From: Berhane Habtemariam (Berhane.Habtemariam@gmx.de)
Date: Mon Dec 01 2008 - 08:29:43 EST
The Collapse of AMISOM: What happens next as Ethiopia, Uganda, Burundi pull troops from Somalia?
By Scott A. Morgan
December 01, 2008 06:43 AM
If reports from East Africa are true, then it appears that Ethiopia will not be the only country pulling its forces out of Somalia. As a matter of fact, the AU mission in Somalia may be on the verge of collapse.
What could be the reason for both Uganda and Burundi to consider pulling their troops out of the country? The Two countries currently have just over 2800 peacekeepers in the country. The mission, which has been in the country for a year, has to this date failed to halt the violence that permeates Somalia.
The Transitional National Government which attempted unifying Somalia under one centralized administration, has power that is only limited to its base and the seat of Parliament at Baidoa and the war ravaged capital of Mogadishu. The Rest of the country is either under the control of militias or has some form of autonomy that has not been challenged. The increase in the acts of piracy this year cannot be overlooked either.
The decision by Uganda to remove its peacekeepers should not be a huge surprise. A deadline for the LRA to once again sign a peace accord with the government has expired. So since there was an ultimatum in place, who knows what actions will be taken. Also, there has been a ratcheting of tensions along the border with the DRC. The Tutsi rebels have seized several border towns and outposts in recent days. So it is feasible that Kampala needs the boots back home.
The situation in Burundi however, appears to be more stable. There have been some crackdowns against political opposition this year but that is according to the most reliable information to date. However, there are chances that Burundi could be drawn into the various conflicts that appear to be on the verge of erupting in the Great Lakes of Africa.
At this time the African Union is also asking the UN to send a stabilization force to the war ravaged country in the horn of Africa. Twice before, the UN has attempted to restore order in Somalia but both failed. So, will the third time be the charm for the UN? Could it restore a strong central government in Somalia or should it be broken up? Time will tell which will be the proper policy.
The author publishes Confused Eagle on the internet and comments on US policy towards Africa. Confused Eagle is available at http://morganrights.tripod.com.
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