For the last few days, Ethiopian and Transitional Government troops
have captured Ras Kamboni, a small port near the Kenyan border. This place has
long been an Islamic Courts stronghold and training camp. American warships are
off the coast some 22 kilometers, in international waters, checking any boats
trying to leave Somalia. With the Islamic Courts smashed, the most organized
and dedicated fighting force in the country is gone. But not completely, most
members of the Islamic courts are still around, and will revive the
organization in the next few months. They will be opposed by a stronger
Transitional Government. Both organizations rely on the allegiance of
clans for their power, and clans will often go with one side or the other,
depending on which side traditional enemy clans have joined. The Ethiopians are
not going to stick around, as they are ancient enemies of the Somalis, and are
much hated in Somalia. Besides, all the Ethiopians wanted to do was knock the
Islamic Courts down a few notches. The Ethiopians know they might have to come
back and do in again in a year or so, but they've been slapping down the Somalis
Special Forces are helping in the hunt for known al Qaeda members who have been
seen in Somalia in the last few months. Many captured Islamic Courts fighters
tell of Arab, and other foreigner, fighters who have been helping them. The
bodies of some of these foreigners have been found. The "foreigners"
do not appear inclined to be taken alive.
8, 2007: In Mogadishu, Somalis Islamic radicals attacked a camp used by
Ethiopian troops. Further south, on the Kenyan border, some American Special
Forces troops are operating with Ethiopian troops, and an American AC-130
gunship is flying missions, apparently from Djibouti, against Islamic Courts
and al Qaeda targets along the Kenyan border, including a small island near Ras
Kamboni, where "foreigners" (al Qaeda members) were reported
president (since 2004) of the Transitional Government, arrived in
7, 2007: It appears that Eritrea flew hundreds of Islamic Courts fighters to
Eritrea, where training in explosives, roadside bombs, and the use of many
weapons, was provided. Eritrea also provided weapons and some cash. Eritrea
also helped bring in Islamic radical Arabs, who wanted to fight in Somalia.
This was done because Eritrea is engaged in a border dispute with Ethiopia (a
UN mediator ruled in favor of Eritrea, but Ethiopia refused to accept this.)
Eritrea denied involvement in Somalia.
6, 2007: There was an anti-Ethiopian demonstration in Mogadishu, which left two
demonstrators dead and about twenty wounded.
5, 2007: The Transitional Government attempted to get people in Mogadishu to
disarm. This failed, and the city is, as always, run by various clan militias.
Some of these clans had supported the Islamic Courts, but are keeping quiet for
the moment. The Ethiopians are keeping out of sight in Mogadishu, and say they
will be gone by the end of the month.
4, 2007: Up to a thousand Islamic Courts and al Qaeda gunmen are cornered in
the southwest area of Badade, by the Kenyan border. This area has lots of
jungle, but not much else. The Islamic radicals have no place else to run,
except for those who try to sneak out of the area individually or in small
groups. Kenya has increased its border guard force, and al Qaeda foreigners on
the Somali side have to watch out for bandits. Most of the Islamic radicals
appear ready to make a last stand, which approaching Ethiopian and Somali
government troops are ready to make happen. Meanwhile, back in Mogadishu, it
appears that several thousand gunmen, who used to work for the Islamic courts,
are still there, and have just put their weapons away for the moment.