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Originally posted by TheBorg
What a shame it is that people don't understand tolerance. Such a simple concept, and yet it's been bred out of almost everyone, in favor of radicalism. No wonder the whole world's gone to pot.
Ethiopia's attacks against Islamic forces in Somalia may have delivered a short-term military victory, but analysts warned that a longer offensive could present the U.S. ally with some of the same challenges facing American forces in Iraq.
Airstrikes against the Somali capital, Mogadishu, and other towns Sunday and Monday demonstrated Ethiopia's military superiority over the Islamic forces that seized most of southern Somalia during the summer.
But Ethiopia would be hard-pressed to dispatch enough troops to capture and occupy Islamic-held areas of Somalia.
What my main problem is is when people get overly-zealous and start dragging dead bodies through streets. That, right there, is where I draw the line. It's just wrong in so many ways that I can't even begin to label them all.
I don't care who does it, they drag some dead person through the streets as a way to taunt someone else, they should die. That's a cold-hearted statement, I know, but I can't help feeling at least a little patriotic towards my poor soldiers that got dragged around.
After a six hour battle Raghe's forces had killed seven of Adan's men and captured the land and four of his gun trucks. The U.S. officials, at the airstrip just three miles away, wrongly concluded that they were under attack by Islamic terrorists and abruptly fled. Adan had no idea the Americans were nearby, but soon learned of it.
Adan travelled to Nairobi to reassure the Americans that the gunfight was about land, and to ask for his trucks back.
But over the next several weeks, in numerous discussions in person and on the phone, U.S. officials accused Abukar and his family of being terrorists, he said. "They said, 'You were ready to kill us.' . . . They said, 'Your file will be put in Washington, and you will be recorded as a terrorist group.' "
A third Somali, speaking on condition of anonymity, recounted a separate but similar conversation with a U.S. intelligence official who said of the officers at the airstrip on Jan. 13: "They were ambushed. This was a terrorist who was trying to kill American officers."
The Bush Administration couldn't let a terrorist attack go by unanswered, and so began funding regional warlords, including Raghe. These were some of the exact same warlords that killed American soldiers in 1993. Anti-Americanism, stoked by the Iraq War, intensified in Mogadishu. Warlords had been raping, robbing and killing for over a decade, and now they were being funded by the Bush Administration. Public opinion swung in favor of the islamic courts, which were originally created as a judicial system by regional businessmen, but gradually became a local police force, and even provided services such as education and health care.
But the country's Islamic leaders have written a letter to the United Nations, the Arab League, the African Union, the European Union and the U.S. State Department, as well as to various European and African embassies, that aims to allay those fears. In the four page letter obtained by TIME, signed by Sheikh Sherif Sheikh Ahmed, Chairman of the Islamic Courts Union in Mogadishu, the city's new bosses say they want to end the chaos and bloodshed in Somalia's capital, help rebuild the country and "establish a friendly relationship with the international community that is based on mutual respect and interest."
"We categorically deny and reject any accusation that we are harboring any terrorists or supporters of terrorism in the areas where the courts operate," the letter says. "We share no objectives, goals or methods with groups that sponsor or support terrorism. We have no foreign elements in our courts, and we are simply here because of the need of the community we serve."
MOGADISHU, Somalia: Heavy fighting broke out in central Somalia on Sunday, a day after the transitional government rejected a peace initiative with the country's Islamic movement, officials said.
Islamic militia captured the town of Bandiradley after claiming they came under attack from pro-government militia backed by Ethiopian troops near the border of the semiautonomous region of Puntland, one of the few areas still outside their control.
"The fighting is continuing and we are pursuing Puntland troops," Mohamed Mahmud Agaweyne, spokesman for the Islamic group in central Somalia, told The Associated Press by telephone. Sa'id Abdirahman Dakaweyne, a colonel with the Puntland militia, also confirmed the fighting.
Somalia government soldiers, joined by troops from neighbouring Ethiopia, advanced toward Somalia's capital yesterday as Islamic fighters dug in and promised a "new phase" in the war -- a chilling pronouncement from a movement that has threatened suicide attacks.
Somalia called on the Council of Islamic Courts militias, bloodied by a week of artillery attacks, to surrender and promised amnesty if they lay down their weapons.
As many as 1,000 people may have been killed and 3,000 wounded in the fighting, Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi said.
Clan leaders in Somalia's capital are considering supporting government forces that are poised to clash with Islamic forces.
Mogadishu, an Islamist held city, was buzzing with news of government soldiers approaching the city.
Islamic movement fighters in northern Mogadishu were spotted changing out of their uniforms into civilian clothes.
Originally posted by RedGolem
well this is something new. I did not really think the tables would be turned any time soon, but maby they are for the moment.
MOGADISHU, Somalia (Reuters) -- A top Somali Islamist leader said on Thursday that all Islamist forces had withdrawn from the capital Mogadishu.
Ethiopian-backed government troops rolled into the Somalia capital Mogadishu on Thursday, seizing the city that has been controlled by rival Islamists since June and opening a new chapter in the history of the anarchic Horn of Africa country.
Riding in tanks, armoured personnel carriers and 200 technicals - pickups mounted with machine guns - the troops came in without a fight as the Islamist forces had either fled the capital or rejoined clan militias that once ruled the capital.
The troops had been stationed some 15 kilometres outside the capital, awaiting the arrival of the transitional government's Prime Minister Ali Mohamed Gedi.
Leaders from Somalia's capital gathered Saturday where matters of importance are often debated and settled here: under the shade of a thorny aqab tree.
