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Thursday, June 08, 2006

That Proxy Thing

Mohamed Sheikh Nor/Associated Press

Gunmen marched Wednesday through Balad,the
Somali town that they captured over the weekend.
Secular warlords were in retreat.

fforts by C.I.A. Fail in Somalia, Officials Charge

Published: June 8, 2006

WASHINGTON, June 7 — A covert effort by the Central Intelligence Agency to finance Somali warlords has drawn sharp criticism from American government officials who say the campaign has thwarted counterterrorism efforts inside Somalia and empowered the same Islamic groups it was intended to marginalize.

Gunmen marched Wednesday through Balad, the Somali town that they captured over the weekend. Secular warlords were in retreat.

The criticism was expressed privately by United States government officials with direct knowledge of the debate. And the comments flared even before the apparent victory this week by Islamist militias in the country dealt a sharp setback to American policy in the region and broke the warlords' hold on the capital, Mogadishu.

The officials said the C.I.A. effort, run from the agency's station in Nairobi, Kenya, had channeled hundreds of thousands of dollars over the past year to secular warlords inside Somalia with the aim, among other things, of capturing or killing a handful of suspected members of Al Qaeda believed to be hiding there.

Officials say the decision to use warlords as proxies was born in part from fears of committing large numbers of American personnel to counterterrorism efforts in Somalia, a country that the United States hastily left in 1994 after attempts to capture the warlord Mohammed Farah Aidid and his aides ended in disaster and the death of 18 American troops.

The American effort of the last year has occasionally included trips to Somalia by Nairobi-based C.I.A. case officers, who landed on warlord-controlled airstrips in Mogadishu with large amounts of money for distribution to Somali militias, according to American officials involved in Africa policy making and to outside experts.

I mean this worked so well in Afghanistan it landed Osama right in Gitmo,right?

posted by Steve @ 12:04:00 AM

12:04:00 AM

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