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Somalia Report Weekly Newsletter-Volume 8

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Friday July 08, 2011 - 20:40:15 in Reports by Super Admin
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    Somalia Report Weekly Newsletter-Volume 8

    July 8, 2011 Issue 1, Volume 8

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July 8, 2011 Issue 1, Volume 8

Dear Readers,

This week the world appeared to finally sit up and take notice of thesevere drought in Somalia that has caused tens of thousands to fleethis year.

International journalists have been piling into Dadaab refugee complex in north-eastern Kenya to pick up on the story of a massive influx of refugees putting huge pressure on the overcrowded camp. Sadly, it's a story that many of them have written on more than one occasion over the last few years, but this time around the situation appears far worse than normal.

So bad has the drought, and the resultant displacement, become that militant Islamist group al-Shabaab has been forced tolift the ban it instituted on foreign aid agenciesoperating in areas under its control.Few believe the group has suddenly become selfless. There is widespread suspicion over their motivation for allowing the agencies back in, and it is being seen as aploy to win back their fading popularity, following on from attempts towoo eldersback onside.

The group has so far been non-specific about the agencies it will allow back in and the conditions under which they will be allowed to operate. Many are understandably nervous about re-deploying their staff. While the struggling Somalis living in al-Shabaab-controlled areas have welcomed the news, it is unlikely they will be receiving significant quantities of foreign aid any time soon.

Conflict

Meanwhile, there were reports thatairstrikes continued against al-Shabaab targets, following on from US officials admitting they had carried out drone attacks. Our publisher Robert Young Pelton delivered anin-depth look at the use of drones in the US War on Terror, and what we can expect to see in Somalia as the strategy develops.

There was little action in the battle between the government and al-Shabaab, although some residents reportedgovernment forces had achieved modest gainsin Mogadishu. There was, however, an uncharacteristic admission from al-Shabaab thatall is not rosy in the world of the insurgents.

Additionally, trouble broke out in Mudug region astwo sub-clans fought over access to water. At least 25 were killed, highlighting that even without al-Shabaab there would be more than enough security to go around in Somalia.

Politics

After weeks of public political squabbling, all has gone quiet as the new premier, Abdiweli Mohamed Ali, works on putting together a cabinet. President Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed jetted off to Ethiopia for ameeting of regional leaders, but nothing came out of it apart from the usual calls for more troops for the African Union peacekeeping mission in Somalia (known as AMISOM), and an oft-repeated call for the UN Security Council to blockade ports under al-Shabaab control.More likely than not we will be cutting-and-pasting that last sentence after the next meeting.

Piracy

The nasty weather kept the Somali pirates quiet again this week, with only two attacks reported. One of those was a rather dramatic affair, however, with the oil tanker MV Brillante Virtuosobelching out flames after an RPG hit the crew quarters.The crew members were picked up by a US warship and the fire brought quickly under control, with no pollution reported.

It was just as well no oil was spilled, as environmentalists are alreadyrather vexed with the pirates. Researchers accused the marauding gangs of preventing them from carrying out vital climate change research in the Indian Ocean.Should the world go up in flames or be swallowed up by rising seas in a few decades, at least we now know who to blame.

That's it from us. All of the team atSomalia Reportwishes you a great weekend. We hope to see you take further advantage of our speedy, in-depth reporting next week, when we expect there may be a little more to share on the piracy front as the weather slowly improves.

Regards,

The Editor.



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