July 28, 2006

African Taliban Readying for Regional Jihad, World Sleeps

Ilyushin_IL-76_Mogadishu_Somalia_Kazakhstan_Airplane_Eritrea_arms_Islamists-AP.jpgThe African Taliban are gearing up to spread their jihad to neighboring states. Like the Afghan Taliban before them, the Somali version--known as the Union of Islamic Courts--first goal is to establish its authority in Mogadishu, and then spread the Islamic state to areas still not under its control.

The group is already receiving the aid of Arab and other non-Somali mujahadin--including al Qaeda linked fighters. Already a safe-haven for international terrorists and funded by Gulf and Sudanese oil money, it will not be long before news reports pick up the fact that training camps are being established and the flow of arms to the Islamists is increasing.

Above: AP photo of suspected arms being flown in to Mogadishu. The airplane is a Soviet Ilyushin Il-76 with Kazakhstani national airline markings. The Il-76 is one of the world's largest airplanes

Like the Afghan Taliban before them, the Islamists in Somalia deny any link or support of terrorism. And just like Afghanistan, the evidence is overwhelming to the contrary. Again, the U.N. and world community takes the word of terrorists that they are not, in fact, terrorists.

The interim Somali government--which has no authority anyway--is about to fall based on its failure to officially back the Islamist militias who are now imposing sharia law on most of the country.

War now looms between Somalia and its Islamist allies in Eretrea, and Christian Ethiopia. Ethiopian troops are already said to be inside Somalia.

And the U.N.? As usual, the main concern of the U.N. is peace at all costs. Even if that cost is the freedom of Somalis and the establishment of a new safe-haven where the jihad can be exported across the Horn of Africa and beyond.

The holy warriors receiving support in Somalia today will be the mujahadin fighting in Southern Sudan, Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda, & Djibouti tomorrow. From there it will move across Africa, probably first to Nigeria where sharia is already imposed in the north.

Then, before the world is even aware of the conflict, New York City.

Israel can defeat Hezbollah without our help, but if Ethiopia does not begin to receive MASSIVE amounts of U.S. military aid IMMEDIATELY, then a far larger problem looms on the horizon.

The U.S. already has troops stationed in Djibouti.

The fifth column at the Council of Islamic Relations, predictably, calls the takeover of Somalia by the Islamists a positive change (via Charles Johnson). Let me repeat that, CAIR calls the takeover of a country by an al Qaeda linked grouped a positive change.

Let that sink in for a moment.

This is VERY bad news. Eritrea may be the conduit for which arms are beginning to flow--with the help of Kazakhstan, but the real problem is in Sudan and in Saudi Arabia. VOA:

For the second time this week, a large plane arrived in the Islamists-controlled Somali capital of Mogadishu Friday, carrying an unknown cargo. But many people believe it contains weapons from Eritrea, which the Islamist leadership in Somalia denies. VOA Correspondent Alisha Ryu in Mogadishu says, reports of military activity by rivals Eritrea and Ethiopia in Somalia are fueling fears of a proxy war.

A Russian-made Illuyshin-76 cargo plane touched down early Friday morning at the recently reopened Mogadishu airport. It had the same Kazakhstan Airways markings as a plane that landed Wednesday.

In both cases, there was extraordinary security. Islamic militiamen sealed off all roads and prevented curious on-lookers from gathering near the facility. But some eyewitnesses said that they saw several large trucks leaving the airport in a convoy a short while after the plane landed.

The arrival of the two planes this week is fueling speculation among Somalis that neighboring Eritrea is helping to arm Somali Islamists, who are facing a possible showdown with Ethiopian troops, believed to be protecting the country's secular and highly vulnerable interim government, which has its headquarters 250 kilometers away in the town of Baidoa.

I highly suggest reading the rest of this post below, and immediately contacting your Congressperson. Defeating the Islamists in Africa is just about the last thing on their minds in this election year.

Below: AFP reporters captured this picture of the arms transfer.


If this part of the article is true, then we are in bigger trouble than I thought. Hopefully, this is just State Department speak while Defense, as usual, does the important work.

The United States has urged Somalis to seek a dialogue, aimed at creating a unity government, and has called on Ethiopia and Eritrea to avoid any actions, which could hamper that effort.
Meanwhile, Somali ministers and parliamentarians are being shot in the street. Reuters:
Gunmen shot dead a Somali minister outside a mosque on Friday, triggering riots by pro-government protesters who threw rocks and burned tyres at the interim administration's provincial base of Baidoa.

Witnesses said assailants opened fire on Constitution and Federalism Minister Abdallah Deerow Isaq as he left prayers -- an attack sure to heighten tensions in the violence-plagued Horn of Africa nation which many fear is sliding toward war.....

Other sources in Baidoa, however, said one [suspect in the killing] was a young Muslim fundamentalist based at the same mosque.

And it wouldn't be al Reuters if the spirit of Santayana didn't haunt these words:
Born out of sharia courts created from the mid-1990s to restore some order to Mogadishu during a period of anarchy and violence, the Islamists defeated U.S.-backed warlords in Mogadishu and have since expanded to take other towns.
Just like Kabul ca. 1994.

The U.N.? Feckless, as usual. Relief Web:

The senior United Nations envoy to Somalia appealed for calm today in the strife-torn African country after gunmen assassinated the Minister for Constitutional and Federal Affairs Abdallah Deerow Isaaq outside a mosque, and he announced he will attend an urgent regional meeting called to discuss the worsening situation.....

