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Horn of Africa (Somali, Ehtiopia and)
Topic: Horn of Africa (Somali, Ehtiopia and) (Read 6935 times)
Horn of Africa (Somali, Ehtiopia and)
December 26, 2006, 10:20:38 AM »
Geopolitical Diary: Open Warfare in Somalia
The tensions in Somalia between the forces of the Supreme Islamic Courts Council (SICC) and the interim government and its Ethiopian backers broke into open warfare as Ethiopian forces launched airstrikes against SICC positions in several locations on Sunday and Monday and began moving ground forces. The attacks came a month after Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi called Somalia's Islamists a clear and present danger during an address to parliament. In the intervening weeks, both sides have maneuvered for better position before the end of the rainy season.
The outbreak of fighting was far from unexpected. As we noted in October, both sides began preparing for a showdown after it became clear there was no room for a negotiated settlement between the SICC and the interim government -- not as long as Ethiopia determined the SICC was a threat to its own security. By November, the battle lines were being drawn as the SICC made a final push to claim territory while significant Ethiopian reinforcements were delayed by the flooding due to the annual Deyr rains.
With the rains over and the ground drying up, the inevitable Ethiopian strike has now come. In the initial push, it appears the SICC front lines are starting to falter as Ethiopia brings better-trained and better-equipped military forces to bear. SICC forces reportedly have abandoned the central city of Beledweyne (initially taken by SICC forces in June) after fierce ground fighting with Ethiopian forces; Somalian transitional government forces, backed by Ethiopian equipment and fighters, have pushed back SICC forces in Idaale, Jawil and Bandiiradley.
But the initial push is not necessarily a reflection of the conflict to come. The SICC has not gained territory as much by fighting as by making arrangements with local warlords and village leaders, and by capitalizing on popular dissatisfaction with other warlords and the general lack of security and stability. The SICC forces are not structured for conventional military-to-military warfare; they lack heavy equipment, organization and training. However, they are structured for insurgency and guerrilla warfare -- and if Ethiopia is unwilling or unable to make the commitment of forces and time to ensure the security and stability in Somalia, the interim government certainly is in no position to make the same guarantees.
What is shaping up is a battle in which the Ethiopians push the buffer back farther from their border, and carry out long-range strikes on Mogadishu in an effort to stem the flow of foreign weapons and fighters to the SICC as well as return the country's areas of control to their pre-June position. On the SICC side, there is now an open call for foreign fighters, both from Ethiopian rival Eritrea and from foreign jihadist fighters, something the SICC has flirted with, but will now seek without concern for international considerations. Earlier moves by the SICC to reshape itself as a political force with minimal religious goals are no longer valid, and the SICC is openly seeking foreign Islamist assistance.
This has the potential to create a shift in the dynamic of the international Islamist militancy. While Iraq has been the focal point of international recruiting and volunteering for Islamists seeking a place to fight for their cause, Somalia is shaping up as a new center for international fighters. This could begin to reduce the flow of fighters into Iraq and Afghanistan. But it also creates a location where Western forces are extremely unlikely to intervene, unlike the steady presence of U.S., NATO and allied forces in Afghanistan and Iraq.
With the interim government unable to fully control Somalia even with the assistance of Ethiopian forces, Somalia becomes a prime area for al Qaeda and other Islamist forces to train, rest and recruit -- something that neither Afghanistan nor Iraq currently provide beyond the realm of tactical battlefield training. This makes the conflict in Somalia extremely important for Washington, but history and current priorities make active involvement highly unlikely. Thus, Washington will offer increasing levels of support to the Ethiopian forces and attempt to revive the warlords in Somalia.
There is one more immediate concern for the United States. The conflict in Somalia is serving as a proxy war for Ethiopia and Eritrea. As it continues, direct fighting between Addis Ababa and Asmara could break out. And this raises security concerns for U.S. operations in the Horn of Africa, which are based out of Djibouti, squeezed between Eritrea, Ethiopia and Somalia.
