The Way of the Knife
April 24, 2013
The following is a quote from an excellent book, The Way of the Knife, by Mark Mazzetti. In 2007, the Bush administration decided to back the Ethiopian army in its invasion of Somalia in order to try, unsuccessfully as it turned out, to displace a group of Islamic fundamentalists, al Shabaab or “The Youth”. The results were less than humane.
“The Ethiopian army had waged a bloody and indiscriminate campaign against its most hated enemy. Using lead-footed urban tactics, Ethiopian troops lobbed artillery shells into crowded marketplaces and dense neighborhoods, killing thousands of civilians. Discipline in the Ethiopian ranks broke down, and soldiers went on rampages of looting and gang rape. One young man interviewed by the nonprofit group Human Rights Watch spoke of witnessing Ethiopians kill his father and then rape his mother and sister.
“The occupation by the hated Ethiopian troops turned into a recruiting bonanza for al Shabaab, and the group grew in strength. Insurgents planted roadside bombs and used other guerilla tactics that militants in Iraq and Afghanistan had used with great success. Foreign fighters flooded into Somalia. Jihadi internet sites invoked the name Abu-Raghal, in infamous traitor in the Muslim faith who had helped the Ethiopian army march on Mecca. The fighters came from Morocco and from Algeria.” [p. 151]