Darfur og Somalia har noe til felles. Begge steder foregår det kamp om makt og areal, og begge steder står aggressive islamister sentralt.

Det må være en kilde til dyp bekymring for USA og europeiske stormakter å se uroen spre seg. Det kan virke som om Al Qaida-vennlige grupper igjen prøver å gjøre Somalia til et fristed for islamister.

One of the leaders of the Union of Islamic Courts is Sheik Hassan Dahir Aweys, an imam and former soldier whom the American government has linked to Al Qaeda. The United Nations has accused him of receiving a large cache of arms from a nearby country in violation of the embargo on providing weapons to Somalia.

«We will have to liberate our people from these warlords, who have been shedding our people’s blood for the past 15 years,» he told The Associated Press recently. He also told the BBC that he was part of the «mujahedeen who are fighting back.»

Another person linked to the Islamic courts is Aden Hashi Ayro, a protégé of Sheik Aweys who, some say, has become a renegade militia leader who answers to no one. Mr. Ayro is suspected of being linked to a string of assassinations of businesspeople, intellectuals, peace activists and others in recent months. The killings are believed to have been intended to send a message against any foreign tampering in Somalia.

In 2005, Sheik Aweys led an attack on an Italian cemetery in Mogadishu, in which human remains were dug up to protest foreign intervention in Somalia. His fighters have also joined with other militias to close down cinemas in the capital that were accused of showing immoral films. They oppose proposals to bring an outside peacekeeping force into Mogadishu.

«This is a resource conflict and a religious conflict,» said Jabril Ibrahim Abdulle, director of Center for Research and Dialogue. «Everybody wants to make money, but the religious leaders are also turning this into a war against the West.»

Alliance of Somali Warlords Battles Islamists in Capital

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