While Pakistan Has Our Attention, Look What’s Brewing in Somalia…

~~By InsightAnalytical-GRL

A few mornings ago I was listening to the BBC World Service as usual and heard a very brief mention about an Islamist leader returning to Somalia and how this might affect the Somali government. The story on the web, however, didn’t hit until yesterday.

Yes, Somalia DOES have a government.  Back in 2006, Ethiopian troops went into Somalia and shattered the Union of  Islamic Courts, a prime force in Somalia’s instablility, which hadn’t had a central goverment since 1991.  However, one of its leaders came back to become the new Somalian president in January– Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed. (BBC profile here.)

Between 2007-2008 Mr Ahmed was an exiled leader of a faction within the Eritrea-based Alliance for the Re-liberation of Somalia (ARS).


He says he wants to make peace with Ethiopia, recruit Islamist militia fighters into a national security force and rebuild the country’s social services.

But a new group of insurgents has formed out of what was left of the Islamic Courts.  Al-Shabab (The Lads) are text-messaging Islamic insurgents believed to have ties to Al-Qaeda and they are controlling large areas of the country and posing a threat to the capitol, Mogadishu.

In an earlier story from March 16, 2009 the BBC published this report:

The Somali transitional federal government implemented Sharia law in the country in March in an effort to drain support for the radical Islamist guerrillas.

But a senior police officer in Mogadishu – who also asked the BBC to withhold his name – said the government’s move would not stop the killing because al-Shabab had a “hidden agenda… to make the world unsafe”.

map of areas under al-shabaab control

The police officer said al-Shabab was led by foreigners, while some younger members of the organisation were Somalis who had spent time abroad.

They had often been dropouts or addicts and were the most vulnerable to be used as suicide bombers, he added.

So now, the other Islamic Courts leader has returned.  He’s on the U.S.’s most-wanted list of terrorists associated with Al-Qaeda.

BBC NEWS | Africa | Islamist leader back in Somalia.

Mr [Sheikh Hassan Dahir] Aweys and Mr Ahmed both headed the UIC, which ruled most of the country for the second half of 2006.

They fled to the Eritrean capital Asmara, where they formed the Alliance for the Re-Liberation of Somalia (ARS).

The two men split after Mr Ahmed – considered the more moderate of the two – agreed to UN-led talks with the government that brought him to power in January 2009 and saw Ethiopia withdraw its troops.

Mr Aweys accused Mr Ahmed of siding with the enemy, and last July declared he had taken control of the ARS.

Mr Aweys is an influential leader of one of Mogadishu’s most powerful clans, so his arrival in the capital suggests that relations between the two men has improved and some kind of agreement is one the table, our correspondent says.

If that is the case, it could significantly improve security in the capital, and give the government a badly needed boost of authority, he adds.

Radical Islamist guerrillas such as al-Shabab, which control parts of Mogadishu and much of central and southern Somalia, have sworn to topple the fragile government.

And, guess what?  International donors are going to spend $250 million to build up a police force (10,000) and national security force (6,000).  This is supposed to help combat piracy and bolster the new government which, according to BBC world affairs correspondent Mike Woolridge, “enjoys little practical authority at present.”

On a parallel track, we’re now hearing how Pakistan’s deal to allow the Taliban to impose Islamic law in a part of the country has opened a Pandora’s box.  We’ve got Sharia Law in the UK, and U.S. Treasury Department meetings about Sharia investing.

What comes next?

6 Responses

  1. What a time to have a novice politician in the Oval Office. Oh well, not to worry, I just read that he’s hip so everything will be fine. WTF:?:

    During his first 100 days as president of the United States, Barack Obama revealed how different he is from all the white men who preceded him in the Oval Office, and the differences run deeper — in substance and style — than the color of his skin.

    Barack Hussein Obama is the nation’s first hip president.

    This, of course, is subject to debate. But watch him walk. Listen to him talk. See the body language, the expressions, the clothes.

    He’s got attitude, rhythm, a sense of humor, contemporary tastes.


    We need leadership and we get hip? We are so screwed!

  2. It’s the same old story, just throw a bunch of money at a country and expect that everything will be hunky-dory. Crazy.

  3. Mary Ellen,

    You forgot about blowing smoke up our collective ass.

  4. Hi IA,

    Thank you for pointing this out. While Al-Shabab is text-messaging and Aweys and Ahmad are teaming up, Pakistan is caving in to Shariah Law. And the president of the United States is sitting in the Oval Office playing with his Blackberry.

    And international donors are going provide the financing of another completely Islamic State.

    As Marge says, “we are so screwed”. Mr. Hip is enjoying his reign, while we average Americans are on our way to the poor house with high blood pressure thrown in for good measure.

    All these threads are from a common spool – Shariah Law – and it is creeping up on us faster and faster. It is troubling that no one in Congress, except Peter King R-NY, seems to see the handwriting on the wall.

    You are very astute, IA, and these are indeed troubling times. Why more people can’t see the connection is dumbfounding to me. The events in Somalia and Pakistan are tied together IMO, and all this text-messaging worries me to no end. When half-crazed young people high on Kat are taking up arms and pirating on the open seas (raising great amounts of money by doing so), who knows what they will do next.

    Those young people who left Minnesota to go to Somalia all have passports and are able to come back here at will. How do you think they will come back? As friend or foe. Domestic terrorism (oops! can’t use that word anymore, can we?) in the making.

    And why was it so freaking important that the “One” be able to take his Blackberry into the Oval Office with him? More sleepless nights ahead.

    I’m going over to Open Range Ramblings to clear m;y head.

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