Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Aiming To Get Out

Ethiopia's Prime Minister says he wants all his troops out of Somalia soon. Ethiopia's been involved in months of fighting there, backing a Transitional Government that's been trying to establish itself after the Ethiopians helped overthrow a Taliban-style Islamic group last year. There's been a fierce insurgency ever since, although things seem to have calmed down just a bit now.

Ethiopia's presence isn't exactly popular in Somalia, but it would be a total disaster if their forces withdrew now. Its relatively strong military is the only thing that currently offers hope of some kind of more stable future for Somalia. While the Ethiopian PM is right to say it would be better if African Union peacekeepers were able to take over and relieve his men, that isn't happening yet. That Ethiopian-induced stability is also important if the UN and aid agencies are going to be able to do anything about all the refugees currently milling about the country (the UN now says it's a worse displacement crisis than Darfur). Before getting out, Ethiopia must make sure it finishes the job.

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