Yesterday, Mr. Fall wrote to the chairman of the Executive Council of Islamic Courts to reiterate his call for a resumption of peace talks with the Transitional Federal Government. He also stressed the UN’s commitment to pursuing all avenues for peace and reconciliation through dialogue in Somalia, which has not had a functioning government since President Muhammad Siad Barre’s regime was toppled in 1991.

We do not need dialogue, we need victory against the Islamists before they successfully turn Somalia into a regional and world threat.

From the AP:

A Islamic Courts Militia stand on Personnel Armoured Vehicle guarding the Villa Somalia, Thrusday, July 27, 2006. The Islamic militia that has seized the capital along with much of southern Somalia said Thursday it was setting up a religious court inside the vast compound that once served as the presidential palace.
AP photo at an anti-Ethiopia rally in Mogadishu. The sign reads Whoever let Ethiopians in Somalia is Evil

Another image from the same rally. Please deny that this is jihad. I dare you. The banner is a verse from the Quran.

Meanwhile, Ethiopia rightfully accuses Eritrea of supporting al Qaeda linked groups. EITB:

Addis Ababa regards the Islamists as terrorists linked to both al Qaeda and the Somali radical group al-Itihaad al-Islaami, which was all but obliterated by Ethiopian forces in the 1990s.

"The Eritrean government is actively supporting the al-Itihaad and al Qaeda extremist leaders who oppose the widely accepted and recognized transitional government," an Ethiopian Ministry of Information statement said.

"If there is anyone who is reluctant to support peace and stability in Somalia, it is only the Eritrean government that is trying to disturb the region by allying itself with extremist elements," the statement added.

Addis Ababa denies its troops are in Somalia, while Asmara denies funnelling military aid to the Islamists

Here is part of a larger Jamestown Foundation analysis:
The ICU [Islamic Courts Union] and the AIAI [al-Ittihad al-Islami--behind Blackhawk Down incident, African embassy bombings--Somalian al Qaeda] are different entities, yet the former appears to have grown out of the latter, bequeathing some of its characteristics in the new body. Ideologically, the ICU and AIAI share many similarities. While the ICU wants an Islamic state in Somalia in the short term governed by Sharia law, media reports allege that the Islamic courts are eyeing a bigger Islamic state in the long term carved out of East Africa, similar to the old goals of AIAI, which wanted to create an Islamic state out of Somalia and Ethiopia. The ICU is also radical in approach, sustains a charity wing and has militias just as AIAI once did.....

At the moment, analysts agree the demarcation between the two is thin. According to Ato Medhane Tadesse who works for Center for Policy Research and Dialogue, a local Ethiopian think-tank, the first courts were established by AIAI and multiplied as the organization loosened control. Tadesse told the Addis Ababa Reporter on July 15 that the Somali people supported the courts because they brought peace and stability. "They were better than warlords," he said. According to the analyst, former AIAI leaders oriented the courts in an Islamic way, controlled them and gave them ideological direction and brought in military mobilization. The courts, like AIAI, have a social wing known as al-Islah, and is largely viewed as reformist. It provides clinics, schools, roads and support for children.

In light of these similarities, many East African countries consider the ICU takeover of Somalia a threat. The East African, a regional weekly based in Nairobi, reported that the ICU, having seized control of southern Somalia, plans to use local elements to destabilize Kenya. The weekly quoted Somaliland Representative Saad Noor, who was in Washington on July 11, and warned the U.S. Congress that the ICU wanted to first conquer all of Somalia and then declare it an Islamic state. The next step would be to topple and control Somaliland, a territory in northwestern Somalia that declared its independence from larger Somalia when the country descended into chaos following the collapse of Barre's dictatorship. The next step, according to this representative, would be to topple Kenya and Ethiopia, two other secular states who are Somalia's neighbors.

The same publication quoted David Shinn, former U.S. ambassador to Ethiopia, now a specialist in East African affairs, on July 11 telling a U.S. subcommittee that some leaders of the ICU militias wanted to re-energize the greater Somalia concept by incorporating into Somalia Somali-inhabited areas in Kenya, Ethiopia and Djibouti. As Shinn explained, this would happen if the Islamists come to be dominated by extremist elements and succeeded in consolidating power throughout Somalia. "It will be only a matter of time before Kenya becomes subject to Somali irredentism," Shinn said. Evidence of this consolidation came on July 20, when ICU fighters advanced toward Baidoa, the seat of the TFG. The TFG, an authority created for Somalia two years ago through the efforts of Kenya and the United Nations, failed to be accepted at the grassroots level in Somalia. By the ICU's advance toward Baidoa, it is clear that the ICU wants to consolidate their rule throughout Somalia.

East African countries cannot throw caution into the wind if recent events associated with Islamic fundamentalism are something to go by. Although radical AIAI activities have generally been recorded in Ethiopia, the group is blamed for the 1993 deaths of 18 U.S. soldiers killed in Mogadishu. Furthermore, it is alleged that the al-Qaeda terrorists who destroyed the U.S. embassies in Nairobi and Dar es Salaam used Somalia as a staging area.


By Rusty Shackleford, Ph.D. at 07:27 PM | Comments |