Friday June 9, 2006

We Won a Battle, They Won a Country

While killing Abu Musab al-Zarqawi is a great victory, the war on terror's focus elsewhere should not be lost, according to UD terrorism expert Mark Ensalaco.

Somalia soon will be the next major front in the war on terrorism, according to Mark Ensalaco, an international terrorism expert and director of the University of Dayton's international studies and human rights program.

"While killing Abu Musab al-Zarqawi is a great victory, the war on terror's focus elsewhere should not be lost, especially when Somali Islamists are claiming victory over U.S.-backed warlords in Somalia," said Ensalaco, who is wrapping up a book titled "History of Middle East Terror From Black September to Sept. 11." "Right now, we won a battle. They won a country.

"Osama bin Laden has been waiting 13 years for Somalia to fall into Islamists' hands," added Ensalaco, who has been quoted or interviewed about terrorism by CNN, Reuters, the Associated Press, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the Ottawa (Ont.) Citizen and the Voice of America, among others. "It shows the patience of the jihadists."

Ensalaco had a good idea about these developments two years ago when he told Voice of America, "The Horn of Africa is a region of special concern for counter-terrorism experts, but is a theater that deserves more attention. Al Qaida's first known attack on Americans took place in Somalia in 1993 - the famous Black Hawk Down incident - at a time when bin Laden was residing in the Sudan."

Ensalaco, who has taught Political Science 452 - the "terrorism course" - since 1989, started a concentration in peace and global security at UD and speaks regularly about political violence. He presumes any tape produced by bin Laden or Ayman al-Zawahiri after al- Zarqawi's death will honor al-Zarqawi but also will praise the Somali fighters who are turning that country into an Islamic state.

For interviews, contact Mark Ensalaco directly at 937-291-1251. His availability is contingent on how work is progressing on his book, which is due to his publisher June 16. For additional assistance, you can call Linda Robertson at 937-229-3257. Shawn Robinson will return to the office June 19.