Islamist have their back to sea in Ras Kamboni

AP/Houston Chronicle:

Somali troops backed by Ethiopians prepared to launch a major assault Friday on the last stronghold of Islamic movement militiamen. U.S. Navy warships were patrolling off the Somali coast to prevent the militiamen from escaping by sea.

The Somali and Ethiopian force captured a southern town near the Kenyan border Thursday evening. Col. Barre "Hirale" Aden Shire, the Somali defense minister, said Islamic militiamen were dug in with their backs to the sea at Ras Kamboni at the southernmost tip of Somalia.

"Today we will launch a massive assault on the Islamic courts militias. We will use infantry troops and fighter jets," said Shire, who left for the battle zone on Friday. "They have dug huge trenches around Ras Kamboni but have only two options: to drown in the sea or to fight and die."


Al-Qaida's deputy leader urged Somalia's Islamic militia to ambush and raid Ethiopian forces with land mines and suicide attacks, according to an Internet audiotape posted Friday.

"I speak to you today as the crusader Ethiopian invasion forces violate the soil of the beloved Muslim Somalia," Ayman al-Zawahri said in the audiotape. Ethiopia has a large Christian population.

"Launch ambushes, land mines, raids and suicidal combats until you consume them as the lions and eat their prey," al-Zawahri added.

In another AP report Zawahiri is reported as saying:


Al-Zawahri reminded the militants that the U.S. and United Nations were previously defeated in Somalia.

In 1992, a U.N. peacekeeping force, including U.S. troops, arrived in Somalia but the experiment in nation-building ended in 1993 when fighters loyal to a Somali clan leader shot down two U.S. Army Black Hawk helicopters and battled American troops, killing 18 servicemen.

"My brother Muslims in Somalia, don't be traumatized by America's force because you have defeated it previously with the support of Allah, and it is weaker today than before," al-Zawahri said in the audiotape.

The Telegraph says the US Navy is actually boarding vessels to search for the fleeing Islamist in the area. While Reuters reports that the Islamist are not a "spent" force as sheriff Buford T. Jester might say, "they are in a heap of trouble now." By retreating into a corner with their back to the sea, there have no place left to retreat to. Zawahiri's plea for suicide can be met by just staying in their trenches as a heavily armed forces attack their light infantry positions even if they are dug in. Their morale also has to be pretty low at this point after being routed in every "last stand" they have set for themselves.

Zawahiri is also delusional about the state of US forces too. He is looking at the political weakness policy of the Democrats and not the combat power of US forces. That is a huge mistake. In the so called "victories" in Somalia in the 90's the Islamist lost decisively and it was only the Democrats retreat that made it look like a loss.

The BBC reports that Somalia has put out an urgent call for UN "peace keepers." This is probably a bad deal for both. The Somalis will need to lock up their daughters to keep them safe from the "peace keepers" and the UN forces will have to dodge the bullets of the war lords and the Islamist that survived the latest war. The BBC graphic on the Ras Kamboni-Lamu Island area is helpful.

Bill Roggio also summarizes reports on the Ras Kamboni situation. He describes the place as an Islamic Courts training and communications hub.

The Centcom transcript of Zawahiri's remarks is here. What does it say about the quality of Zawahiri's rant that it is reproduced on the website of the command responsible for his destruction?


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