This map, dated March of 2011, shows Mogadishu as a hostage holding location and little activity in Kismayo, three hundred miles further south.
Fifteen months later we find that Mogadishu’s warlords are shut down within the city. Ethiopian backed militias and African Union troops have surrounded al-Shabaab territory, and Kismayo is under
Somalia militant base of Kismayo attacked by Kenyan forces, dated September, 28th, 2012 provides a view into the chaotic situation on the ground.
I am puzzling over how to get timely, accurate intel on situations like this. Wikipedia is good enough for background – it’s freely available and entries for regions or countries are largely free of any obvious spin attempts. When the journalists of The Guardian or the BBC News publish an article they provide information that is vetted as well as one can for a place like Somalia, but this confirms the past, describes the present, and they avoid speculating about the future.
The unanswered questions I have include:
- Will a Somali government installed by Ethiopia and Kenya be viewed as legitimate?
- What good are anti-piracy/anti-terror efforts if the underlying problem, rooted in environment and economy, continues pushing young Somalis into such things?
- What will happen regarding the oil fields in the north if the south does get stabilized?
- How does instability in Yemen effect overall security in the Gulf of Aden and Arabian Sea?
Imperial dissolution always produces long chains of unanticipated events. This is going to be even harder for the United States, due to the epistemic closure Bruce Bartlett described in Revenge Of The Reality-Based Community. We have a political party that has literally lost touch with reality, and they control the pursue strings via their majority in the House. If we don’t move as a nation to correct this we’ll get dragged into another foreign adventure even more disastrous than Afghanistan.