Tuesday, December 26, 2006
Bring the pain:
Cliff May asks: "Maybe we can learn something from the Ethiopians in Somalia?" Let's put that to the test.

So the Islamic Courts Union attempts to consolidate its hold over Somalia. In doing so, it pushes intolerably close to the Ethiopian border. Ethiopia, evidently with the support of the United States, invades. Its conventional superiority forces a retreat by the ICU back to its Mogadishu stronghold. Cliff, like many, considers this an initial success. And it may indeed be. But let's not pretend we haven't seen this movie before: the ICU is retrenching, intending to draw the Ethiopians into a densely populated urban area where its soldiers can be slowly bled to death by shadowy guerrilla forces. If you were an ICU commander, you would do the same thing -- that is, redraw the battlefield on favorable terms.

The question now becomes how much pain Ethiopia is willing to endure. If its actual strategic consideration is to force the ICU away from its border, then mission accomplished. But if its goal is to crush the ICU, reinstate the U.S./U.N. ancien regime and guarantee its survival, the battle is just beginning. The ICU has called upon jihadis to join the battle and has been relieved in part by 2,000 soldiers from Eritrea, Ethiopia's traditional enemy. In short, Ethiopia may have been drawn into a pincer: its forces get stretched and slowly drained to the southeast while Eritrea reignites a conflict on its north. It would appear that Ethiopia has an interest in keeping the war as brief and as contained as possible; but by going to the Mog, it's going to ensure precisely the opposite. Never mind what we can learn from Ethiopia. The question is what Ethiopia should have learned from us.
--Spencer Ackerman
"by going to the Mog"

I misread that as "going to the Magog"
Blogger goethean | 6:52 PM