Friday, June 09, 2006

Strategic Victory

Overlooked in light of burying Zarqawi under his safe-house and under-reported earlier in the week, Islamists now control the Somalian capital of Mogadishu and thus for all intents and purposes, the country:

After months of fierce fighting, Islamic militias declared Monday that they had taken control of Somalia's capital, Mogadishu, defeating the warlords widely believed to be backed by the United States and raising questions about whether the country would head down an extremist path.

What this means for the future of Al Qaeda terrorism isn't wholly clear, but it can't be good:

Islamists who took control of Somalia's anarchic capital this week declared war on "infidels" yesterday and warned that any American intervention in Mogadishu would be "disastrous."

The chairman of the city's Islamic court union, Sheik Sharif Sheik Ahmed, warned that any action from Washington would fail, echoing the botched 1993 operation that left 18 American servicemen and 300 Somalis dead, and was used as the basis for the movie "Black Hawk Down."
"If U.S. forces intervene directly against us in Mogadishu, then we are ready to teach them a lesson they will never forget and repeat their defeat in 1993," he told the Saudi-owned pan-Arabic daily Asharq al-Awsat.

Militia loyal to hard-line Islamic courts yesterday celebrated the capture of Mogadishu after a three-week battle with secular forces said to be backed by Washington.

It is widely believed that the courts' leaders are at best sympathetic to Al Qaeda and at worst actively support its agents.

The test though is not the taking but the governing. And as Christopher Hitchens points out, folks like the Taliban and AQ fail miserably at this part of the game:

CH: That's certainly true. And they're...we're faced with an extremely relentless force. Mind you, now that they've gotten Mogadishu, they have the problem of having to run it, which is what always discredits these forces, that they have no program for running any society.

Discredits, yes...eliminates, sadly no.

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