Spencer spent some time working the phones in an effort to answer the question of the hour: which terrorists are the Islamic Courts Union harboring. “That’s a good question,” conceded Carl Kropf from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence who didn’t know the answer.
As you’ll see if you read Spencer’s post, there is an answer. The Somali terror nexus isn’t something invented out of whole cloth. On the other hand, it really doesn’t seem to me that there’s much there there. We want three guys, one of whom (Abu Tahai al-Sudani) there doesn’t appear to be any information about other than that we say he’s a terrorist, and the actual relationship between our desire to apprehend these dudes and the question of who controls Mogadishu is pretty vague. They were in Somalia before the ICU took power, and it’s at least not obvious to me why kicking the ICU out of the capital (or wherever they’re being kicked) would bring them to our custody.
The fact that the designated spokespersons for the US government didn’t have an answer at hand to the admittedly good question of what the basis of our policy was tends to indicate to me that the policy is not incredibly well-founded. As recently as the December 20 State Department briefing, Sean McCormack was saying America’s top policy priority was “that we don’t want to see the conflict in Somalia spread to the region . . . we don’t want to see a proxy fight in Somalia,” not anything about Saleh Ali Saleh Nabhan. A week later: Proxy fight on!