Somalia’s weak provisional government faces another potential crisis as the President, Abdullahi Yusuf, has decided to resign. This takes place as the UN-backed government has been losing ground to the Islamic Courts movement. This came almost immediately after Somalia’s Prime Minister also decided to resign.
With Ethiopian troops withdrawing from the country and the African Union’s mission in the country unsure, it appears that Somalia is again on the abyss. Not having a stable government since 1991, Somalia is a vital training ground for al Qaeda and its affiliates. While Ethiopia’s withdrawal may lessen public anger over a long-time enemy’s presence, the power vacuum in Somalia will be tangible. The provisional government, while ostensibly supported by the US and UN, has a tenuous grasp only on Baidoa, some surrounding areas, and part of Mogadishu.
With the near-collapse of the Somali government, coupled with the withdrawal of Ethiopia and the potential withdrawal of the AU troops, the United States should consider a presence in Somalia. Hopefully a broad base of support from the international community can be found and a 1993-like debacle can be avoided.