Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Good News, Bad News

Somali Islamists Declare Victory; Warlords on Run - New York Times:
NAIROBI, Kenya, June 5 — After months of fierce fighting, Islamic militias declared Monday that they had taken control of Somalia's capital, Mogadishu, defeating the warlords widely believed to be backed by the United States and raising questions about whether the country would head down an extremist path.
It would seem that we are losing the war, eh?
The United States has been widely reported to have secretly financed the capital's warlords, who fashioned themselves into a counterterrorism alliance to track down and apprehend Al Qaeda elements in Mogadishu.

American officials have said they fear that the country may descend into a situation similar to that of Afghanistan, where a hard-line Islamist group, the Taliban, seized control of the country and then gave safe haven to Al Qaeda. Already American officials have said that a handful of foreign fighters with links to Al Qaeda are being shielded by Mogadishu's Islamist leaders.
Gee, that sure sounds bad. But, wait....
But some analysts were not surprised that the battle for Mogadishu turned out as it did. "The so-called Islamists provided a sense of stability in Somalia, education and other social services, while the warlords maimed and killed innocent civilians," said Ted Dagne, the Africa analyst at the Congressional Research Service in Washington.

He expressed doubt that the takeover indicated the rise of extremists in the capital. "Somalis are secular Muslims, and the presence of the so-called Islamists is not an introduction of new ideology or religion," Mr. Dagne said in an e-mail message.
So, the bad guys are the good guys? Remind me, who are we backing here?
Administration officials have not said whether American intelligence agents have made payments to the warlords, though academics, security analysts, politicians in the region and other Africa experts assert that they have. Many in Mogadishu said the common belief that the United States was taking sides only strengthened the Islamists, who accused the warlords of being puppets of Washington.
Yeah, well, who ya' gonna' believe: academics, analysts and people familiar with the situation, or our own elected (or not) officials (who wouldn't know a fact if it bit them on the ass)? I mean, who's more likely to lie about such things anyway?

Note: Any non-quoted, non-parenthetical comments above are strictly in the interest of sarcasm, and should not be taken literally. Anybody who believes anything the current administration says is either deaf, dumb and blind or certifiably idiotic.

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