The combined car bomb and suicide attacks in the Somali city of Baidoa that killed scores of people recently appear to be part of an accelerating offensive by al-Shabab.
The group aims to disrupt national elections planned for this year, undermine public confidence in the already controversial western-led peacekeepers and bring down Somalia’s weak Western-backed federal government. The country has suffered two decades of lawlessness, insurrection and invasion since the collapse of the Siad Barre dictatorship in 1991, earning it the label of 'failed state.'
The security situation inside the country is deteriorating again as the militants, who control large swaths of rural south and central Somalia, battle to demonstrate they are still a force to be reckoned with. Britain has raised concerns by warning that it will deploy troops to assist Amisom, a move many believe to be the latest disguise for Western intervention. With the disputed elections on the horizon and a 20% cut in the Amisom budget, will things for Somalia go from bad to worse?