Islamists abandon Mogadishu to warlords

Discussion in 'Current Affairs, News and Analysis' started by Newbie_Girl, Dec 29, 2006.

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  1. Troops loyal to the Somali government, backed by Ethiopian forces, are on the verge of taking full control of Mogadishu after Islamist fighters abandoned the capital with barely a shot fired.

    Government soldiers were patrolling in the heart of the lawless city this morning, and expect to be in complete control by the end of the day.

    Mohamed Ali Gedi, the prime minister, is expected to arrive in the capital within the next 24 hours, after flying by helicopter to a nearby town yesterday.

    Yesterday a hard core of gunmen loyal to the Islamic Courts Union fled south to the port city of Kismayo, promising a last stand, which could evolve into a guerrilla campaign.

    Full story here
  2. This could become interesting.

    This is from a report (International Crisis Group) published in August 2006:

    "The Islamic Courts’ success, and the rise to prominence of hard-line jihadi Islamists within them, has alarmed neighbours and sent shock waves through the broader international community. Ethiopia, which suffered terrorist attacks by al-Itihaad al-Islaami (AIAI) in the mid-1990s, considers the Courts a direct threat. Kenya is alarmed by links between key figures within the Courts and individuals of concern within its own borders. The U.S. believes jihadi Islamists within the Courts shield al-Qaeda operatives responsible for bombing two of its embassies in 1998. All share determination not to allow Somalia to evolve into an African version of Taliban-ruled Afghanistan. Meanwhile, the Transitional Federal Government is increasingly perceived within Somalia as a faction rather than a national authority and is so wracked by internal dissent and the accelerating defections of cabinet ministers that it threatens to fall apart.

    The TFG and Ethiopia paint the Islamic Courts – far too simplistically – as a terrorist umbrella, backed by thousands of foreign jihadi fighters, and Ethiopia has threatened to “crush” them if they move against the TFG. The Courts have responded to Ethiopian deployments in Somalia by calling for a defensive jihad and breaking off peace talks under Arab League auspices. Skirmishes between TFG and Islamic Court forces south of Mogadishu in late July were widely perceived as the first exchanges of a coming conflict. Unless the crisis is contained, it threatens to draw in a widening array of state actors, foreign jihadi Islamists and al-Qaeda. Moreover, Eritrean assistance to the Courts has made Somalia an increasingly likely proxy battlefield between long-feuding Eritrea and Ethiopia.

    The roots of the crisis are profoundly parochial and have more to do with practical power, prestige and clan issues than ideology. The core of the dispute is the TFG’s failure to make itself a genuine government of national unity and the emergence of the Islamic Courts as a platform for opposition from large sections of the Hawiye clan – probably the largest, most powerful kinship group in southern Somalia. The Courts are a loose coalition of Islamists, including many moderates, who have built a well-trained militia and independent funding sources."

    Ethiopia backs the TFG, Eritrea the Islamic Courts (as a way of getting at Ethiopia), the Arab League is favourable towards the Islamic Courts, the African Union has concerns (but no resources) about the whole affair and what if 200,000 Somalis go flooding across the border into Kenya a Commonwealth country?

    This one will run and run.
  4. As it has been already, for years and years.
  5. The Ethiopian armed forces should be thanked for intervening and disposing of the ICU…for now. The ICU's pro-AQ leaders aren't going to give up that easily and have vowed to remain in Somalia until they're successful in their quest to install an Islamic state. I don't understand why we're not worried about this threat because if they do succeed, there is a genuine risk Somalia will become the third front in Islam's global holy war against us.
  6. because the icu folded at the first real threat
    ethopia's military will probably do a better job than the US did hammering the islamists not afraid of taking casualities and never reALLY HEARD OF HUMAN RIGHTS :twisted:
  7. The Somali capital of Mogadishu was transferred to the control of the interim government and Ethiopian soldiers yesterday. Islamic militants fled the city ahead of the Ethiopian forces. They opened up the prisons and armed the prisoners as they left. Chaos now reigns in the city. The strongest clans that remained faithful to the interim government are using their armed groups to bring the city under control.

    The Islamic Courts Union, which is fighting the Somali interim government had promised to fight for every house in Mogadishu. Somali interim government soldiers and Ethiopian forces stopped 30 km. outside Mogadishu, a city of 2 million inhabitants, to prepare to storm the city. When they found out about the approach of the Ethiopians, the two large clan groups that in practice control Mogadishu, Abgal and Habr-Gidir, decided to break ties with the Islamic Courts Union.

    The councils of the elders of the clans ordered their forces to abandon the ICU and take up the defense of the neighborhoods of the city the clans control. The ICU thus lost most of its fighters. Remaining in the city would have led to the groups' complete destruction. The clans also sent negotiators to the Ethiopian and interim government forces to agree on a bloodless transfer of the city.

    The situation repeated the events of June of this year, when interim government forces fled the city northward in panic before ICU forces, who convinced the elders of the clans to hand over the city peacefully. Before fleeing south now, however, the Islamists opened the prisons and released the criminals they had been rounding up with Islamic fervor. The weapons from the city's arsenals that they were unable to carry with them were handed out to all comers. Huge lines formed to receive Kalashnikov machineguns. Witnesses say that the Islamic forces numbered only about 3000 as they fled the city.

    Public transportation has come to standstill in the city and the price of food as skyrockets. Sellers of qat, a mild narcotic with hallucinogenic properties returned to the streets immediately. A prohibition on qat was one of the ICU's first decrees on taking the city over. Armed looters intoxicated on qat roamed freely while stranded residents barricaded themselves in their homes. Clan groups and bands exchanged gunfire throughout the day as the clan forces tried to gain control of the city.

    The Ethiopian and interim government forces entered the city in the evening. They occupied the city airport and port. Somali Prime Minister Ali Mohammed Ghedi traveled to the outskirts of Mogadishu to begin negotiations with the Abgal and Habr-Gidir clans. The coalition forces intentionally delayed their entry into the city to weaken clan forces in the battles with the marauders. That, in turn, should strengthen the interim government's negotiating position. The Ethiopians are now beginning to distance themselves from the war. Gen. Salem Hagos, commander of the Ethiopian contingent in Somalia, stated that Ethiopian forces would not enter Mogadishu proper. Addis Ababa also wants to withdraw from Somalia before the United Nations declares it an aggressor. The UN Security Council was unable to pass a resolution on Somali yesterday.

    The defeat of the Islamists in Mogadishu discredits them in the eyes of the main clans of the country and reduces the likelihood of the Islamists acting as a consolidating force in the country. It also increases the likelihood of a return to all-out civil war.
  8. Spookily enough if you scratch the surface of the Somalia problem you will find that it is not about religion, but money, power and clans (in that order). What was worrying was that after so long in disarray the clan structure was losing its cohesion, society was losing its cohesion, and hence the growth of salafist movement (ICU) that was alien to Somali culture and history.

    All that has happened (IMHO) is that the clans have rejigged loyalties to take into account the current preponderance of Ethiopian firepower. The same old hoods are now back in charge :frustrated: and the only thing we can be certain of is that he only thing a Somal hates more then not being his own boss, is an Ethiopian. :pissedoff: :shakefist:

    For those interested Kenya Wildlife Services (KWS) have been on the lookout recently for a few good men to help them with their ops on the Somalia border. Experience with helicopters and helicopter IR and thermal systems an advantage; sounds like a possible use for a sabbatical year! :party: