Violence, fear and confusion: welcome to the Horn of Africa | World news | The Observer

Picture of Peter BeaumontThe most dangerous situation for now is in Somalia, where relative stability is confined to the autonomous Puntland and Somaliland regions. There, the feeble stop-start peace process of the past decade which created a Transitional National Government – torpedoed by Ethiopian interference – and then the present Transitional Federal Government, installed by force with the help of the same state, has hardly solved the country’s problems; in fact it appears to have exacerbated them.The involvement of the US in approving Ethiopia’s disastrous intervention encouraged the rise of the brutal al-Shabaab militia, which has been backed by Ethiopia’s enemy Eritrea, and armed with weapons smuggled from Yemen. It is precisely this competition between Ethiopia and Eritrea that has been one of the most dangerous conflict accelerators in the Horn in the past five years. While the political elites on both sides were once allies in the battle against Ethiopia’s Marxist regime of president Mengistu Haile Mariam – who was toppled in 1991 – the “civil divorce” that subsequently permitted Eritrea’s secession turned into conflict over a border dispute in 1998.

Violence, fear and confusion: welcome to the Horn of Africa | World news | The Observer -Read more –

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