Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Conflict Intensifies in Somalia

In the last week, American news media have focused heavily on the topic of financial markets. But while stock markets are plunging, many in the world are facing much greater immediate hardship. On Monday the BBC reported on the conflict that has been plaguing Somalia for the last several years. The article states that "the new situation has an intensity of street shelling and military atrocities that even this veteran war city [Somalia's capital, Mogadishu] has never seen before."

The conflict pits the Ethiopian-backed Somali government and Islamist and nationalist warlords against one another. The BBC article reports that the United States supports Ethiopian troops and contends that the Islamist warlords are connected with Al Quaeda. Mogadishu's population has dwindled as about 500,000 have fled to refugee camps. The fighting in Somalia has enabled piracy to flourish in the Gulf of Aden, through which more than 30% of the world's oil travels, according to a related BBC article.

Yesterday's BBC article also mentions that the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) is trying to restore peace in this war-torn country. In August the UN Security Council released a press release renewing its authorization of AMISOM.

For more information on the country of Somalia, see our country guide. Our subject guide on Emergencies, Conflicts, and Disasters provides links to some helpful governmental and nongovernmental resources on political conflicts.

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