Securing the Horn
Since the National Islamic Front seized power in Sudan in 1989, the United States has eyed the Horn of Africa with increasing concern. Sudan—intent on building a radical Islamist state, sympathetic to Islam’s most extreme factions such as al Qaeda—has operated as a gateway for the free movement of Islamic terror organizations throughout the Horn—a region that embraces Africa’s central north-eastern coastlands including Kenya, Somalia, Ethiopia, Djibouti, Eritrea, as well as Sudan.
Over the past 13 years, terrorists have carried out a series of attacks in this region aimed at U.S. and Israeli targets. In Mogadishu, Somalia, 18 American soldiers were killed during a terrorist attack in 1993. Terrorists struck in the region again in 1998, bombing American embassies in Nairobi, Kenya, and Dar es Salaam, Tanzania; these attacks killed over 200 people and injured more than 4,000. Two years later, the USS Cole was struck by terrorists in Yemen, just off Africa’s east coast, killing 17 American sailors. In November 2002, al Qaeda-supported terrorists targeted Israelis, bombing a hotel full of Jewish tourists and firing a surface-to-air missile at an Israeli airliner near Mombasa, Kenya.
The Horn of Africa is one of the most unstable regions on the planet. Ethiopia and Eritrea continue to spat over border issues. Ethiopia has troops on the ground inside Somalia to protect the country’s nominal government. This is a response to the raging factional battles within Somalia—a country that since 1991 has lacked a functional central government—as the extremist, revolutionary Islamic Courts Council (icc) movement consolidates its power over the weak, U.S.-backed Somali Transitional Federal Government (tfg). Currently, control of the country lies in the hands of various warlords, with the transitional government having little actual authority. In June this year, Islamist extremists took control of the capital, Mogadishu, and began consolidating their hold on various parts of the country, imposing strict sharia law. Reports reveal that a stream of sophisticated arms originating in Iran, Egypt and Libya is reaching the Islamic extremists. Meanwhile, in August, the fragile tfg was further destabilized when the cabinet was dissolved due to various rifts.
Sandwiched between Somaliland, Ethiopia and Eritrea, the tiny nation of Djibouti is of major strategic importance because of its harbor facilities located on the southwestern extremity of the Red Sea. France, the nation’s old colonial master, maintains a strong presence there, as does the U.S., Djibouti being America’s sole African military base. France and the U.S. remain situated in this country in an attempt to monitor and limit the spread of Islamic terrorists—the region of the Horn being a stronghold for and a crossroads between various terror groups moving north and south through the Middle East.
Should Islam gain control of south Sudan (which is currently an autonomous region) and the whole of Somalia, the scene would be set for incursions into Ethiopia—which is already over 40 percent Islamic—with the prospect of imposing an Islamic regime there. If such a situation materializes, the whole of the region bordering the eastern and western perimeters of the Red Sea could fall into extremist Islamic hands. Such a phenomenon would give the Islamic nations total control not only of the geography within which Middle Eastern oil deposits reside, but also of the vital two sea links through which much of this oil is shipped: the Persian Gulf and the Red Sea.
This situation would be untenable for the European Union, China and Japan, and unthinkable for the U.S. in terms of maintaining any semblance of global stability. Nevertheless, this is the scenario currently playing out in the Horn of Africa.
If Somalia yields to Islamic extremist rule, Ethiopia and tiny Djibouti would become the sole remaining bastions of resistance to the spread of radical Islam in the extremists’ push to engulf the Horn of Africa. Thus, the southward spread of Islamic extremism in east Africa is of tremendous concern to the major oil-consuming economies. Most crucially, that concern centers at present on extremist Islamic movements gaining traction in Somalia.
Western nations, notwithstanding the strong French and U.S. troop presence in Djibouti, remain divided in their opinions about what to do to stem the tide of Islamic extremism in Somalia, diverted as they are by ongoing conflicts in Afghanistan, Iraq and elsewhere in the Middle East, not to mention North Korea’s continuing antics, the risk of recurring violence in East Timor, and the need to secure their own borders from extremist Islamic incursion.
The West has basically left Ethiopia to go it alone in demonstrating any real resistance to what amounts to an Islamic revolution within Somalia. As one source states, this has simply “allowed the icc to advance unhindered, contributed to the breakdown of the tfg and raised the probability of an armed confrontation between the icc and Ethiopia, which would be likely to generate a wave of ultra-nationalism in Somalia that would redound to the advantage of the Courts [icc] and might ignite a regional war” (Power and Interest News Report, July 18).
A regional war in the Horn of Africa would be devastating to the Western alliance. With their troops already stretched to the limit striving to enforce peace on multiple fronts and now a fresh call to supply personnel and hardware in support of an international “peacekeeping” force in the Israeli-Hezbollah imbroglio, the last thing anyone wants is a full-scale regional war in the Horn of Africa.
Yet circumstances are simply going to force the attention of the U.S., Britain and the EU onto this piece of strategic real estate. Somalia’s coastlands border one of the most crucial of the globe’s sea gates—the Gulf of Aden—giving access to the Red Sea, the waterway through which much of the Middle East’s oil is transported.
Cleverly, as part of its long-range plan to sew up control of the globe’s sea gates, China has steadily moved into this region. Already controlling Port Said, the eastern port on the Suez Canal, China is also involved in operations at Port Sudan, located at mid-point on the Red Sea’s Africa coast. China has consolidated its political role in this vital seaway by building arms factories and associated infrastructure for the Islamic government in Sudan, thus aiding that government’s efforts in the genocide of the people of Darfur, a region that impinges on important oil and gas developments in which China has an intense interest.
But there is another nation that eyes the vital sea passage stretching from Suez to Aden, linking the Mediterranean with the Indian Ocean: Germany.
Somalia has figured twice in recent times in the post-unification revival of the German armed forces. In 1994, Germany conducted its first “out of area operation” since World War ii by deploying a naval force to the Horn of Africa in support of the United Nations’ unosom mission in Somalia.
In February 2002, in the largest deployment of German naval vessels since World War ii, the German government dispatched a naval task force to the Horn on a mission that involved the securing of its waters from incursion by terrorists. The Germans stayed. In fact, with the German Navy running security off Gibraltar in the Mediterranean and also off the Horn of Africa, no vessel presently sails through these marine choke points without being under the watchful eye of Germany. This continuing presence of the German Navy at these two crucial sea gates could well, given our understanding of Bible prophecy for those regions, develop into a permanent presence for the foreseeable future. Having taken up such positions, it is highly unlikely that Germany will yield them up to any other nation.
Now, with indications that the German Navy may be called upon to ride shotgun off the coast of Lebanon, Germany’s presence in the Mediterranean, especially the Middle East coastlines, will likely be further strengthened.
Germany and its vassal federation, the European Union, can ill afford to permit the spread of Islam in Africa to interrupt their present process of recolonizing—by trade, aid and “peacekeeping” operations—the politically weak but resource-strong nations of that continent, especially the oil-rich gulf region and its crucial seaways, access to which they need for their spreading global hegemony.
As the situation heats up in Somalia, watch for German interest and involvement in the Horn to heighten.