Just in time for Christmas, the low-grade warfare in Somalia between the Islamic forces and the intervening Ethiopian military escalated in a significant way. Ethiopian forces bombed Mogadishu airport and Baledogle Airport, about 35 miles outside Mogadishu, while troops seized Belet Weyne, an important border town. Ethiopian troops also took over the towns of Bandiradley, Adadow and Galinsor. The Ethiopian government reported on television that the goal of the offensive was Jowhar, a town not far from Mogadishu.
Foreign Islamist fighters are also joining the fray, seeing this as another front in their jihad against the Christian West (Ethiopia is a largely Christian nation, and is allied with the U.S.)
Several questions come to mind: Is this part of a full-scale attack intended to drive the Islamists out of Mogadishu? How far are Ethiopia and its backers (the U.S.), willing to go? What will Eritrea, ally of the Islamists, and blood foe of Ethiopia, going to do? And, if the Ethiopians do take Mogadishu, will their support of the Baidoa government condemn that government in the eyes of average Somalis? And, as the U.S. discovered in Iraq, conquering a country is a lot easier than controlling it! How many casualties is Ethiopia willing to endure, and who will pay for this war? Ethiopia is NOT a rich country.
Stay tuned for more information as this war expands in a big way…
Ethiopian jets bomb airports in Somalia -- By Salad Duhul, Associated Press, December 25, 2006