Re: Horn of Africa (Somali, Ehtiopia and)
Reply #1 on:
December 26, 2006, 10:34:30 AM »
Interesting development indeed. What a fascinating twist of history, considering that Christianity is strong in Ethiopia. This conflict may become very important for the geopolitical situation. A victory against the radical Muslims on this battlefield could be very important for East-Africa, just as a loss would be devastating. As written in the article, it is important to keep AQ from installing there longterm. The call of the SICC for support of the global jihad must remain useless. An Ethiopia-Eritrea war could ruin all the efforts.
Last Edit: December 26, 2006, 10:36:02 AM by Quijote
"En un lugar de la Mancha, de cuyo nombre no quiero
acordarme, no ha mucho tiempo que viv?a un hidalgo de los de
lanza en astillero, adarga antigua, roc?n flaco y galgo corredor."
Re: Horn of Africa (Somali, Ehtiopia and)
Reply #2 on:
January 11, 2007, 04:33:23 AM »
By RALPH PETERS
January 10, 2007 -- WE'LL get you. No matter how long it takes, we'll get you. That's the message our special-operations forces just sent to al Qaeda fugitives in Somalia - and everywhere else.
With AC-130 gunships pounding terrorist hide-outs and training sites in the badlands near the Kenyan border, we may have nailed senior al Qaeda figures involved in bombing our embassies in Nairobi and Dar Es Salaam. At the very least, we killed some really bad hombres.
As always, terrorist propagandists will claim that only innocent civilians suffered, and media sympathizers will echo their nonsense. Fortunately, though, most pro-terrorist journalists and "human-rights advocates" are preoccupied just now with the awful mistreatment of poor, misunderstood Saddam Hussein.
And the devastation left behind by our gunships is only part of a very big U.S. win:
* Thanks to resolute military action by Ethiopia's government (quietly backed by Washington), the terror regime in Mogadishu crumbled overnight - collapsing the lie that extremist Islam is on the march to an inevitable victory.
* The speed of the Ethiopian advance cornered hundreds of hardcore Islamist fighters in a forlorn backwater, where they can be killed out of sight of their media defenders. And be killed they will.
* Islamist outrages and subversion inspired unprecedented cooperation between moderate Somalis, Ethiopians, Kenyans and Americans.
For its part, the Kenyan government grew sick of Somalia exporting hatred, weapons and terror. Now Kenyan troops have sealed their border so al Qaeda's agents can't escape.
* Far from being a growing threat - as America-haters insist - al Qaeda's on the run. Confident that they had a new refuge in Somalia, international terrorists instead find themselves scrambling to escape justice.
* Our special-ops forces are getting their revenge: After Army Rangers and Delta Force troops won a hands-down victory in the streets of Mogadishu back in 1993, President Bill Clinton sold them out (as the Pelosi-Reid Democrats threaten to do to our soldiers in Iraq on a greater scale). Now they're killing al Qaeda fanatics and their local allies with the full support of a new Somali government.
Much remains unresolved in Somalia - it won't turn into a quiet garden spot any year soon. But no amount of rationalizations by anti-American voices can disguise the fact that this has been a huge defeat for radical Islam and its terrorist vanguard: They're homeless again.
Fanatical dreams of re-establishing - and extending - the Muslim caliphate on the African continent are suddenly in shambles (although our enemies, from al Qaeda to the Saudi royal family, won't give up just yet). Far from impressing the world with its strength, extremist Islam just revealed its inherent weakness again: Average Muslims don't like it and won't defend it.
Yes, there's plenty of anti-Ethiopian emotion in the streets of Mogadishu today - but that's not the same as pro-Islamist sentiment.
As for al Qaeda's media pals, they'll try to play down the scope of this defeat, lying that only a few foreign terrorists were in Somalia. But even apart from the number of fanatics now lying dead in mango swamps, snake-ridden forests and scrubland, the psychological blow to al Qaeda has been huge: Mired in Iraq and hunkered down in remote rat-holes in Pakistan, Terror International, Inc. has been robbed of its biggest success story since 9/11.
The Islamists lost their vital beach-head in the Horn of Africa. Even Sudan, for all its villainy, is wary of associating with al Qaeda today (Khartoum has enough problems).
