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  1. #1
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    Default Commander Says Terror at Bay in E. Africa

    2 Jan. Associated Press - Commander Says Terror at Bay in E. Africa.

    Al-Qaida is active in Somalia, but U.S. counterterrorism forces are succeeding in keeping its influence from spreading in East Africa _ using shovels as their weapons, a commander said Monday.

    Maj. Gen. Tim Ghormley, who assumed command of the task force in May, said his troops are focusing on humanitarian projects including drilling wells and refurbishing schools and clinics to improve the lives of residents in the region and keep them away from the terror network.


    "We know that al-Qaida al-Itihaad is in Somalia," Ghormley told reporters in an interview at his base in the impoverished nation of Djibouti. "They'd like to export that ... if we weren't there they would be."

    While the al-Qaida linked group al-Itihaad was largely destroyed or disbanded by Ethiopian troops fighting inside Somalia by 1997, some of its members have regrouped under new guises and have begun to grow in strength, according to an International Crisis Group report released in July.

    Somalia, divided into warring fiefdoms and with no central government, remains fertile ground for terrorists.

    The Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa, set up in this former French colony in June 2002, is responsible for fighting terrorism in nine countries around the Horn of Africa: Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Sudan, Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda and Somalia in Africa and Yemen on the southwestern corner of the Arabian Peninsula.

    "I believe we're winning," Ghormley said, sitting on a wicker sofa under ceiling fans in a reception hall. "You can't contain them (al-Qaida), but we can take away their recruiting pool and deny them access and that's what we're trying to do."...

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    Default The Quiet War in the Horn of Africa

    9 Jan. Christian Science Monitor - To Fight Al Qaeda, U.S. Troops in Africa Build Schools Instead.

    ... In 2002, more than 1,500 US troops were sent to this former French colony in East Africa to hunt followers of Al Qaeda throughout the region. Now, under General Ghormley, their mission has evolved to preempt the broader growth of Islamic militancy among the area's largely Muslim population.

    "We are trying to dry up the recruiting pool for Al Qaeda by showing people the way ahead. We are doing this one village, one person at a time," says Ghormley, commander of the joint task force based in Djibouti. "We're waging peace just as hard as we can."

    Previously East Africa has hosted an array of Islamic militant groups. In 1998, Al Qaeda bombed the US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, killing more than 220 people. The group has also tried to shoot down an Israeli airliner in Mombasa, Kenya, and sink oil tankers and US navy vessels in the Red Sea.

    Now many analysts worry that trouble is again brewing as rising poverty combines with the anti-Western ideologies of hard-line Islamic missionaries in a region already dogged by porous borders, plentiful weapons, and poor governance...

    Unable to find or strike at any visible Al Qaeda members, US forces based in Camp Lemonier - Djibouti's former French Foreign Legion base - have instead begun to work to tackle the factors that might contribute to the growth of extremism in the future.

    Ghormley's men have so far built more than 30 schools and 25 clinics, as well as new wells and bridges. They are focusing particularly on the mainly Muslim areas close to the porous Somali border where poverty and dissatisfaction with pro-Western central governments might make many receptive to extremist teachings...

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    Default Horn of Africa historical (pre-2011): catch all thread

    19 May London Times - Is U.S. Using Enemy to Fight a Proxy War?.

    ... in Somalia, where rising turmoil has killed 150 in the past month, the interim government has accused the US of sliding quietly back into the fray on the warlords’ side, more than a decade after they drove out US forces.

    The Somali government claims that the US is backing the kind of warlords who were its old enemy, and who make the country ungovernable, to keep al-Qaeda, its worse enemy, at bay.

    This week two senior spokesmen from the Bush Administration refused to answer direct questions about US backing, but acknowledged fears that al-Qaeda would profit from the chaos. “In an environment of instability, al-Qaeda may take root. We want to make sure that al-Qaeda does not establish a beachhead in Somalia,” Tony Snow, White House spokesman, said...

