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Media Decrys Somali Resistance To Al Qaeda

While our one party media decries the US’s alleged involvement in resisting them.

From the terrorist-lovers at Reuters:

Somalia Islamic militia members rest next to a truck carrying an anti aircraft gun that they have seized from the warlords.

Experts say US funding Somali warlords

By David Morgan

The United States has been funneling more than $100,000 a month to warlords battling Islamist militia in Somalia, according to a Somalia expert who has conferred with the groups in the country.

The U.S. operation, which former intelligence officials say is aimed at preventing emergence of rulers who could provide al Qaeda with a safe haven akin to Taliban-ruled Afghanistan, appeared to be seriously set back on Monday when an Islamic coalition claimed control of Mogadishu.

U.S. government officials refused to discuss any possible secret U.S. involvement in the strategically placed Horn of Africa state, which has been wrecked by years of fighting.

But former U.S. intelligence officials, speaking on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the subject, said an operation to support the warlords’ alliance appeared to involve both the CIA and U.S. military.

John Prendergast, who monitors Somalia for the think-tank International Crisis Group, said he learned during meetings with alliance members in Somalia that the CIA was financing the warlords with cash payments.

Prendergast estimated that CIA-operated flights into Somalia have been bringing in $100,000 to $150,000 per month for the warlords. The flights remain in Somalia for the day, he said, so that U.S. agents can confer with their allies.

The Bush administration has maintained a silence over allegations in recent months of a U.S. proxy war against Islamist radicalism in the country.

Pentagon spokesman Navy Lt. Commander Joe Carpenter reiterated the administration’s position that the United States stands ready to "disrupt the efforts of terrorists wherever they may be active."

SECRET SUPPORT

Claims of clandestine U.S. support for secular warlords who call themselves the "Alliance for the Restoration of Peace and Counter-Terrorism" have been aired by Somali President Abdullahi Yusuf and independent analysts.

A United Nations team charged with monitoring a U.N. arms embargo against Somalia has also said it is investigating an unnamed country’s clandestine support for the warlords alliance as a possible violation of the weapons ban.

The former intelligence officials said the operation was controlled by the Pentagon through U.S. Central Command’s Combined Joint Task Force for the Horn of Africa, a counterterrorism mission based in neighboring Djibouti established after the September 11, 2001 attacks.

On Monday, after months of fighting that has killed around 350 people, the Islamic militia claimed control of Mogadishu and a warlord militiaman said his coalition’s leaders were fleeing the capital.

U.S. intelligence has produced no conclusive evidence of an active al Qaeda presence in Somalia, experts said. But there have been reports of al Qaeda members in the country, including suspects in the 1998 U.S. embassy bombings in East Africa.

"The Pentagon, and now the U.S. government as a whole, is convinced these are elements for establishing a religious-based government like the Taliban, that could be exploited by al Qaeda," said a former intelligence official knowledgeable about U.S. courterterrorism activities.

The CIA has given its warlord allies surveillance equipment for tracking al Qaeda suspects and appeared to view the warlords as a counter to the influence of Afghanistan-trained Islamist militia leader Aden Hashi Aryo, Prendergast said.

"By circumventing the new government and going straight to individual warlords, the U.S. is perpetuating and even deepening Somalia’s fundamental problems, and compromising long-term efforts to combat extremism," Prendergast said.

Somalia, a country of 10 million people, has had no effective central authority since 1991 when warlords overthrew military dictator Mohamed Siad Barre. The central government is based temporarily in the town of Baidoa and has been unable to control events in Mogadishu.

Americans have bad memories of U.S. involvement in Somalia in 1993, when 18 U.S. soldiers were killed and 79 injured in a battle with guerrillas loyal to warlord Mohamed Farrah Aidid after entering the country to support a relief effort.

Of course we need to set our terms. Or rather, the terms Reuters and the rest of our one party media use.

"Warlords" are anyone who opposes the terrorists. And "experts" are anyone who takes the terrorists’ side.

But former U.S. intelligence officials, speaking on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the subject, said an operation to support the warlords’ alliance appeared to involve both the CIA and U.S. military.

These "former U.S. intelligence officials" are undoubtedly a collection of the usual America-hating frauds, like Larry Johnson, Ray McGovern, et al. If they exist at all.