Of course, not all in the region is exactly as it seems on the surface. The do-it-in-the-dark boys - our military special-operations forces and CIA personnel - have been deeply involved in getting this one right. Joint Task Force Horn of Africa, the American regional headquarters in Djibouti, has been a consistently effective player, too, punching well above its weight. JTF-HOA is an economy-of-force operation that returns a huge strategic dividend on the taxpayer's investment.
We owe all of our engaged military and intelligence personnel - overt, covert and clandestine - a debt of thanks.
But the thanks won't be public. As always, our special operators will fade back into the strategic mist. Some may have been on the ground in Somalia throughout this operation, helping out with intelligence and targeting, nudging key actions along and hunting specific terrorists. The use of AC-130 gunships - incredibly effective weapons - against massed terrorists may have been cued by cell-phone intercepts, but I wouldn't discount brave Americans on the ground directing those airstrikes.
That's speculation, of course. But I can guarantee two things to Post readers: First, Somalia and the world are better off with the Islamists on the run and living in terror themselves, and, second, our special operations forces - from all of the services - are greater heroes than the history books or Hollywood films will ever be able to capture.
Whack 'em again, guys.
Ralph Peters is a retired Army officer and the author of "Never Quit The Fight."
Reply #3 on:
January 08, 2010, 10:10:02 AM »
Somalia: Government, Militia Group Joining Forces?
Stratfor Today » January 7, 2010 | 2134 GMT
ALI MUSA/AFP/Getty Images
Ahlu Sunna Waljamaca leader Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Muhieddin on Nov. 3, 2009Summary
Somali militia Ahlu Sunna Waljamaca has requested money, weapons and training from the Transitional Federal Government in its fight against Islamist insurgent group al Shabaab. If the government and Ahlu Sunna join forces, it could be a turning point in the fight against al Shabaab.
The spokesman for the Somali army said late Jan. 6 that the militia Ahlu Sunna Waljamaca has requested that the Mogadishu-based Transitional Federal Government (TFG) supply the group with weapons, training and financial assistance. The spokesman, Abdirazzaq Qaylow, also said that there is a possibility Ahlu Sunna will merge with the TFG.
The Somali government needs all the help it can get in its fight against al Shabaab, which is in firm control of Somalia’s southern regions and is a constant threat to central Somalia as well as the capital. Ahlu Sunna has been combating the Islamist group since late 2008 with the help of the Ethiopian government, but if it were to link up with the TFG as well, it could help shift the balance of power between the TFG and al Shabaab.
Ahlu Sunna is a militia established in the wake of the January 2009 Ethiopian withdrawal from Somalia as a way for Addis Ababa to contain the Islamist threat on its border. It operates predominately in the country’s central regions, especially Galguduud, Mudug and Hiran, with the occasional foray into the semi-autonomous region of Puntland and the southern region of Gedo. In recent days, al Shabaab and Ahlu Sunna have been engaged in a battle for control of the central Somali town of Dusamareb after al Shabaab attacked an Ahlu Sunna conference being held there. After initial reports that al Shabaab had taken the town, Ahlu Sunna reportedly drove al Shabaab to the outskirts.
(click image to enlarge)
The announcement by the Somali army came within the context of these recent clashes. Al Shabaab has always been a common enemy of Ahlu Sunna and the TFG, but the militia has fought against the Islamist group without much direct support from the Western-backed government in Mogadishu. Rather, Ahlu Sunna has relied on material and financial assistance from Ethiopia. (The group’s reputation as Addis Ababa’s lackeys is such that militia members often are referred to in Somali press reports as “Ethiopian soldiers.”)
The TFG has been attempting to co-opt Ahlu Sunna for some time, with Somali President Sharif Ahmed specifically calling on the group to join the government in November 2009 and the two sides signing a pact in December stating Ahlu Sunna’s intention to join the government. Should this relationship grow from one based on rhetoric and promises of future cooperation into something substantial — Ahlu Sunna reportedly wants ammunition and armored vehicles for its fight against al Shabaab — it could help the TFG weaken al Shabaab and shift their balance of power.
