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Vol 48 No 1

Published 12th January 2007

The new frontlines

The regional powers are being drawn into the maelstrom in Somalia as United States' forces go hunting for Al Qaida

Direct military involvement by the United States, whose ships and aircraft bombarded troops of the Supreme Islamic Courts Council (SICC) in Hayo and Afmadow on 8 January, transforms the situation within Somalia and among the outside interests involved there – the AU, Arab League and European Union. The US intervention, mounted from its anti-terrorist base in Djibouti, opens a new front against Islamism, with which EU members will reluctantly go along. This follows the rapid and unsurprising victory of the Transitional Federal Government and Ethiopia over the SICC in late December. The TFG now has a chance to establish its authority and launch a reconciliation programme.

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