Zawahiri issued a message yesterday begging jihadis to take up the fight of jihad in Somalia because the Ethiopian troops have successfully killed many and cornered the rest. From the Times Online:
The remnants of the Islamist militias that controlled much of Somalia until last week dug in to face a final assault from Somali government soldiers and their Ethiopian allies today as the country called for urgent international help.
American warships patrolled off the forested, southern coastline of Somalia to prevent the fighters escaping by sea from Ras Kamboni, a settlement on the Somali Kenyan border where extremist Islamist groups have run training camps since the late 1990s.
Somali commanders said hundreds of Islamist fighters had withdrawn to Ras Kamboni after abandoning Kismayo, the last town under the control of the Islamic Courts Union that was driven out of Mogadishu, the Somali capital, last Thursday.
“They have dug huge trenches around Ras Kamboni but have only two options: to drown in the sea or to fight and die,” reported Colonel Barre “Hirale” Aden Shire, the Somali Defence Minister, who said that Ethiopian aircraft would be used in the attack.
Good news, yes, but the Somali government made a pretty frightening discovery: American passports were found on the bodies of dead al Qaeda jihadis. Here’s the report from The Blotter:
A senior official in the Somali government’s new Ministry of the Interior told ABC News government forces had recovered “dozens of foreign passports,” including several American passports, on the bodies of al Qaeda fighters killed in combat between forces affiliated with the Union of Islamic Courts (UIC) and Ethiopian forces in Somalia.
According to the same source, most of the foreign passports were Sudanese, Pakistani and Yemeni, but several American, British and Australian passports were also recovered.
The senior Somali government official told ABC News that the American passports found on the dead bodies near Baidoa, in Somalia, would be turned over to the American government.
I hoped the passports were fake, but Rusty Shackleford at The Jawa Report thinks they may be legitimate:
Given the fact that the “Foreign Minister” for the Islamic Courts Union is an American citizen named Ibrahim Hassan Addou, I find the reports that American citizens are among the dead in Somalia very credible. Are the Americans al Qaeda fighters or simply Somali expats who have American citizenship and then went back to Somalia to fight for the Islamists? I’m not sure that the U.N. backed Somalian government is the best source of information given their sketchy past.
Reliapundit at The Astute Bloggers makes a point that I agree with and I think needs to be repeated:
Bush has been right all along:
Bush has repeatedly said that we are fighting the enemy over there – (meaning Iraq, Afghanistan, the Philippines, the Horn of Africa, etc.) – so we don’t have to fight them over here.
These jihadists did NOT become radicalized in Somalia – or because of Iraq, (or Afghanistan). Like the 9/11 perp’s, they were likely radicalized long before OSLO collapsed.
If we were not fighting them in Iraq and elsewhere, then they’d be free to attack us here – as many others already have. And every one we kill makes us a little safer.
Indeed. Unfortunately, these jihadis seem to be like the many headed hydra. Every time one head is lopped off, another grows in its place.
Update: One of the liberal trolls asked if my comparison of the jihadis to the multi-headed hydra meant that we can’t win. No, that was not what I was saying. I was simply saying that this war is difficult but not impossible. Heracles was able to defeat the hydra by cutting off its heads and then cauterizing the wounds so a new head couldn’t grow in its place. One could argue that getting rid of Saddam and instituting a democratically elected government was like cutting off a head and cauterizing the wound. The cauterizing, however, has been and will continue to be a messy job for a while.