May 4, 2006
The Talibanization of Somalia
There’s an interesting article on Reuters‘ website today. Somalia’s President Abdullahi Yusuf spoke against U.S. support for warlords fighting hardline Islamic militia in Mogadishu as part of Washington’s declared war on terrorism. Yusuf told a Swedish newspaper during a visit to Prime Minister Goran Persson:
“The United States thinks that these warlords can seize al Qaeda members in Somalia, but the Americans should work with us instead….”We really oppose American aid which goes outside the government.”
The Reuters article went on to say U.S. officials have declined comment on persistent reports from foreign and local sources in Somalia that Washington has funneled large sums of money to the alliance since the start of the year. Somali officials had until now also been cautious about responding to the reports of U.S. cash going to Mogadishu.
That’s interesting….Somali officials have been commenting on U.S. money going to warlords for the past few months. Check out some earlier news stories on Somalia Globe and what bloggers on Somalia are saying.
Harun Hassan posted “Somalia Twists in the Wind” on the blog Harowo a couple of weeks ago. It’s a great post on what’s been happening in Somalia after the collapse of Mohammed Siad-Barre’s regime and the U.S. intervention in 1992. The country has been left to its own devices under the label of a ‘failed state’ according to the Foreign Policy yearly index. Hassan wrote:
” …in the vacuum of political and legal authority in recent years and the frustration of the vast majority of the Somalis with the warlords, the Islamic courts found their own opportunity. The courts offered to restore peace and tranquillity to a people longing for an alternative route, through the complete implementation of sharia law…the warlords have opposed any such proposal for over a decade, but the revival of the courts has given it a new momentum.”
This is what we’ve been seeing on the ground for the past few months. In March, Sheikh Sharif Ahmed, leader of the Union of Islamic Courts, said he would take over the city of Mogadishu by force. A week after Sheikh Ahmed made this statement, an insurgency was mounted and a battle ensued between the Union of Islamic Court and Anit-Terror Alliance forces. 93 people were killed, and 200 injured, most of them were civilians.
Something needs to be done soon to stop this. The resources of the African Union have already been expended in Darfur. The West likes to handle Africa’s misfortunes, one at a time. There are already reports from European intelligence on the “Talibanization” of Somalia by the Islamic Courts who wish to establish theocratic rule in the country and are potentially harboring terrorists and training foreign fighters.
Sounds familiar? I think most of the world doesn’t pay attention when its blacks killing blacks or Muslims killing Muslims until it threatens international security. But regional stability is important in East Africa—it won’t be achieved by only stabilizing Sudan, at some point the UN, EU and US need to address the failed state that Somalia has been for the last 15 years.
Man showing landmines handed over by a Somali warlord.