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: The Festering War That Will Not End
After the Islamic Courts Union (ICU) was driven from power in Somalia by Ethiopian troops 15 months ago, the region, and its ongoing turmoil, largely fell from public view and the the official policy agenda.

That is a serious mistake. As this BBC story shows, the radical Islamists have regrouped, have increased their ability to strike across the country, and are more formally allied with al Qaeda than in the past.

The most important of the Islamist groups now fighting is al Shabab (meaning "The Lads," in Somali), a group recently designated by the U.S. government as a terrorist entity.

The State Department statement on the designation said the following:

Al-Shabaab is a violent and brutal extremist group with a number of individuals affiliated with al-Qaida. Many of its senior leaders are believed to have trained and fought with al-Qaida in Afghanistan.

Al-Shabaab has used intimidation and violence to undermine the Somali government and threatened civil society activists working to bring about peace through political dialogue and reconciliation.

Al-Shabaab’s leader, Aden Hashi Ayrow, has ordered his fighters to attack African Union (AU) troops based in Mogadishu. Ayrow has also called for foreign fighters to join al-Shabaab in their fight in Somalia. Given the threat that al-Shabaab poses, the designation will raise awareness of al-Shabaab’s activities and help undercut the group’s ability to threaten targets in and destabilize the Horn of Africa region.

In fact, al Qaeda inspired fighters are moving into Somalia to join the war against an increasingly-unpopular government backed by outside forces viewed as occupiers. As in the past, the ICU can portray itself as the best option available in much of the country.

That is a damning commentary on the state of the internationally-backed government, which now presides over an entirely failed state facing an overwhelming humanitarian crisis.

One question often asked in counterinsurgency is what drives people to enlist in the _jihadist_ armies. There are, of course, many reasons and many steps in an individual's radicalization process.

But sometimes it might be, in part, as simple as that the radicals appear, at least for a time, to offer a better solution than the failed and corrupt governments that currently exist.

No one in Mogadishu has forgotten that under the ICU, for the first time in a decade, trash was picked up, the streets were safe to walk at night, and the nightly mortar battles were a thing of the past.

The current interim government, with no legitimacy and relying on an external power to prop it up, can make none of those claims. The Islamists will fully exploit the situation, just as fully as the outside world failed to exploit the brief time when most Somalis were glad to be rid of the ICU.
Geert Wilder's "Fitna" and the Need to Respond
The Danger of Exploiting the Border
Maintained by Winter Tree Media, LLC