Keywords: Somalia, Islamists, TFG
At an international conference held in Istanbul in May this year, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called the situation in Somalia "the largest crisis in the world." This country has long and firmly held the primacy among the "failed states". Our own correspondent in Ethiopia reports on developments in Somalia.
The first reports of a possible large-scale military operation by the Transitional Federal Government (TFG) of Somalia against Islamists appeared at the end of 2009. Last summer, the internationally supported TFG managed with great difficulty to stop the offensive of the main extremist opposition groups Al-Shabab and Hizb ul-Islam on the capital of the country - Mogadishu.
Somalia has been in an ongoing civil war since the fall of Siad Barre's regime in January 1991. The state with a population of about 10 million people is actually split into several warring clan formations. Currently, the TFG, supported by African Union (AU) peacekeepers, controls only 7 of the capital's 16 districts. The south and almost all central regions of Somalia are under the control of the radical Islamist movements Al-Shabab and Hizb ul-Islam. In the north of the country, the unrecognized Republic of Somaliland has existed since 1991, and its leadership has managed to establish a relatively stable and peaceful life. In eastern Somalia, Puntland declared its sovereignty in 1998. Numerous Somali groups formed on a clan-tribal basis, in most cases, have opposite views on the issue of unification under the rule of Mogadishu.
BATTLE FOR THE CAPITAL
As a result of the offensive, the TFG plans to fully retake Mogadishu and other strategic cities in southern Somalia from Al-Shabaab and Hizb ul-Islam.1 Establishing control, at least over the capital, would make it possible to create physical conditions for the work of the Government, most of whose members currently spend the vast majority of their time abroad for security reasons.2The main role in the plann ... Read more