From Wed Jun 7 06:00:29 2006
Date: Wed, 07 Jun 2006 05:43:04 -0400
From: “Fred Feldman” <>
To: “mxmail” <>, <>, <>
Subject: [Marxism] More on setback to US in Somalia: from Le Monde
Reply-To: Activists and scholars in Marxist tradition <>

A setback for Washington, afraid that Al-Qaeda will set up shop

By Corine Lesnes and Jean Philippe-Rémy, Le Monde (Paris), 6 June 2006

NAIROBI—The United States greeted with concern the announcement that Mogadishu had been taken by militiamen of the Islamic Courts Union [*Le Monde*: L’Union des tribunaux islamiques (’Union of Islamic Tribunals')].

Sean McCormack, spokesperson for the State Department, said that Washington was glad of anything capable of contributing to the building of institutions, preferably democratic ones, in a country that has been without a central administration for fifteen years, but also emphasized that the American government did not want “to see Somalia become a refuge for foreign terrorists.”

The State Department spokesman refused to say whether the United States had proof that elements of al-Qaeda are in the country. “We have real concerns” on this subject, was all he would say. According to the American press, Washington thinks that three of those responsible for the 1998 attacks on the American embassies in Nairobi, Kenya, and Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, are hiding among the Somali Islamists.


The taking of Mogadishu is a setback for the Bush administration.

In order to set up a bulwark against terrorism, it established a bridgehead in Djibouti after the September 11, 2001, attacks. The Horn of Africa is one of the principal theaters of operation for CENTCOM, the central command that from Florida manages actions against Red Sea piracy and the training of local border guards along with a coalition of about sixty countries.

According to East African sources, American intelligence services, fearing jihadists from Afghanistan would fall back there, began in 2002 to pay factional leaders for information and surveillance of the Indian Ocean coast. Recently, with the rise of the Islamic Courts Union, the United States undertook support for the new alliance of Somali “warlords” in order to block the advance of the Islamists. But the contrary has taken place.

John Prendergast, an official of the International Crisis Group, an association devoted to the prevention of conflicts, said that the American Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) was funneling $100,000 to $150,000 a month to the leading warlords. He told Reuters that the CIA had furnished surveillance equipment to those factions in order to track al-Qaeda. This support would be a violation of the embargo on arms destined for Somalia that was imposed by the U.N. after the 1991 civil war.

Taking the warlords under its wing also seems to have created internal tensions inside the American administration. Two diplomats posted to Nairobi, Michael Zorick, in charge of the Somalia desk, and Michael Fitzpatrick, a political affairs officer, abruptly left their jobs after taking a stand against this policy, according to more than one source in Nairobi.

[NOTE: The *East African* (Nairobi) ( said that “*Newsweek* and other media outlets reported last week that Zorick had been reassigned to Chad after writing a memo critical of the Bush administration's alignment with the warlord faction that claims to be defending Mogadishu against a terrorist takeover.” As for Michael Fitzpatrick, he is still listed ( by the State Dept. as among U.S. personnel in Nairobi. His departure seems not to have been mentioned in English-language media. —M.K.J.]