Friday, December 29, 2006

Victory in Somalia and Lessons from the War

It seems not so long ago that Somalia was doomed. But like many predictions by Catholicgauze this has not been the case!

On December 20th the Islamic Courts Union attacked the last remaining stronghold of the internationally recognized Somalian government at Baidoa. Soon Ethiopian forces came in with American technology and training and turned the tide of battle. The Islamists were defeated on December 26. By December 28 Ethiopian troops stepped aside as the government retook the capital city of Mogadishu.

Islamic Courts Union officials have resigned while die-hards have retreated for their last stand at Kismayo. The Ethiopian government has vowed to hunt down and destroy any remaining threat to Ethiopian and expects military victory by the end of next week.

The similarities to Afghanistan are plentiful. Both the Taliban and Islamic Courts Union believed Shria (Islamic law) was the answer to all the fighting. Both groups came from an urban area with a tribal/rural culture. Each side managed to blitz their way across the country but only controlled a few key areas. The rest of the territory was controlled by allying with or forcing other tribes to become part of a network. Once tide turned against the Islamists their nominal tribal allies were destroyed or, in most cases, switched sides.

Ethiopia won because they followed America's Afghanistan model. Find out who your enemy is (Taliban/Islamic Court Union), find out who opposes them (Northern Alliance/Government), destroy your enemy and let those who oppose them take control right away. This is the way to fight and win the War on Terrorism.

In Iraq America has followed multiple strategies with varying degrees of success. In Kurdistan the Kurds were allowed to run their own government under the Afghanistan model and that area has been quite. In the south the British have managed to keep peace while battling death squads which come from the problem of Iraq- the center. In the center the US and Allied forces have fought against Sunni terrorists all the while trying to negotiate with Sunni terrorists not allied with al Qaeda. Meanwhile Coalition forces have battled against al Sadr's militas while taking no steps to remove the leadership of the gang. All this while trying to get two sides to form unnatural unity governments.

Maybe Iraq would be better off if we went strictly with the Afghanistan model, maybe not. Too much of life is "If they would only heard me out." What should be done is learn how Ethiopia has defeated a common enemy.

11 comments:

Jamieson Graham Dahl said...

I think declaring victory is rather premature. For one thing, the TFG is engaging in revenge killings and just locked the whole country down for 3 months of martial law. Ethiopia has to leave very soon due to international pressure, and the core of the ICU military forces is still intact.

The government has started rounding up and killing religious leaders who supported the ICU, as well as soldiers who chose not to defect to their side, and have conveyed their intention to forcibly disarm the militias of the "pro ICU" clans.

The genie is out of the bottle, and I think the west just realised that it was another Saddam Hussein they were supporting. Let me just say that if they had nerve gas, they'd be using it.

Catholicgauze said...

Jamieson,
Thanks for commenting. I have seen your blog where you do post about Somalia yet you do not provide citations of any sort.
Actual government forces are small and rely on network support. Killing unallied clans makes no sense. Can you please provide citations. In fact, Mogadishu clans (who were forced into the ICU) have opened the gates for the government. They hope the government will help them in recognizing them as the superior clan. This directly contradicts you.
Another thing, Ethiopia is not a European country, they do not care about a mandate nor should they for defending themselves from a group which vowed war against them [1]

[1]http://www.guardian.co.uk/worldlatest/story/0,,-6299523,00.html

Jamieson Graham Dahl said...

The withdrawl:
http://www.shabelle.net/news/ne1956.htm

The entry of the Ethiopians:
http://www.shabelle.net/news/ne1959.htm

Mogadishu residents have cheered for every invading force that has taken their city, from the Italians to the Ethiopians, it is their way of avoiding reprisals.

Martial law:
http://www.somalinet.com/news/world/Somalia/6295
http://www.shabelle.net/news/ne1960.htm

Warlord returns:
http://www.somalinet.com/news/world/Somalia/6298

Protests begin:
http://www.somalinet.com/news/world/Somalia/6301

Catholicgauze said...

Jamieson,
None of your sources cite your claims of killing religious leaders or execution of "soldiers who chose not to defect to their side."

Catholicgauze said...

[continuation]

Nowhere do any of these sources cite anything in contention.

Jamieson Graham Dahl said...

My sources for the killings have been family members of Somalis in Mogadishu. If reports ever leak out I'll let you know. The media has been strictly controlled in the war by both sides, especially regarding the revenge killings, and accurate information is proving hard to come by.

Catholicgauze said...

"My sources for the killings have been family members of Somalis in Mogadishu. If reports ever leak out I'll let you know."

Odd, with BBC and others all over the place. Either way I look forward to the day when a source that confirm. Maybe your source should contact their local reporter...

Eddie said...

This is Somalia... anything is believable! Especially now with the only stabilizing force in decades gone... The Ethiopian government has a human rights record that only (among African nations) Zimbabwe, Nigeria and Sudan can claim higher death tolls for....

Catholicgauze said...

I'm questioning what he means by "government." I highly doubt the Somalia government has the desire to do what he describes (it forming a network). "Soldiers" is a very specific term which differs from militia men. The lack of sourcing anywhere doesn't help.

Hoodlum said...

Wow, the Islamist threat is not that bad. Seriously, when you get beat by Ethopia, a nation even the Italians managed to defeat, you are weak.

Catholicgauze said...

Hoodlum,
Don't forget aide given by the US Navy and special forces http://www.debka.com/headline.php?hid=3690

You do know military and strength can change since pre-WWII days, right?