December 26, 2006

"The feelings are very bad, very confusing -- everywhere, it's confusing."

Mogadishu.

MORE: Here:
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 Islamist leaders refused, saying they would take their fight “everywhere,” which some people viewed as a veiled threat to expand the guerilla tactics and suicide bombs they have already used.

The fast-moving developments seem to confirm what United Nations officials and witnesses in Somalia have been saying since the fighting erupted a week ago: that 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.

Still, the conflict is hardly over. Thousands of people continue to march in the streets of Mogadishu, rallying behind the Islamists, and analysts are unanimous that an Ethiopian occupation of Mogadishu, a city thick with weapons and xenophobia, could become a bloodbath.

IN THE COMMENTS: Paco Wové writes:
"All this could have been averted," Prendergast said. "If the U.S..." {snip}

Ahh, yes. I knew it had to be all our fault somehow.

31 comments:

Paco Wové said...

"All this could have been averted," Prendergast said. "If the U.S..." {snip}

Ahh, yes. I knew it had to be all our fault somehow.

Anonymous said...

Typical Althousian nonsense. Prendergast didn't say anything like it was the fault of the US. He said if we had joined the talks that negotiations would have had a better chance.

But no way that Paco or Ann or any conservatard would ever know that, because conservatards hate having to look objectively at hard truths. And will "snip!" turn away when faced with any amount of criticism.

As Stanley Kurtz at the NRO noted, conservatards can't handle the truth, and so it's the media's fault
for Iraq because the media tried to give Kurtz the truth.


Think happy happy thoughts Ann.

Joe said...

Because we all know how well Islamists respond to talks and negotiations...
Islamists can't win pitched battles. They are only effective with terrorist tactics, ambushes and hiding among civilians. Cowards.

richard everett said...

"But no way that Paco or Ann or any conservatard would ever know that, because conservatards hate having to look objectively at hard truths. And will "snip!" turn away when faced with any amount of criticism."
Ah, yes, the chickendoves have arrived. This is what happens when you give two-year-olds a computer to play with. Never have a solution, just call names; too bad they can't be sent to their rooms w/o supper.

David said...

From the article:

Analysts said the current crisis stems from another failure of U.S. policy in an increasingly vulnerable region. "All this could have been averted," Prendergast said. "If the U.S. joined a serious diplomatic effort aimed at finding a compromise between Ethiopia and the Courts, negotiations could have had a much better chance. Once the serious punching has started, it's going to be increasingly difficult to stop this brawl."

Pendergrast is even stupider than the original partial qoute showed him to be.

Islamic terrorists do not negotiate - it is sharia or death. They have a mindset that is far more extreme than that of hard core communists - because as an islamic terrorist, you die, you get your virgins. With the communists, you were just food for worms.

Pogo said...

What do the islamists have to do before the Left will see that when they say 'Sharia or death', they mean exactly that?

It was no different in the 7th and 8th centuries than it is now.

Dave said...

Conservatard?

That ain't even that clever. At least Democrap has a nice ring to it and sounds vaguely like the word it is meant to derogate.

Talk about retarded.

PatCA said...

Actually, the US instigated the war, paco wove! Int’l Herald Trib

Blood for oil and all that. Fits quite nicely into the template narrative. Soon to be appearing on placards in NY, London and LA.

peter hoh said...

Reality Check gets a BARDY score of 9.2.

I'm sure someone can do better.

altoids1306 said...

Haha...Althouse, no matter what you say, you're a conservative to me. If you aren't part of the blame-America-first crowd, you are, almost by definition, conservative.

Whatever. If the US can't fight Islamism without CNN and Anderson Cooper anguishing on camera, then we'll let other nations fight them, off air, with much cruder implements of war. The UN can gesticulate all they want, their talk is worth nothing, as Iran well knows.

lws said...

The Post changed the article, removing the Prendergast quote?

Anonymous said...

Islamic terrorists do not negotiate - it is sharia or death. They have a mindset that is far more extreme than that of hard core communists - because as an islamic terrorist, you die, you get your virgins.

