Bush gets 2007 off with a bang

In Iraq the UN is warning of a looming humanitarian refugee crisis with over 3 million Iraqis diplaced form their homes by insecurtiy. Tonight, Bush is expected to annouce an escalation in the conflict with about 20,000 extra troops for Baghdad and Anbar province.

Apparently not content with the catastrophe created there, the US has now started overt military action in Somalia. Reports yesterday said that air strikes had killed over 20 in south Somalia. British citizens were said to be amongst the wounded. A long insurgenecy war in that country now also appears highly likely with the Ethiopian army acting as proxies for US policy.

Reuters: “People don’t understand why the Americans have bombed the field. The Islamists are not there, they are miles away,” he said. Local people have fled the area but are unable to cross the sealed Kenyan border, he added.

The Pentagon has declined to comment on the air strikes. There have also been reports of helicopter attacks. Somali officials have declined to say whether the attacks were carried out by U.S. or Ethiopian aircraft.

UNHCR: Incessant violence across much of Iraq’s central and southern regions is forcing thousands of people to leave their homes every month, presenting the international community with a looming humanitarian crisis even larger than the upheaval aid agencies had planned for during the 2003 war.

UNHCR estimates there are at least 1.6 million Iraqis displaced internally, and up to 1.8 million in neighbouring states, particularly Syria and Jordan. Many were displaced prior to 2003, but an increasing number are fleeing now. Egypt hosts an estimated Iraqi population of more than 150,000, and in the first half of 2006 Iraqis had become the leading nationality seeking asylum in Europe.

See also: Blood and oil: How the West will profit from Iraq’s most precious commodity