Monday, June 05, 2006

The New Taliban?

Take the following ingredients-
1 Failed State.
An overwhelmingly muslim population
Feuding Warlords.
United Islamist Opposition.
No International Presence since a superpower left a few years earlier.

Stir it all together and what do you get? Well in Afghanistan we got the Taliban. In Somalia:
An Islamist militia says it has seized Somalia's capital, Mogadishu, after weeks of fighting against an alliance of warlords allegedly backed by the US.

Strategy Page was noting the similarities between the behavoiur of the islamist groups in Afghanistan and Somalia last month:
The Islamic Courts militias are doing a full Taliban. In addition to forcibly shutting down bars, theaters and video stores in areas they control, they are blaming everything that has gone wrong in Somalia on Israel, Ethiopia (the usual fall guy in this part of the world) and the United States.

The parallels are obvious. The extent to which this militia controls Somalia yet is unclear but if it emerges that they are now the effective rulers of the country we cannot afford to let the mistakes of the past be repeated, they must not be allowed to have a country to control. The Taliban's alliance with Al Qaeada led to the latter having a secure base from which tens of thousands of potential terrorists were trained, allowing it to happen was the biggest failing of the Western powers in the 1990s and ultimately led to 9/11.

The 'Islamic Courts' are not of course identical to the Taliban, they are more divided and don't have direct foreign backing in the manner that the Taliban did, but it is a worrying development nonetheless.

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