The return of the foreign fighters to Mogadishu's nasty mix, along with Ethiopia's fit of pique, quickly sent the situation in Somalia spiraling downward.The transitional Somali government, backed by the United Nations, is faltering, and in scenes reminiscent of America's last misadventures in Mog, both Ethiopian troops and African Union peacekeepers are taking fire from 360 degrees' worth of pissed-off Somali clans determined to -- once again -- drive off the invading infidels.There aren't enough Islamic terrorists in Africa to stand up a full combatant command.If all we wanted were flies on eyeballs, a small number of special-operations trigger pullers would have sufficed for the foreseeable future.
Those involved in the Central Command operation suspected two sources: 1) somebody in the Office of the Secretary of Defense who couldn't wait to trumpet their success to bitter personal rivals in the State Department, or 2) a dime dropper from our embassy in Kenya who simply couldn't stand the notion that the Pentagon had once again suckered State into a secret war. That leak just let the cat out of the bag, tipping off the main target, a senior CIC leader named Aden Hashi Ayro, who, according to Centcom intelligence, had been completely fooled up to that point, thinking the Ethiopians had somehow gotten the jump on him.
The January operation would be, in effect, the first combat mission of Africa Command, and it would not go as planned.
Ethiopia's Meles regime, which American Central Command officers describe as "xenophobic to the core," was going into Somalia last December whether the Americans approved or not.
Eventually, Al Qaeda's penetration of Muslim Africa will happen -- witness the stunning recent appearance of suicide bombers in Casablanca -- and either the three D's will answer this challenge, or this road show will close faster than you can say "Black Hawk down."After being ignored since the beginning of time (save for its slaves and its treasure), Africa just got strategically important enough for us to care about.
And the Bush administration's decision to set up Africa Command is historic, but not for the reasons given or assumed.