Friday, January 19, 2007

Somalia Update
By Bashir Goth

After the ouster of the Union of Islamic Courts by Ethiopian forces, the Somali Transitional Government, TFG, seems to be in control of the situation. It acted quickly to impose martial law, started collecting weapons and formed a governing body to supervise the capital's return to normalcy. The most significant victory, however, was the arrival of the TFG President Abdillahi Yusuf in Mogadishu for the first time since his election two years ago and his successful meetings with his predecessors Abdilqasim Salat Hassan, Ali Mahdi Mohammed and other prominent leaders.

Even the TFG Parliament has for the first time exercised its legislative powers by passing martial laws and sacking its lone wolf Speaker Sharif Hassan who kowtowed with the Union of Islamic Courts and opposed the Ethiopian intervention.

With the exception of some isolated incidents, no major hostile acts or insurgency activities against the Ethiopian forces have taken place. The situation, however, may take a different turn if the Ethiopians remain longer than necessary. Only a quick deployment of the African peace keeping forces and the withdrawal of the Ethiopian army will guarantee the consolidation of the TFG gains.

The TFG also needs to refrain from making any inflammatory statements against the people of Somaliland who thronged to the streets on Tuesday, January 16 th, in one of the largest demonstration in the country, protesting against the TFG President's statement in which he rebuffed the independence of Somaliland. It also seems the international community is more determined this time not to let Somalia slip back into lawlessness.READ MORE in Washington Post