Somalian Katyushas

Over at Danger Room, David Axe notes some homemade Katyusha-style rockets uncovered in Somalia and that suicide bombers and IEDs are showing up. But he blames terrorist and insurgent presence in the country on US aid during Ethiopia’s attack on the Islamic Courts Union last year:

As in Iraq, a pre-emptive war targeting potential terrorists has backfired. Thanks to the U.S. intervention, Somali fighters now have common cause with extremists in Iraq, Afghanistan, Lebanon and elsewhere.

There weren’t extremists in Somalia before we helped the Ethiopians last year? What?

You can easily argue that there was virtually no Al Qaeda presence in Iraq before the US-led invasion, and that the appearance of the Al Qaeda groups was a result of US action. At that point, of course, you have an argument over whether that’s worth it or not and whether it’s the right strategy or not. Still, it’s clear that foreign terrorists were not a major factor within Iraq before 2003.

But that is not the case in Somalia. At all. In any way, shape, or form. To suggest that Somalia’s problem with extremists, Muslim or otherwise, is all of a sudden the US’s fault is ignoring history. To lay the blame squarely at the feet of the US is just plain cracked.


  1. i guess that axe guy doesnt take into account the Mog in ’93 or osama’s own admission that he helped somali militia. hey if there were no foreign terrorists in iraq before the war, then i guess the U.S> didnt have to bomb those ansar al sunnah camps in northern iraq during the very beginning. i dont know, i dont pay attention to axe (im so glad noah isnt in defensetech anymore, i thought he ruined it so much with all his political garbage. it’s a defense news site, not a site talkin about how u dont like the administration in your posts and that time he responded to the ’04 pres debates with ACLU diatribes against bush. i stay as clear as possible from dangerroom. sorry for the trolling, just not a noah/axe/dangerroom fan.

  2. Thanks to the U.S. intervention, Somali fighters now have common cause with extremists in Iraq, Afghanistan, Lebanon and elsewhere.’ Well that’s one interpretation. It’s halfway to feeble, but an interpretation. Extremists don’t need actual excuses or real events to motivate themselves to action or to motivate others to support them. All they need is perception. Doesn’t the word, ‘extremist’, on its face suggest that these are people who are not really that interested in strict rules of causality, logical processes, or Parliamentary rules of conduct? Before Iraq, they had American intervention in Afghanistan. Before Afghanistan, they had no-fly zones and limited actions in Iraq. Before that, they had the first Somali adventure by the States. Before that, they had Desert Shield/Storm. Before that, they had Afghanistan, the Russian Years. Before that, they had nearly 60 years of the existence of the hated Zionist Entity to rally their hate around. Before that, they had the imperial structures of Britain and Russia. And on, and on, and on, and on…

  3. Hell, if we would have backed the Christians in Somalia it wouldn’t be the hell hole it is now. Same goes for Bosnia, in my opinion. We should let Ethiopia go the same way? How stupid is that?

  4. But he wasn’t saying there were no extremists there before. He was saying something subtler, that they didn’t have any pragmatic reasons to co-ordinate with the other extremists in the places he outlined. He may be right or he may be wrong, or the extremists there might have aligned and co-ordinated for non-pragmatic reasons – but he was making a statement about whether they were being given motives of that sort. What you are bringing out is a digression from that point.

  5. Except that the idea that the ‘aligned and co-ordinated’ aspect of the extremists is also not new at all. If the point was that terrorists and insurgents in Somalia were gaining strength because they were getting more resources due to terrorist and insurgent defeats in Iraq and Afghanistan, I could buy it. But then that wouldn’t make things sound quite so gloomy. The point clearly was that the US bumbled in again and either created a bad situation or made a situation much worse. Not the case.