The Islamist retreat in Somalia

NY Times:

Islamist forces in Somalia beat a hasty retreat today to their stronghold in Mogadishu, Somalia’s battle-scared capital, crumbling faster than anyone expected after a week of attacks by Ethiopian forces.

Burhakaba, a large inland city, fell first, followed by Dinsoor, not far away, and then Bulo Burto, where just a few weeks ago the Islamists in charge were threatening to behead people who did not pray.

The Islamist fighters, who had seemed invincible after taking Mogadishu in June, now seem powerless to stop the steady advance of the Ethiopian-backed forces of the transitional government.

By this afternoon, the transitional government troops were within 60 miles of Mogadishu and calling for the Islamists to surrender....

... the young forces of the Islamists, however religiously inspired, were no match for the better trained, better equipped Ethiopian-backed troops who have tanks and fighter jets.


Witnesses reported that Ethiopian fighter jets and helicopter gunships were firing missiles at the retreating Islamist pickup trucks, easy targets in the open desert.

In Mogadishu, the Islamists began fortifying the airport, radio station and other key buildings, preparing for a siege.


On Tuesday, there were reports that American surveillance planes were spotted in the skies above Somalia and may be funneling battlefield intelligence to Ethiopian forces.

When asked about this, Major Kelley Thibodeau, spokeswoman for the task force of American military personnel based in nearby Djibouti, responded, “I am not at liberty to discuss that.”

There are more than 100 American soldiers in Ethiopia helping train Ethiopia troops. But Major Thibodeau said “Officially, we haven’t put anybody in Somalia. The Americans don’t go forward with the Ethiopians. They are training Ethiopians in Ethiopia.”

As the situation in Somalia began to shift, it seemed that the Islamists may have overplayed their hand....


With warplanes and tanks, the Ethiopian military pushed deep into Somalia and began uprooting the Islamists from their positions....

Overplaying weak hand is usually disastrous and it certainly was in this case. It is really not all that surprising. When religious fanatics think god is on their side they tend to make foolish decisions. Al Qaeda number two, Zawahiri has not been reached for comment and has scheduled no media availability to explain the debacle.


Popular posts from this blog

Should Republicans go ahead and add Supreme Court Justices to head off Democrats

29 % of companies say they are unlikely to keep insurance after Obamacare

Bin Laden's concern about Zarqawi's remains