Have the Islamists started to go too far in Somalia?
The reaction among ordinary Somalis to an al-Shabaab car bomb attack on African Union peacemakers last week may be instructive.
The attack was billed as an act of revenge against America for a commando raid carried out a few days earlier by U.S. troops, who killed one of the most wanted al Qaeda men in Africa.
Seventeen of the peacemakers, all Africans, were killed. So too were a number of Somalis who had gone to the peacekeepers' base for medical attention. At least 19 Somalis died in shelling that followed the car bomb attack.
"Bombing Somali Muslims because of a dead foreign terrorist is totally ungodly and
inhumane," businesswoman Asha Farah told Reuters after the al Shabaab attack. "I can only say that al Shabaab are mad."
Her view reflected that of many Somalis that Reuters correspondents spoke to in the capital, Mogadishu.