There is a small distinction here - the Islamic Courts were not all terrorists before the current fighting. The Courts administered a fair amount of the country, and the fighters were in a militia. Sure, an unknown (large?) percentage may have been terrorists before, or elsewhere, and they will likely resort to guerrila warfare now, but they are currently fighting for an unrecognized administration - not just an abstract ideal.

None of this is unexpected. The Islamic Courts had previously talked about having an outside force run Mogadishu, but used Ethiopians either as an excuse to kill talks, or a legitimate concern. Likewise, Ethiopia claims that the Islamic Courts want to control the areas where ethnic Somalis live in Eastern Ethiopia, also a real concern. The official government is as weak as can be, and the result is that most of the country will probably revert back into a patchwork of fiefdoms, some government-legitimized.

AJ Lynch said...

Looks like I missed a nice little Althouse skirmish today.

I hope the US military takes note and gets a BIG FRIGGING GREEN LIGHT to use the same amount of smashing force against the islamafaschotards in Iraq. So we can bring the troops home soon and victorious!

Bart Hall (Kansas, USA) said...

I have a good Ethiopian friend (very reliable source) who works regularly in Kenya. Some two months ago he warned me that the islamists in Somalia were going to make a move against eastern Ethiopia, including all of the Ogaden.

Ethiopia is about 45% muslim and 40% christian. The eastern parts have a higher proportion of muslims.

My friend said, in quite a neutral tone, that Somalian islamists' intention was to take over enough of eastern Ethiopia -- essentially up to the height of land east of the Rift Valley -- to allow them subsequently to attack Kenya from both the north and the east, in order to bring all of northeastern Kenya into the islamist power structure.

It appears as though Ethiopia chooses not to cooperate with the islamists' plan. Ethiopia may also be getting considerable tactical advice from some of our military people in Djibouti.

Tim said...

Bart,

Surely your Ethiopian friend is wrong. Everyone knows the Islamists are peace loving peoples without any interest in expansionist aggression against neighboring non-Muslim countries.

And by "everyone," I mean the congressional majorities and their voters.

lws said...

Tim, you forgot about journalists and academics.

john marzan said...

Ann, here's how to make the Paco Wove comment linkable.

Just add the letter "c" after "...html#", like "...confusing.html#c1167..."

Anonymous said...

Speaking of objective hard truths, can there be any question that reality check has a severely limited capacity for logic, reason, and reality. Some might suggest that is only to be expected from someone with the brain capacity of a rotting pea, but I submit it is more likely an objective hard truth that reality check's comments are just juvenile ejacualtions, albeit with tendencies towards infantile regression.

enuff said...

I suspect what we're about to witness is the quote-unquote international community, i.e., the UN, interfere, intervene and prevent both Ethiopian and TFG forces from prosecuting the war to it's full and logical conclusion. This type of premature action on the part of the UN is, of course, highly favorable for the Islamist's - especially in this type of warfare.

We, here in the US, talk a lot about preventing the spread and expansion of radical Islam, well then assisting the Ethiopian's and the TFG in putting an end to the ICU would not only establish a beach-head on the continent but would be an excellent place to start pushing back radical Islam’s spread.

Having worked in Africa and the Mid-East from the mid-60’s to mid-80’s, my recommendation would be to prevent the UN from any precipitant and premature action and not the Ethiopian’s. It won’t be pretty but it will get done.

Freder Frederson said...

I hope the US military takes note and gets a BIG FRIGGING GREEN LIGHT to use the same amount of smashing force against the islamafaschotards in Iraq. So we can bring the troops home soon and victorious!

Oh boy, Ethiopia can run over a rag-tag, loosely organized group of Somalian rebels with AK-47s and RPGs in traditional combat using armored vehicles and airpower (and most likely U.S. logistical support). What a stunning and surprising achievement!

If you think that means that Ethiopia has the means, capability, or will to install a stable government in Mogadishu or defeat the Islamists, you are sadly mistaken. If they stay in Somalia, they will get bogged down in a never-ending guerrilla war. I am sure that once they have made their point (stay out of Ethiopia) they will quickly withdraw. They are not nearly as stupid as us.

Paco Wové said...

The Post changed the article, removing the Prendergast quote?

Apparently so -- as of this morning, Mr. Prendergast has disappeared from the article entirely.

Bart Hall (Kansas, USA) said...

