Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Is it Time to save Somalia????

Fears that the ongoing conflict in lawless Somalia could snowball into a regional war, engulfing the entire Horn of Africa and beyond are now real.

And unless urgent steps are taken to address the crisis and stop it from spreading to neighbouring states, the region could easily slip into a multi-pronged conflict, which would be difficult to reverse.

A chilling warning, quoting a US Think Tank, Power and Interest Report, says failure to unite Somalia’s Islamic Courts Union with the Transitional Federal Government (TNG) is a recipe for disaster with far reaching consequences. It warns that the conflict could suck in more than 12 countries in Africa and beyond. This could easily tilt the global power game with serious consequences to the region.

Regionally, the immediate effects will be felt in Kenya, Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda, Eritrea, Ethiopia and Yemen. Beyond the region, it will suck in the US, Egypt, Libya and Saudi Arabia. It will also deal a big blow to the global war against terrorism. Of all the concerns, terrorism would be the biggest.

It is a fact that the situation will easily create an ideal breeding ground for terrorism. It is, therefore, vital that the TNG and its key ally, Ethiopia, recognise the Islamists as key players in the determination of Somalia’s future and accept peace talks.

For this reason, we strongly believe that the ongoing talks in Khartoum, between the TNG and the Islamists, co-mediated by Kenya and Sudan, be given the necessary international support.

But both parties must be serious if they genuinely want to restore peace in their war-torn nation.