Somalia: Al Qaeda Base Threatened


December5, 2006: The U.S. has openly said it believes al Qaeda has established itself in Somalia, under the protection of the Islamic Courts. What was not said was what American counter-terror forces in the region would do about it.

December 4, 2006: In order to avoid more car bomb attacks, the transitional government has banned cars, driving up the road from Mogadishu, from entering Baidoa. In the last two months, there have been three car bombings, including one failed attempt, in Baidoa, all attributed to al Qaeda terrorists working for the Islamic Courts.

December 3, 2006: Peace talks resumed in Djibouti, including Ethiopia and Kenya. Meanwhile, transitional government and Ethiopian troops moved off to re-capture Dinsoor.

December 2, 2006: An Italian journalist, invited by the Islamic Courts to see the new and improved Somalia, was arrested by a radical faction of the Islamic Courts. The radicals were angry because the Italian had previously written unflattering stories about Eritrea (which was now an ally of the Islamic Courts). After some internal debate, the journalist was released, but the incident sent a message to the journalism community.

December 1, 2006: Islamic Courts gunmen took possession of the town of Dinsoor, which is 270 kilometers west of Mogadishu. The pro-transitional government militiamen holding the town, pulled out at the approach of the column of Islamic Courts vehicles. That's how battles are often fought in Somalia.

November 30, 2006: At a checkpoint outside Baidoa, three car bombs went off, killing eight people. Six of those were the occupants of the exploding cars, plus two policeman. The Islamic Courts were suspected, as suicide bombers were involved and the Islamic Courts are known to contain members of al Qaeda.


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