Don’t tell al-Shabaab about the grand Pastafarian conspiracy to replace the entirety of Sharia Law with the eight “I’d Really Rather You Didn’ts.” On the other hand, Pastafarian heaven apparently includes a beer volcano and stripper factory. Given the prize the jihadists always have their eyes on, maybe there would be hope for interfaith dialogue there.
“AU, Somali forces seize Mogadishu rebel bases,” from Agence France-Presse, October 10:
African Union and Somali government forces on Monday seized strategic positions from Islamist insurgents in an offensive to flush out the last pockets of rebellion in Mogadishu.
The drive came nearly a week after the insurgents carried out their worst ever suicide attack in the Somali capital, killing at least 82 people and demonstrating they were still able to wreak havoc deep inside the city.
The AU and government forces took a former pasta factory building, two key junctions and two districts in the northeast of the city, giving them control of movement into Mogadishu from the northern front.
One AU soldier was killed and six were wounded in Monday’s fighting, said force spokesman Paddy Ankunda.
“The outer north and eastern fringes of the city must still be cleared, but key ground and buildings are no longer under the control of the extremists,” Ankunda said.
“The challenge is now to protect civilians from the sort of terror attack we saw last week,” he added.
Asymmetrical warfare is cheap, requiring little holding of territory, and little fighting like men in open combat. Rather, the jihadists need only be vandals — occasionally highly effective, deadly vandals, without warning. That is sufficient to terrorize a society and create a sense of a security vacuum for which they will offer Sharia as the only “solution” they will accept.
“The pasta factory compound was an operational hub for the extremists from which they shell civilian targets. This operation is intended to save the lives of the people who have returned to their homes,” a government statement said.
The AU and Somali government forces began the offensive on Saturday to expel remnants left in Mogadishu after Shebab fighters abandoned most of their positions there in August.
However, a Shebab official who did not want to be named said they allowed the African Union Mission for Somalia (AMISOM) troops to take the pasta factory to ensnare them.
“Allowing the AMISOM troops to come to the pasta factory was just a trap planned earlier so that they spread out their troops,” the official told AFP.
“The idea of the Shebab was not to defend any positions, but to do as much damage to AMISOM.”…