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Tuesday, 16 September 2008

The battle for the Mogadishu Airport

Tedla Asfaw

At the time Meles' militia are bogged down in Somalia and took many casualties, the power to settle who will take over from Meles is underway, for the "control" of  Mogadishu Airport. The battle started by the ultimatum given by Shabab fighters threatening to close down the airport effective today September 16 and the reason  is the alleged profiting by Meles and his stooges, the current rulers of Mogadishu, from the revenues of the airport.

However, Sheik Sharif Sheik Ahmed wanted the airport to remain open because he believes that is the life line of Somalis and vowed to fight to keep it open and the war has already started though not directly. In the meantime the Ugandan 'peacekeepers' who have been controlling the airport since their arrival years ago  lost two of their men as reported by VOA's Alisha Ryu yesterday from Nairobi.

The battle for the airport will bring the Ugandan peacekeepers and the Sheik group on one side and on the opposites side Shabab armed groups and the battle will intensify on the coming days, weeks and months. Shabab knows that they can not evict the Ugandan forces and run the airport and what they would like to achieve is to make the airport risky for flight by planting roadside bombs and scare away the Ugandan troops..

Meles' militia will use all its forces similar to the "USA's surge" in Iraq  combined with USA warplanes  to inflict huge blow to the Shabab fighters using Sheik Ahmed as their men from within and secure the airport for future "peacekeeping" mission.

However, Shabab is unlikely to sacrifice their best fighters for this mission because they know time is on their side. Meles' militia will be forced out because it is hated by Somalis and it will be up to Shabab and the Sheik group to seat down and find solutions for their country.

Moreover, the Sheik agreement with the current unpopular regime will collapse after Meles' militia has pulled out of Somalia.  Somalia will be back to square one where many clans will align themselves to their clans or join Shabab or the Sheik group and start the war among themselves and to avoid that Sheik should be careful of siding with the current regime in Somalia and outsiders in the pretext  for the battle for the Mogadishu Airport.