US officials step up warnings about missing Somali-Americans

Shirwa Ahmed

Shirwa Ahmed

By JOSEPH FITSANAKIS | intelNews.org |
IntelNews has previously reported on the case of Shirwa Ahmed, a US citizen of Somali descent who last October became history’s first known US-born suicide bomber. On October 29, 2008, Ahmed was one of five bombers who carried out near-simultaneous suicide bombings in the Somali city of Hargeisa, targeting the Presidential palace, the consulate of Ethiopia and a UN complex. The bombings have been attributed to al-Shabaab (the Party of Youth), a militant youth faction of Somalia’s Islamic Courts Union (ICU). Members of the ICU went underground in late 2006, after Ethiopia launched a US-aided invasion of Somalia with the aim of curtailing the ICU’s grassroots support and preventing the solidification of the group’s rule in Somalia. Al-Shabaab represents the most militant of the ICU-led underground, and is said to be one of several groups in Somalia with significant al-Qaeda links. Read more of this post

FBI probed Obama inauguration threats by Somali militant group

By JOSEPH FITSANAKIS | intelNews.org |
In late 2006, the US approved and assisted Ethiopia’s invasion of Somalia in what is in fact America’s most recent covert war. The operational aim of the invasion was to terminate the local grass roots leadership of the Islamic Courts Union (ICU) and prevent the solidification of its rule in the country. Soon after the Ethiopian invasion, which also received Kenyan support, rank-and-file members of the ICU went underground in an attempt to organize a guerilla war against the Ethiopian troops. The most militant segment of the new underground movement is arguably al-Shabaab (The Party of Youth), which used to be the youth organization of the pre-invasion ICU. Al-Shabaab shares the ICU’s mission of turning Somalia into an Islamic khalifat. Read more of this post

Report discusses blowback of US rendition program in Somalia

Paul Salopek appears to be just about the only mainstream American reporter paying attention to America’s secret war in Africa, and specifically in Somalia. 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”. A new article by Salopek sheds light on the use of extraordinary rendition by US military and intelligence agencies during that invasion. Read more of this post

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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