The View from the Blogosphere

The view from Washington is no doubt that Thursday’s strike on Somalia, which killed Aden Hashi Ayro, was an unqualified success. Things are more difficult when viewed from Somalia.
Royale Somalia points out that Somalis will be divided according to their support for or opposition to the Transitional Federal Government. He gives his colours away by suggesting that supporters of the “weak and warlord infested” government will be pleased.

However, many Somalis inside Somalia perceive the latest US strike as an act of terrorism not that different of what the deceased insurgent leader was accused of. They consider the US as enemy of the Somali people who turned a blind eye to their suffering. They contest that the US is self-interestedly pursuing unhelpful policies that will have the negative consequences, opposite of what it was supposed to accomplish.

That was as much as I could find from Somali bloggers. There aren’t many around. Ethiopia, on the other hand, has a large and well establishing blogging community.
Tedla Asfaw at Merkato says the war will continue with or without Ayro, as the insurgency against Ethiopian troops has popular support as Somalis find their country turned into a battleground for a proxy war.

However, for permanent peace in the Horn there should be regime changes both in Ethiopia and Eritrea who have made Somalia their proxy battle ground and ruled also their own people by brute force.

Another vital question – and one that I hope other journalists were grappling with yesterday – is whether Ayro was really al Qaeda’s leader in Somalia. It was an allegation I steered well clear of. This is Ethan Zuckerman’s take…

I’m guessing this question is being asked in newsrooms around the world today. The New York Times ran a story initially titled “Qaeda Agent in Somalia Killed in U.S. Attack”. It’s now titled “Key Militant in Somalia Killed in U.S. Attack“. (At present, the link above leads to a story with the first headline in the title bar and the second headline on the webpage.) The BBC story mentions al-Qaeda, but only in references to US military assertions about the target: “The US says al-Shabab is part of the al-Qaeda network, although correspondents say it is impossible to accurately establish those links. Al-Shabab leaders say it is a purely Somali movement and they deny any involvement with al-Qaeda.”

Ayro was a nasty piece of work. His links to al Qaeda were possibly historical and probably tenuous. He posed little risk to the rest of the world, making the whole thing look like the US was doing Ethiopia’s dirty work.