Somali Islamist in quagmire?

NY Times:

Kismayo, one of the largest cities in Somalia, fell to Islamic forces without a shot on Monday — but then the trouble started.

After the city’s warlords fled and hundreds of Islamist fighters poured in, demonstrators took to the streets and hurled stones at the Islamists.

Islamist troops responded with machine guns, opening fire on the demonstrators and killing at least one teenage boy, witnesses said.

“We don’t want the Islamic courts!” the demonstrators yelled, referring to the Council of Islamic Somali Courts, the official name of the Islamic forces.

It was the latest episode of turmoil in a country notorious for it. The Islamist forces took over Mogadishu, Somalia’s capital, in June and have been expanding their reach ever since. The people of Mogadishu have by and large supported them, thankful for the stability they brought after 15 years of anarchy.

But apparently many in Kismayo did not feel the same way. Kismayo is a major port city on the southern Somali coast, not far from Kenya. It was ruled by warlords called the Jubba Valley Alliance, which had vowed to resist the Islamists.

On Sunday night, as hundreds of Islamist fighters in heavily armed vehicles encircled the city, the warlords fled and their militias evaporated behind them.


Apparently the warlords want to live to fight another day on ground and at a time of their choosing. What passes for the government of somalia has said that these events will lead to an al Qaaeda take over. That may be hyperbol intended to spur intervention in their losing efforts to fight the Islamist.


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