Tuesday, June 6, 2006
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Has Al Qaeda acquired a new base?
I've occasionally riffed about how Al Qaeda acts like the
Which brings me to Somalia, and the takeover of Mogadishu by an entity called the Union of Islamic Courts. There are some very disturbing parallels between what's happening in Mogadishu, Somalia right now and what happened in Afghanistan when the Taliban took over Kabul. Consider this BBC report:
The Islamic Courts say they want to promote Islamic law rather than clan allegiance, which has divided Somalis over the past 15 years.This July 2005 report from the International Crisis Group about Somalia does not make me feel any more sanguine.
"Now you've got a safe haven for al-Qaida," said a defense intelligence official monitoring the country that was used as a base to stage attacks on two U.S. embassies and an Israeli resort in East Africa. "It's definitely a concern."Developing.... and not in a good way at all. posted by Dan on 06.06.06 at 07:55 AM
Hmmm, so the Islamicists plan to take on the clan system in Somalia, the one they've relied on for hundreds of years? Good luck with that. Worked out well for the UN a few years ago.posted by: Don Mynack on 06.06.06 at 07:55 AM [permalink]
The US has not necessarily been idle.posted by: Appalled Moderate on 06.06.06 at 07:55 AM [permalink]
If memory serves, a large part of the 9/11 attack planning was done, not in Afghanistan, but in Hamburg, Florida, Arizona, and San Diego. The 3/11 attacks in Spain were carried out by Morrocans long resident in Spain.The recent 7/7 attacks in London were conducted by home grown UK Muslims. This major plot that was busted in Canada seems to involve long term resident (or native?) Canadian Muslims. All of this without a 'base' in some god-foresaken third world country. So, the question is, does it really matter from a counterterrorism perspective that there is Islamist activity in Somalia?posted by: Mitchell Young on 06.06.06 at 07:55 AM [permalink]
And, to take Mitchell Young's point to its conclusion, these events become potentially tragic not because of how they will affect our "War on Terror" but because of the mid-grade civil war being waged (with a potentially illiberal and theocratic outcome for its citizens).posted by: Matt on 06.06.06 at 07:55 AM [permalink]
I actually visited (if that's the correct word) Mogadishu while backpacking through East Africa in April (there's a weekly humanitarian flight from JK Airport in Nairobi).
I blogged about my impressions-based, I admit, on a two day visit, here http://selectedinsights.blogspot.com/2006/04/back-from-brink-or-thoughts-on-somalia.htmlposted by: AV on 06.06.06 at 07:55 AM [permalink]
The visible rise of fundamentalism in Somalia seems rather abrupt, but is part of the general world trend in this direction. Two decades ago women rarely wore a hijab in Malaysia; now many do. This fundamentalism is not limited to Islam - there appears to have been a world rise in fundamentalism in Christianity as well. The Christians might not wear headscarves but their influence is certainly a part of the world political situation.posted by: Jo on 06.06.06 at 07:55 AM [permalink]
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