Media Talk: The holy and unholy alliances surrounding Somalia

Talk Thursday 31st May, 2007

Fighting between Somali Islamists and the government has reached a new level of violence, with nearly 1,300 people killed in recent weeks in and around Mogadishu.

But is what we are seeing a civil war or a proxy war with regional implications?

The Somali government, which is being supported by Ethiopian troops and the US, claims they are fighting al Qaeda and insists that it will only be a matter of days before the Islamists are defeated.

But the insurgents appear far from defeated. They seem to be regrouping with rumours of help from Eritrea and money from the Middle East.

Meanwhile over 300,000 civilians who fled the capital are living in appalling conditions, lacking food, water, medical supplies and shelter.

Richard Cockett – Africa Editor of The Economist.

Mohamud Gure – Chairman of the Somali Concern Group.

Kim Sengupta – foreign and defense correspondent for The Independent.

Robert Baer -  is an author of See No Evil and Sleeping with the Devil and former case officer at the CIA. Baer has publicly acknowledged field assignments in Mardra and New Delhi, India; in Beirut, Lebanon; in Dushanbe, Tadjikistan and in Salah al-Din in Kurdish northern Iraq.

Moderated by Martin Plaut – BBC Africa Analyst.

Please note that Harun Hassan – Researcher with Africa division with Human Rights Watch – will not be able to speak, as he was unable to return to the UK from the region in time. Frontline woild like to apologise for this unforseen change.