November 9, 2006

Letter from Africa

Letter from Africa

somali stamp

[CharlesFred / Flickr]

Last week we did a show on Somalia: on whether the de facto Islamist government is a good thing for the country, on whether it expands the risk of regional war, and on how the U.S. should react to the potential threat of terrorist activity. An AP article from yesterday reinforces the extent to which Ethiopia and Eritrea are taking sides in Somalia. And this email from Jonathan Ledgard, Africa correspondent for the Economist who was on our show, raises more questions about how the U.S. is acting in the region:

Just back in Nairobi. Depressingly the State Department has a warning out now about Somali suicide bombers; it reckons that a shipment of suicide belts made it into Mogadishu and young Somali men will blow themselves up in places in Nairobi where westerners often gather. This can mean two things, neither of them good. Either there really are suicide bombers out there, or, far more likely, Washington has decided not to talk with the Islamists and is trying to create a negative impression of them. The latter would mean US military aid going to Ethiopia. It’s hotting up.

Jonathan Ledgard, Africa correspondent for the Economist, in an email to Open Source, 7 November 2006

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