by Wim Jansen* Listen here to the Radio Netherlands report
The US military is bombarding positions in Southern Somalia for the second day running in an attack aimed at suspected members of al-Qaeda. The US accuses the Islamic militants of involvement in the attacks on US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania in 1998.
For the past few weeks the Ethiopian army has succeeded in driving Islamic militias from their strongholds in whole swathes of Somalia. The US TV station CNN announced the initial bombardments on Monday night.
"A US special operations aircraft conducted an airstrike against targets in Southern Somalia based on intelligence that al-Qaeda operatives were hiding at a location there. These were suspected terrorists who had apparently fled from Mogadishu..."
On Monday, an AC 130 fighter plane, which took off from Djibouti, carried out the bombardment on the village of Badel in the south east of the country. According to correspondent Koert Lindijer, the Americans were assisted by Kenya and Ethiopia:
"The Kenyans closed the border so that the Islamists couldn't flee. The Ethiopians hunted down the Islamists. The Americans gave military information from their satellites to the Ethiopians and carried out a bombardment. According to reports, hundreds were killed in that."Attacks
The US says the village offers shelter to three al-Qaeda operatives who they say are responsible for the attacks on US embassies at the end of the 1990s and a hotel on the Kenyan coast in 2002. Since that bombing, the Americans have permanently had a presence in Djibouti to back up the war on terrorism.
Because of the physical lack of a central government in Somalia, the US believes the country has become a useful hiding place for terrorists. The attempt to drive-out the Union of Islamic Courts in Somalia was reason enough for the mainly Christian country of Ethiopia to send thousands of troops with support from the United States.
Up to now, though, the US has only played a background role. But America has now clearly chosen to step into the foreground, according to Horn of Africa analyst Stephen Ellis:
"They want to make absolutely sure that people they think are members of al-Qaeda are indeed eliminated and probably they want to show their own hand in this."
"Because until now all the hard work has been officially done by the transitional government of Somalia with Ethiopian troops, but one has the impression that the real fighting has been done by Ethiopian forces."
The call by al-Qaeda's number two, Ayman al-Zwihiri, to attack Ethiopian troops, has worked as a catalyst for the US move. This act shows once again that an international fight against terrorism is taking place on Somali soil too.
Furthermore, the role of 'prestige and honour' has played a part in this initiative, believes Stephen Ellis. Pictures of dead US soldiers being dragged through the streets of Mogadishu after a calamitous US intervention in Somalia, still plays on the minds of almost all Americans:
"It was a humiliation for the US. Armed forces pay great attention to questions of honour and prestige. I am sure part of it is saying: this is revenge for what happened at that stage." It's not clear whether the United States have achieved their goal with the bombardment. It is still not known if the hunted al-Qaeda operatives were also actually hit. If it appears that mainly civilians were the victims of the bomb attacks - that could be very bad publicity for the US.
*Translated and Edited by RNW Internet Desk (cc) Radio Netherlands
NY Times- "...On Sunday, an American AC-130 gunship pounded the area around Ras Kamboni, and also a location father north where American officials said three ringleaders of the bombings in 1998 of the United States embassies in Kenya and Tanzania were hiding. Somali officials said those bombings had been planned in Ras Kamboni after a local Somali terrorist outfit invited Al Qaeda to use the village as a base.ReplyDelete
According to Abdul Rashid Hidig, a member of Somalia’s transitional parliament who represents the border area, the American airstrike on Sunday wiped out a long convoy of Islamist leaders trying to flee deeper into the bush, though he said he did not know if the specific suspects singled out by the United States had been with them.
“Their trucks got stuck in the mud and they were easy targets,” he said.
Mr. Hidig toured the area with military officials on Tuesday and said he had met several captured foreign fighters who had come from Europe and the Middle East. “I saw two white guys and asked, Where are you from?” Mr. Hidig said. “One said Jordan, the other Sweden. Yeah, it was weird.”
Mr. Hidig said two civilians had been killed by the airstrike, but representatives of the Islamist forces said it had killed many more.
The Islamists’ health director said dozens of nomadic herdsmen and their families were grazing their animals in the same wet valley that the Islamists were trying to drive across. “Their donkeys, their camels, their cows — they’ve all been destroyed,” he said. “And many children were killed.”...
NY Times.."Mustef Yunis Culusow, a former Islamist leader who abandoned the movement days ago, said the once-powerful Islamist movement’s top leaders were now trapped in a small village with Ethiopian soldiers in front of them, the Indian Ocean behind them and now American gunships circling above them.ReplyDelete
“The leaders know they’re finished,” Mr. Culusow said in a telephone interview from Kismayo, a large town north of Ras Kamboni. “They’ve basically told the young fighters they can go, it’s over, and that anyone who stays behind should be resigned to die.”
