Feature

The next battleground in the war on terror.

The week's news at a glance.

Somalia

“Bodies of dead civilians” are lying unclaimed in the streets of Mogadishu, said Faysal Gabanow in Ethiopia’s Sub-Saharan Informer. The ramshackle hospitals are overflowing with wounded. The carnage in Somalia over the past two weeks is the worst since the U.N. peacekeepers pulled out in 1995. This is not the same old skirmishing among rival warlords that has kept Somalia in anarchy for so long. The fighting this time is between two clearly defined groups: “an Islamic militia” and an alliance of secular warlords.

The militia is a front for al Qaida, said Abdul Hassan Ali in Kenya’s The Standard. It is masquerading as a judicial system and calling itself the Union of Islamic Courts. Nobody should be fooled. This “union” clearly is sponsored by al-Ittihad, a wing of al Qaida trained in Afghanistan. One of al-Ittihad’s self-styled sheikhs, Ahmad Muhammad Abdulle, admitted as much when he said the Islamic Courts were “targeted at anybody opposed to the holy jihad led by Osama bin Laden, a humble servant of the Holy Prophet.”

The warlords are a front too—for the U.S., said Massimo Alberizzi in Italy’s Corriere della Sera. A new U.N. report accuses Italy, Eritrea, and other countries—but not the U.S.—of violating the arms embargo against Somalia. Our sources, though, say that the U.N. had “overwhelming” evidence that the U.S. was the prime source of the funds that the warlords used to buy weapons. But “the Bush administration threatened to veto the release of the report” unless the U.N. agreed to “erase all mention” of U.S. involvement. Still, plenty of clues “make it obvious” that the U.S. is heavily invested in the battle. Gen. William F. Garrison, the Delta Force commander in the U.N. peacekeeping operation in Somalia in the early 1990s, has recently been spotted visiting warlords in Mogadishu. And even Porter Goss stopped by this spring, before he stepped down as director of the CIA.

HornAfrik

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