- By Elizabeth DickinsonElizabeth Dickinson is a Gulf-based American journalist and former assistant managing editor at Foreign Policy.
A series of troubling events are positioning Somalia for a complete collapse. In a place where things “couldn’t be worse,” they are about to.
First, Ethiopian troops — which came into Somalia in 2006 and installed a transitional government — will leave by the end of the year.
Now, Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi says the weak African Union Peacekeeping force is leaving too.
One of the main Islamic political leaders from the Ethiopia-ousted government — Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed — just came back from exile.
And if you have read any news in the last two months, you know that Somali pirates are the scourge of the high seas.
Oh yes, and Somalia has the world’s highest malnutrition rates — often reaching 30 percent of the population. Seventy percent of the population has no access to clean water.
Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi has declared Ethiopia’s peace-producing mission accomplished. Mission futile would be more accurate. The transition government — meant to take back control from Islamic political factions — is instead weak, powerless, and losing control of much of the country. Islamists have claimed new territory and now control much of the land outside Mogadishu. Ethiopian troops have poured into Somalia in for one last attempt to root out the radical al-Shabaab group.
In short, the world’s most failed state is about to fall below its exceedingly low expectations.
Photo: JOSE CENDON/AFP/Getty Images