Mogadishu - Reporter

Somali pirates have successfully commandeered two more ships over the past 24 hours -- this time a Greek bulk carrier and Thai fishing boat. That brings the total to nine ships seized in the Gulf of Aden and off the Kenyan coast in the past two weeks... the most spectacular being the hijacking of a huge oil tanker on Sunday. One exception though, this morning the Indian navy is saying one of its warships fought off pirates and destroyed their vessel after a short battle.

The piracy is putting Somalia back in the headlines. After all, the alarming escalation in piracy in the waters off Africa's eastern coasts is largely rooted in the sheer anarchy and lack of any effective government in Somalia. And as bad as things got there in the early 1990s, some say the situation is worse now.

Years of conflict have left large parts of the country in the hands of warlords, while Ethiopian-backed government forces, African Union troops and armed insurgents fight for the capital city of Mogadishu. The city has been abandoned by at least half of its residents.

Now there are reports that the Islamic Courts, which controlled much of Somalia in 2006, is closing on Mogadishu again. And the Ethiopian-backed President - Abdullahi Yusuf - admits his government only has control in the cities of Mogadishu and Baidoa. Freelance journalist Abdulrrahman Warssameh has been covering the conflict, and we reached him this morning in Mogadishu.

Somalia - Context

According to some observers, much of the lawlessness and political violence in Somalia today could actually have been prevented. Salim Lone, is a columnist with the Daily Nation in Kenya as well as the British newspaper, The Guardian. He is also the former spokesperson for Kenyan Prime Minister Raila Odinga and a former spokesperson for the United Nations in Iraq. He joined us from London, England.

Somalia - U.S. Analyst

It's clear a number of international players have a vested interest in Somalia's future. But what's not clear is whether any of them are actually helping stabilize the situation. David Shinn is a Professor at George Washington University. He was the American Ambassador to Ethiopia from 1996 to 1999 and he was in Washington.

SOURCE: CBC Radio Curent, Wednesday, November 19, 2008

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