Crossfire War – TEHRAN WATCH – Northeast Africa Theatre: Tehran – Mogadishu/Addis Ababa – Baidoa; Somalia Islamist Government Declares “Holy War” Against Ethiopian Troops that Crossed into Somalia
Night Watch: BAIDOA – Mogadishu’s Islamic Courts Union government declared “holy war” on Ethiopian troops that have crossed into Somalia. Reuters reports that Sheikh Mukhtar Robow, a senior Islamist official in the government in charge of defense, said about 20 Ethiopian military vehicles crossed into Somaila at Dollow on Wednesday. Independent analysts suspect Addis Ababa may have sent as many as 5,000 troops into the country in an attempt to “crush” any effort to defeat the interim government of President Abdullahi Yusuf still based in Baidoa. [SWISSINFO]
John Prendergast of the International Crisis Group think-tank said, “The risk of full scale war increases by the day.” Addis Ababa characterized Mogadishu’s call for holy war as “foolish and cheap propaganda” designed to attract support from Muslim governments. Addis Ababa claims Mogadishu wants to control all of the country and destablize Ethiopia in the name of a “Greater Somalia” to justify their controlling the parts of Ethiopia inhabited by Somali speaking people.
Tehran and other Islamic governments, especially Khartoum, may answer the call just to see how successful the new government in Mogadishu can be in extending the Islamic world’s control over the strategic region of Northeast Africa. Without outside support the interim government could collaspe before the end of summer. Islamic leaders are hinting they could move on Baidoa at any moment and with new weapons.