2008: About a hundred Islamic Courts Union (ICU) gunmen are wandering around
Somalia, making appearances and photo opportunities for whatever journalists
they can find. This crew calls itself Shabab. The government responded by
offering to negotiate with the ICU, or anyone else who was a player and willing
to talk. The Shabab and ICU said no to negotiations, as they were on a Mission
From God, and we all know how that works. The ICU, and the clans that support
them, have been driven out of Mogadishu, with several thousand clan members still
fleeing the city each week. The ICU leadership is now headquartered in Eritrea.
Most ICU gunmen have been driven out of Mogadishu (along with the clan
population they were a part of) and are now operating from wherever those
refugees ended up (refugee camps, or the homes of kinsmen throughout central
Somalia.) The ICU can keep up the violence going indefinitely, living off
plunder. This includes UN food aid, which is taken by groups of gunmen at will.
The UN wants peacekeepers to prevent this, but the UN has been unable to recruit
a large enough peacekeeper force. Few countries, even in the region, are
willing to risk their troops lives for chaotic Somalia.
The ICU related
fighting is only part of the violence in Somalia, which has always been the
case. Some 750 kilometers north of Mogadishu, tribes fought over real estate,
leaving about three dozen dead and wounded.
the north have released a Russian ocean going tug, seized last year, after a
$700,000 ransom was paid. In the south, NATO warships continue to escort UN
supply ships, which are bringing in food and other supplies for the ten percent
of the Somali population that are refugees.
2008: The target of the March 3rd cruise missile attack was Saleh
Ali Saleh Nabhan, an al Qaeda leader responsible for organizing attacks in East
Africa in 1998 and 2002. Nabhan has been using Somalia as a refuge for the last
decade. There have been at least four attempts to kill or capture Nabhan since
then, and all have failed.