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I've been keenly interested in this issue for quite some time.  At first, it looked like the Islamic Courts Union were going to pull off something almost unprecedented in the modern era, an act of state formation.  They had put together sufficient popular legitimacy and military force to drive out the warlords, and to start acting like a competent government.  Heck, they even took care of the pirates that were capturing cargo liners and holding their crews for ransoms.

Unwilling to sanction an "unauthorized" act of state formation, the US had to stop it.  After all, we can't let the "Islamofascists" win.  Nor could we have an actual, legitimate government emerge in Africa, one not controlled by Western interests or post-colonial elites.  We had a good ally in Ethiopia, who was for fairly basic strategic reasons not too keen on the re-emergence of Somalia as a functioning society.

It seems like it's only a matter of time before Ethiopia will have to pull back - if we can't afford the Iraq war, they certainly can't afford a Somali war.    With any luck, the Somalis will be able to pick up the pieces afterwards, and hopefully we will let them.  

by Zwackus on Sun Apr 29th, 2007 at 07:02:43 AM EST
Can anyone tell me how accurate/likely the U.S.' accusation about links between the ICU and al-Qaeda are? Have they released any evidence to support the claim? And if there is a link, is it extensive?

The Heathlander
by heathlander on Sun Apr 29th, 2007 at 11:17:24 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Perhaps Interpol, the US State Department or the CIA?  Quite frankly, I'm not particularly interested in that issue since such allegations are usually pretexts for other (hidden) agendas.  After all, the US has no qualms about jumping in bed with Al Qaeda when it suits the gov't's ends.

"Beware of the man who does not talk, and the dog that does not bark." Cheyenne
by maracatu on Sun Apr 29th, 2007 at 01:38:51 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I don't really know, and as Maracatu said, I doubt anyone outside the ICU, Al Qaida, or the relevant intelligence agencies really knows for sure.

There have been claims that Al Qaida linked individuals were involved in the ICU, although in what capacity they were involved was either not said, or forgotten by me.  That may well be possible.  It seems probable that the ICU recieved money and support from a variety of international Islamic aid and support societies, most of which the US government views as either very suspicious, or as directly supportive of terrorism.

The thing is, even if Al Qaida was giving money to the ICU, it was money that was being spent in Somalia.  The ICU wasn't supporting terrorism outside of Somalia - they had enough on their hands in Somalia.

Who knows, though,  Maybe they would have turned into another Taliban-style supporter of Al Qaida and international jihad.  Maybe Al Qaida was hoping that some covert financial aid at the early stage would get them a foot in the door.

But which is worse?  Warlords governing over chaos?  Unceasing war?  Al Qaida bases?  I dunno.  Given the array of bad possibilities, in this situation I'd probably take my chances with the ICU.  Al Qaida could, if it so chose, operate in a lawless environment almost as well as it could with full state support, I reckon.

by Zwackus on Sun Apr 29th, 2007 at 09:12:03 PM EST
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