In Somalia, the US has been (probably) financing a group of warlords that call themselves the secular anti-terrorism alliance for peace, or some bs title along those lines. These men are criminals and thugs, nothing more. In fact, we fought against some of them before (Black Hawk Down). But now we have bigger fish to fry. The reason we are backing these secular warlords is so they can fight against another group of warlords calling themselves the Islamic Courts. The Islamists want to impose Sharia (Islamic Law) on Somalia, Taliban style.
First I'd like to say that I don't support our government in the funding of these secular warlords. The people of Somalia have had it extremely bad for the last couple decades. Who are we to forment more civil unrest and more war? I don't want another Taliban government popping up again, but the West hasn't been able to offer the Somalis anything better. I think it would be best if the Somalis at least gained peace under the Islamic Courts, and the US applied pressure to the Islamists so that they wouldn't shelter terrorists. It isn't unrealistic to think they'd cooperate with us - they saw what happened to the Taliban.
Now it seems that the Islamic Courts are winning the war anyways. A week or so ago, they captured Mogadishu. Predictably, the Islamic Courts militias imposed Islamic Law on the people there. Among the many things that are banned, Western television is right at the top of the list. So when a bunch of Somalis were watching the World Cup, the militiamen cut the power to the TVs. Riots ensued. How incredible is the power of the World Cup? "Repress our freedom of speech! Force us to grow beards! Turn our women into domestic slaves! But god damnit, when you prevent us from watching the World Cup, you crossed the line!"
By now this is old news, but Zarqawi was killed. The morning that the news story broke, I remember walking to lab and thinking that the world physically felt like a better place. I can begin to understand what Americans, Brits, and Russians must have felt like when they received word of Hitler's demise. Men like Zarqawi put a permanent aura of hopelessness and evil over the world. Things simply cannot be right in the world with men like that still alive. So congratulations to the US military for doing humanity a big favor. Unfortunately, it won't do much to the insurgency from a logistics point of view. Al Qaeda was already pretty alienated in Iraq; the majority of the insurgents are secular Sunni Iraqis. It is however, a symbolic blow to insurgents and terrorists. Simultaneously it is a morale boost - one that Americans and Iraqis needed very badly. I certainly did.
Finally, the Iraqi Prime Minister named his picks for the Ministries of Interior and Defense. This is a very big deal, because a big complaint of the insurgents is that the Shiite Interior Minister is running death squads (which they are) targeting Sunnis. The new Interior minister is a Shiite again, but was in Saddams army and evidently is somewhat trusted by Sunnis. The Ministry of Defense (army) was given to a Sunni, which will hopefully make the alienated Sunni insurgents feel like they are a part of the new government. Only time will tell if these two appointees can reduce the violence, which is the #1 goal in Iraq right now.
Its a shame that the Iraqis don't have a World Cup team. I honestly believe if an Iraqi soccer team was able to win the World Cup, the entire country would unite overnight.