MEKONEN IN SUDAN TRIBUNE
It is clear that the Somali Islamists are enemies to the US but arming and supporting a dictatorial regime with the notion of supporting the enemy's enemy will not bring positive outcome to the US as well as Ethiopians... It is lunatic to think that the Ethiopian army will crush the Islamists. Instead it will raise the patriotic spirit of Somalis and even those who have had negative attitude towards Islamists will prefer to join them.
Any Somali who hates the Islamists will not necessarily like the presence of Ethiopian troops in Somalia but be compelled to join the jihadists when their airport is bombed by Ethiopian aircraft.
SAMUEL MAKINDA IN KENYA'S NATION
Ethiopia's invasion is unlikely to bring peace and order to Somalia, or to assist the transitional government to establish an effective administration. Any external force that abandons an inclusive approach and sides with one group against another, is bound to exacerbate insecurity.
If there is fear that the Union of Islamic Courts might invite al-Qaeda terrorists, Ethiopia's invasion and defeat of the Islamists will not prevent Al-Qaeda operatives from using Somalia.
EDITORIAL IN KENYA'S NATION
While it would be silly to reduce the conflict to a mere contest between the 'Islamist' Somalia and 'Christian' Ethiopia, this religious appendage is appealing to both sides. What the world is witnessing is a resurrection of old tensions between Ethiopia and Somalia, now fanned by proxies... The lifting of the arms embargo on Somalia places the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development, the African Union and the UN in a precarious position as the Somali crisis threatens to escalate into a regional conflict.
EDITORIAL IN ALGERIA'S LA NOUVELLE REPUBLIQUE
The situation in the Horn of Africa is worrying. No-one predicted this dangerous turn of events. In one week, what was to be a simple internal conflict between the radical Islamic Courts and transitional government, backed by the United States, has gone regional, involving three countries.
The explosion in this strategic part of the Horn of Africa will not only last but also spread to other sub-Saharan Africa regions already plagued by devastating conflicts. What is strange is the 'smug' silence from the Western powers. The easy solution is to use this war as part of the global war against terrorism; if this is the case, we can expect to see another Hundred Years' War.
PAN ARAB AL-ARAB AL-ALAMIYAH
The crushing Ethiopian attack achieves an old dream for Addis Ababa of invading Somalia which stands as an obstacle between it and the Red Sea, especially after Eritrea become independent and started controlling the coast connecting Ethiopia to the sea.
PAN ARAB AL-QUDS AL-ARABI
The Islamic Courts forces are made up of a group of clean and pure believers who wanted to bring an end to bloody chaos sustained by warlords and militia leaders. It managed to expel highway robbers and the Mafia gang. However, the US, which tore apart the unity of Somalia, overthrew its government, blew up its stability and starved its people, was not pleased with this achievement and moved in to overthrow the courts.
Ethiopia will pay high price for its interference in Somali affairs. Disorder will prevail in Somalia, which will become a safe heaven for Islamist groups from inside and outside Somalia, with the help of the Somali people this time round. Will [Ethiopian Prime Minister] Meles Zinawi succeed in Somalia, in achieving what his masters in USA failed to achieve in Iraq?
HANAN HAMAD IN SYRIA'S TISHRIN
Ethiopia is repeating Washington's experiment in Iraq: 'Self-defence' but on others' territories. This flagrant interference in the internal affairs of an independent country that is a member of the Arab League and UN will continue until the mission is completed. Again, the Arabs fail to defend an Arab country against a foreign invasion.
MUSIB NU'AYMI IN IRAN'S ARABIC AL-VEFAGH
Some see Ethiopian interference in Somalia war as a product of US directives. The Islamic and Arab grouping failed to do anything while watching the Western invasion sweeping the Horn of Africa. No doubt the US and its Western allies are the key beneficiaries from the Darfur crisis, the Somalia war and any possible tension in any other spots, because these crises will distract attention from the defeats incurred by the US in Iraq, Lebanon and Palestine.
BASIM SAKJAHA IN JORDAN'S AL-DUSTUR
We have a new war in the region. This is an historic opportunity for Ethiopia to reach the sea and cut Somalia into two. The international situation is propitious as Washington, the commander of the world, supports an Ethiopian-Somali war to get rid of the Islamic Courts. Ditto the regional situation, as Saudi Arabia and the Arab Gulf countries do not want a neighbour like the Islamic Courts which constitute some kind of safe refuge for extremist Islamic forces.
EDITORIAL IN SAUDI ARABIA'S AL-RIYAD
A new river of blood is flowing in Somalia. Ethiopia interfered in Somalia because it does not want a neighbour similar to the Taleban and al-Qaeda. The war could have broken out with the express approval of major countries.
EDITORIAL IN YEMEN'S AL-THAWRAH
If this war moves towards regional attrition, the security of the entire region could fall victim to the adventures of some parties.
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