In the last week of December 2006, in a stunningly short war-the provisional government of Somalia backed by the conventional army of Ethiopia rapidly defeated the Islamist government of Somali. The defeat of the Islamist was total and they were forced to flee the country. Just a short period earlier the Islamist seemed invincible as they forced the provisional government to retreat to a regional capital.
In the final week of December 2006, a swift military campaign saw the provisional government of Somalia, backed by Ethiopian armed forces, decisively defeat the Islamist government in Somalia. This rapid turn of events was startling given that just weeks before, the Islamist forces appeared virtually invincible, pushing the provisional government into a retreat that confined them to a regional capital. The Ethiopian intervention was a game-changing element in the conflict, enabling the provisional government to regain control and forcing the Islamist groups to flee the country.
The Ethiopian involvement was controversial and had broader geopolitical implications, drawing both regional and international attention. Ethiopia's intervention was seen by many as an attempt to prevent the rise of an Islamist government on its border, which Addis Ababa viewed as a security threat. On the international stage, the U.S. tacitly supported Ethiopia's intervention, as the Islamist groups were suspected of having links to Al-Qaeda.
However, the defeat of the Islamist government did not bring stability to Somalia. In the aftermath, the country descended into further chaos, with various factions vying for control. Ethiopian forces faced insurgencies and eventually withdrew, while the provisional government struggled to establish its authority. Moreover, the vacuum left by the ousted Islamist government allowed for the emergence of more radicalized groups like Al-Shabaab, further complicating the security landscape in Somalia and the broader Horn of Africa region.
Thus, while the December 2006 military campaign achieved its immediate objective of ousting the Islamist government, it did not resolve the underlying issues plaguing Somalia. Instead, it set the stage for a complex and ongoing conflict characterized by shifting alliances, foreign interventions, and persistent instability.