December 2, 2009

COIN 101

An explosion at the Shamo Hotel in Mogadishu has killed three Somali cabinet ministers.

"What happened today is a national disaster," said Somali Information Minister Dahir Mohamud Gelle, who confirmed that the ministers for education, higher education, and health were killed in the blast. The minister for sports is in critical condition while the tourism minister was also wounded.

At least 19 students and upwards of 40 people were killed when a suicide bomber detonated inside the hotel, where hundreds had gathered to celebrate medical, computer science and engineering students from Benadir University. Tragedy barely begins to describe the scene.

Meanwhile al-Shabab must be celebrating into the night. This attack wasn't as sophisticated as the one on the AU barracks, but taking out three government officials in plain sight is all the same victory.

Then again,
reports say that, "a man who dressed as a woman managed to pass through security checkpoints and enter the hallways of the hotel where he detonated himself as the ceremony was taking place." Al-Shabab has no shortage of tricks.

Somalia, wisely, is already using the explosion as advertising for international support.
Mohammed Ali Nur, the Somali ambassador to Kenya, told Al Jazeera. "We appeal to the international community to help our country in this time of need."

But the only realistic option is the AU, who is considering expanding its mission. Problematically, whatever the AU and UN do won't be enough to stabilize Somalia. It's looking more and more like America is the only hope of salvation. Now is as good a time as any to enter Somalia.

We joke of course, but with al-Shabab conquering numerous towns over the last weeks, insurgent moral must be peaking. Their tide will be hard to stop without foreign intervention.

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