The Talibanization of Somalia
The fun time is definitely over in Mogadishu, and the Talibanization of Somalia has begun in eranest, as ably noted by Alykhan Velshi.
Comparisons are already being made between the Islamists in Mogadishu and the Taliban in Afghanistan. At some point, the United States government will have to make an unsavoury decision about how to handle the jihadists in Mogadishu. It will almost certainly be necessary to have allies on the ground willing to offer the United States assistance, local information, access to territory, and so on.
The natural suggestion is to look north to Somaliland, the ‘breakaway statelet’ hungry for official recognition. Somalia is essentially a state without the inconvenient trappings of a functional government, while Somaliland has an emerging democratic system without the benefits of a state.
Consider Velshi’s reference, J. Peter Pham, in a May 2006 column for World Defense Review.
Imagine a country within the greater Middle East ambit that has successfully made the transition to electoral democracy with multiparty municipal, presidential, and, most recently, parliamentary polls. Moreover, imagine that despite virtually all of its citizens being Sunni Muslims, the country’s national elections commission designates a progressive, foreign-based Christian non-governmental organization to coordinate the international monitoring of its parliamentary elections. And imagine that the incumbent president’s party takes a drubbing at the polls, winning barely a third of the seats. Most audiences, if I were to tell them that I was not conjuring up Utopia, but describing a real life country, would probably question whether I was hallucinating, perhaps under the influence of the ubiquitous qat leaf popular in southern Arabia and the Horn of Africa.
The point is, however, that I am not hallucinating…
He is describing Somaliland, desperate for statehood an quite possibly the most logical (and likely) ally for the coming US footprint on the Horn of Africa.