Yet another front

The Globe and Mail reports on yesterday's worrying developments in Somalia:

An Islamic militia with alleged links to al-Qaeda seized Somalia's capital yesterday after weeks of fighting with U.S.-backed secular warlords, raising fears that the country could fall under the sway of Osama bin Laden's terrorist organization.

The advance unified the city for the first time in more than a decade, and after 15 years of anarchy in Somalia. But it also posed a direct challenge to a fledging United Nations-backed government.

. . . "It is exactly the same thing that happened with the rise to power of the Taliban" in Afghanistan, he said, adding that the extremists are "using the people's weariness of violence, rape and civil war" to gain support for a government based on Islamic law.

The battle between the militia and the secular alliance has intensified in recent months, with more than 300 people killed and 1,700 wounded, many of them civilians.

However, it appears as if not all is lost.  Today the Guardian is reporting that:

Backed by thousands of chanting supporters Tuesday, the Somali capital's largest clan threatened to attack Islamic militiamen who do not leave part of the city they seized this week in a blow to U.S. foreign policy.

Protesters shouted “We don't need Islamic deception!'' and “We don't want Islamic courts, we want peace!'' at a rally called by the Abgal clan. The leaders of the capital's largest and historically strongest clan had controlled northern Mogadishu since 1991.

Now, I understand that it's the Guardian's job to be the anti-American newspaper of record here in the UK, but you'd think that an attempted Islamist takeover of a failed state would be a blow to European foreign policy too.

Of course, I am -perhaps naively- assuming that a coherent European policy on this sort of thing exists.


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