Merchant of Death
Money, Guns, Planes, and the Man Who Makes War Possible

Blood from Stones

Visit Douglas Farah's
author page at

Press Releases

Somalia and the Concept of Territoriality for Islamists
The situation is going from bad to worse in Somalia, as the Islamist leaders become more and more like the Taliban and less and less the moderates they pretended to be. A population beaten down by years of abuse and civil war welcomes the initial stability and removal of armed groups. Then the hammer comes down. Nuns are assassinated. Theaters closed, radios censored, dress codes imposed.

This matters on more than just a humanitarian level or from the vantage point of a spreading conflict in a region that is fragile at best. It is important to understand that Islamists view the holding of a territory, virtually any territory, as vital to the re-establishment of the Caliphate. It does not really matter where the banner is raised. It is more important to raise the banner.

This was clear in Afghanistan, when Azzam, backed by many leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood, agreed that the Afghan struggle took precedence over the Palestian struggle because it would give them an Islamist state. Lawrence Wright points this out in detail in "The Looming Tower."

It was true later when many in al Qaeda viewed the biggest loss, resulting from the 9-11 attacks, as the loss of the head of the Caliphate. This is not an abstract concept to Islamists. While the Shi'ia have their state in Iran, the Sunni Salafists have only the debauched states of the Arab Gulf, corrupt, flacid and abased before foreign powers.

This is why Somalia matters on a more fundamental level in the war on Islamists and their allies. I have been in meetings where the Islamist triumph in Somalia is dismisseed as unimportant because Somalia has no vital natural resources and is not viewed as being of strategic consequence for the United States. Neither did Afghanistan in 1996, when the Taliban rolled in.

There are several things wrong with that argument, but the main one is this: The establishment of the beginnings of a Caliphate is a huge psychological and real victory for Islamists. It is, by their own admission, a vital goal in the struggle to destroy the West, an intermediate step necessary to set up the anihilation of the non-Islamic world.

Assuming it is nothing more than an unpleasant and unimportant struggle in the hinterlands, of no strategic interest, is a serious mistake, being made now. We made the same mistake in Afghanistan, when we didn't know better. Now, they explain their strategy to us, and we still appear to have learned very little.
New Reports and Disturbing Responses
A Small but Important Step at the CIA
Maintained by Winter Tree Media, LLC