It was part of a sequence of events made less fuzzy by documentation found in 2003 in post-Saddam Iraq - most specifically an order by Saddam to his IIS to "hunt the Americans" in Somalia using Islamist militants.
Saif writes that on the 20th of January, 1993 he and his men were ordered to drop everything (marriage plans, travel) and report to a man named Abu Hafs in Peshawar, Pakistan. This deployment to Somalia heralded a major escalation of al Qaeda activities in Africa. Abu Hafs is also known as Mohammed Atef. Mohammed Atef was the number two man in the EIJ under Ayman al Zawahiri and also part of Usama bin Laden's inner circle. He was included in the 1998 indictment for attacking US forces in Somalia and was considered the number three man in al Qaeda. He was killed by US forces shortly after 9/11.
Saif describes how he and his men were ordered by Atef to go Somalia and set up training camps. The fighters they trained would ultimately grab power in Somalia, only to be driven out by Ethiopian and American Special Forces action last year.
Saddam Hussein ordered his intelligence service to "hunt the Americans" in Somalia via Afghan mujahideen proxies including the EIJ on January 18th, 1993 just two days before EIJ leader Atef ordered his best men to Somalia. The CNS memoranda also show that Saddam's intelligence service was meeting with the leader of the EIJ (almost certainly Ayman al Zawahiri) to give him the assignment.
The event was, as AQ's Zawahiri reminded us in January of this year, a proud victory for the terrorists.
"The United Nations, which divided Palestine and provided a legal cover for invading Iraq and Afghanistan, is offering today a new service to the Crusader alliance led by America against the Islamic and mujahid Somalia.
"My Muslim brothers in Somalia: Do not be terrified by America's power as you have defeated it before, thanks to God and His grace.
Again, a surrender first American moment comes back to haunt us.
Today, Zawahiri's 2007 call to jihad against the west and the Ethiopians in Mogadishu brings us vivid memories of Blackhawk down - once again bodies are being dragged thru the streets.
Somali insurgents have dragged the bodies of two dead Ethiopian soldiers through the streets of Mogadishu after a day of heavy battles. Residents say hundreds of people trailed after them, pelting the corpses with stones, chanting "God is Great".
The battles started when the Ethiopians went out to patrol, and were met with terrorist resistance. And the UN is unable to provide humanitarian aid... just as 14 years ago resulted in the murders of peacekeepers and trigged the Ranger and Delta forces being sent in.
Aid workers in Mogadishu itself say the fighting has become so bad that civilians who are wounded are unable to get help and frequently bleed to death.
The United Nations Humanitarian Coordinator for Somalia, Eric Laroche, told parliament in Baidoa that 1.5 million Somalis were in need of emergency aid, the Reuters news agency reports.
"We have to be able to help them - and we have a problem reaching them," Mr Laroche was reported as saying.
deja vu... but for one point. They don't have the US military to kick around this time. And should the US intervene (with light action as early this year)... which I have my doubts... this is one CIC that won't take that task and mission lightly.