America is losing the war in Somalia, say observers

The Chicago Tribune has published a relatively well-researched analysis article by Paul Salopec, focusing on the African front of America’s so-called “war on terrorism”. In what is in fact America’s most recent war, the US approved and assisted an Ethiopian invasion of Somalia, in late 2006. The operational aim of the invasion was to terminate the local grass roots leadership of the Islamic Courts Union and prevent “anarchic Somalia from becoming the world’s next Afghanistan”. For the most part it has been a rarely seen or heard of conflict, “a standoff war in which the Pentagon lobs million-dollar cruise missiles into a famine-haunted African wasteland the size of Texas, hoping to kill lone terror suspects who might be dozing in candlelit huts”, as The Chicago Tribune puts it. Lately, however, it has become apparent that the native Islamic movement in Somalia, strengthened by anti-Ethiopian sentiments among the population, has regrouped and is fighting back, scoring significant victories in the process. Factions associated with the Islamic Courts Union are now said to control most of the Somali countryside, and to be increasingly gaining control of major sections of the capital, Mogadishu. The Tribune article quotes Matt Bryden, “one of the world’s leading scholars of the Somali insurgency who has access to intelligence regarding it”, who states that the US-backed Ethiopian invasion of Somalia “was a stupid idea, [which] actually strengthened the hand of the Islamists and helped trigger the crisis we’re in today”. [JF]

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Expert news and commentary on intelligence, espionage, spies and spying, by Dr. Joseph Fitsanakis and Ian Allen.

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