Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Jihadis ousted from Somalia

Ethiopian military forces and troops belonging to the interim UN backed Somali government pushed the Islamic Courts jihadis out of their last stronghold in Somalia, the port of Kismayo.

Most of the survivors fled over the border to Kenya, although the Kenyan government quickly beefed up its border forces. Kenya deployed troops, armored vehicles and trucks with light weapons along its 400-mile border with Somalia and arrested ten jihadis at the border, including a number of foreign fighters.

Sea routes from southern Somalia were being patrolled by the U.S. Navy, and according to my sources US Special forces from our base Djibouti are on the ground seeking wanted al Qaeda figures who had been fighting and assisting the Islamic Courts,including Abdullah Fazul, from the Comoro Islands, Ali Saleh Nabhan, from Kenya, and Abu Taha al-Sudani, from Sudan.

Fazul is a fairly big fish. He had a major role in the 1998 US embassy bombings in Kenya and Tanzania, the 1996 Ethiopian Airline hijack in which 7 Israelis were murdered, the ramming of the USS Cole in Aden Harbor which killed 19 US seamen, and the 2002 coordinated air-missiles attacks on the Mombasa Paradise hotel and an Israeli Arkia airliner.

Fazul is also reportedly the liaison in contact with the al Qaeda networks in the Sinai Peninsula. His capture and interrogation would be a major coup.

You'll recall that I cast this as another in a series of US/Iran proxy wars, which is why the US Navy and Special Forces are involved. This time, Iran was definitely on the losing end.

The new Somali government has given Somalis a three day period to voluntarily surrender their arms to the government or be disarmed by force.

Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi told his parliament that would not stay in Somalia for much longer, calling on the international community to act quickly to send in peacekeepers to avoid a vacuum.

Withdrawing will not mean abandoning "the Somali government and its people's ongoing effort to stabilize peace in the country," Zenawi said. "We will stay in Somalia for a few weeks, maybe for two weeks."

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