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Horn of Africa on the Brink of War

Tuesday, Oct. 31, 2006

The Jamestown Foundation's Terrorism Monitor today looks at the threat of a regional war in the Horn of Africa:

After years of mutual hostility, the armed forces of two states and the armed militias of one failed state are poised to unleash a potentially devastating war in the Horn of Africa. Ethiopia, Eritrea and Somalia are each moving troops up to their borders in preparation.

Tim Lister wrote about this possibility earlier this month in World Politics Review:

"From today, I am declaring jihad against Ethiopia which has invaded our country and taken parts of our homeland." The words of Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed, leader of the Islamic Council that now controls much of Somalia, on Oct. 9. He was reacting to the seizure of a town by the Council's opponents -- reportedly alongside Ethiopian troops.

It was the latest broadside in a rapidly escalating war of words -- and sometimes of weapons -- involving Somalia's Islamists, the beleaguered transitional government and regional states. At stake: whether Somalia will become the battleground for a wider war, a new front in the war on terror, or under Islamic rule find some measure of stability.

Reading both articles would provide pretty comprehensive background on the situation in Somalia and what it could mean for the larger region.