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Andrey Olitsky, Russia Today interview about crisis in Somalia, 2007

Andrey Olitsky, an expert on Africa and the Middle East from the Russian Academy of Sciences, joined Russia Today to share his views on the crisis in Somalia. 

Russia Today: What is the situation in Mogadishu right now? Is this an organized and limited offensive against a number of armed extremists, or does it hurt mainly innocent civilians?

Andrey Olitsky: According to the Red Cross official data, about 12,000 have fled the capital Mogadishu over the last several days. They are escaping the artillery fire which resumed about three days ago. The current situation in Mogadishu is now the worst for the last 15 years, since the escape of the last president Mohamed Siad Barre. 

RT: Why exactly is Ethiopia involved in the conflict? Could the situation backfire on them? 

A.O.: There exist many points of view, but in my opinion, the reason for all those events is the fracture of Somalia society. They are related to the tribal alliances which are at the core of the country’s society. The clans play a major role in the political and social life of the country. And it is also the case with the recent violence. 

RT: You mention Somalia society is based on tribal alliances. Do you feel it is part of the solution to better acknowledge the tribal hierarchy? How may that affect or impact the solution?

A.O.: There are six main clans and several dozens of other tribal groups, and I think that they do not want any reconcilliation despite numerous internal and international efforts.

RT: The U.S. has repeatedly said that radical Islamist fighters in Somalia have links to Al-Qaeda. Do you believe this to be true? If so, how strong might these links be?

A.O.:  I do not think that they have direct relations with Al-Qaeda. But there may be some interests and an ideological basis which could unite them now.




“Вот уже почти 13 лет продолжается натовская оккупация Афганистана. Однако нынешний установленный американцами режим более или менее уверенно контролирует ситуацию лишь в Кабуле и в нескольких других крупных городах страны. Большая часть территории Афганистана реально находится под контролем талибов, ханов племен или других местных авторитетов. Нельзя исключать, что если (как это было обещано президентом США Обамой) вывод американских войск в этом году все же состоится, хотя бы даже частично, талибы через какое-то короткое время вернутся в Кабул, и страна снова станет Исламским Эмиратом.”

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