The US has suffered a bloody defeat in the “third front in the war on terror” after Ethiopia announced it will be ending its occupation of Somalia at the end of the year.
Ethiopia invaded its neighbour at the behest of the US in 2006 to destroy the Union of Islamic Courts (UIC).
The UIC grew out of a popular rebellion against the militias that had ruled Somalia since the collapse of central government in the 1990s.
The US, fearing for control over the strategically important Horn of Africa, denounced the courts as the “Somali Taliban”.
Ethiopian troops, backed by US firepower, invaded.
But despite early military gains, the occupation soon descended into a bloody quagmire.
Occupation troops fought repeated battles for control of the capital Mogadishu. And they failed to coalesce the former militias into a functioning government.
The UIC joined other organisations to form the Alliance for the Re-liberation of Somalia and launched an effective resistance.
The US also broke a promise of aid to Ethiopia in return for the invasion.
As the occupation drained the economy, and with famine stalking the country, Ethiopia announced its retreat.