Somalia: Islamic Forces Unstoppable


June 16, 2006: The Islamic Courts do not control the majority of the guns in Somalia, but they have the largest mobile force (over a hundred pickup trucks, many with with heavy machine-guns mounted on the back), and can move about, overwhelming local militias one by one. The problem is, the mobile force cannot control the entire country at once. The eleven separate Islamic Courts organizations each represents a different warlord that has joined the Islamic Courts movement, and, at some risk, can choose to leave the organization as well. Right now, the Islamic Courts are riding high, for they bring with them some law and order. But some of the law is hard to take. No movies, TV or music, at least according to the more hard line Islamic Courts clerics. There is the beginning of a problem, as there is no uniformity in the Islamic Courts when it comes to enforcing Sharia (Islamic law). Somalia was never a Sharia kind of place, although there is a long history of armed clerics leading resistance to one invader or another. The longer the Islamic Courts control a large amount of territory, the greater the probability of the organization breaking up.

The UN is trying to establish negotiations with the Islamic Courts, who need the food aid supplied by the UN. The UN also opposes American aid to warlords who resist the Islamic Courts. That apparently also includes any American intervention. That could take the form of a few Special Forces teams, and one or two heavy bombers from Diego Garcia overhead. That would enable the anti-Islamic Court Somalis to go back on the offensive, after smart bombs had blasted the Islamic Courts vehicles. However, putting the warlords back in control would not do much for peace in Somalia, because the Islamic Courts have brought more law and order to the country than anyone has seen in fifteen years.

June 15, 2006: The Transitional Government approved a plan to invite in UN peacekeepers from Uganda and Sudan. The Islamic Courts rejected this, and assembled several hundred people for "mass demonstrations" in Mogadishu, mainly for the media, to protest the use of UN peacekeepers in Somalia. The Transitional Court managed to gather 125 of 199 members of the parliament (selected, after long negotiations, to represent all the major clans and warlords, but not the Islamic Courts.) The UN has not shown any enthusiasm for rounding up peacekeepers to serve in Somalia. Somalia's neighbors consider the Somalis out of control and dangerous.

June 14, 2006: The head of the Islamic Courts sent a letter to U.S. officials pledging to assist America in finding and arresting Islamic terrorists. That bit of good news is counterbalanced by the fact that there are eleven different Islamic Courts organizations, and each one has factions. There are many in the Islamic Courts movement who openly, or quietly, support Islamic terrorism. It's good the head guy of this loose organization comes down on Islamic terrorism, but he doesn't speak for all in the Islamic Courts movement.

Nearly a thousand Islamic Courts fighters moved north towards Jowhar, shot at the town for less than a day, then moved it. The warlord militias that had attempted to defend the town, 90 kilometers north of Mogadishu, fled instead. Thus there were only about 30 casualties in Jowhar. The only major town still controlled by warlords is Baidoa, which is 250 kilometers northwest of Mogadishu.




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