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Tuesday, 9 January 2007

Well, it's been a while, but I'm back. Nowadays I'm doing most of my blogging over at Non Sum Dignus. I do intend to keep blogging here as well, though. It's just a matter of having enough time in the day.

But enough of that and on to today's post!

The WaPo reports today:

 "A U.S. Air Force AC-130 gunship attacked suspected al-Qaeda members in southern Somalia on Sunday, and U.S. sources said the operation may have hit a senior terrorist figure."

Where have we heard this before? Didn't a U.S. drone go after a "senior al-Qaeda figure," last January in Pakistan? Supossedly they were going after Ayman al-Zawarhiri but they wound up missing him and killing 17 civilans, including 6 women and 6 children.

AP reports:

"The airstrike Monday evening was in the town of Afmadow, about 220 miles southwest of the capital of Mogadishu, Somali officials said. It was not immediately clear how many people were killed in the attacks, but Somali officials said there were reports that many were killed."

Yeah, I'd say you'd have to expect as much. If you're going to use a blunt intrument like an AC-130, you've got to expect a lot of "collateral damage." But the families of those killed can rest easy that the U.S. was going after some pretty bad actors.   

The BBC reports the strike was intended to get these three al-Qaeda types: 

> Fazul Abdullah Mohammed, Abu Talha al-Sudani and Saleh Ali Saleh Nabhan.

> Fazul Abdullah Mohammed, from the Comoro Islands, was indicted by a US court in New York for conspiracy to bomb the American embassies in Kenya and Tanzania in 1998.

> Abu Talha al-Sudani, a Sudanese, was accused by the office of the US Director of National Intelligence recently of leading an al-Qaeda cell in East Africa.

[And] Saleh Ali Saleh Nabhan, a Kenyan, is on an FBI wanted poster in connection with the bombing of an Israeli-owned hotel and an attempted missile attack on an Israeli airliner in Kenya in 2002.

[End of quote]

The U.S. apparently took care to cut down on the number of bystanders killed. An official quoted in the WaPo article says, "You had some figures on the move in a relatively unpopulated part of the country." Relatively unpopulated? Well hell, that's good enough for me.

The problem I can see with this whole thing, besides the casualties, is the preception a lot of folks are going to be left with. The U.S. has had a hard-on for these al-Qaeda types for a while now and without presenting any evidence they've been pushing the story-line that the Islamic Courts Union was harboring them in Mogadushu.

And, lo and behold, the Ethiopians all on their own decide they have to invade Somalia -- in a defensive operation naturally.  (Kind of like the invasion of Iraq) The U.S. naturally helps them out with intel and in about a week the ICU is routed. Now, some might come to the conclusion that the only reason the ICU was overthrown was because the U.S. wanted three al-Qaeda suspects. The Somalians got about five months of law and order after 10 years of anarachy and then -- here's comes the U.S.

The Ethiopains and the army of the "transitional government [TFG]," which has been barely able to hold on to Bidoa this whole time, is now poised to take over whole country. More than likely what will happen is that the warlords will take over again and we'll be back to square one.

The U.S. has been working on getting a peace keeping force in there, but that's not looking too hopeful. The U.S is probably hoping Ethiopians are going to hang around until the UN can work something out. I wouldn't count on it.

AP reports today:

"Gunmen attacked Ethiopian troops supporting the Somali government Sunday, witnesses said, in the second straight day of violence in a city struggling to emerge from more than a decade of chaos." 

The Ethiopians are probably not interested in getting bogged down in their own version Iraq.

Things would have been so much easier if the CIA had just gone in and yanked these guys of the street like they did to Abu Omar back in 2003


Posted by bushmeister0 at 1:44 PM EST
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