U.S. Losing 'Secret' War in Somalia

For several years the U.S. military has fought a covert war in Somalia, using gunships, drones and Special Forces to break up suspected terror networks -- and enlisting Ethiopia's aid in propping up a pro-U.S. "transitional" government. It's a relatively unknown front in the "war on terror™," and one where the U.S. and its allies are losing ground, fast.

Two years ago, the U.S. military fought alongside Ethiopian troops in a lightning-fast armored assault deep into Somalia aimed at destroying the Islamic government, which the Pentagon suspected of harboring Al Qaeda operatives. Today the Islamists are back, waging a brutal insurgency that has killed thousands of people and steadily gained ground against the occupying Ethiopians and their allies in the transitional government.

Last week, taking advantage of a power struggle inside the transitional government, the Islamists pushed to within five miles of Mogadishu, previously an Ethiopian and government stronghold. Just goes to show: the political front can be one of the most important in modern counter-insurgency campaigns.

The escalating fighting has all sorts of ramifications. U.N. food convoys feeding half the country (mostly with U.S.-donated food) have been disrupted. And efforts to create a Somali judiciary capable of prosecuting piracy cases have been sidelined.
While security in Iraq has improved by the day, Somalia and Afghanistan continue their slides into chaos, on Washington's watch.