Since its failed attempt to take Mogadishu in May 2009, al Shabaab has maintained its ability to act as a thorn in the side of both the government and the roughly 5,400-strong African Union (AU) peacekeeping force deployed around the capital, demonstrating its capabilities with occasional suicide bombings in Mogadishu and mortar fire at government and AU positions.
While al Shabaab and anti-government nationalist group Hizbul Islam (which worked in concert during the May 2009 offensive) no longer cooperate as much, their relationship has not been completely severed despite a recent falling-out over control of the southern port city of Kismayo and a series of clashes in southern Somalia near the Kenyan border. Al Shabaab does not possess sufficient forces to topple the government on its own. According to STRATFOR sources, it has threatened certain elements of Hizbul Islam with death should the group refuse to fight alongside al Shabaab.
The TFG has wanted to go on an offensive for months to gain control over the country; Somali Prime Minister Omar Abdirashid Ali Sharmarke said Jan. 3 that this push will begin by the end of January. But with government forces not even in control of Mogadishu at the moment, Ahlu Sunna represents an excellent candidate in the eyes of the TFG for use as a proxy in battling al Shabaab in central Somalia and along the Ethiopian border.
Ahlu Sunna, in turn, sees an opportunity in linking up with the government, as there has been an uptick of pledges from foreign governments to increase the level of support and materiel given to Somalia in recent months. A merger with the TFG does not mean Ahlu Sunna would be brought under the umbrella of the TFG’s command structure; rather, the group simply would receive things like weapons, cash and training from the government.
While Ahlu Sunna’s publicly aligning itself with the government — which is run by former Islamists turned pro-West — could add to the perception that the group is a lackey for the West, any negative public relations most likely would be canceled out by the positive effects of what Ahlu Sunna would stand to gain: a share of the spoils of international aid being funneled to the Somali government, which is looking for friends wherever it can find them.
Stratfor: In search of stability in Somalia
Reply #4 on:
November 05, 2010, 11:58:56 AM »
Recognizing the continuing limitations of the Transitional Federal Government (TFG) in Somalia, the international community is exerting pressure on the government to reach some level of basic functionality. To do this requires a new approach to stability in the chaotic country, where political infighting has rendered the TFG dysfunctional and the leading Islamist insurgent group is capitalizing on the government’s misfortune. The two-pronged approach involves both political and military maneuvering, while the immediate task at hand is to reduce political tensions in Mogadishu.
On Oct. 31, the Somali parliament approved the appointment of Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed as the new prime minister of the struggling Transitional Federal Government (TFG) in Mogadishu. A response to pressure from the international community, the move is part of a new multi-pronged approach to stabilizing Somalia by creating space for Somali politicians and technocrats to deliver essential services in Mogadishu and reducing space for leading Islamist insurgent group al Shabaab, essentially isolating it in a geographic triangle in southern Somalia. The approach is a work in progress, however, and it is rife with spoilers.
Recognizing the continuing limitations of the TFG, the United States, Ethiopia and United Kingdom (among other European countries) are exerting pressure on the government to reach some level of basic functionality. Under the current administration of TFG President Sharif Ahmed, political infighting over patronage and job security has rendered the government unable to provide security or deliver jobs and public services. Al Shabaab has taken full advantage of the TFG’s failures by waging a propaganda campaign, trying to show that areas under its control have some basic level of security — however brutal it may be — while anarchy reigns in TFG-controlled areas.
The immediate task at hand for the United States and other countries with a vested interest in a stable Somalia is to bring at least a temporary end to TFG political infighting. The parliamentary approval of the new TFG prime minister is a move in this direction, at least within the Ahmed administration and between the administration and the rival TFG bloc led by parliamentary speaker Sharif Hassan. Mohamed will now be expected to form a new Cabinet, and outside pressure is being applied to reduce the size of the TFG Cabinet to fewer than 30 seats, with each presenting planning documents and basic budgets. Expectations for TFG performance are low; wanted at the very least is some progress in delivering basic services in Mogadishu.
