World War III in the Horn of Africa: Ethiopia (for the West) versus Somalia (for militant Islamists)
In It’s getting busy in Somalia, geoff of Uncommon Misconceptions describes an interesting development in the Horn of Africa: Ethiopia, a proxy of The United States, has launched an attack against Islamist-conquered Somalia. The United States has been heavily aiding and supplying countries in that region to contain, put pressure on, and oppose the Islamist regime.
Obviously, going into Somalia would not work — we tried that once and it did not work — and the faction we supported fell to the Islamists, so we did what was practical and effective: gain proxies in the region and use them. It’s a win-win situation: we destroy a regionally destabilizing and pro-terrorist regime (which Somalia’s neighbors would like to destroy as well) without becoming directly involved while our proxies will benefit from the influx of funds, attention, and assistance.
As an example of how non-military benefits can be obtained, Kenya will be getting a protected oil-line through its lands so as to minimize Somalia’s ability to harm the transportation of this precious commodity.
Just as in Dune the spice must flow, in this world the oil must flow, or everyone will suffer.
Although the Somali Islamists undoubtedly will cast this conflict in terms of Islam versus the West or infidels or Zionists or Crusaders or Americans, the reality is that the Somali regime is regionally destabilizing. Ethiopia and Kenya don’t care what religion the Somali government is: they do care if it is one that will cause a refugee problem (which it already has), exacerbate the region’s Islamist threat, fund terrorism, and threaten their sovereignty and integrity. As an Islamist state, the governing authorities don’t plan to stop in Somalia. This is a geo-political conflict, not religious or ideological, per se. Ethiopia, for example, is still a pretty stifling place, and it has a significant Muslim population; it also is experiencing dire economic hardships and military conflicts with its former best friend, Eritrea.
It is good to see the government of The United States make smart decisions in this situation. I hope we appropriately reward our proxies, and I hope their efforts will being good fruit for all people involved.
Do read geoff‘s excellent post and analysis: It’s getting busy in Somalia.