With much attention given to the evolving circumstances in Ukraine, perhaps it seems the wrong moment to remind that there are other wars going on:
Ethiopian and Somali government forces have seized a key town in central Somalia from the Islamist militant group al-Shabab, officials say.
At least 12 people were killed in heavy fighting for control of Rabdhure town in Bakol region, residents said.
The attack may signal the start of a new offensive against al-Shabab, according to a BBC reporter in Somalia.
Ethiopian troops are part of a 22,000-strong African Union (AU) force battling the militants in Somalia.
The BBC’s Mohamed Moalimu in the capital, Mogadishu, says the fall of Rabdhure is significant, as it was a major al-Shabab base for attacks across the region.
It would be the first town the group has lost since September, when Mahaday in central Somalia fell to AU-backed government forces.
There are always other wars going on.
So that we are all clear on the point, the fact that Vladimir Putin is a prig only really matters because of the magnitude of idiocy his neuroses can inflict on other people. There is no question that events in Ukraine are of grave significance for the world.
Meanwhile, Africa calls. Venezuela? After all, a personality cult only works if there is some charismatic personality to it. That’s the problem with top-down revolutions; the best successors are usually already destroyed. And by the way, you’ve heard there’s a war going on in Mexico?†
With ongoing conflicts in Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo, as well as a cleansing underway in the Central African Republic … no, really, must we list them all? And with the perpetual conflicts looming in Palestine and Kashmir, South Sudan going another round, whatever it is happening in Pakistan … Egypt, Libya, Chad ….
In the end, perhaps it really is a question of what is going on in Vladimir Putin’s mind, but no, he’s not the only act in town. And he never was.
There is no reason Vladimir’s Nights cannot be the banner program, but there are plenty of other soap operas going on that we generally ignore. Furthermore, yes, it does rankle somewhat to find ourselves perpetually giving our attentions to an egomaniac.
† The Mexican Drug War has a casualty count in excess of seventy thousand and possibly as high as one hundred twenty thousand.
Al Arabiya News. “U.N. says 20,000 more displaced by unrest in Darfur”. March 3, 2014.
BBC News. “Somalia’s al-Shabab ‘defeated’ in Rabdhure town”. March 6, 2014.
Charbonneau, Louis. “U.N. says west of Central African Republic ‘cleansed’ of Muslims”. Reuters. March 6, 2014.
Grillo, Ioan. “What The Arrest Of ‘El Chapo’ Means For Mexico”. Time. February 23, 2014.
Ioffe, Julia. “Putin’s Press Conference Proved Merkel Right: He’s Lost His Mind”. The New Republic. March 4, 2014.
Karlin, Mark. “Fueled by War on Drugs, Mexican Death Toll Could Exceed 120,000 As Calderon Ends Six-Year Reign”. Truth Out. November 28, 2012.
Los Angeles Times. “Mexico Under Siege”. 2014.