October 22, 2009

Key Background on Somalian Islamists

Daveed Gartenstein-Ross has an excellent piece about the history of the jihad ideology in Somalia and its relationship with Islamist groups there. It's worth reading the whole thing, but here is a point about Somalia's role in the al Qaeda narrative that is often missed, even by many so-called "experts":

Al-Qaeda's leadership recognizes Somalia's role in one of its first actions, the first time it successfully bloodied America's nose. Al-Qaeda dispatched a small team of military trainers to Somalia in 1993, which liaised with the IU prior to the battle of Mogadishu.[18] Since then, Al-Qaeda leaders have claimed that they—rather than the forces of Mohammed Farrah Aidid—were the real hand behind the U.S. defeat.[19] Many scholars believe these claims are highly exaggerated.[20] But the true facts behind the battle of Mogadishu are beside the point insofar as Al-Qaeda's perceptions are concerned since the "rosecolored memoirs of Somalia have come to embody the 'founding myths' of the core Al-Qaida methodology."[21] ...

...[al Shabaab claimed that ] the battle of Mogadishu was "the first time he fought under the supervision of Al-Qaeda, and with its logistical support and expertise.".

That myth being centered around the long-term inevetibility of "the Muslims" [ie, al Qaeda and other Salafi jihad groups] defeating the Zionist-Crusaders and the murtadeen [apostates; ie, Muslims opposed to the violent imposition of shariah law]. Somalia on the one hand being held up as a Vietnam-like example of American weakness and unwillingness to make the sacrifices necessary to win a war, and on the other hand as an example that Allah is on the side of the mujahideen.

Which is why leaving Afghanistan is not a feasible option. For leaving would be seen as a sign of weakness, further "proof" of the rightness of our enemy's cause, and only embolden our enemy elsewhere.

Read it all. Thanks to Jane.

By Rusty Shackleford, Ph.D. at 11:26 AM | Comments |