This isn’t good:
MOGADISHU, Somalia — An Islamic militia said to have links to al Qaeda seized Somalia’s capital yesterday after weeks of fighting with U.S.-backed secular warlords, raising fears that the nation could fall under the sway of Osama bin Laden’s terrorist organization
The advance unified the city for the first time in more than a decade and after 15 years of anarchy in this Horn of Africa nation. But it also posed a direct challenge to a fledging U.N.-backed Somali government.
“We won the fight against the enemy of Islam. Mogadishu is under control of its people,” Sheik Sharif Sheik Ahmed, chairman of the Islamic Courts Union, said in a radio broadcast. The militia controls a 65-mile radius around the capital after fighting off a secular alliance of warlords.
The Islamic militia is gaining ground just as the U.N.-backed interim government struggles to assert control outside its base in Baidoa, 155 miles from Mogadishu. The prices of weapons soared there yesterday as fears grew that the militia could head to Baidoa next.
The militia is the first group to consolidate control over all of Mogadishu’s neighborhoods since the last government collapsed in 1991 and warlords took over, dividing this impoverished country of 8 million people into a patchwork of rival fiefdoms.
Omar Jamal, director of the Somali Justice Advocacy Center in St. Paul, Minn., said the Islamic militia’s victory in Mogadishu was a turning point in the country’s history.
“It is exactly the same thing that happened with the rise to power of the Taliban” in Afghanistan, he said, adding that the extremists are “using the people’s weariness of violence, rape and civil war” to gain support for a government based on Islamic law.
Kofi Annan proves that, once again, the UN is irrelevant on issues of Islamic extremism.
U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan is calling on “all sides to stop the fighting” in Mogadishu, Somalia’s traditional capital.
“The secretary-general continues to be concerned about the violence in Mogadishu and its environs,” said Annan’s spokesman, Stephane Dujarric, Monday. “He appeals to all sides to stop the fighting and enter into negotiations.
“He stresses that all parties to the conflict should resolve their differences and address outstanding issues in accordance with the Transitional Federal Charter of Somalia,” the spokesman added, referring to the February 2004 accord reached after negotiations in Nairobi, Kenya, among the Horn of Africa nation’s different factions.
Islamic militants are at war with civilization in their attempt to spread Sharia law, and Kofi Annan recommends negotiating? As far as the Islamists are concerned, there is no Transitional Federal Charter of Somalia.
John at OPFOR expresses his concern:
Sudan, then Somalia. I sincerely hope Nigeria isn’t next.