By Bill Fletcher Jr.
WASHINGTON — Somalia is an orphan of the Cold War. A toy played with by the Soviet Union and the USA, Somalia was invaluable during the heated contention between the two superpowers. Converting to an ally of the USA in the mid 1970s after years of proclaiming itself to be an example of “scientific socialism” on the East Coast of Africa, the regime of Siad Barre was in actuality an authoritarian client state held together through repression and US support.
The end of the Siad Barre regime coincided with the end of the Cold War, and as Somalia collapsed into clan-icide violence, most of the non-African world could have cared less.
The disintegration of the Somali state was countered roughly a year ago with the rise of a movement called the Union of Islamic Courts, a Taliban-like movement indigenous to Somalia that proclaimed an interest in ending the violence and unifying Somalia through a right-wing Islamist philosophy.Regardless of one’s opinion of the Union of Islamic Courts (and I happen to not have a favorable opinion of them), there was a several month reprieve from much of the criminal violence.
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