Is al-Qaeda on the march in Somalia? According to Somali interim PM Ali Mohamed Gedi, it is. After Islamic militias captured the southern town of Kismayo, on Sunday, Gedi cried out for international help:Ethiopia is not making it a secret that it doesn't really want a united Somali government. It's the only country to recognize Somaliland, support Puntland and claim to support the Transitional Somali government as well as the warlords ousted by the UIC. If Puntland declares independence like Somaliland you can be sure Ethiopia will recognize it too. The previous Somali government repeatedly accused Ethiopia of interference in Somalia.
I would appeal to the governments of the region to join our efforts and protect the region from the expansion of this al-Qaeda network, these terrorists."
What makes this characterization completely disingenuous is that Gedi was among those who celebrated the take over of Mogadishu by the Islamists a few months back. This is Prime Minister Ghendi in a June interview with Radio France Internationale:So, why the flip-flop? As it turns out, Mr. Ghendi fears that the Islamists may be positioning themselves for an attack on Baidoa, the seat of his transitional government. The al-Qaeda allegation is meant to provide justification for the involvement of Ethiopian troops that are reportedly inside the country.
It was an excellent step forward... because [the previous secular warlord leaders] were not ready for a government, they were not ready for peace."
Gregory H. Winger, in a recent Christian Science Monitor op-ed, points out that part of the reason why Ethiopians are eager to defend the transitional government against the Islamists is to gain international aid - because they'll be seen as partners in the war on terror. It's just more evidence that anytime someone wants to get the United States' attention, you'll hear the al-Qaeda connection invoked.
Technocrati Tags: Somalia, Africa