First of all, Mr. F, I'll bet the Ethiopians are carrying the 47s, too. In backwater fights it's a much better infantry weapon than the M-16. There were 47s in Nam that had been buried for a year that could fire off 30 rounds as if they'd been cleaned that morning [toth Hack].

Second, the logical / probable islamist move in this situation will come from Eritrea, which used to be northeastern Ethiopia back in the Commie days. Islamists took the coast away from Ethiopia. Don't be surprised to hear of an Eritrean drive south into Tigray province, which will be an attempt to relieve pressure in Somalia.

PatCA said...

The UN has lost no time calling for Ethiopia to surrender....er, calling for a cease fire. Are they at the UN all nakedly jihad sympathizers or just cowards?

UN calls for cease fire

BTW, do you ever get the feeling that print media read blog reaction and delete the most egregious propaganda from their stories, like the Prendergast quotes?

Alpha Liberal said...

I looked around on some news sites for more on what Prendergast had to say.

Apparently, the Bush - Cheney Administration supported the invasion of Somalia ? And, the "Bush can do no wrong" crowd reflexively deny wrongdoing? Knee jerk much?

Here's a better Prendergast quote:
"John Prendergast of the International Crisis Group, who worked on Africa issues in the Clinton National Security Council and State Department, called the current administration's policy "idiotic." Tacit U.S. support for Ethiopia's military incursion has "incalculably strengthened" the Courts' appeal to Somali nationalism and "made our counterterrorism agenda nearly impossible to implement," he said."

AJ Lynch said...

The International Crisis Group is a left/ liberal NGO and the WAPO article gives the impression Prendergrast is speaking for the USA in some official capacity.

In fact, he is just doing the old JohnKerry ropa dope about "how partnering with our Euro aliies and working thru the UN would have prevened this stuff".

Get a clue alpha liberal.

PatCA said...

You mean to say someone who is a Democrat from the Clinton administration thinks the current administration's approach is "idiotic"? Quell suprise! And that Ethiopia fighting back will draw more Islamists, grow more terrorists, and exacerbate a situation so confusing that not even he can fathom how to deal with it?

All that's missing is the quagmire charge. But that's for next week.

AJ Lynch said...

And here is the (oft-requested) link if anyone wants to visit the International Crisi Group website. You will note George Soros is on its Executive Committee.

[There must be a damn lucrative business that gets paid big money to come up with these official sounding NGO names. And many seem to be run by the same 100 or so people-sorta like the city of Philly.]

http://www.crisisgroup.org/home/index.cfm?id=1139&l=1

AJ Lynch said...

Patca:

You and I seem to notice the same obvious stuff but some young smart reporters and their editors look right past it. In fact, they run to these soundbite sources and embrace them.

Paco Wové said...

"support[ing] the invasion of Somalia" = "wrongdoing" ?

Balfegor said...

All things considered, if Ethiopia really routed the Islamic Courts Union that easily, in what seems to be a matter of days, it does look like the risks of unstable hellholes turning into stable havens for Islamic radicalism are a little overblown. We beat a humiliating retreat from Somalia over a decade ago, and as far as I can tell, only recently did the Islamic Courts start harbouring significant terrorist facilities (training camps and the like down in their power centres in the south). If they can get kicked out this easily, even those look pretty vulnerable. We ought to pay Ethiopia to blow those up too.

I am, though, a little surprised by these reports of Ethiopian military effectiveness. Only recently, they were involved in a protracted and bloody war with Eritrea in which Ethiopian tactics apparently consisted of sending waves of soldiers over the top to attack Eritrean trench fortifications. They lost something like 60,000-120,000 men that way. Ah well. Maybe they've been practicing on Ethiopias ethnic minorities again. Or maybe the ICU is just run by blithering idiots.

PatCA said...

Balfegor,
The US has been training the Ethiopian military for years for such an eventuality, as well as giving various types of aid to that country.

And, yes, it is easy to defeat them militarily at least. Look at Afghanistan. The Ethiopians do not wither at the first negative editorial in the NYT, however, and that's the big difference.

I'm sure the NGOs will start reporting soon on all their "abusive" tactics, but in the meantime they kicked the Islamic butts. If only we would have done the same in Iraq.