Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Somalia ready to recognize Abkhazia, South Ossetia

The word from Russia's RIA Novosti news service is that Somalia is ready to recognize the independence of Georgia's breakaway regions of South Ossetia and Abkhazia. So far, aside from Russia, only Nicaragua has recognized the two places as independent countries, though Belarus and Venezuela are reported to be considering recognition as well. Russia wants to get other nations to declare the two regions as countries in their own right to counter pressure from the United States and European Union who both consider the regions a part of Georgia and want Russia to withdraw its recognition.

Of course you could question whether Somalia itself is even a country - it hasn't had a working government since a civil war in the early 1990's, warlords run the capital city, Mogadishu, and the Somali coast is a haven for pirates (like the ones who recently captured a Ukrainian shipload of tanks) because there is no one around to enforce the law. The Somali government has often met in neighboring Kenya in recent years because it was just too dangerous to travel to Somalia.

This is Russia's problem in acting as patron for South Ossetia and Abkhazia, the nations looking to support their claims are kind of a global rogues gallery: the non-functioning state of Somalia, Belarus - the place Condi Rice called "Europe's last dictatorship", and Venezuela - home of Hugo Chavez, the self-anointed successor to Fidel Castro.

It's kind of reminding me of an episode of the cartoon series "Family Guy", where Peter (the main character) declares his home and yard to be an independent country. In a bid for legitimacy he invites a group of world leaders to a pool party, but the only ones that show up are look-alikes for Saddam Hussein, Idi Amin, Slobodan Milosevic, and the Ayatollah to name a few. Not exactly the greatest crowd to run with.

In their announcement, Somalia also talked about starting military and technical cooperation with Russia in the near future.
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