UN Somali “Surge” vs. Al Shabab Expansion
In a worrying sign for the powers that be in the west the Somali national resistance under the umbrella of Al Shabab has made its first major breakthrough in the northern region of Somalia by bringing into its folds the Islamic Resistance in Puntland. With Al Shabab this past year having unified all the major resistance movement in central and southern Somalia and with talks ongoing between Al Shabab and the reunification movement in the very most northern region of Somaliland it should come as no surprise that the only real news coming out of the World Conference on Somalia recently convened in London would be the announcement of another military “surge” in Somalia, this time of over 50% to almost 20,000 “peacekeepers”.
Like it says in the West Point manuals, when you start losing ( i.e. the insurgents are getting stronger) “send in the Cavalry” as in double your troop strength, which is what has happened this past year with the UN/AU “peacekeepers” in Mogadishu going from 8,000 to almost 20,000. And this doesn't count the hundreds of tanks and heavy artillery as well as the dozens of helicopter gun ships flying over head protection this “surge” includes.
With lightly armed Al Shabab, ie rifles, machine guns and rocket propelled grenades having to give ground and hit and run the insurgency has entered the strategic stalemate stage with neither side being able to defeat the other.
The problem for the west is that Al Shabab continues to unite more and more Somalis and expand its base of operations. Once it can mount serious attacks in all areas of the former nation of Somalia at once watch out AU, watch out UN, watch out Ethiopia and especially watch out USA next door in AFRICOM's major new base in Djibouti.
The Somali people have long been a fiercely independent lot and will never accept a foreign occupation be it 20,000 UN/AU troops or 50,000 Ethiopian troops before that.
Al Shabab has spent the last year ending all of the fighting between the various central and southern resistance fighters, with even the “moderates” in the former Union of Islamic Courts (UIC)/Alliance for the Reliberation of Somalia (ARS) removing their white scholars scarfs and replacing them with Al Shabab red.
Now with Al Shabab's breakthrough in the northern Puntland region it seems the resistance to the western backed military occupation based in Mogadishu has become an even more serious problem for the west and its vassals at the UN/AU, and more “surge” is the order of the day.
“Quagmire”? Kenya has certainly learned it the hard way, invading southern Somali for the first time in Kenyan history last October. All the braggadocio of the Kenyan Army has gone up in smoke as the attempt to capture the Al Shabab lifeline port of Kismayo has been an utter failure.
Today the several thousand Kenyan troops occupying southern Somalia are stuck in the mud, unable to advance and with a daily increase in small scale attacks on their supply lines, finding it hard to stay where they are.
Damn those Al Shabab!, and Damn all those ungrateful Somalis! has become the west's not so silent lament, no matter the bluff and bluster spewed by Hillary Clinton in London with her regional mafioso chief Meles Zenawi of Ethiopia at her side.
The western “War on Terror” can surge in Somalia to 100,000 AU troops, the lesson never learned is you cannot defeat an entire people. With Al Shabab slowly but steadily spreading its wings south to north across Somalia no cries of “freedom and democracy” can hide the fact that “peacekeepers” and their puppets will one day have to make their escape from Somalia and then what is the west going to do with an Islamic government in power right smack in the middle of the Horn of Africa?
Thomas C. Mountain is the only independent western journalist in the Horn of Africa, living and reporting from Eritrea since 2006. He can be reached at thomascmountain at yahoo dot com.
Disclaimer: "The views/contents expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of Thomas C. Mountain and do not neccessarily reflect those of Modern Ghana.