    To credit Somalia with a “government” is stretching a point; it has only a United Nations-backed gesture of hope. For 15 years, since the overthrow of Mohammed Siad Barre, the long-time dictator, Somalia has had no central rule.

    The interim government, headed by President Abdullahi Yusuf Ahmed, clings to the shadow of power, but must meet in neighbouring Kenya or in the southern town of Baidoa, as Mogadishu is too dangerous...

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    Default Ethiopia - Eritrea

    29 May Boston Globe editorial - Fester in Africa's Horn.

    The war that killed 70,000 people between 1998 and 2000 has stopped, but the conflict between Ethiopia and Eritrea has not ended. The UN Security Council would encourage resumption of fighting if it reduced the 3,000-man peacekeeping force on the border.

    Council members, led by the United States, are irked that the dispute hasn't been resolved. An international commission decided that a sliver of land claimed by Ethiopia should be part of Eritrea, and that demarcation was to have been the cornerstone of a peace settlement, but Ethiopia has refused to cede the land. The United States and other nations need to persuade the government to accept the ruling.

    At the same time, Eritrea needs to end its estrangement from its neighbor. It should normalize relations by giving Ethiopia every opportunity to use the port at Assab and by safeguarding the rights of Ethiopian expatriates...

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    Good background on the situation, from ICG, published last December:

    Ethiopia and Eritrea: Preventing War
    The 1998-2000 war has frequently been described by pundits as being as pointless as “two bald men fighting over a comb”, but for the belligerents the issues are deadly serious. Ironically, it is the peace process itself that has produced a stalemate from which renewed fighting is now feared.

    The disputed border was the proximate cause of the war. Arguably, however, the root causes went deeper, including to the legacy of friction between the two former allies from their struggle against the regime (1977-1991) of Ethiopian dictator Mengistu Haile Mariam and the overdependence on relations between leaders and parties rather than institutions in managing bilateral relations.

    Many differences arose between the neighbours over migration, labour, and trade. Particularly controversial was Eritrea’s introduction of its own currency in November 1997, despite Ethiopia’s strong protest. Tension also developed over the use of the port of Assab, which Ethiopia had ceded to Eritrea at independence. Its loss cost a suddenly landlocked Ethiopia significant revenues, and resentment smouldered.

    On both sides, however, the dusty border village of Badme, where the war began, has now acquired a symbolic importance entirely out of proportion to its size and population...

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    Default Thanks Jedburgh...

    Africa should be on our radar screen... Asia also...

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    I also wanted to add this article that provides some more background on the border dispute and current issues. Terence Lyons wrote a piece for the Council on Foreign Relations titled, "Avoiding Conflict in the Horn of Africa: US Policy Towards Ethiopia and Eritrea"

    http://www.cfr.org/content/publicati...itreaCSR21.pdf

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    Default Eritrea deployed 25,000 troops to Ethiopian border?

    the Sudan Tribune is the only news source to report this. Anyone have any information to support or deny this info?

    Eritrea deploying 25000 troops into Ethiopia border - opposition
    Tuesday 23 October 2007.

    October 22, 2007 (MEKELLE, Ethiopia) — The opposition Eritrean People Democratic Front (EPDF) today said, Eritrea recently has deployed over 25000 troops toward Ethiopia border.

    “Eritrean 19 and 13 military division forces fully armed are deployed at the temporary security zone where UN peace keepers are deployed.” The opposition group said.

    According to the EPDF’s statement Eritrea has break into the buffer zone, Temporary Security Zone, (TSZ) between the Eritrea and Ethiopia forces; and heavily started massing its troop

    Ethiopia and Eritrea forces are now in less than 25 kms away from each other and recent tensions could break out in to a full war any time.

    The group further said the government of Eritrea has imposed curfew in Senafe town and around.

    ’’The curfew imposed since last week and which the group said lasts from dusk to down aimed to control its fleeing citizens to Ethiopia in the cover of darkness.” The group added.

    International observers say Eritrea violated the Alger agreement by sending troops to the demilitarized zone. Also the UN urged Eritrea to remove the restrictions placed by Eritrea upon UN mission forces between the two countries.