Turf battles between the president and speaker are only part of the tensions within the TFG. Always a primary source of conflict is the distribution of power and patronage — the chief means of sustenance in the country — among the dominant and minor clans that make up Somali society. Another point of contention is the relationship between the TFG and its regional and international backers, without which the TFG would not exist. While some Somali politicians in Mogadishu want to achieve Somali objectives, this must be done in concert with outside stakeholders — neighboring countries as well as the United States — which are the driving force behind the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM), a regional U.N.-approved peacekeeping initiative.
In the event the Ahmed-led TFG fails to make even minimal gains in creating jobs and providing services, the United States and other outside stakeholders are considering an alternative administrative structure to the TFG, which has a mandate that expires in August 2011. This alternative structure is not yet worked out, but it may involve installing in Mogadishu a technocratic template that would have no political component and would be responsible only for delivering public services. (More about the security component below.) Instead of having a presidential administration and parliament that seem more interested in political perks than in governing, the government in Mogadishu would consist of administrative agencies with such duties as running schools and clinics and operating the seaport and airport. Distinguishing this structure from the TFG, however, will be difficult, since the successful delivery of jobs and services, not to mention security, will certainly have political ramifications.
To counter Somali critics who will complain that not having an arena for political debate would be unjust, the international community will emphasize the importance of political cooperation with the semi-autonomous regions of Somaliland and Puntland, which have political systems that are functioning and could be someday considered a model for southern Somalia. Political debate will not be taken away, just separated from the task of governance until Mogadishu can show some semblance of stability.
The Military Approach
While political and economic solutions in Mogadishu are being pursued, a military approach is also in play to provide the necessary security. There are several components to this, and U.S. restraint is being applied so the military strategy does not outrun the political strategy, which would risk a popular backlash against the notion that Somalia is being occupied by foreign aggressors. Al Shabaab and other Somali nationalists would be all too happy to take advantage of such a backlash to gain greater grassroots support for their insurgencies.
(click here to view interactive graphic)
The new military approach is similar to an offensive strategy floated in late 2009 that involved the same constellation of forces operating essentially in the same areas, although this time the idea is not to defeat al Shabaab, only to isolate the group in a triangular area of southern Somalia bounded by the towns of Kismayo, Baidoa and Marka. Currently, most of the peacekeepers in Somalia are AMISOM forces, numbering around 8,000 troops, drawn from Uganda and Burundi and deployed in Mogadishu. There is talk of boosting the force level to 20,000 troops, although STRATFOR sources say the true aim is to deploy a total of 12,000 to 13,000 troops and only in Mogadishu (AMISOM has dropped any pretense of planning to deploy troops to other towns and cities in central and southern Somalia). AMISOM calculates that such a force would be sufficient to displace al Shabaab from Mogadishu and confine it to its triangular stronghold in the south.
To help keep al Shabaab contained, Kenya would maintain a blocking position along its border with Somalia. There are still an estimated 3,000 ethnic-Somali Kenyans trained by the Kenyan army deployed on the Kenyan side of the border, fighters who are not expected to invade Somalia. In addition, there is the 1,500-strong Kenya Wildlife Service that was trained by the British, making it a special operations-capable force with expertise in “bush tracking” and the ability to capture any fleeing high-value targets.
Ethiopia also maintains its own forces and allied Somali militias along its border with Somalia. Operations by the Ahlu Sunnah Waljamaah militia and other district-level militias in central Somalia are meant to maintain a buffer that will contain al Shabaab in the area. At this point, neither the Ethiopians nor their proxies in central Somalia have pushed beyond this buffer zone to deploy deeper into al Shabaab territory. Ethiopian and U.S. political and security cooperation with Somaliland, Puntland and Galmudug is meant to constrain any al Shabaab movements north from Mogadishu.
U.S. military support in the region is meant to interdict al Shabaab’s supply chain by obtaining and sharing actionable intelligence with Somali, Kenyan and Ethiopian allies and striking high-value al Shabaab targets. U.S. forces operate mainly out of Camp Lemonier in Djibouti, with forward operating bases in Ethiopia and Kenya.
