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December 28, 2006



It is all very ominous. As far as I can see, the ICU has disappeared from Mogadishu, but they weren't routed and more or less no prisoners were taken. They seem to have just made a calculation and departed the field. Need to get my copy of Che's book down from the shelf ... NB that people who are on the ropes in conflicts in the Horn of Africa have this habit of suddenly showing up in strength, with a load of shiny new missiles with Gulf State postmarks. Of course, the ICU might be heading off for eastern Sudan, where there is a very nervy little dispute with Eritrea.


PS: I suspect that some of our mates in the professional philosophy game could while away a coffee break or two on the structural grammar of "militias loyal to the transitional government", specifically on whether "transitional" implicitly modifies "loyal" as well as "government".


Yeah, the ICU militias were last heard of helping themselves to manpads provided by Eritrean troops before vanishing from the capital.

This puts the Ethiopians in something of a quandary. If they retreat, the ICU can roll up the warlords anytime, but if they stay, they've got to hold down the country, which weakens them vis a vis Eritrea.


I think you're right about the quandary - if so, then someone out there has got a copy of "Guerilla Warfare" by Guevara. Of course, "retiring into the desert" has quite a lot of cultural references in that part of Africa. Qaddaffi was always doing it. The big strength of Islamist political parties is always the (often quite erroneous) popular perception that they're personally very virtuous, and this could strengthen it.


..unless the midnight flit after all the bullshit about fighting to the last drop of everyone else's blood weakens it.


but then, c'est toujours comme ca...

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