Somalia is once again on the front page--and the news isn't pretty. Since 2003, the country's seaside capital of Mogadishu has served as an arena for a battle of gladiators, pitting U.S.backed warlords against guntoting Islamic revolutionaries. With no capable or legitimate state to counter it, the Union of Islamic Courts emerged victorious last June, only to be felled in December by an enfeebled transitional government, formed in exile and backed by the Ethiopian military. A recent spate of assassinationstyle killings and suicide bombings herald the arrival of a new resistance movement intent on ejecting these foreign forces and the African Union troops now being dispatched to the country. Caught in the midst of this violent morass is Somalia's longsuffering population of 8.5 million, seeking order from whomever can provide it, simply hoping that the bully who comes out on top will care enough to reverse the country's economic collapse.
Somalia may be garnering headlines today, but the country's strife parallels the bloodshed in far too many of Africa's struggling nations.