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Thursday, May 01, 2008 

State terrorism without a purpose.

Let's call a spade a spade. The United States has just carried out another act of state sponsored terrorism, launching 4 cruise missiles into the country recently described by the United Nations as suffering from the worst humanitarian catastrophe in the whole of Africa. The target, Aden Hashi Ayro, was killed, with between 10 and 30 others also most likely blown apart by the finest of American weaponry.

The motive behind the attack, much like the last time that the United States admitted to striking Somalia, was to kill an alleged leader of al-Qaida. This time this justification has even less credibility than then.

Aden Hashi Ayro was a leader in the Young Mujahideen Movement, a jihadist group that split from the Islamic Courts Union which briefly held the balance of power in Somalia's capital Mogadishu before being ousted by a coalition made up of the Somali transitional government and Ethiopian troops in December 2006. Although their methods were reminiscent of the Taliban, the ICU succeeded in bringing peace to the Somalian capital for the first time since 1992, removing the warlords that had control of various different sectors for years, and were for that reason at least somewhat popular with the majority of those still left. The last year has seen the ICU regrouping, with an insurgency subsequently raging resulting in human rights abuses on all sides.

The Young Mujahideen Movement and al-Shabaab appear to be one and the same organisation, but the YMM are the online face of the movement to the various jihadist forums. Like the various groups that emerged in Iraq, and also influenced by al-Qaida's media wing, As-Sahab, they've been releasing various videos of their "operations" since early 2007. Unlike the majority of the groups in Iraq who have eschewed suicide bombings, with the exception of the Islamic State of Iraq (formerly al-Qaida in Iraq), Ansar al-Islam and the Shield of Islam Brigades, all of whom share much the same aims, the YMM has released a number of videos of "martyrdom operations", including their most recent one targeting African Union peacekeepers.

There's little doubt then that the YMM and al-Shabaab share similar aims and methods to al-Qaida, although something they don't seem to have done as yet is target market places and general innocents as the ISI has on numerous occasions. Again though, as with most of the insurgent groupings in Iraq, the vast majority of the fighters are indigenous, with very few the much talked of foreign fighters. Put simply, whatever links that Aden Hashi Ayro might have formerly had with al-Qaida, with some claiming that he trained in Afghanistan, which in itself proves very little as there were numerous camps in Afghanistan prior to 9/11, not all of which were anything to do with al-Qaida itself, he would have had few to none now, and as for him being the supposed leader of al-Qaida in Somalia, that is simply a fantasy, much like the belief that al-Qaida had anything to do with the "Black Hawk Down" attacks, something that bin Laden boasted about but which were without foundation.

Just as when the US strike against alleged al-Qaida targets proved al-Zawahiri right that the Americans were just waiting to get involved in a strictly internal affair, the attacks today, which could have been quite easily carried out by the Ethiopians and not by the Americans, will just further the hatred against the US for getting involved in a conflict in which they have no excuse for doing so, and exacerbate the already horrific humanitarian situation. The violence needs to end; the United States' action will only make that even less likely to happen.

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The latest Tomahawk's bought by the British tax payer announced only weeks ago

Work out at £1.50 Mn a pop so that's £6mn in one go.

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