The Islamic Courts are a coalition of warlords that use Islamic judges (usually small groups of clerics or clan elders) to decide disputes. This cuts down on feuding within the organization, and provides more control over criminal behavior. Beyond that, the Islamic Courts militias are still your average Somali warlord gangsters. But these are pro-al Qaeda gangsters, who are known to harbor some wanted al Qaeda terrorists. The Islamic Courts oppose the current transitional government, and want to establish a religious dictatorship. The United States has to do something about this, and will probably start with covert activities and raids. A few men on the ground, and a few aircraft full of smart bombs over head, can move negotiations along. The U.S. will attempt to persuade key Islamic Courts leaders to back off on supporting Islamic terrorists.
The United States is trying to get the tribal, clan, and warlord forces who have been opposing the Islamic Courts Movement, to cooperate more effectively, but the effort is being stymied by traditional rivalries and cross-claims, as well as opposition from the Somali provisional government. In short, the Islamic Courts Movement is gaining power and territory.
June 5, 2006: Islamic Courts have taken control of nearly all Mogadishu, as the warlord militiamen either switched sides, or fled. The warlords themselves left for the interior of the country, or fled to Kenya. There are still plenty of warlords out there, who oppose the Islamic Courts coalition. But the Islamic Courts are better organized, and believe they have God on their side.
June 4, 2006: Islamic Courts gunmen seized the village of Balad, 30 kilometers north of Mogadishu. This cut off the supply line for warlord groups fighting in the city, forcing the warlord forces to get out of the city, or be cut off from food and ammo supplies.
June 3, 2006: Fighting has shifted to the outskirts of Mogadishu, where the Islamic Courts and warlord militias fight for control of key roads into the city.
June 2, 2006: Fighting continued in Mogadishu, with dozens of casualties and the Islamic Courts fighters continuing to advance. The Islamic Courts organized an anti-American rally in Mogadishu, which was attended by thousands of protesters.