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The withdrawal of Ethiopian troops from Somalia has left a nation beset by conflict for nearly two decades at a crossroads.
Ethiopia invaded to oust Islamists from the capital, but insurgents still control much of southern Somalia and more hardline groups that worry Washington have flourished during the two-year intervention.
The United Nations is unlikely to send peacekeepers to replace the Ethiopians. Africa is struggling to send more troops to help the 3,500 soldiers from Uganda and Burundi protecting key sites in the capital.
Some analysts say sending an international force would be counterproductive anyway as it would simply replace the Ethiopians as the hated foreign invader and maintain support for the most militant insurgents.
The news from Somalia seems to be relentlessly negative, writes Reuters Somalia correspondent Guled Mohamed. So it has been for the best part of 17 years since warlords overran the country in 1991 to usher in the modern period of chaos in this part of the Horn of Africa.