Sunday, December 24, 2006

The war spreads....

From Douglas Farah over at Counter Terrorism blog here:
The spread of this war is by design, not accident. In his statement earlier this week (as translated by Laura Mansfieldal Qaeda leader Ayman Zawahiri went out of his way to signal support for the Islamist movement in Somalia, saying “Brothers in Islam and jihad in Somalia, know that you are the southern garrison of Islam, so don’t allow Islam to be attacked from your flank and know that we are with you and the entire Muslim Umah is with you.”

The conflict is designed not only to establish a space that can be defined as the beginning of the Islamist Caliphate, a necessary physical space from which to launch succeeding holy wars against the unbelievers. It is also aimed at creating widespread instability in a fragile region in East Africa, rich in mineral resources with weak and corrupt central governments.

Osama bin Laden has spoken in the past of the need to open a “third front” with a ground war that will bleed the U.S. military dry. He has argued that the al Qaeda front in Iraq, coupled with the front in Afghanistan/Pakistan, has stretched the U.S. military to its limits. A third front would make triumph in the other two more likely.

The stark disinterest of the United States and most European powers, or serious efforts by other African nations to face the consequences of an Islamist triumph in Somalia is striking and dangerous. The consequences of a regional war are difficult to calculate, but they will be serious.

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