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January 12, 2007
Somalian Warlords Join Government

Somalian warlords that turned the Horn of Africa nation into an easy example of a failed state have agreed to disband their militias and join the transitional government. The agreement, produced at a summit meeting of the major factions of the nation, clears the path for the new government to end street violence that threatened to extend the Somali nightmare:

Somalia's warlords have agreed to disarm their militia and join a new national army, a government official said Friday.

The announcement followed a meeting between President Abdullahi Yusuf and clan warlords that proceeded even as, just outside, clan gunmen fired a rocket-propelled grenade and briefly exchanged gunfire with government troops. The violence left at least six dead and 10 wounded.

"The warlords and the government have agreed to collaborate for the restoration of peace in Somalia," said government spokesman Abdirahman Dinari.

By disbanding the militias and joining the national army, the warlords and clans can end the need for the violence in Mogadishu and around the country that spiked up in the wake of the Islamist withdrawal. The presence of the Ethiopian Army on the side of Yusuf's transitional government undoubtedly help convince the warlords that their days of chaos should and could come to an end. The experience of having the UIC and its Arab partners seize power in Somalia also must have helped them to realize how dangerous a prostrate Somalia has been for everyone.

If the warlords and clans honor the agreement, that would leave the Islamist remnants as the only groups bearing arms against the transitional government. They had operated only sporadically since the collapse of the UIC over the last few weeks, but their leadership had threatened an insurgent war in the near future. With the Yusuf government gaining strength and the clans and warlords disarmed, the prospects for success through insurgency have shrunk greatly, even if the UIC and the Islamists could organize in the aftermath of their ignominious defeat.

This is the best possible outcome from a set that included some very bleak conclusions, and it only became possible with the intervention and the determination of the Ethiopians to rid the Horn of the Islamist threat. The West needs to provide plenty of support to make sure the incentives for the warlords and clans is to remain disarmed and part of a representative government, in order to avoid giving the Islamists a second chance at Somalia.

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at January 12, 2007 5:58 AM

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