Over 43 people have been killed in the Somali capital of Mogadishu in two days of fighting between Shabab (al-Shabaab) insurgent forces, who on March 10 advanced to within one mile of the nation’s presidential palace, and troops of the U.S.-backed Transitional Federal Government. The fighting has just begun.
That extension of the South Asia war has not gone unobserved, earlier this year Russian political analyst Andrei Fedyashin commented: “Adding up all four fronts – if the United States ventured an attack on Yemen and Somalia – America would have to invade a territory equal to three-fourths of Western Europe; and it is hardly strong enough for that.”
Strong enough or not, that is just what the White House and the Pentagon are doing. The New York Times also provided background information regarding the current offensive:
“Over the past several months, American advisers have helped supervise the training of the Somali forces to be deployed in the offensive….The Americans have provided covert training to Somali intelligence officers, logistical support to the peacekeepers, fuel for the maneuvers, surveillance information about insurgent positions and money for bullets and guns.”
Recently, General William (“Kip”) Ward, commander of United States Africa Command (AFRICOM), testified before the Senate Armed Services Committee about AFRICOM’s first war. Ward explained the Pentagon’s plan to expand “counter-terrorism” (CT) area of responsibility yet further from South Asia: “U.S. Africa Command has focused the majority of its CT capacity building activities in East Africa on Kenya, Ethiopia, Djibouti, and Uganda, which – aside from Somalia – are the countries directly threatened by terrorists.”
In his introductory remarks the chairman of the committee, Senator Carl Levin, reinforced recent American attempts to expand the scope of the deepening Afghanistan-Pakistan war, the deadliest and lengthiest in the world, to the west and south in stating that “al Qaeda and violent extremists who share their ideology are not just located in the Afghanistan-Pakistan region but in places like Somalia, Mali, Nigeria and Niger.”
The campaign has already begun, as reported by Kuwait News Agency.
“After securing Mogadishu, the offensive, supported by militias allied with the government, for now, at least, is likely to continue against al-Shebab in the countryside west and south toward the border with Kenya.”
After the capital, the entire country. After Somalia, the region.
A new war has just begun.
How many countries will the U.S. engage in conflict before we recognize this is world war three?