    At the end of October 2005, Eritrea ordered the U.N. mission in Eritrea to "confine its land vehicle movements to the main roads" in the 25-kilometer wide demilitarized buffer zone.

    The move was seen as a pressure from Eritrea intending to force the international community into taking action against Ethiopia, which has refused to accept an international ruling on the border made in 2002.

    In 2000, Ethiopia and Eritrea ended a 2 1/2-year border war that killed 70,000 people and cost two of the poorest countries in the world an estimated $1 million a day each.

    http://www.sudantribune.com/spip.php?article24373

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    Council Member tequila's Avatar
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    Ethiopia says may call off Eritrea border pact - Reuters 25 Sep. Possibly related if the above opposition group is telling the truth?

    Ethiopia said on Tuesday it may terminate the pact ending its border war with Eritrea, accusing its smaller neighbour of breaching the deal on several fronts including coordinating "terrorist activity".

    Ethiopian Foreign Minister Seyoum Mesfin in a letter to his Eritrean counterpart said Addis Ababa would be forced "to consider its peaceful and legal options under international law" if Eritrea continued.

    Those options include terminating the pact or suspending part or all of it, Mesfin wrote ...

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    I heard a few stories from Eritreans describing atrocities committed by Ethiopian troops in Eritrea. That was in the 30 year civil war. Ethiopian troops behavior during the 1999 border war was also apprehensible. I don't think Ethiopia has a leg to stand on in terms of tradition or history.

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    Jamestown Foundation, 31 May: Warlords or Counter-Terrorists: U.S. Intervention in Somalia
    As the insurgencies in Afghanistan and Iraq continue to dominate headlines, a new front in the war on terrorism has opened in Somalia. At a brutal cost to Mogadishu's civilian population, once-discredited warlords have reinvented themselves as "counter-terrorists," seeking and apparently gaining U.S. support by characterizing their Islamist opponents as agents of al-Qaeda. The warlords have grouped together as the Anti-Terrorism Alliance (ATA) and insist they are dedicated to expelling foreign al-Qaeda members they allege are sheltered by the Islamic Court Union (ICU). Although nearly all the ATA warlords are cabinet ministers in the new Somali Transitional Federal Government (TFG) located in Baidoa, they have abandoned the TFG to pursue an unauthorized war against their Islamist rivals in Mogadishu. Allegations of U.S. funding for the unpopular ATA leaders are undermining U.S. efforts to stabilize the region...

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    ...another one from the Jamestown Foundation, dated 13 June:

    Leadership Profile: Somalia's Islamic Courts Union
    The crisis in Somalia may be entering a new phase. A union of Islamic courts has taken control of the lawless capital, Mogadishu. On June 4, after months of intense fighting, militiamen loyal to the Supreme Council of the Islamic Courts Union (ICU), headed by Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed, expelled the Alliance for the Restoration of Peace and Counter-Terrorism (ARPCT) from Mogadishu. Last week, after pushing the ARPCT warlords out of the capital, the ICU asserted its authority by establishing three new Islamic courts in Mogadishu in areas previously controlled by warlords (Somaliland Times, June 6). They also advanced toward the warlord stronghold of Jowhar, a town 90 kilometers north of Mogadishu, sending fears that Somalia was headed for extremist Muslim leadership...

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    From the Swiss-based ISN, 16 June: Washington's tactical error in Somalia
    After 15 years of relative anarchy - with warlords controlling much of the country and an impotent-at-best interim government that was forced to hide itself away 250 kilometers from the capital city - the Islamic militias have won control of Mogadishu and the last key warlord strongholds.

    This has come to fruition despite US backing for the warlords' opportunistically named "Alliance for the Restoration of Peace and Counterterrorism" - an alliance the majority of the population has grown to loathe for being synonymous with violence, complete lawlessness, and chaos.

    Aside from stoking the fires of anti-American sentiment and creating enemies out of potential allies in a geostrategically significant location, Washington is being blamed by African and Western diplomats for the four months of bloodshed that ended in the Islamic militias' victory and claimed the lives of some 350 people, mostly civilians...

