Come on, guys. Provoking one civil war (okay, I'll be fair--triggering one civil war) isn't enough for you? Now the US Navy has imposed at least a partial blockade of the Somalian coast to prevent members of the Union of Islamic Courts faction from escaping.
Sean McCormack of the State Department had this to say:
"We would be concerned that no leaders who were members of the Islamic Courts which have ties to terrorist organisations including al-Qaeda are allowed to flee and leave Somalia."
Now there's a lot of ambiguity in that statement, actually, but I think it does show that we have almost completely adopted the Ethiopian line in this war. We won't actually declare war, but we will put Americans at risk in a conflict that we haven't voted to enter. Unofficial war is so thrilling, in any case.
I have no great love for the UIC, but I will say this--they united Somalia when few have been able to. As far as the terrorist line, I'll admit that there is a jihad going on, right now, in Somalia. Or one was going on, before the Ethiopians won. But jihad is not always terror and not all mujahideen are terrorists. When a Muslim country is invaded by a Christian one--and Ethiopia's secularism doesn't have the history of America's--a jihad will be declared, as sure as Christians would invoke and have invoked God in kicking invaders out of their own countries.
But I don't really care about rhetoric. Whatever gets the people to join the army, right?
The fact is that America's fucking up in Iraq, we couldn't help in Somalia without leveling the place, we've got trouble with Iran, an increasingly emboldened North Korea, and we've decided to take sides in a conflict that isn't our own and which doesn't much concern us. And anyone who sees this as containment embodies, more than they know, the teaching about generals preparing for the last war. Islamic fanaticism, like all terror today, can't be contained without spreading through civilian populations more quickly than before. And terrorism suffers when political stability is achieved--even under bad governments.
At this point, Somalia is lost to the UIC. Where would these people go? Perhaps back to the countries who funded and assisted them, where they may raise a little trouble. But nothing is really going to change, because the Islamist exiles won't go where there aren't likeminded elites with a lot of cash. And as far as Somalia, well, that's a country full of Muslims who have very little, or nothing, and the movement will start with or without the fighters and leaders of the UIC. So why is our navy out, again?
Oh yeah--probably to make a show to our pundits stateside and also to send another fuck-you to the conservative Islamic world with very little to show for it. We won't pay for it soon.
Oh, if only Sharif Ahmed was the leader of the Republic of China. Maybe we could set him up on a nice disputed island and arm him, but not enough to actually do any good. Has this ever been a functional strategy?