Friday, June 02, 2006


In the United States mandated Global War On Terror, the fight to stop Islamic militants from seizing control of entire regions now sees the US not only engaging, but paying, and arming, some of the very same warlords who they once regarded as extremely hostile enemies.

From The UK Independent :

This is now the latest battleground in US's global, post-9/11 war on terror. Hundreds have been killed and wounded in the worst fighting in the country in 15 years as American-backed warlords engage Islamist militias in fierce house-to-house fighting in the capital.

There is little food or water. Those not trapped by the pulverising shelling are desperately trying to get out of the city, by foot, with younger men carrying the elderly and the infirm; by carts; or, for the precious few who can afford it, on battered buses and coaches straining with twice the load they were meant to carry.

The dead lie on the streets with people often afraid to move the bodies for fear of snipers. The wounded, some dug from under rubble, are taken to hospital by Mogadishu's unofficial ambulance service, wheelbarrows.

The US has set up the 2,000-strong Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa (CJTF-HOA) in neighbouring Djibouti to counter the Islamist threat. Human rights groups say armed gangs paid by Americans have abducted people. Some have turned up at Guantanamo Bay and the US base at Bagram in Afghanistan.

In Mogadishu, warlords are keen to talk about "foreign fighters". One, Muse Sudi Yalahow, said they have come mostly from neighbouring countries - Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania, and Sudan - and further afield, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and the Gulf states.

But the claims of al-Qa'ida presence, and the American method of dealing with it, has led to dissent within the administration and questions from European and African allies. Critics believe the warlords have significantly exaggerated the foreign fighters' scare to ensure the supply of money from Washington does not dry up. The reports of US involvement is said to be, in fact, counter-productive, enabling the Islamists to claim the anti-imperialist mantle.

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