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Ethiopia | Africa - Reuters.com

Ethiopia | Africa - Reuters.com: "NAIROBI, Nov 21 (Reuters) - Rampant piracy offshore and an advance by Islamist rebels on Mogadishu have put Somalia's long-running civil conflict in the global spotlight.

Here are some possible scenarios for the country.

ISLAMIST TAKEOVER?

* After a two-year insurgency, Islamist fighters are within nine miles (six km) of the capital and President Abdullahi Yusuf admits his Western-backed government is on the verge of collapse. The Islamists or aligned groups now control most of the south, except Mogadishu and the seat of parliament, Baidoa.

* The Islamists' momentum in recent months has led to some predictions of an imminent assault on the capital, where they launch regular guerrilla-style attacks on the government and its Ethiopian military allies.

* But the rebels are split. The most militant wing, al Shabaab, which is on Washington's terrorist list, is urging jihad, or holy war. Moderate elements in another faction, the Islamic Courts Union, are leaning towards talks. The umbrella opposition Alliance for the Re-Liberation of Somalia (ARS) is divided into a pro-peace group known as ARS-Djibouti and a hardline wing ARS-Eritrea.

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