Ethiopia makes the islamist [s]hit list
Of course as Ethiopia was not yet governed by sharia law, they were on the list anyway. But by attacking and slowing the islamist advance in Somalia, they've moved up militant Islam's to-do list.
Frontline Islamist forces in Somalia retreated Tuesday toward their stronghold in Mogadishu, Somalia's battle-scarred seaside capital.The islamists were feeling pretty good about themselves after a string of victories:
Prime Minister Meles Zenawi of Ethiopia, citing internal military reports, said the Islamists had suffered numerous casualties as the Ethiopia- backed forces of the transitional government advanced, The Associated Press reported from Addis Ababa.
The term moderate seems to be very flexible when applied to islamists. Maybe they should quantify it somewhat. They could determine "moderateness" by examining who the islamist advocates beheading. If they limit their carnage to Americans, Jews, and Western Europeans, well that would qualify as moderate. Calling for the decapitation of all non-Muslims pushes the limits of the definition. Advocating beheading all non-sharia supporting Muslims would tend to pigeon-hole an islamist as an extremist.
First Burhakaba, a large inland city, fell to the Islamists, then Dinsoor, not far away, and Bulo Burto, where just a few weeks ago, Islamists were threatening to behead people who did not pray.
By Tuesday afternoon, the transitional government troops were within 100 kilometers, or 60 miles, of Mogadishu and calling for the Islamists to surrender.
The Islamist leaders refused, saying they would take their fight "everywhere," which some people viewed as a veiled threat to unleash guerrilla tactics and suicide bombs.
The fast-moving developments seemed to confirm what UN officials on the ground in Somalia had been saying since the fighting erupted a week ago: that the young forces of the Islamists were no match for the better-trained, better-equipped Ethiopia-backed troops, with their tanks and fighter jets.
Still, the conflict is far from over. Thousands of people continue to march in the streets of Mogadishu, rallying behind the Islamists, and analysts are unanimous in their view that an Ethiopian occupation of Mogadishu, a city thick with weapons and xenophobia, could become a bloodbath.
In Baidoa, the seat of the transitional government, political leaders said they were planning on taking the capital.
"We feel great," said Hussein Saylan, chief of the transitional cabinet. "We're moving swiftly toward Mogadishu and the Islamists are panicking. We're finishing them off as we go."
Witnesses reported Ethiopian fighter jets and helicopter gunships firing missiles at Islamists retreating in pickup trucks, easy targets in the open desert.
In Mogadishu, the Islamists began fortifying the airport, radio station and other key buildings, preparing for a siege. Sheik Sharif Sheik Ahmed, a top Islamist leader previously considered a moderate, vowed at a news conference that the Islamists would never buckle.
"The war is entering a new phase," he said. "We will fight Ethiopia for a long, long time."In fact, the islamists have called for jihad against Ethiopia. Welcome to the club.