Crossfire War – Islamic Militia in Somali Prepares Last Stand – Jilib

Crossfire War – WASHINGTON WATCH – Northeast Africa Theatre – Indian Ocean Theatre: Washington – Djibouti – Addis Ababa – Mogadishu – Nairobi/Kismayo – Khartoum – Tehran; Islamic Militia Prepares Last Stand at Jilib 65 Miles North of Kismayo – Some Fighters Attempt to Flee into Kenya – By Sea – Nairobi Negotiations – U. S. Fifth Fleet Patrolling off Somali Coast

Night Watch: JILIB – AP reports that one of the deputy leaders of Tehran controlled Islamic terrorist group al-Qaeda, Ayman al-Zawahiri, in response to the defeats experienced by the Somali Islamic Courts Council (SICC) has issued a statement over the internet in which he “called on Somali Muslims and Muslims throughout the world to continue to fight against infidels and Crusaders.” The leader of the SICC, Sheik Sharif Sheik Ahmed announced from Kismayo, “I want to tell you that the Islamic courts are still alive and ready to fight against the enemy of Allah. We left Mogadishu in order to prevent bloodshed in the capital but that does not mean we lost the holy war against our enemies.” Knowing how death oriented Allah is I’m not surprised he is saying that. [ASHARQALAWSAT]

I suspect the real reason they pulled out of Mogadishu is because they and Tehran did not want them to be cut off there. Perhaps some of them can be withdrawn since they have now prepared a possible last stand in Jilib on the Indian Ocean, where the U. S. Fifth Fleet is patrolling right off the coast. Somali Prime Minister Mohamed Gedi, who just 10 days ago was encircled in Baidoa, has been in constant contact with Washington which has maintained an Allied base in Djibouti. Its counterterrorism command is being used to train Ethiopian and Kenyan security forces in the protection and control of their border. It is suspected some of the hardcore Islamic extremist may attempt to flee into Kenya or by boat to other countries. Washington believes that some of the Islamic agents that blew up the U. S. Embassies in Nairobi and Dar -es -Salaam in 1998 may have been based in Somalia. Washington’s serious regional support is the result of every government in Northeast Africa, whether Islamic or not, is aware that Tehran intended to use Mogadishu to not only control Somalia but to eventually have the same Islamic forces attack and overthrow other governments in the region.

Negotiations are now taking place in Nairobi to end the conflict but Prime Minister Gedi has stated any resistance by Islamic militias will be met with force. Islamic officials with the SICC, speaking on condition of anonymity, admitted that the foreign affairs chief of the SICC, Ibrahim Hassan Adow, is in Nairobi. Current reports are now saying Somali – Ethiopian units are 75 miles north of Jilib. One of the 2,000 residents leaving the city, Ilse Ali Ilwey, a father of six said, “The Islamic militia have told us they are committed to defend the town to the death. So we have no other option but to flee.” There are about 3,000 Islamic militia fighters left in the country, concentrated in its south along the coast near the Kenyan border.

The only Islamic government close to Tehran in the region is Khartoum which must be watching closely the rapid success Ethiopian troops, aircraft and armor, have accomplished in less than two weeks. It is not much different than the initial defeat of the Taliban in Afghanistan in November 2001. But enormous corruption in the Karzai administration and with reconstruction contracts enabled them to stage their comeback with their new popular support. If Mohamed Gedi avoids the mistakes of Karzai then Somalia can have its first stable government in more than 15 years. And it will help the entire region. We could be witnessing the beginning of improved relations between two of Africa’s oldest rivals, Ethiopia-Somalia, which fought two intense border wars in 1964 and 1977.

Willard Payne is an international affairs analyst who specializes in International Relations. A graduate of Western Illinois University with a concentration in East-West Trade and East-West Industrial Cooperation, he has been providing incisive analysis to NewsBlaze. He is the author of Imagery: The Day Before.