geoff, this is for you.
“Why Ethiopia Is Winning in Somalia” by Daveed Gartenstein-Ross of Pajamas Media is an excellent article on Ethiopia’s armed campaign against the Islamist forces of Somalia, why and how Ethiopia is winning, and how and why it looks like Ethiopia will, in the end, prevail against Somalia’s Islamists.
Of course, Gartenstein-Ross says that there are lessons and examples here for The United States to learn, but I doubt it. There are quite different constraints on The United States than on Ethiopia. What works for Ethiopia, then, may not (and, in fact, will not) work for The United States. But it is wise and prudent and quite pertinent to be aware of these differences. (For one thing, this awareness may prepare us to lean more on warfare by proxy as opposed to direct involvement. Although I should mention that, unfortunately, Iraq and Afghanistan were different cases wherein The United States had to get directly involved.)
It is amusing and distressing–as predictable as it is–that Europe is quite displeased by Ethiopia’s campaign, and is pressuring Ethiopia to desist. Count on the Europeans to try and frustrate efforts to wipe out militant Islamism.
I want to point out that the article mentions what will ultimately cause the Islamist threat to disappear: exterminating it all together. As unpleasant as it may sound (and we Westerners are particularly loathe to consider such things), the fact remains that if the Islamists are pushed out without being eliminated, they will try to come back. Fleeing to safer areas, which they will find, they will rearm and replenish their resources (including finances), which they will be able to easily do, and then resume their jihad to regain Somalia. And then the whole thing will repeat itself. Additionally, there is a fear that Somalia’s Islamists inside and outside Somalia, and the Islamists’ international partners, will attempt to establish guerilla (sp?) warfare and/or suicide terrorism in Somalia. So, for many reasons, eliminating this network of militant Islamists is vital to securing the Horn of Africa.
The article also raises interesting points on what challenges lie ahead for Ethiopia. But it is nice to see them make progress. This sort of policy, which we held on to during Cold War I, will serve is very well in World War III (sometimes called the “War on Terror(ism)”) and Cold War II. And I hope this will open the door to the amelioration of conditions in that part of the world.
I wish to hear what you, my honorable readers, think about this.