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Tuesday, November 8, 2011

West worsens conditions in Africa

U.S. spy drone crashes in Somalia [Monday]

Editing by Carolyn Bennett

A U.S. unmanned spy plane crashed on Monday in southeastern Somalia near the Somali port city of Kismayo as it reportedly was helping Kenyan troops monitor the port city [Press TV correspondent attributes  Somali military officials].

Displaced woman and child
at the Horn or Africa
Somalia is the sixth country, where the United States has used the aircraft to launch deadly missile strikes.  The U.S. military has also used the drones in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Libya, Iraq, and Yemen.  Though U.S. officials claim drone airstrikes target militants, most of these attacks have resulted in civilian casualties.

Strategically located in the Horn of Africa, Somalia remains one of the countries generating the highest number of refugees and internally displaced people in the world.

Last month, U.S.-allied Kenya dispatched soldiers to Somalia and began air and ground 
offensives against al-Shabab fighters. Tension has been growing between the Somali government backed by Kenyan troops and al-Shabab fighters since they engaged in fierce battle over control of towns in south Somalia. 
Sources and notes

“U.S. spy drone crashes in Somalia,” November 8, 2011, http://www.presstv.ir/detail/209011.html

SOMALIA 2006 background

Area: 637,000 sq km (246,000 sq mi), including the 176,000-sq-km (68,000-sq-mi) area of the unilaterally declared (in 1991) and unrecognized Republic of Somaliland

Population: (2006 est.): 8,496,000 (including 3,700,000 in Somaliland); at the beginning of the year, more than 250,000 refugees were in neighbouring countries, and an additional 100,000 resided in Europe or the United States

Capital: Mogadishu; Hargeysa is the capital of Somaliland

Head of state and government: Somalia’s government under President Abdiqassim Salad Hassan was barely functioning in 2006; a new transitional government comprised President Abdullahi Yusuf Ahmed, assisted by Prime Minister Ali Muhammad Ghedi (as of February 26, in exile in Baidoa).

After a decade of stagnation, 2006 was a year of revolutionary upheaval in Somalia, featuring the dramatic rise and fall of the Council of Islamic Courts of Somalia (CSIC).

Fears of renewed conflict in Somalia triggered a humanitarian crisis in Kenya as thousands of Somalis poured across the border, seeking asylum.

By October, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees had counted more than 30,000 new arrivals, and the flow continued at over 1,000 per day.

In December, following Islamist attacks on government positions near the Somali town of Baidoa, Ethiopian forces intervened in support of the TFG [Transitional Federal Government], routing the CSIC militias and seizing control of Mogadishu and Kismayo.

The turmoil in southern Somalia seemed likely to lend impetus to the self-declared Republic of Somaliland’s efforts to obtain international recognition. Somaliland’s achievements toward peace, stability, and constitutional democracy (all three levels of Somaliland’s government were elected) were met with growing acknowledgment from the international community.

In June, Somaliland Pres. Dahir Riyale Kahin paid official visits, for the first time, to Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda, Zambia, and Uganda. This diplomatic breakthrough, however, was offset on the home front by economic stagnation and a political deadlock between an opposition-controlled House of Representatives and a pro-government Gurti (upper house). Britannica 2006 update


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