Somalia's Islamists are at war against Ethiopia, not the government, a hard-line Islamist leader said on Thursday, as fighting raged for a third day between his forces and pro-government troops.
Sheikh Hassan Dahir Aweys, who was speaking to the media by telephone, also accused Ethiopia of attacking the Islamists in southern Somalia.
The Strategy Page reports on the conflict here;
SOMALIA: Ethiopian Tanks Defend Western Civilization
December 22, 2006: Fighting continued outside Baidoa, despite peace negotiators in Sudan having agreed to stop the fighting. The problem is that there are several major factions in the Islamic Courts, and these factions often do not communicate with each other, or take orders from each other. Both sides are claiming to have inflicted hundreds of casualties on the other. But this is typical Somali bravado. There have been some casualties, and the Ethiopian troops appear to have stood fast against the raids of the Islamic Courts gunmen. There have been casualties, and a lot of ammunition used. There are also several thousand Somali civilians fleeing the areas where the shooting and fighting are going on. The factions that comprise the Transitional Government forces are demoralized. Only the presence of Ethiopian troops keeps the Transitional Government alive. The Transitional Government makes a big deal of the al Qaeda members prominent in the Islamic Courts, and the prospect of al Qaeda bases in Somalia. This has not brought forth any actions by the Western nations fighting Islamic terrorism. Apparently, none of the Western nations has figured out what the best approach to the situation would be (get involved with troops, negotiate, wait to see what happens, etc).