Opposition to the war in Iraq is back in the headlines. After a Senate Committee formally opposed President Bush’s plan for Iraq — which the President is still going through with — anti-war protesters have come out onto the streets.

This is nothing new. When the Iraq conflict developed over three years ago, thousands also marched the streets. The Administration ignored to budge then. And the Administration will ignore this wave of protests too.

But this opposition is not insignificant. Large demonstrations against the war in Iraq have with time become scarce, and it now seems that the anti-war movement is starting to grow, at least in its visibility. Capitol Hill officials are ready to criticize the war, and citizens are asking an end to the conflict. Washington, DC apparently saw at least 100 000 protesters demand an end to the war in Iraq.

This is important, because the war movement is not about to end.

It’s true that the US will be out of Iraq sooner rather than later, maybe even by the end of the year. However, the war on “Islamists” is far from over. Somalia is slowly emerging as a new target, with alleged Al-Quada operatives in the country. Since 2007 hit, the US has been very active in bombing targets inside the country. These attacks were preceded by a US supported power takeover in Somalia, with the Union of Islamic Courts government ousted from office.

No matter the denials of war plans, Iran is also likely to see some form of action from the US. Not a day goes by that Iran is not mentioned in the media as a supporter of the Iraq insurgency, and a general nuisance, with its nuclear program steaming ahead. As Doug put it on Doug’s Darkworld, did Bush really need to authorize US troops to kill Iranian nationals on Iraqi soil? No. But he did, and this seems connected to a larger picture. Also, consider the post on Fundamentalist Druid which analyzes last year’s highly publicized Seymour Hersch article and finds that the author cannot be contradicted on many points.

In the end, the anti-war movement does not matter much for Iraq, but it does matter for Iran and Somalia and the future of the US military. This Administration is on a time-leash, with elections set for 2008, and the successor Administration won’t be able to ignore the movement, if it continues to show signs of its existence, as has been the case this week.


The US ambassador to Kenya is now urging the transitional government in Somalia to talk to “moderates” in the country’s Islamist movement.

What occurred in the last few weeks was that the Union of Islamic Courts (UIC) government was expelled, with tactical aid from the US as well as the involvement of the Ethiopian army; a new government has been installed. The US has also hit suspected terrorist targets in the country, though it’s unclear how successful these were.

What’s curious is that the UIC government, which had been in power for about six months, was that it managed to restore some order to the war-torn country. In fact, the new government may not be as welcome as it may seem, because that order is now threatened with the Islamists fighting back. The Ethiopians’ welcome will also come to an end soon, because the country is seen as very ambitious for influence in Somalia and those ambitions will not be welcomed by Somalis.

What the African Union peacekeepers, on their way to replace the Ethiopians, will be able to provide is unclear as well.

Right now it just seems like a very messy situation. The US ambassador in question, Michael Ranneberger, has said that all elements of Somali society should participate as long as they renounce terrorism, extremism and violence. That’s a fair statement to make, however members of the UIC have just been the victims of violence themselves, so they just may not be ready to renounce it quite yet.

Somalis who have witnessed the civilian casualties imposed on them by US air strikes on suspected terrorist targets can also be mobilized for violence and terrorism, much easier than before.