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The final organized base of the Union of Islamic Courts fell to Ethiopian and Somali forces last night, completing the lightning rout of what had been an ascendant radical Islamist force. Ras Kamboni had been the last organized redoubt for the UIC, and now they have fled into to forests on the Kenyan border:
Somali government troops backed by Ethiopian soldiers have captured the last stronghold of the Union of Islamic Courts, the defence minister says.
Col Barre Aden Shire said the town of Ras Kamboni, in south-eastern Somalia, fell after several days of fighting. Remnants of the militia are now reported to be hiding in dense forest along Somalia's border with Kenya.
Ethiopia has led a military campaign against the Islamists, who controlled much of Somalia for six months.
For those six months, people pointed to their tightening grip on power and determined that nothing could stop the wave of radical Islam from recapturing the old ummah, stretching from Southwest Asia all the way across North Africa. The terrorists' willingness to die as martyrs made them invincible, or nearly so, and military force simply couldn't match up to the asymmetrical threat.
Ethiopia didn't believe it. They showed what happens when a nation commits to actual war against asymmetrical threats: they destroy them. Military forces go after the terrorists where they organize, and then surround them and destroy them. They don't wait for the terrorists to come to them. And when the terrorists are on the run, you don't get squeamish about stamping them out while they're exposed and vulnerable.
It's the only winning strategy against Islamist terrorism. Ethiopia knows it. and the West had better remember it.
UPDATE: CQ reader Roger H sends this trip down memory lane, courtesy of the New York Times news division from December 9th:
Analysts are unanimous that a full-scale conflict between the Islamists and Ethiopia, a country with a strong Christian identity, would be disastrous for Somalia, which is already suffering from severe flooding and years of neglect, and for the region as a whole, because neighboring countries may jump in.
Gen. John P. Abizaid of United States Central Command — or Centcom — which has responsibility for American military interests in the region, recently flew to Ethiopia to meet with Prime Minister Meles Zenawi, who had told American officials that he could cripple the Islamist forces “in one to two weeks.”
And here's an interesting passage:
A growing number of Democrats in Congress are urging the Bush administration to change course and deal with the Islamists for what they are: the power on the ground.
“The Islamists aren’t going away, so the sooner we talk to them, the better,” said Representative Donald M. Payne, the New Jersey Democrat who is expected to become the chairman of the House subcommittee on Africa when his party takes control of Congress in January.
It certainly looks like they're going away now, Rep. Payne.Sphere It View blog reactions
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» Final Islamist Collapse In Somalia from Bill's Bites
Final Islamist Collapse In SomaliaEd Morrissey The final organized base of the Union of Islamic Courts fell to Ethiopian and Somali forces last night, completing the lightning rout of what had been an ascendant radical Islamist force. Ras Kamboni had [Read More]
Tracked on January 13, 2007 1:43 PM
» Their first thought is to surrender from The Cool Blue Blog
Now that the Union of Islamic Courts has been thouroughly defeated in Somalia, it interesting to look back and see how people reacted when things looked bleak. Back in November, the Islamic Courts had used armored columns to take and [Read More]
Tracked on January 16, 2007 7:35 AM
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