This one was at a bombed-out military barracks on the edge of Mogadishu, chosen because the guest of honor, President Abdullahi Yusuf, refuses to enter a notoriously dangerous city that until last week had been under the control of an Islamist alliance. "I will come to Mogadishu once everything is in place," he said.
Though most Islamist fighters fled Thursday when troops from Ethiopia and Somalia's transitional government advanced, so far the government is moving cautiously in finishing the pacification and occupation of the capital. Most government soldiers remain on the city outskirts. Only one government agency, the Interior Ministry, has moved back in.
Kismayu, Somalia: Somali government forces backed by Ethiopian troops, tanks and warplanes attacked Islamist fighters dug in for a last stand near a southern port town yesterday, witnesses said.
"Fighting has started here. We are on the outskirts of Jilib," lawmaker Abdirashid Hidig told Reuters by phone.
The Somalia Islamic Courts Council (SICC) had urged their fighters and locals to rally around Jilib and nearby port town of Kismayu after retreating south 300 km from Mogadishu. Many residents decided to run instead.
The latest fighting broke out in Helashid, 11 miles northwest of Jilib, the gateway to Kismayo, where an estimated 3,000 hardcore Islamic fighters were preparing for a bloody showdown.
Islamist commanders said their forces had retreated from the frontline in the outskirts of Jilib and were speeding to Kismayo, about 100 kilometres to the south.
A resident saw Islamist pick-up trucks mounted with machine guns speeding to Kismayo from the frontlines. "I saw more than 10 Islamist armed vehicles speeding through the town ... they were heading to Kismayo and they did not stop. They seem to have been defeated because they were retreating back to Kismayo," said resident Salah Mumin. "They are very few people left in the town. The Islamists have abandoned Jilib," he added.
Somalia's deputy defence minister, Salad Ali Jelle, said the joint government and Ethiopian forces on the ground outnumbered the Islamists in Jilib by more than two to one. "The Islamists are very weak now," Jelle said.
It is also a port town. That could also mean resupplies for either side or a way to escape.
Obviously, Kismayo, ~ is under special observation by the United States, which intends to tighten the net meant to capture those responsible for the US embassy bombings in Nairobi and Dar Es Salaam in 1998.
A C130 reconnaissance aircraft continuously overflies the city while on the horizon warships are thundering. No one believes that they will permit arms and fighters determined to go into combat for Islam to pass. It seems that the Americans and the Ethiopians intend to tighten the siege of Kismayo.
Gedi said he spoke Sunday to the U.S. ambassador in Kenya, Michael Ranneberger, about sealing the Kenyan border with Somalia to prevent the three terror suspects from escaping.
The U.S. government has a counterterrorism task force based in neighboring Djibouti and has been training Kenyan and Ethiopian forces to protect their borders. The U.S. Navy’s Fifth Fleet also has a maritime task force patrolling international waters off the Somali coast, which helps prevent terrorists from launching attacks or transporting personnel, weapons or other material, said fleet spokesman Commander Kevin Aandahl.
clan militias within Kismayo turned on the Islamists. That set off running gunbattles across the city, with several people reportedly killed. It also accelerated the exodus out of Kismayo, with thousands of residents hastily tossing a few things over their shoulders and joining the stream of people fleeing the fighting in southern Somalia.
Local support in Kismayo is evaporating, as it did last week in Mogadishu, Somalia’s capital, when clan elders decided that the Islamists were a losing cause and pulled their troops and weapons out of the movement.
Operation crushed Nuts
The Islamists are essentially cornered, hemmed in by the Indian Ocean, a sealed Kenyan border and thousands of troops headed their way. Their only route of escape may be to flee into the thickly forested area south of Kismayo, which Western intelligence officers suspect has been used before as a terrorist hide-out.
"Everything is out of control. Everyone has a gun, and gangs are looting everything now that the Islamists have left," Sheik Musa Salad, a businessman, said.
On Sunday, Islamic movement forces appeared to be digging in for battle in the forested area, and a leader of the movement in Kismaayo vowed to wage a relentless campaign against the Ethiopians, who are widely perceived in Somalia as invaders, not liberators.
"Even if we are defeated, we will start an insurgency," Ahmed Mohamed Islan told the Associated Press in Kismaayo. "We will kill every Somali that supports the government and the Ethiopians."
Yesterday they reported mortar and rocket fire near by. One resident, who asked not to be named, said: “Most of the mortars and rockets that have hit the town have fallen on deserted houses. I don’t know if there are any wounded.” Thousands of people, carrying food and water on their heads, fled the town as shelling began.
The Islamists say that they are prepared to reach a settlement with the Transitional Federal Government but only if their Ethiopian backers leave Somali soil.
The mood among Somali soldiers on the road into Mogadishu was uncompromising last night. One, speaking on condition of anonymity, said that there would be no deals or respite. “We hit them hard in lots of different places at the same time so they felt nowhere was safe and they had nowhere to run,” he said. “There’s no reason to change that now.”
Among the Islamic fighters are believed to be three al-Qaeda suspects wanted in the 1998 bombings of American embassies. The Government had hoped to catch them before they slipped out of the country.
The US has been asked to provide air and sea surveillance to prevent suspected extremists from escaping, Somali officials said.
Meanwhile, in a bid to maintain stability to the country, a battalion of Ugandan troops is being primed to move in as peacekeepers in a few days. Major Felix Kulayigye, a spokesman for Uganda's army, said 1,000 troops were ready. "We have one battalion prepared to go to Somalia immediately after they are cleared by the ministry of foreign affairs," he said