There has never been any proof produced to suggest that the US is backing any such "warlords." Not that the US shouldn’t be backing anyone who fights the terrorists. But it’s far more likely that the terrorists are spreading this story to recruit more "freedom fighters."

Meanwhile, this minor story from the French AFP:

Somali Islamists seize capital after fierce battles with warlords

by Ali Musa Abdi

Somali Islamists claimed to have seized full control of Mogadishu after four months of bloody fighting with a US-backed warlord alliance and were set to impose Sharia law across the city.

Having captured nearly all of the lawless capital and a key warlord supply line on its northern outskirts at the weekend, the Islamists said they were cementing their authority over areas formerly held by the alliance.

Fighters loyal to the warlords could not be seen on the streets and many of their top commanders were said to have left Mogadishu amid signs any short-term attempt to re-take the city would be futile, according to witnesses.

In a statement read over local radio stations, the chairman of the city’s Joint Islamic Courts, Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed, said 15 years of warlord control of Mogadishu was over and urged residents to accept the new leadership.

"The Joint Islamic Courts are not interested in a continuation of hostilities and will fully implement peace and security after the change has been made by the victory of the people with the support of Allah," he said.

"The JIC will take care of the safety of the people and freedom of individuals and will eradicate any sort of hostilities brought about by inter-clan fighting," Ahmed said.

Senior court officials said preparations were being made to bring all of Mogadishu under Islamic law.

"The creation of new Islamic courts in the areas that were controlled by the warlords is expected very soon," one official told AFP on condition of anonymity.

At least 347 people have been killed and more than 1,500 wounded, many of them civilians, in fierce battles between the Islamists and the Alliance for the Restoration of Peace and Counter-Terrorism (ARPCT) since February.

The alliance was created that month with US support in a bid to curb the growing influence of Mogadishu’s 11 Islamic courts and hunt down extremists, including Al-Qaeda members they are accused of harboring.

The courts, which have repeatedly denied the charges, had declared a holy war against the ARCPT and denounced its funding by the United States, which clerics assailed as an "enemy of Islam."

Washington never publicly confirmed or denied its support for the alliance but US officials told AFP they had given the warlords money and intelligence help to rein in "creeping Talibanization" in Somalia.

The Horn of Africa nation was plunged into anarchy with the 1991 ouster of strongman Mohamed Siad Barre and analysts have long warned it could become a hotbed for radical Islam along the lines of Afghanistan.

After railing against US support for the warlords at rallies in which President George W. Bush was compared to a Nazi, Ahmed’s victory declaration on Monday appeared to contain the hint of an olive branch to his foes.

"We are not against any group and will deal with the outside world in a manner that takes the interests of our country and people into account first," he said.

The announcement came amid discussions about the handover of checkpoints, weapons and vehicles held by gunmen loyal to alliance members Musa Sudi Yalahow, Abdi Hassan Awale Qeydiid and Bashir Raghhe Shirar.

It was not immediately clear when the transfer would be complete although residents of the Mogadishu’s southern Daynile neighborhood, where the ARPCT was based, told AFP the handover began early.

In Daynile, fighters loyal to warlord Mohamed Afrah Qanyare, a founding ARPCT member, turned over about 25 machine-gun mounted pick-ups known as "battlewagons" or "technicals" to the Islamists, witnesses said.

Qanyare himself left the city on Sunday, apparently en route to Jowhar, about 90 kilometers (55 miles) north, when it became clear the Islamists were about to take control of the alliance’s main supply route, witnesses said.

Monday’s developments leave only one alliance member — warlord Mohammed Dhere who controls Jowhar — with any semblance of a fighting force, according to Somalia watchers.

A court official said all flights to and from the town had now been banned and the road closed to prevent Dhere from making any attempt to enter Mogadishu.

Qanyare had served as national security minister in Somalia’s largely powerless transitional government but was sacked from the cabinet, along with three other warlords, earlier Monday by prime minister Ali Mohamed Gedi.

In Baidoa, where Gedi’s government is temporarily based, the prime minister said he would open talks with those "who led the uprising against the warlords", accusing those he sacked of violating the law and the constitution.

Again, the AFP just asserts the charge of US involvement as if it were a fact.

But after all, what is more important? That radical Islamic terrorists have taken over a country, or that the US might be backing the handful of people who are trying to fight them?

This article was posted by Steve on Monday, June 5th, 2006. Comments are currently closed.

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