For several days, Ethiopian fighter jets and helicopter gunships have been laying down a blanket of fire over the area, and attacks continued on Tuesday."...
A superb editorial at The Telegraph end with this:ReplyDelete
"The prospect of a radical, pro-al-Qa'eda, Islamic state being established in east Africa was the nightmare scenario that American commanders had sought to avoid ever since they established their 2,500-strong foothold in the Horn of Africa in the immediate aftermath of the September 11 attacks.
But how to prevent this from happening was another matter entirely. The American military's consciousness still bears the scars of its last attempt at military intervention in Somalia, in October 1993, when 18 American soldiers were killed after a Black Hawk helicopter was shot down during a gun battle with Somali militiamen (bin Laden himself claimed credit for teaching the Somalis how to shoot down a helicopter).
On this occasion, however, American blushes have been spared by the impressive job that the Ethiopian armed forces – which are trained and equipped by Washington – have achieved in driving the Islamic Courts out of Mogadishu and restoring some semblance of stability to what is arguably the world's most lawless city.
Most Africans, like most Americans, are deeply inimical to the creation of pro-al-Qa'eda, Islamic fundamentalist regimes that pose a threat to their security and liberty.
Consequently, a rare combination of African steadfastness and raw American power has won an important victory on this new battlefront in the war on terror, thereby frustrating attempts by Islamic militants to seize control of a strategically important country, and denying refuge to the instigators and perpetrators of acts of evil.
Sunday's events in Somalia lend credence to the warning the late President Ronald Reagan gave a previous generation of Islamic terrorists: you can run, but you can't hide." Link
This is the kind of success that is possible when you have the right kind of cooperation from the local government. In Somalia the Ethiopians hammered the Islamists against a Kenyan anvil.ReplyDelete
The Ethiopians, and therefore, the U.S. must hang around long enough to keep the Somalia effort from becoming a temporary success.ReplyDelete
-Something that was not done in Iraq.
At least now, reports are stating the President understands we need to hold and secure areas long enough to establish "stability".
We'll hear what he says tonight, huh?
And yes - I'm glad the BASTARDS are dead!ReplyDelete
Eat lead Islamist swine.ReplyDelete
Now this is diplomacy at work. Help Ethiopia which is fundamentally more likely to be friendly to the west than not. And certainly no friend to Islam. Then when Ethiopia does something usefull, help some more. Following victory, reward some more.
The entire cost of helping Ethiopia before, during and after is probably less than was expended by the US in men and material during the day of the Black Hawk Down incident.
Man, this just rocks. Not only a successfull venture, but C H E A P - Its almost un-American. :)
If only to do it again ... how about .... Hindustan?
Boy, this story has "feel-good" written all over it!!!ReplyDelete
Is there any chance that Ethiopia will move its borders with its troops? I guess that is probably to un-PC in today's world, but it makes alot of sense to me. Somalia can't govern and may never be capable of doing it, so why not let Ethiopia hoist their colors and keep the area in check?ReplyDelete
Man, this just rocks. Not only a successfull venture, but C H E A P - Its almost un-American.ReplyDelete
The same can and should done in Iraq, Iran, Syria, Afghanistan, etc. Provide arms and technical advisors where necessary, and promise air cover when needed. Not spend a trillion dollars to accommodate Jihadis, in what is for them a 5 star hotel.
Rem870 said, "Is there any chance that Ethiopia will move its borders with its troops?"ReplyDelete
Oh no, Somalia has been conquered by Islam, it's against the rules for Islam to give up one inch of territory once it has been conquered, and this rule is enforced by the Mainstream Media. Taking towns like Fallujua a second or third time? That's what American forces get to do.
And yet you think we torture innocent jihadist captives. Whatever. Can't win for losing is always more fun acc. to commentary by opportunists.ReplyDelete
Blog right, vote left. Bitch both ways when you can get away with Bush hate.
Nirvana. This be elephantbar and you be welcome no matter your illogic.
less opportunistic said, "And yet you think we torture innocent jihadist captives."ReplyDelete
Maybe they're innocent, and maybe they're not. Maybe they're jihadist, and maybe not. But it should give anyone pause to consider that we used to be the Country That Does Not Torture People.
Let's see...we also used to be the country that burned witches, the country with slavery, the country where women did not vote, etc., etc....Lots of things change.ReplyDelete
If it were true, your claim would still be sophistry. We scalped Indians and we whipped blacks and we gave suspects the third degree with fists and hoses in the backrooms when we felt like it.
We put aliens in camps and If you think we didn't interrogate Nazis and Japs and commies and spies of all flavors with every resource at our disposal, well, you are entitled to your opinion.
Will you, in the name of all that's holy, stop clutching at our gun-arm? This is the sausage-making room. Don't look if you like sausage. I would say You Just Don't Get It because you are a religious woman, but then I would have forgot names like Borgia and Urban.