By Sarah McGregor and Mike Cohen with a note from General Joe
July 13 (Bloomberg) -- The bomb attacks in Uganda that left 74 people dead represent the spread into the rest of East Africa of a conflict that has torn Somalia apart, said analysts including Gus Selassie at IHS Global Insight.
Al-Shabaab, which the U.S. has designated as a terrorist organization with links to al-Qaeda, yesterday claimed responsibility for the July 11 attacks at a restaurant and a sports club in Uganda’s capital, Kampala. The blasts occurred while patrons were watching the final of the soccer World Cup.
“It looks like al-Shabaab has taken the first step toward becoming transnational,” said Scott Stewart, vice president of tactical intelligence at Stratfor, the Austin, Texas-based intelligence group. “They’ve clearly shown they have an intent to strike outside of Somalia. Now the big question is to try and find out how far the reach is.”
Islamist militias including al-Shabaab and Hisb-ul-Islam have been battling Somalia’s government since 2007. The groups control most of southern and central Somalia, as well as parts of the capital, Mogadishu. Both groups have said they want to impose Islamic Shariah law on the country, which hasn’t had a functioning central administration since the ouster of former dictator Mohamed Siad Barre in 1991.
“This very tragic event is a reminder of the wider regional risks that exist,” Rhazia Khan, an economist at Standard Chartered Plc in London, said in a phone interview. “It seems to reinforce that what is happening in the Horn of Africa region may have cross-border implications.”
‘Sends a Message’
Al-Shabaab said it targeted Uganda because of that nation’s deployment of troops to serve an African Union-led peacekeeping force in Mogadishu. The group threatened a similar attack on the Burundian capital, Bujumbura, unless its troops are also withdrawn. Similar warnings were issued in October.
Uganda has 2,700 soldiers in Somalia and Burundi has 2,550, according to the website of the Francophone Research Network on Peace Operations. Last week, the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development, a Djibouti-based body that groups six East African countries, called for an international peacekeeping mission in Somalia to deploy an additional 2,000 soldiers to help the government battle “extremist groups.”
IGAD, as the group is known, includes Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, Sudan and Uganda.
The attack “sends a message to those countries who are thinking of sending troops to Somalia: ‘This is the fate that awaits you, that it will invite this same type of retaliation,’” Rashid Abdi, a Nairobi-based analyst at the International Crisis Group, said in a phone interview.
Peacekeepers are needed in Somalia to help stabilize the country and end one of the world’s worst humanitarian crises. About 1.5 million people are displaced within the country and more than 560,000 people are living as refugees in neighboring countries, the United Nations Refugee Agency said in January. At least 3.2 million people in the country depend on humanitarian aid, according to the World Food Programme.
Al-Shabaab has previously threatened to attack Kenya, which it accused of recruiting ethnic Somalis living in the country to fight against the militia. An estimated 300,000 Somali refugees are being sheltered at the UN’s Dadaab refugee camp in Kenya.
One of the establishments targeted in Uganda was an Ethiopian restaurant. That “may not be a coincidence,” said Selassie at IHS Global Insight, with Ethiopia’s government being seen as a chief backer of the Somali administration.
“It’s meant to send a signal to others in the region, mostly Ethiopia, that meddling in Somali affairs, whether its peacekeeping or occupation, would have consequences,” said Philippe de Pontet, Africa analyst at New York-based Eurasia Group.
U.S.-backed Ethiopian troops invaded Somalia in December 2006, ousting the Islamic Courts Union government that had captured the south of the country. The army occupied Mogadishu and the southern town of Baidoa in an effort to bolster the government, though the forces became bogged down in a guerrilla war with the Islamists who now control most of the country. The Ethiopians withdrew in January 2009.
“Al-Shabaab hates the Ethiopians because they’re the people that kicked the Islamic Courts out of power in Mogadishu,” Stewart said. “They really have an axe to grind against the Ethiopians.”
To contact the reporters on this story: Hamsa Omar in Mogadishu via Johannesburg at email@example.com; Sarah McGregor in Nairobi at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Last Updated: July 12, 2010 18:00 EDT
Any block with more than 25 functioning neurons knows that these “attacks” were just the latest in a long series of “false flag events” orchestrated by imperialism to keep us distracted as the “civilization” they have devised implodes. That‘s right 911 and others b4 that (remember the very stable nice Egyptian man with a wonderful wife, family, even a newborn son) that “flew” his 747 into the Indian ocean screaming “Ali Akbar,” or “God is great!” Please, how dumb do these CIA/Mossad flunkies think we are. They were just preparing the fields. The London subway attacks were clumsy frauds. Badly done photo shopped images exposed that fakery. Even in Iraq the Brits were caught dressed as Arabs running around Mosques with sophisticated “demolition materials.” And there have been so many others. Wake up already, It’s 1984. Orwell was the most insightful political thinker the world has ever produced. Read and share his genius and stop allowing the ruling class and it’s psyoops departments to get away with such stupid see-through actions without getting called down to the matts!!!!! Am I the only one who sees this elephant in the living room?
The article above is really very badly done CIA drivel propaganda. What dumb asses they employ! Have a sad laugh and spread widely. General Joe
Sarah McGregor and Mike Cohen with a note from General Joe