Ridiculous calls for cease fire as Ethopia and government forces are 15 miles from Mogadishu

NY Times:

Ethiopian-backed forces continued to beat back Islamist fighters in Somalia today, advancing to within 15 miles of Mogadishu, Somalia’s capital, as diplomatic pressure increased for the Ethiopians to pull out.

The African Union, which had supported Ethiopia’s incursion into Somalia, issued a statement that said, “We appeal for urgent support for the transitional government and the withdrawal of all troops and foreign elements from Somalia.”

The Arab League also weighed in today, calling for “an immediate and comprehensive cease-fire.”

But the fighting showed no signs of letting up. At dawn, troops of Somalia’s transitional government, backed up by Ethiopian troops, took over Jowhar, the last major town on the road to Mogadishu. It was the latest rout of the Islamists in fighting that began on Dec. 20 near Baidoa, the seat of the internationally recognized transitional government. Since then, the Islamists have lost just about every battle and have retreated toward their stronghold, Mogadishu.

Thousands of transitional government troops are now closing in on the seaside capital from two directions. The city is beginning to come unhinged. The ports and airports are closed, which has led to a shortage of just about everything, sending prices for food, medicine and fuel through the roof. A gallon of gas in Mogadishu now costs $8.

The young fighters of the Shebab, the backbone of the Islamists’ army, whose name comes from the Arabic word for youth, are deserting in droves.

“We can’t resist,” said Musa Abdullahi, 18, who quit his unit after half his comrades were cut down by Ethiopian helicopter gunships. “We thought this fighting would be like the others. It’s not.”


Ahmed Nur Bilal, a retired Somali National Army general, said the war had been a horrible miscalculation. What made him especially mad, he said, was the Islamists’ reliance on adolescent boys to do most of the fighting. One of the first things the Islamists did after the fighting started was to close all schools in Mogadishu to send more young people to the front. Witnesses to some of the battles said the teenage troops were no match for the better-trained, better-equipped Ethiopian-backed forces who summarily mowed them down.

“They’ve misled our children to their deaths,” Mr. Bilal said.

It is easy to understand why the Islamist would like a cease fire, but the calls from the multi lateralist are absolutely ridiculous. The whole world will be better off if the Islamist jihadis are defeated. A cease fire will only give the enemy a chance to catch his breath and continue to fight. If he wants a cease fire at this point his best option is to surrender. Cease firs are what has prolonged the Palestinian dispute with Israel and led to continuing bloodshed. It is time to let this issue be decided.

James Robbins notes:

Warfare in that part of the world is all about controlling the roads. Get a good road map of Somalia and you can easily trace the lines of operation. The Ethiopian and Somali government forces are advancing on the key crossroads of Balad and Afgoye. This will give them control of the two main lines of communication into Mogadishu. There is also a coastal road that they can command by sending a flying column southwest to the city of Merca, if they think they can do so without undue risk. This will place them in a very good bargaining position with the Somali clans in Mogadishu to negotiate turning the city back over to the government and driving out the unpopular Islamic Courts group, which has turned out to be every bit as radical as they promised they would be....
Robbins also believes that the Ethiopians and the government forces will not tie their hands with US type rules of engagements if they go into Mogadishu.

Gateway Pundit has reports from African media on the rout of the Islamist.


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