March 27, 2008

Who the hell does Stephanie McCrummen think she is?

Memo to Stephanie: We here at Abu Muqawama can only focus on one insurgency at a time. Right now, that insurgency is in southern Iraq. The last thing we needed was you popping up on the Washington Post's website, demanding we pay some attention to Somalia:

NAIROBI, March 26 -- Islamist insurgents battling for control of Somalia briefly seized a strategic town Wednesday, the latest sign of how feeble the country's internationally backed transitional government has become.

The takeover of Jowhar, about 55 miles north of Somalia's capital, Mogadishu, was the most recent in a series of advances by a radical Islamist faction of a broader insurgency against the transitional government and the Ethiopian military that installed it more than a year ago.

In the past month, the faction -- known as al-Shabab and recently designated a terrorist organization by the United States -- has briefly asserted control of at least six towns in southern Somalia, a show of force underlining the fact that the Somali government has little control over the Horn of Africa nation.

You get full credit, though, for this awesomely depressing line:

Somalia's national army, which began last year with about 20,000 troops, has dwindled to about 2,000, many of whom spend much of their time looting the homes and businesses of ordinary Somalis.