"Evil is powerless if the good are unafraid" - Ronald Reagan

New York

Somali/Ethiopian troops battle 600 Islamists

From AP at Yahoo

Somali government troops backed by Ethiopian soldiers battled about 600 Islamic militiamen Thursday on the southern tip of this Horn of Africa nation, and U.S. Navy forces prevented the militants from fleeing by sea, authorities said.

The battle between the estimated 600 militiamen and the Ethiopian and Somali troops took place far to the southwest near the border with Kenya.

Kenya has closed its border, fearing militants would slip across the frontier.

Some militants were trying to escape by sea but that U.S. Navy forces were deployed to stop them.

Thursday was Prime Minister Ali Mohamed Gedi's deadline for residents to give up their arms voluntarily, but only a handful were seen doing so.

But Gedi said the disarmament program was working, and that his forces will seize large arms caches around Mogadishu this week. He said a house-by-house search would follow.

For a full presentation of daily events, click here.

Somali/Ethiopian forces seize Kismaayo, the last Islamic stronghold.

The new year brought the Islamist defeat. Somali/Ethiopian forces have seized the town of Kismaayo and Islamists have retreated.

Prime Minister Ali Mohamed Gedi ordered a countrywide disarmament that goes into effect Tuesday, an immense task in Somalia, which is awash with weapons after a 15-year civil war.

The Islamic forces began to disintegrate after a night of artillery attacks at the front line and following a mutiny within its ranks, witnesses said.

The Islamic forces have a base near the Kenyan border on a small peninsula called Ras Kamboni, where there is a pier and traditional oceangoing boats known as dhows. Ethiopian MiG fighter jets flew low over the ocean looking for boats that might be carrying the escaping Islamic fighters.

For a day by day presentation of the war, click here.

To Resolve and Insurgency - Part IV

Previous posts can be read here, Part I, Part II, Part III.

Part IV, below, is the final part in this series.

For its part, the US should start to focus its forces beyond Iraq and into Iran, Syria, Jordan, and Saudi Arabia.

The Iraqi war was won; Saddam was caught, tried, and is now convicted to hang within 30 days. The Iraqi Army was destroyed and any WMD that Iraq had is now not a threat to the US or its allies. The Ba’ath party will not regain control of Iraq in the near future. These completed tasks were the war objectives and they have been achieved. For too long, the US has stayed on the defensive as the externally funded and supported insurgency continued to grow and gain power in Iraq.

As the recognized financier of the Shi’ite militias and a thorn in the side for the Middle East with its development of nuclear weapons and support for Hezbollah, the US should bomb Iranian nuclear sites as a warning to Iran to stay in its lane and not attempt to propagate its Shi’ite Crescent in the Middle East. This will have the added effect of slowing and possibly stopping their nuclear development. It will also show other Middle East countries that the US will protect its Iraqi brothers which it has invested so many dollars and Soldiers blood into to make a democracy. In turn, it will solve the Shi’ite problem for many other Middle East countries.

Syria should also be bombed in much the same fashion as Lybia was bombed in 1986. Through backdoor channels, we should express in no uncertain terms that either Syria stop supporting the flow of insurgents/arms across its borders into Iraq and flow of arms to Hezbollah in Lebanon or we will bomb Assad’s country again and may just get lucky to get him.

The US should keep up diplomatic pressure on Jordan and Saudi Arabia. They are currently assisting in the Global War on Terror and need to be continually pushed to make sure they maintain their focus and diligence. Bombing Iran and Syria would bring home our resolve to them.

Similarly, we should bomb known terrorist safe havens in the Pakistani tribal areas in support of our mission in Afghanistan. The fact that we observe terrorists passing back and forth along this porous border to/from training camps into Afghanistan and do not strike them is absurd.

We should also be assisting in Somalia. Foreign fighter are arriving in boats to support this war and will probably soon be departing in boats for other areas. We should have the navy blockade the coastline give a free trip to Guantanamo for any Al Qeada personnel we find.

Finally, President Bush needs to nationalize this global war. He needs to have weekly televised addresses to the nation spelling out the good Soldiers are doing in Iraq and Afghanistan and showing graphically the bad that insurgents are doing. There is plenty of good on our side and plenty of bad on their side; our news media just isn’t reporting it accurately. President Bush can do a lot to provide fairness to Americans by graphically showing Americans every week. He can also equal out the propaganda imbalance the insurgents have enjoyed for quite some time by showing the truth about our side and theirs.

Are more troops needed in Iraq? Yes and No. If we continue to execute a regional defensive war solely in Iraq, the answer is no. More troops will only mean more deaths. If we begin to offensively prosecute the war against the parties who are perpetuating the insurgency, then yes, troop levels may need to be increased in the short term to assist in border defense and Iraqi forces training. We need to strike at the insurgents’ logistical capabilities, namely Iran and Syria to influence Iraq and Pakistan tribal areas to influence Afghanistan. What is needed more than more troops is to supply the Iraqi and Afghanistan Armies with better equipment so that they are not on a 1:1 footing with insurgents.

We need to learn a lesson from Ethiopia. If we have the will to fight, insurgents in Iraq and Afghanistan cannot possibly win. In fact, they typically flee and take cover in caves. We need to push them out of their safe havens back into caves. We need to arm the Iraqi and Afghanistani Armies so they are better able to deal with insurgents. We need to share our intelligence with these forces and let them take the fight to insurgents.

We need to take the fight to the Islamist’s supporter. They have bundled us up in Afghanistan and Iraq while we clearly see their basis of support coming from Iran, Syria, and the tribal areas of Pakistan. We are fighting this war on their terms. We need to change strategy and begin fighting this war on our terms.

Somali/Ethiopian forces close in on Jilib and Islamists.

From the Guardian:

Thousands of Somalis began fleeing Sunday as heavily armed Ethiopian troops supported by tanks and MiG fighter jets closed in on the last remaining stronghold of a militant Islamic movement.

Up to 2,000 people, carrying what they could, streamed out of the southern Somali town of Jilib, where an estimated 3,000 hardcore Islamic fighters were wedged between the Kenyan border and the Indian Ocean and prepared for a final bloody showdown.

Samoli and Ethiopian troops are about 75 miles north of Jilib.

Islamic militant have stated they will fight to the death in both Jilib and Kismaayo.

"I want to tell you that the Islamic courts are still alive and ready to fight against the enemy of Allah,'' Sheik Sharif Sheik Ahmed, "We left Mogadishu in order to prevent bloodshed in the capital, but that does not mean we lost the holy war against our enemy."

The U.S. Navy's Fifth Fleet also has a maritime task force patrolling international waters off the Somali coast.

For a complete day by day presentation of the fighting, click here.