Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Keeping up with Somalia

I'm not doing this daily because there is now too much news coming out of Somalia, even though the big papers still aren't giving it much coverage. But, as of my last post, we had conducted airstrikes to kill a suspect in the embassy bombing. Well, we missed.

None of the top three suspected terrorists in Somalia were killed in a U.S. airstrike this week, but Somalis with close ties to al Qaeda were killed, a senior U.S. official in the region said Thursday.

A day earlier, a Somali official had said a U.S. intelligence report had referred to the death of Fazul Abdullah Mohammed, one of the three senior al Qaeda members believed responsible for bombing U.S. embassies in East Africa. But U.S. and Ethiopian troops in southern Somalia were still pursuing the three, the U.S. official said Thursday on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak on the record.

Wait a minute. Again, I don't understand how this reporter isn't more critical of what this "senior U.S. official" is saying. We're conductin airstrikes against "suspected terrorists"? We haven't even figured out whether they actually are the guys or not and we're trying to kill them? Furthermore, we're killing people along with them who are "Somalis with close ties to al Qaeda"? Since when? Who are we talking about here? Three months ago, the US was still only saying that Aweys was ever involved with Al Qaeda, and they didn't say he even was a member, just that he was trained by them.

Let me quote myself here:

The US has long claimed the existence or influence of Al-Quaeda in Somalia. The supposed connection is through a group called Al-Ittihad al-Islami. If you follow that page down, the first link is to a State Department document on terrorist groups. If you read that document, it very briefly says that they believe that members of the group received training in Afghanistan (which is the basis for the Al-Quaeda connection) and that they know they get money and arms from international financiers. It does not tell us who these financiers are.

The former leader of Al-Ittihad al-Islamiya, Sheikh Hassan Dahir Aweys is now the "leader" of the ICU. He personally is supposed to have been trained in Afghanistan and his organization was supposedly funded by Osama Bin-Laden. Again, the evidence for this isn't outstanding, but it is possible.

No proof. Not even any evidence. The US government is telling us they're chasing after Al Qaeda, but they can't even prove Al Qaeda has a presence in Somalia, much less that the men they're killing are Al Qaeda. Forgetting that for now, what's even worse is that the US may have convinced Ethiopia to start this war, which means that all the blood is on our hands.

On December 4, General John Abizaid, the commander of US forces from the Middle East through Afghanistan, arrived in Addis Ababa to meet the Ethiopian prime minister, Meles Zenawi. Officially, the trip was a courtesy call to an ally. Three weeks later, however, Ethiopian forces crossed into Somalia in a war on its Islamist rulers, and this week the US launched air strikes against suspected al-Qaida operatives believed to be hiding among the fleeing Islamist fighters.
"The meeting was just the final handshake," said a former intelligence officer familiar with the region.

Washington and Addis Ababa may deny it, but the air strikes this week exposed close intelligence and military cooperation between Ethiopia and America, fuelled by mutual concern about the rise of Islamists in the chaos of Somalia.

So our government is lying to us again. Not even news anymore. But I just can't understand why more people aren't opposed to this whole mess in Somalia. We don't need to be there. They don't need or want us there. We're only creating more death and hatred in the world. Seems like we need to have MLK day every day until people actually learn the lesson.

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