Friday, July 21, 2006

Somalia Declares Jihad Against Ethiopia

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Mogadishu has been captured and is now ruled by radical Islamists who are instituting sharia law. Ethiopia isn't happy about it and has moved troops into Baidoa. Somalian Islamist warlords have decided to issue a call to jihad against Ethiopia:

MOGADISHU, Somalia (AP) - An Islamic militia leader called for a holy war Friday against Ethiopian troops protecting Somalia's weak U.N.-backed government.

Sheik Hassan Dahir Aweys, speaking on Radio Shabelle, said Ethiopia's decision to send troops to protect the transitional government in Baidoa, 150 miles northwest of Mogadishu, must be met with war.

''I am calling on the Somali people to wage a holy war against Ethiopians in Baidoa,'' said Aweys, who the U.S. government says has ties to al-Qaida. ''They came to protect a government which they set up to advance their interests.''

Residents of Baidoa reported seeing hundreds of Ethiopian troops, in uniform and in marked armored vehicles, entering Baidoa on Thursday and taking up positions around transitional President Abdullahi Yusuf's compound. Ethiopian and Somali government officials have denied Ethiopian troops are in the country, though witnesses from five towns have reported seeing them.

The US for some reason is cautioning Ethiopia to stay out of the fray:

PRETORIA (Reuters) - The United States has cautioned Ethiopia not to become embroiled in Somalia, although it could not confirm reports Ethiopian troops were already in the country, a senior U.S. official said on Friday.

"We have told them not to get drawn into this provocation," U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Jendayi Frazer told journalists by video-conference.

Witnesses said Ethiopian troops moved closer to Somalia's capital Mogadishu on Friday, putting pressure on Islamists who have risen to power in the Horn of Africa nation and challenging the authority of its Western-backed interim government.

..."There are obviously foreign terrorists in Somalia," Frazer said.

The Islamists took Mogadishu from U.S.-backed warlords in June, complicating efforts to re-establish centralised control over a chaotic country that has not had a central government since the 1991 ouster of a dictator.

Ethiopia has denied incursions into Somalia but threatened to crush any Islamist bid to take Baidoa -- the seat of the provisional government -- or cross the border.

Why would the US want Ethiopia to stay out of Somalia. Mogadishu is again becoming a haven for terrorists who can train unimpeded. Why not secretly back the Ethiopians and see if they can be forced from the capital?

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