Posts Tagged With: UIC

It was too good to be true

It turns out Ethiopia’s much publicized ‘withdrawal’ of its troops from Somalia is after all just a tactic. Although it has apparently withdrawn some of its troops from some hotspots like Mogadisho, it nonetheless continues to have its troops present, conquering ever more towns and cities in Southwestern Somalia previously held by the various insurgent groups. The news coming out of Gedo and Baay region confirms that Ethiopian troops have indeed took Bardheere and Diinsor towns in Gedo and Baay respectively, in an effort to bolster the strength of its newly reincarnated warlord tool,Barre Hiraale. 

More insidiously, however, is Meles Zenawi’s tactics of re-arming warlords who were driven from power by the Union of Islamic Courts first, then by the insurgency that ensued in the past two years. This is the tactic Ethiopia was using in Somalia throughout the 1990s. In fact, Ethiopia armed Abdullahi Yusuf in the 1990s in order to fight the previous Islamists movement before the Union of Islamic Courts, which was Al-Itihad, who coincidently was led by Sheikh Aweys Dahir at the time as well. It wasn’t until 2004 after the creation of the Transitional Federal Government in Nairobi that Ethiopia eased its arming of warlords favorable to its goals in Somalia. But its effort to eliminate or destabilize entities which seek to bring law and order continued. 

Now with the emergence of Al-Shabab/UIC more strong than before it went to eliminate in 2006, Ethiopia is once again re-arming criminal warlords, who use such Islamic-sounding names like Ahlu Sunna Wal Jamaca – giving the false impression of ‘moderate Islamists’ fighting Al-Shabab, which really is a front for clan-based warlords who are willing to continue Ethiopia’s stated goal of anarchy in Somalia. For Meles Zenawi, all of these tactics are an effort to cultivate an environment of lawlessness and instability that is ungovernable for any entity hostile to his goals in Somalia and the disputed region of Ogaden. Perhaps Somalia is condemned to anarchy for life. Yet I don’t understand why Somalia’s lawlessness and instability serve Ethiopia better because it doesn’t make sense to burn your neighbor’s house, does it?

Categories: Africa Related, East Africa, Somalia | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Review of Horn Politics

Following Somali politics is like baby-sitting a five-year old toddler with hyperactivity. Just in the past two weeks, Somalia has managed to get another first, one-of-a-kind accomplishment: two ‘prime ministers’ for about a week despite the fact that this so-called government is under Ethiopian military occupation and controlls nothing more than couple of neighborhoods in Mogadisho and Baydhabo (Baidoa). As it happened, warlord ‘president’ Abdullahi Yusuf ‘appointed’ a new prime minister in defiance of ‘parlament’ because the current one, Nur Hussein,  has been doing too much peace negotiations with the various clan, nationalist, and religious oriented opposition groups who have been waging Iraqi-style insurgency against his Western/AU/UN backed fantasy-government.

In fact, two years ago this week, the Ethiopian military invaded Somalia with the backing of Washington and the European Union in order to get rid of Somalia its little, six-month old return to peace under the Union of Islamic Courts. Just has been the case everywhere else, the term “Islam” in the Union of the Islamic Courts’ name  brought up end-of-the-world vision for Washington and immediately dispatched CIA, not-so covert operation aimed at removing the Union of Islamic Courts, who were widely acknowledged for bringing peace and stability to the country. Instead of dealing with the Courts directly, the brilliant minds behind US foreign policy makers decided to fund warlords, who have been committing egregious atrocities against the Somali people since 1991. The strategy, like all evil-intentioned ones, backfired spectacularly. The Union of Islamic Courts, with the help of the business community and the civilian population, defeated the warlord alliances backed by the CIA in June, 2006. Six months of peace and order returned to the country. Of course this was overlooked and the UIC’s heavy sharia enforcement was focused on in the preparation of foreign invasion. The international press had a significant contribution in demonizing the Union of Islamic Courts (not that the UIC were angels), and lionizing warlords, thugs, US-backed Ethiopian invasions, and propping up bunch of murderous warlords as politicians.

Fast-forward two years later, the fantasy-government invented by the West for Somalia has essentially collapsed (not that it existed in reality in the first place). The tolerable Union of Islamic Courts has turned into a hardcore movement, Al-Shabab. The already catastrophic humanitarian mess has turned into a shitty humanitarian catastrophe. Millions of Somalis are being fed by U.N. food aid, while hundreds of thousands of the most vulnerable people are internally displaced into refugee camps. And piracy of the coast is thriving more than ever. With all of this mess, could there be any good news? Perhaps.