There is also a proposal by the African Union to establish an air and sea blockade against Somalia, specifically al Shabaab installations and most notably the port at Kismayo. However, no country has volunteered to participate in such a blockade, including South Africa, which has the largest and most capable navy on the continent and has been looked to for leadership in the proposed effort. STRATFOR sources report an overall lack of political will for what would surely be a difficult and complicated operation.
Spoilers to this dual-track political and military approach include Somali and regional actors. Somali politicians, including top TFG leaders, are driven now by a need for immediate survival. Knowing that their political careers could end by next August (once Somali politicians leave office their career prospects are essentially over), members of the TFG, including President Ahmed, are playing multiple sides against each other. Ahmed refuses to be beholden exclusively to Ethiopian paymasters and instead is accepting payoffs from regional interests, including Sudan and the United Arab Emirates. His recent power play to force the resignation of former Prime Minister Omar Abdirashid Ali Sharmarke, an ally of Speaker Hassan, was a move to reduce the influence of Ethiopia in the TFG (Hassan is an Ethiopian client).
While the approval of Mohamed as the new TFG prime minister created a temporary truce in the Mogadishu government, it also strengthened Ahmed’s hand at the expense of Ethiopia. Ahmed now relies more on a small group of Somali training clerics called the Ahlu Sheikhs, whose origin goes back to the Islamic Courts Union. Aware that Ahmed is not the client it thought he was, Ethiopia must now rely more on its proxy militias in central Somalia. This is not to say that Ethiopian influence in Mogadishu has waned. Ahmed (along with all other Somali politicians) knows his political and physical survival depends on a working accommodation with Ethiopia, which will never stop trying to protect its national security interests in Somalia, unlike other countries like Uganda that have only secondary interests in the country. Likewise, Addis Ababa cannot declare war on the TFG, even if it has little confidence in whoever occupies Villa Somalia. Ethiopia unilaterally occupied much of central and southern Somalia from late 2006 to early 2009 and engendered much grassroots opposition in the process. It would be futile for Ethiopia to repeat this exercise and much easier for it to work through proxies, although such a strategy is not foolproof.
Weakness is inherent in Somalia’s TFG, as is difficulty in selecting and implementing the right policies. In fact, there is no perfectly right policy that can be implemented in Somalia. There must always be compromise among groups of seemingly opposing political interests. The prime-ministerial reshuffle is meant to end the TFG infighting for the time being and is seen as only a temporary setback for Ethiopia. It also means Ahmed now has some breathing room — and no excuses — to deliver much-needed government services to the people of Mogadishu and deny the TFG’s growing grassroots public relations value to al Shabaab.
Read more: A Multi-pronged Approach to Stability in Somalia | STRATFOR
Re: Horn of Africa (Somali, Ehtiopia and)
Reply #5 on:
February 18, 2011, 11:46:04 AM »
Excellent stuff Guro Crafty. Thank you.
UAV strikes against al Shabaab
Reply #6 on:
September 26, 2011, 03:07:46 PM »
Dispatch: UAV Strikes Against al Shabaab
September 26, 2011 | 1751 GMT
Click on image below to watch video:
Analyst Mark Schroeder discusses the latest strategy to neutralize the transnational elements of al Shabaab by conducting unmanned aerial vehicle strikes against suspected terrorist training camps.
Editor’s Note: Transcripts are generated using speech-recognition technology. Therefore, STRATFOR cannot guarantee their complete accuracy.
9/11 and the Successful War
The United States is engaged in a multitrack approach in Somalia. One aspect of this engagement is a relentless effort to isolate and neutralize the internationalist terrorist element of the Somali jihadist group al Shabaab.
The United States conducted unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) strikes, otherwise known as drones or commonly known as Predators, in Somalia during Sept. 24 and this is the second weekend in a row that U.S. forces have carried out drone strikes in southern Somalia. What are being targeted are likely the training camps of the transnationalist jihadist faction of al Shabaab, and these training camps are found in the environs of Kismayo, that southern city in Somalia. And found in these training camps are leaders of this faction of al Shabaab, led by a couple of people, one Godane Abu Zubayr and another individual known commonly as al-Afghani.
