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Last Updated: Thursday, 4 January 2007, 13:39 GMT
Bloggers fear Somali insurgency
Members of the international blogging community have given their reaction to the role of Ethiopian troops in Somalia where Islamic militias have been defeated.

"'The air raids have begun, the air raids have begun. Ethiopia has entered Somalia.' My mother kept repeating the words hardly able to believe it herself... Words I never thought I'd hear. Words that made my heart race and my blood boil. I cannot think straight."

That was the scene in the Canadian-Somali household of blogger Muslimah as Ethiopian and Somali government troops launched a devastating assault on Islamist forces in Somalia, pushing them out of stronghold after stronghold by sheer force of arms.

What has Prime Minister Meles Zenawi gotten the soldiers of the Ethiopian defence forces into with his irresponsible and aggressive foray in Somalia?
Ewenet Means Truth in Ethiopia

While Muslimah's mother sat stuttering out her shock in Canada, scores of other Somali bloggers around the world rushed to their keyboards to type out their reaction to the fighting.

Many of them were just as astounded by the news.

"The world has officially gone mad, the Muslim world that is... Somalis are turning on each other again. Was it not bad enough when we simply slaughtered each other the first time?" wrote NM of the blog Muslim, Female & Black.

After the surprise came the analysis. Very little of it was upbeat.

"The fear is that this war is gonna become a full out war that affects the neighbouring countries to Somalia," wrote Native Female.

"It was a stupid move to have Ethiopia involved in this. Somalis are sensitive where Ethiopia is concerned. They are a sore wound where Somalia is concerned. Having them support the interim government means rubbing salt on the wound causing most to turn against the government."

Others were deeply suspicious of Ethiopia's motives in supporting the troops of the Transitional Federal Government.

Shafi of the blog Incoherent Thoughts titled his post "Mogadishu Bloodbath" and asked:

"How long do we have to wait for more Ethiopian troops to settle in Somalia? And how long before they decide to move up towards other Somali cities? My heart aches for Somalia. And though the world ignores its plight, again Mogadishu will carry the burden on its shoulders and bury its dead with streets coagulated with blood!"

Ethiopia's victory may have been surprisingly swift. But that was little comfort for the country's own band of bloggers.

On balance, I'd still rate the most likely outcome as a sham Ethiopian withdrawal followed by an extended counterinsurgent conflict.
Head Heeb

Zenobia of the blog Ewenet Means Truth in Ethiopia was one of many to raise the spectre of an Islamic insurgency that could keep her country's soldiers stuck in Somalia for many months to come:

"What has Prime Minister Meles Zenawi gotten the soldiers of the Ethiopian defence forces into with his irresponsible and aggressive foray in Somalia? Are they going to be facing an insurgency similar to the type in Iraq as some Somali pundits are suggesting?"

Crigler-Somalia was thinking along the same lines:

"A return to the feudal anarchy of nine months ago and a failure of the TFG (Somalia's Transitional Federal Government) to get its act together and impose order could very well result in rekindling the Islamist movement - probably more radical than ever - as an alternative to secularist bumbling. Somalis really want an end to anarchy."

The Head Heeb summed up everyone's doom-laden thoughts in his post "Somalia: the third phase":

"On balance, I'd still rate the most likely outcome as a sham Ethiopian withdrawal followed by an extended counterinsurgent conflict, with the TFG remaining ineffectual and internally divided while the Islamist militias wage a guerrilla struggle with substantial public support... Somalia deserves better, but there are too many forces converging toward the opposite to provide much room for optimism."




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