Al-Qaida's MisAdventures in the Horn of Africa by Wayne Downing-General US. Army (retired), Distinguieshed

By Wayne Downing-General US. Army (retired), Distinguieshed Chair Combating Terrorism Center US Military Academy

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28 3. Case Study: Somalia I. Introduction: The Somali Context An essential point of departure for understanding current manifestations of radical Islamism and jihadi violence in Somalia is an examination of the historical, cultural, environmental, and social context of the country. This section explores key aspects of this Somali context. The core thesis is that the Somali context has generally tended to inhibit and constrain the rise of radical Islamism (specifically, Salafi Islam) in both its nonviolent and jihadi manifestations.

The fear was that war was exactly what the jihadis wanted, and that they would use a protracted urban guerilla war against Ethiopia to generate backing from throughout the Islamic world. Ebb Tide or Tsunami? 2007 and Beyond. The war did take place, but not as most expected. Ethiopia’s decisive rout of the CIC forces in initial battles, and the subsequent decision to dissolve the CIC and return militia and weapons back to clan elders in Mogadishu, precipitated a dramatic and sudden collapse of what had appeared to be a robust and politically ascendant Islamist movement.

Backed Alliance for the Restoration of Peace and Counter-Terrorism in June 2006, expanding its control over all of Mogadishu and most of south-central Somalia. Over the second half of 2006, the CIC veered increasingly into more radical social and foreign policies, including declarations 4 See the series of International Crisis Group reports since 2002. 36 of jihad on neighboring Ethiopia. By fall of 2006, war between Ethiopia and the Courts was viewed as likely if not inevitable. The fear was that war was exactly what the jihadis wanted, and that they would use a protracted urban guerilla war against Ethiopia to generate backing from throughout the Islamic world.

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