What is also interesting to note is that there are not strikes going on against other factions of the Somali jihadist network, such as those led by Mukhtar Robow in the Bay and Bakool regions of Somalia or the other known group called Hizbul Islam, led by Sheikh Hassan Dahir Aweys in the greater Mogadishu area. These two factions are not being targeted. So clearly there are efforts to neutralize the most threatening terrorist elements of al Shabaab, but on the other hand to more reach out to or accommodate nationalist factions.
The Somali government, the Transitional Federal Government (TFG) seated in Mogadishu, is benefiting from a robust African Union peacekeeping force. Currently, the African Union has deployed 9,000 peacekeepers to Mogadishu, and this force is to be expanded by an additional 3,000 peacekeepers during the fourth quarter of this year. Now with these 12,000 peacekeepers that are to be deployed in Mogadishu, it really will consolidate the TFG’s footprint in the Somali capital.
The environs of Kismayo, that city in southern Somalia where the U.S. drone (UAV) strikes are taking place, this is the rear-guard area of the transnationalist camp of al Shabaab. Godane, al-Afghani, this is the area that these radicalist terrorists have retreated to following their withdraw from Mogadishu. And persistent airstrikes from drone (UAV) platforms are to eliminate these transnationalist leaders and to remove Somalia from the broader battlefield that al Qaeda can take advantage of for their campaign.
Al Shabaad claims bombing credit
Reply #7 on:
October 04, 2011, 08:15:24 PM »
In the Somali capital of Mogadishu today a suicide vehicle borne improvised explosive device, or VBIED, detonated in Mogadishu killing upwards of 100 bystanders. The Somali jihadist group al Shabaab claimed responsibility for that VBIED.
The VBIED in Mogadishu detonated inside a government compound and the bystanders that became casualties of that attack were waiting in line to apply for university scholarships abroad. Now, that al Shabaab claimed responsibility for this attack is interesting. In August al Shabaab had to withdraw its forces from Mogadishu and the loose alliance that comprised al Shabaab withdrew to their respective home areas or strongholds.
Now in the case of the transnationalist faction of al Shabaab led by a couple of individuals — on the one hand there’s al-Afghani; on the other hand there’s Godane Abu Zubayr — they pulled their insurgent forces back to the southern city of Kismayo, but a withdraw of insurgent forces from Mogadishu does not mean the defeat of al Shabaab or does not mean that al Shabaab cannot carry out attacks in Mogadishu.
Mogadishu is a very large and spread out city — its resident population is estimated at 2 million — and it’s a very chaotic city under little control of the security forces present there. There are about 9,000 African Union peacekeepers and a few thousand Somali government soldiers in Mogadishu, but these approximately 12,000 forces cannot effectively patrol, let alone secure, Mogadishu.
Now al Shabaab. Within this loose alliance, there are elements that are fighting for nationalist agenda aims, fighting for turf in Somalia, fighting for political recognition or political patronage. There are other internationalist elements of al Shabaab — the Godane faction, the al-Afghani faction — that want to create in Somalia an extension of the broader al Qaeda area of operation. And these jihadist elements of al Shabaab interact and cooperate with al Qaeda elements found elsewhere.
The al Shabaab transnationalist faction still has the full capability of using small unit tactics to carry out terrorist operations in Mogadishu, and they have stated this full intent to do so, espousing jihadist rhetoric despite the pullback from Mogadishu, that they will continue their fight against the Somali government. And so we should expect full well that this faction of al Shabaab will continue terrorist tactics in Mogadishu and elsewhere in southern Somalia to demonstrate their livelihood and their intent to remain a vanguard Somali jihadist group.
Foreign interventions and Jihadists in Somalia
Reply #8 on:
December 09, 2011, 08:42:21 AM »
Analyst Mark Schroeder discusses recent clashes in Mogadishu and the status of jihadists and foreign military forces in Somalia.
