The Ethiopian govt. has essentially declared war on the Islamist group that had all but taken over Somalia an October perspective on which is here.
What's more, it seems that they are WINNING.
More here and here.
Strategy Page, has an overview (albiet unsourced) from the last few days here and also notes the size of the forces involved. If casualty reports are to be believed there are in brigade sized forces engaging one another.
This is a major war.
Austin Bay says that this jives with other reports. The BBC has set up a timeline blog on the subject here and there are, at the time of this post, several links on the Yahoo News Somalia Page.
Over at the Corner, Cliff May ponders some of the reasons for Ethiopias seeming early success....
...More “ boots on the ground ” may be part of the explanation. The Ethiopians are not attempting to have a “ light footprint. ” They are not worried about whether they will be seen as “occupiers” or whether their “occupation” will be viewed as benevolent.
Secondly, the Ethiopians are not overly concerned about whether their tactics will win approval from the proverbial Arab Street – or the European Street or Turtle Bay. They are fighting a war; their intention is to defeat their enemies; everything else is secondary or tertiary...
...which is not altogether without merit reagards warfighting but I think is not as prescient an observation as some seem to think, for three reasons:
1: It is quite early in the campaign and the Islamists main strategic assumption seems to be that their enemies are cowards and will not fight, so there is likely a bit of suprise involved here.
2: The world reaction seems to be fairly negative, the International Association of Appeasers and Douchebags (IAPD) may waffle and exibit stupendous fecklessness on Darfur, Iran and North Korea and they may claim that they didn't really MEAN to remove Saddam Hussein, but long suffering Ethiopia has little in the way of oil to bribe them with nor crazy lunatics with possible nukes to terrorize them. The IAPD might well take a stand here ( as usual helping outthe worst possible group and doing the most harm).
3: Unless one is going to get all Belgian on the occupied areas, one had better BE concerned with how an invasion appears to the locals. Somalia, already a failed state, is close to becoming another Afganistan. To go in without carrots to go with the sticks risks unifying the nation against invaders much like the USSR did in Afganistan. Ethiopia has little other than kind words (and, perhaps, escorts forNGO food convoys) to offer in the way of carrots, but if they can crush the extremist groups that want Sharia and support Bin-Laden, they might help Somalia to get out of its death-spiral.
Anyway, Ethiopia is taking a stand against the spread of Wahabbiism and seems to be being succsessful for the moment. Let's wish them well....and a little descrete support might not hurt either.