‘Prime Minister’ Nur Hussein, the one the ‘Somali Parliament’ approved, and his warlord ‘president’ Abdullahi Yusuf have been fighting over how to deal with the insurgency, the Ethiopian occupation, and the various other problems facing the country. To his credit, Nur Hussein, who is not a warlord, has been proactive in trying to negotiate an inclusive peace deal that includes the removal of foreign forces, particularly Ethiopian, from Somali soil. Warlord Abdullahi Yusuf, who has benefited from the blood and treasure of Ethiopia and the West, inexorably refuses to deal with anyone who’s interested in peace and reconciliation. Two weeks ago, Warlord Yusuf tried his last trick by first announcing his intentions to get rid of Nur Hussein, which he did not have the power to do so because it’s the parliament that can remove the PM. The parliament unanimously approved the continuation of Nur’s leadership, a blow against Yusuf’s thuggish rule. Despite pledging he would stick by the parliament’s decision, Yusuf, like all tyranical warlords, announced one of his henchman as prime minister. Everyone laughed at him, including his staunchest allies – Ethiopia, the US, and the African Union.

The AU and Kenya followed with a la carte sanction against Yusuf and his thug friends personally. Perhaps this was the silver lining. Or Warlord Yusuf simply knew it was time to go, saving his octogenarian head from certain beheading. He announced his resignation today, Dec. 29 2998, from the presidency ‘he was entrusted’ with, as he said in his announcement to the parliament in Baydhabo. He immediately flew to pirate den in Puntland, where now it will be more easy to cash in for the piracy ransom he has cultivated during his tenure. I, for one, think this is a good news. It sure won’t fix Somalia’s mess, but perhaps it will start a trend – a hopeful one where warlords are left in the pages of history rather than propped up as politicians. Ethiopia “announced” more than a month ago that it will withdraw all of its troops from Somalia by the end of 2008. Two days before the year is up, they’re still there. In the past few days, they’ve magically extended the deadline to leave Somali soil to, gasp, Jan. 5, 2009. Make up your mind, Zenawi. 

With Warlord Abdullahi Yusuf and Ethiopian occupation out of the picture, Somalia’s future, contrary to the ill-informed Western press’s favorite soundbite, is more bright today than it was yesterday. That doesn’t say a lot, but it sure won’t be worse than it was during the past two years under Warlord Yusuf and Ethiopian military occupation, as so-called ‘security/terrorism experts’ and ‘foreign correspondents’ love to invoke how Al-Shabab will take over, and obliterate everyone. No one knows what will happen in Somalia, but the departure of Abdullahi Yusuf and the Ethiopian military is a good thing all around. May 2009 be the year peace and stability returns to the Horn. 

Happy New Year, nomads.

Categories: Africa Related, East Africa, Somalia | Tags: , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

The World’s Most Utterly Failed State, The Economist profiles

I’m not one to be accused of liking the The Economist, but I’m quite pleased to see a level of understanding about the geo-political conflict in Somalia this article manages to achieve, unlike most media outlets. For the very first time, I think, a representative of the ‘international community’ actually mentioned the need to put the warlords on trial for war crimes instead of giving them legitimacy and support to fix the chaos they’ve been perpetuating for the past 18 years. 

What the world seems to have convinced itself is the theory that Warlords are politicians. Look at the mess Somalia has been in for the past 18 years – Abdillahi Ahmed Yusuf, Mohamed Qanyare, Musa Suudi Yalahow, Usman Ali Aato, etc. These are the people who are the main cause of Somalia’s misery. These are the same people that the U.N./U.S. were spending millions of dollars and human lives to capture in the 1991-1994 Operation Hope. Instead of the UN prosecuting these warlords for killing many U.N. soldiers and personnel, they’ve recognized them as the representative of the Somali people. Remember the images of U.S. rangers’ corpses being dragged through the streets of ‘Disho? The same warlords who were behind those killings were getting cold, hard cash from the C.I.A in suite cases in 2006 during the fighting between the Union of Islamic Courts and Mogadisho warlords. Warlords lose, Somalia gets a semblance of law and order, warlords flee to neighboring countries (some are even arrested for war crimes in Kenya – but you know how the story ends), and Somalis start to feel hope for the future. Then it all comes down crashing through internal mismanagement of the Union of Islamic Courts, but mostly from external forces’ willingness to make sure Somalia does not get what it deserves: the U.S., the United Nations, and Meles Zenawi of Ethiopia collude to re-empower the despised warlords once again to give Somalis more hell. 

It’s ironic that the United States is willing to prosecute a 15-year old fighting alongside his Taliban-father for injuring a single Marine, but is more than happy to not only prosecute the killers of 18 U.S. Rangers in 1993 in Mogadisho, but actually reward them handsomely with U.S. taxpayers’ dollars. They call that an ”oversight’ of sorts. 