• Somalia: Al Shabaab Changes Its Name
African Union peacekeepers clashed Dec. 8 with Somali jihadists in Mogadishu. Fighting in the Somali capital is just one theater of conflict in the country, and while Somali insurgents have in recent days reportedly sent reinforcements from nearby Mogadishu to the capital in addition to reactivating fighters there, significant developments are also occurring in southern and central Somalia.
The African Union peacekeeping mission in Somalia, AMISOM, still comprises about 9,000 troops, drawn from Uganda and Burundi. Kenya’s government on Dec. 7 voted to integrate their forces, numbering perhaps 4,000, into the Somali mission. The Kenyan development is not, however, to mean a material change in the disposition of Kenyan forces, who in October launched an intervention in southern Somalia. Despite their intervention going on two months, the Kenyans have not progressed beyond occupying a buffer zone along their border with Somalia. The Kenyan troops are likely to remain maintaining a cordon across their border with Somalia, and not to redeploy to Mogadishu, or elsewhere in the country. The redesignation as an AMISOM element is more likely a strategic move by Nairobi for political and propaganda purposes, as well as to acquire donor funding for the cost of their intervention.
While the Kenyans try to hold down a cordon area along the southern Somali border, the Ethiopians are engaged in central Somalia making sure their cordon buffer is holding. Ethiopian forces are crossing back and forth to towns such as Beledweyne and Dusa Marreb to coordinate with pro-government Somali militia proxies.
Somali jihadists are thus facing hostile operations occurring in three parts of the country: the Kenyans in southern Somalia; the Ethiopians in central Somalia; and AMISOM in Mogadishu.
At this point, however, the forces hostile to the Somali jihadists are not converging. All three elements of foreign forces are operating within their respective zones and have not pushed beyond and into the heart of Somali jihadist territory.
Somali jihadists have not stood static amid hostile operations against them. The Somali fighters have, however, made moves that have entrenched their practical and ideological factions. While Al Shabaab transnationalist jihadists have made moves to reinforce their troop levels in their stronghold city of Kismayo, recruiting fresh youth and adult supporters from along the southern coast of Somalia, the nationalist factions days ago formed a new entity, called the Somali Islamic Emirate, to defend their strongholds in south-central Somalia against hostile forces. Led by former top Al Shabaab leaders, the new Somali Islamic Emirate, led by Sheikh Hassan Dahir Aweys and Mukhtar Robow abu Mansur, have adopted a tried and tested tactic of waging a propaganda campaign to rally new forces to defend Somalia against a perceived foreign-led aggression.
Somali jihadists are not likely to win back lost territory in Mogadishu, given that AMISOM, with its current troop level of 9,000, are likely to be reinforced when additional peacekeepers committed by countries like Djibouti and Sierra Leone arrive.
But Al Shabaab, and this means to include the new jihadist group known as the Somali Islamic Emirate, are likely to continue to demonstrate remarkable resilience at surviving amid concerted military efforts to defeat them. Al Shabaab, or the Somali Islamic Emirate, understand their military strengths and weaknesses: that guerilla warfare is their means to survive, and that declining battle, even if this means abandoning an urban stronghold – even a city as important to them as Kismayo – is what they will do in order to reorganize and renew their insurgency.
The longer that neighboring countries, such as Kenya and Ethiopia, intervene without achieving a breakpoint success, Somali jihadists of all stripes will be able to mobilize popular support, and use this to sustain their insurgency.
Gulf of Aden
Reply #9 on:
December 09, 2011, 01:46:17 PM »
The Gulf of Aden may be the most important body of water that no one seems to have heard of.
Re: Horn of Africa (Somali, Ehtiopia and)
Reply #10 on:
December 09, 2011, 03:06:41 PM »
What a coincidence that this forum began this thread five years ago!
Good data in that article BD.
A Taste of Hope in Somalia’s Battered Capital
Reply #11 on:
April 05, 2012, 06:23:12 PM »
"Up until a few weeks ago, all visitors who landed at Aden Abdulle International Airport in Mogadishu were handed a poorly copied, barely readable sheet that asked for name, address — and caliber of weapon.
No more. Now visitors get a bright yellow welcome card that has no mention of guns and several choices for reason of visit, including a new category: holiday."
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