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April 5, 2007

Somalia

Grapes of Wrath: America's Recipe for al-Qaeda's Victory

The US State Department Supports All But Somalis in Somalia

By Steve Schippert | April 5, 2007

It's 'The Other Spring Offensive.' In order to create an eastern toehold on the Horn of Africa and create an Islamist Crescent from Mogadishu to Morocco, al-Qaeda is recommitting to re-taking Somalia through their once-ousted Southern Garrison, the Islamic Courts Union. With al-Qaeda's clear and overt strategic aims on conquering Somalia, one would think that, at the very least, America's economic might would be employed to support Somalis practically begging for the tools to do the bulk of the fighting themselves on all fronts - militarily, governmentally and socially. Think again.

This week, I wrote an analytical commentary for FrontPage Magazine titled Do or Die in Somalia that looked at the situation on the ground there but, more importantly, also at America's inexplicably disengaged stance in a clear front-line battle with al-Qaeda. Given that al-Qaeda's goal is to destroy the UN-recognized Transitional Federal Government and replace it with an Islamist-run state governed by strict adherence to Shari'a law, this American disengagement is difficult to fathom. What the average American needs to know is simply this:

No matter one’s political views, it should be a source of national shame and utter embarrassment that the Islamic Courts Union fighters receive more arms, better equipment and far more funding from al-Qaeda than the Somali Transitional Federal Government receives from the United States.

Indeed, al-Qaeda leadership has made repeated calls recently for terrorist fighters and supporters to pour terrorist human resources, cash and weapons into Somalia for this fight from around the globe.

It is from this perspective that one must consider the latest story from the USA Today generously titled "U.S. tries new strategy with Somalia". The opening sentence is even more generous in terming US support.

CAMP LEMONIER, Djibouti — The United States is using surrogate nations and financial aid in an effort to prevent Somalia from slipping further into chaos as militias battle in Mogadishu, Somalia's capital.

The United States has vowed to support an African Union peacekeeping force arriving in Somalia and has trained elements of the Ethiopian army, which toppled Somalia's anti-American Islamic government.

Why can't the United States (read: State Department) 'vow to support' the Somali Transitional Federal Government who, unlike other theaters in the Long War, has wanted to both install a representative secular democratic system of government and fight al-Qaeda on their own soil? As one will clearly see, we choose instead to let the willing and almost able wither on the vine like forgotten grapes in a vineyard that sees too few of them to begin with.

The 'surrogate nations' are more accurately termed a willing Ethiopia, who is in al-Qaeda's sights as well and perhaps a 'Step 2' in their overall Horn of Africa terrorist grand strategy. It is not as if Ethiopia has no stake in the fight beyond American funding and training. Perhaps if they were more European they would be termed an ally, but I digress. Even still, fully two-thirds of the Ethiopian forces have withdrawn to Ethiopia.

The true pitfall in the USA Today opening line, and thus in the thrust of the entire article, is the suggestion that the United States is providing financial aid in the conflict. This implies much that is not there, principally the absence of any of that financial aid actually finding its way to the front-line TFG forces actively fighting al-Qaeda currently in and around Mogadishu. Somali TFG forces lack boots, training, pay and often even lack food.

If it was so critical that America chose to directly support driving the Islamic Court Union al-Qaeda franchise out of Somalia, why then do we now insist on turning our backs on those we helped liberate?

The USA Today talks about US aid in the effort, but fails to give an accounting. Here is the accounting: The US State Department committed $40 million. But $16 million was spent on the funding needed humanitarian aid in Somalia. The other $24 million is marked solely to underwrite the transportation and supply of an 8,000 man African Union 'peacekeeping' force. What's left is what goes to the Somali's trying to hold onto their country and create a functioning secular democratic government. Do the math. Zero.

What's worse, the African Union has only managed about 1,500 Ugandan troops fielded thus far. And the leadership of those forces have already begun to make non-engagement agreements with the most hostile local Mogadishu tribes. (UNIFIL in Africa, anyone?)

That, my friends, is what our State Department is bankrolling.

What sense is there in this?

Al-Qaeda has declared a jihad in and on Somalia since being driven out. They are returning now and making good on their promise to unleash "an Iraq-style insurgency" seeking the TFG's destruction. Millions are available for the al-Qaeda mission. They are better trained, better armed (try night vision goggles, for size) and inexplicably more financially supported than the TFG forces we left the country to...without any direct financial support.

So when you read stories about American support in the Horn of Africa and in Somalia, look for actual numbers and do the math. Try these numbers:

1.) Ethiopian Forces are already down to one-third strength.
2.) AU 'peacekeeping' forces are stalled at a disengaged 1,500.
3.) al-Qaeda is streaming back with a call to jihad.
4.) al-Qaeda is streaming back with untold millions in support.
5.) The Somali TFG has nothing and receives less.

Not sure what the Vegas line is, but Spring Offensive is the game.

Again, do the math. It's not exactly trigonometry.

There is one clear choice for the future of Somalia going forward. With proper American support, a secular and democratic Somalia with local clan representation at district, regional and federal government levels will emerge. With proper American support, Somalis will fight to achieve this and defeat the emerging al-Qaeda insurgency and save their own lands. Without proper American support, Somalia will with certainty succumb to al-Qaeda-aligned Islamists and become another Islamic State, complete with terrorist safe haven and a repressed people.

Shame on us. Don't call your bookie. Call the US Department of State.

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