So far, Ethiopia has been remarkably successful in defeating Islamic troops in Somalia. Ethiopian boots on the ground, tolerant of losses and ready to injure hostile civilians, achieve more than the hi-tech US army fighting the warlords. Whether the Muslims will succeed in launching a guerrilla war remains to be seen. The US ally Qatar, a minor Arab state long implicated in supporting Islamic terrorists worldwide, vehemently supports the Somalian Islamists.

Interestingly, the US supported the Ethiopian preemption of the Somalian guerrillas. Technically, Ethiopia cooperated with the Somalian government to provide a shred of legitimacy to the invasion, but in reality Somalia is governed by Islamists. Israel, in a similar situation, continuously worries about US reaction to its invasions of Lebanon and Gaza. The lesson is there: America, a country of reasonable people and a not stupid government, supports necessary defensive measures so long as they are effective, not widely seen as atrocities, and kept short.

The conflict in Somalia came from the colonial powers drawing arbitrary borders (ethnic Somalians live also in Ethiopia, Kenya, and Djibouti). Lebanon, Palestine, Jordan, and Iraq also have arbitrary, unsustainable borders.