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    Council Member JKM4767's Avatar
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    Default Jihad in Somalia!?

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/6234167.stm

    Anyone think this is going to happen?
    Are we (NATO) getting involved?

    Never been to the AO...I think some of you have...would this be tougher than Iraq????

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    Council Member jcustis's Avatar
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    Never been to the AO...I think some of you have...would this be tougher than Iraq????
    I doubt we could be the lead, while Iraq is ongoing. It would make it somewhat easier to identify the muj if they aren't of African descent though...

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    Council Member marct's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jcustis View Post
    I doubt we could be the lead, while Iraq is ongoing. It would make it somewhat easier to identify the muj if they aren't of African descent though...
    Ummm, not really I'm afraid. Most Somalis, excepting the Samale, are practically indistinguishable from Yemeni's and many others from The Arabian penninsula. The various families and clans have been intermarrying for several thousand years. In fact, the nine major Somali clans all claim descent from the Prophet...

    Marc
    Sic Bisquitus Disintegrat...
    Marc W.D. Tyrrell, Ph.D.
    Institute of Interdisciplinary Studies,
    Senior Research Fellow,
    The Canadian Centre for Intelligence and Security Studies, NPSIA
    Carleton University
    http://marctyrrell.com/

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    Default U.S. Airstrike Aims at Qaeda Cell in Somalia

    8 January NY Times - U.S. Airstrike Aims at Qaeda Cell in Somalia by David Cloud.

    A United States Air Force gunship carried out a strike Sunday night against suspected operatives of Al Qaeda in southern Somalia, a senior Pentagon official said Monday night.

    The attack by an AC-130 gunship, which is operated by the Special Forces Command, is believed to have produced multiple casualties, the official said. It was not known Monday night whether the casualties included members of a Qaeda cell that American officials have long suspected was hiding in Somalia.

    Special Forces units operating from an American base in Djibouti are conducting a hunt for Qaeda operatives who have been forced to flee Mogadishu, the Somali capital, since Islamic militants were driven from there by an Ethiopian military offensive last month...

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    Default U.S. Takes Hunt for Al Qaeda to Somalia

    U.S. Takes Hunt for Al Qaeda to Somalia - 10 January Christian Science Monitor.

    ... U.S. military officials say that Somalia's lawless state had become a safe haven for Al Qaeda activists, including possibly those responsible for the embassy bomb attacks in Nairobi and Dar-es-Salaam in 1998.

    This week's attacks illustrate how much US military policy has changed since Sept. 11, 2001. As the U.S. closes or downsizes massive cold war-era bases in Germany and South Korea, its presence is expanding in Uganda, Djibouti, Senegal, and São Tomé and Príncipe, African nations once seen as far beyond American interests. Today, African bases serve both as "jumping off" points for the war in Iraq and also as bulwarks against new threats in volatile regions of Africa...

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    Default The Black Man's Burden

    Yeah, who would have thought it possible for the US military to act so efficiently and brilliantly in light of all the bad press coming out of Iraq? This one really caught the Liberals and anti-Bush people off guard. I note a mother of 5 from Somalia was quoted in MSN as saying in affect that the US presence in Africa was not wanted. LOL! With attribution like that as a justification for not killing al qaidah lads, we all better beware and toe the politically correct line despite the obvious indicators that many Blacks in Africa don't want muslim fundamentalists running the show. Don't you just love snoopy? Ooops, I'm behind the times here - there's some new name and nomenclature for the new saddle and bridle on that old war horse ain't there?

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    Default Horn Hotbed

    May 2007 edition of Armed Forces Journal - Horn Hotbed by Peter Brookes.

    Since the early 1990s, the Horn of Africa — the descriptive name for the East African countries of Kenya, Ethiopia, Djibouti, Somalia, Eritrea and Sudan — has been considered by many a major source of Islamic terrorism, radicalism and political instability. Unfortunately, that conclusion is accurate...

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