The Economist is the first international publication to call Abdillahi Yusuf “Warlord President” and also put the Transitional Federal Government in quotation. I think we’re moving in the right direction finally, no? 

via Spreading piracy highlights Somalias failure | The worlds most utterly failed state | The Economist.

Categories: East Africa, Somalia | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Union of Islamic Courts Are Back, But still Extreme

Lately we’ve been hearing the comeback of the UIC in Central Somalia and part of Southern Somalia, particularly in Kismayo. Maxamed Ibrahim Macallimu, a reporter for the Somali section of the BBC finds two undeniable facts: the Union of Islamic Courts bring peace and stability to every place they control, but on the downside, they don’t tolerate behaviors that they disagree with – silly things that have ruined them in the past. In the piece, Macallimu interviews two truckers based in Central Somalia about the security situation. Both truckers speak enthusiastically about the improved road security in which they no longer have to deal with militia checkpoints and frequent robbing that plague the roads.

The UIC are also credited with stopping the chronic clan fights that contribute to the general lack of safety in the areas they now control. For Somalis, law and order is really all they want, which the illegitimate ‘Transitional Federal Government’ of Warlord/Thug Abdillahi Yusuf Ahmed can never provide for Somalis even with the manpower and political backing of the “international community.”    

But the Union of Islamic Court’s notorious Talibanesque rule comes with the package. They’re still harassing people for silly things like hairstyles, watching a football match or a movie. I just wish these guys would focus on the larger picture, like winning the Somali population’s support against the warlords by continuing to provide greater security to the people, add social services to their arsenals, and cease their often indiscriminate attacks on TFG/Ethiopia/AU personell when civilians are present.

It’s quite difficult to choose from two extremes when all people want is the middle road. The Macallimu report can be listened through the link below. 

via | Wararka | Waa sidee taliska Islaamiyiinta gobollada dhexe?.

Categories: East Africa, Somalia | Tags: , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Cliff Hanger, Again!

The U.S. strike in Somalia on Thursday killing Aadan Ayro will leave us another cliff hanger for the “peace” process initiated by the U.N. and is supposed to take place ten days from now. Indeed, the TFG and Meles Zenawi are celebrating but does that make them the winner? Al-Shabaab is going to replace Ayro faster than they can clean up the after-party but the question is, why is the U.N. wasting money on these warlords and thugs of the TFG? And for that matter, why is there a “peace” conference when the head of the TFG already declared “The Prime Minister can go and talk to them but none of their demands will be accepted under any circumstances” regarding the Alliance of the Re-liberation of Somalia (the opposition)?

The sad fact is Somalia is doomed and no outside help or interference will fix it. Think about it: there have been over 16 “peace conferences” since 1991 held in various countries but none of them have resulted in anything, except more powerful warlords and thugs. On the other hand, the Union of Islamic Courts got one chance and they blew it on frivolous things like banning television, movies, hairstyles, and threats of war against Ethiopia for Ogaden. So if the “secular” front produces only tribal thugs and warlords and the religious front produces only egomaniacs bent on instituting Taliban-style government on populous that have always been moderate, what is left for Somalia? More cliff hangers, perhaps?

Categories: Africa Related, East Africa, Somalia | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Worst of the Worst

“In many ways, Somalia is not a state at all, but more a lawless space between its neighbors and the sea. Sometimes it seems that if anything binds this country together, it is scar tissue.”

The quote above comes from a report by Jeffrey Gettleman of the New York Times, entitled, “Somalia’s Government Teeters on Collapse,” perhaps the first in-depth look at what is going on in Somalia since the Bush Administration funded invasion of Somalia by Meles Zenawi in late December of 2006. From June of that year until December, southern Somalia enjoyed the most peaceful period since 1990, thanks to the Union of Islamic Courts. However, that was the last time calm and security existed in souther Somalia, thanks to President Bush, Meles Zenawi, and Abdullahi Yusuf of the “Transitional Federal Government,” which the international community “recognized” it as the lawful government of Somalia, despite its murdering, raping, and robbing of the people of souther Somalia.

Like before the Union of Islamic Courts took control of souther Somalia in mid 2006, the “government” is hated by every Somali in unison for its ineffective and barbaric treatment of the people. And like in 2006, the UIC are being funded and supported by the people to defeat the TFG, as it is evident in the Times report. It is only a matter of time before the TFG is annihilated by the UIC because their support comes from the people and most importantly, the business community.

In my previous post about Somalia, I called out the international media for its neglectful duty to report the plight of the people of Somalia and I’m glad the New York Times has reciprocated the call. It is a shame that the Times is the only news outlet to do its duty. So sad.

Categories: Africa Related, East Africa, Somalia | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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