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Author Topic: SOMALIA...the new crescenting global guerrilla "islamist militant" problem  (Read 4022 times)

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brainwashing of poor youth is quite a growing problem in africa...us will have to be prudent...fundamental islamist radicals are dangerous to stability...


Islamists poised to seize Somalia again in setback to U.S.
 
By Shashank Bengali | McClatchy Newspapers


NAIROBI, Kenya — Al Shabaab, a radical Islamist group that U.S. officials say is tied to al Qaida, has methodically seized much of southern Somalia and is poised to take the capital, Mogadishu, as the country's internationally backed government nears collapse.

The rise of al Shabaab — from the Arabic word for "youth" — in many ways represents the very scenario that the Bush administration sought to avoid two years ago, when it quietly backed an invasion by Somalia's neighbor, Ethiopia, to drive a federation of hard-line Islamic courts out of Mogadishu.
The invasion aimed to forestall a Taliban-style regime that could have become an East African haven for jihadists. But diplomats, regional analysts and former Shabaab fighters say that it's fueled a diverse Islamist insurgency that's now stronger and more sophisticated than ever, and seems bent on retaking control of the country.

American officials "are fearful" of a return to hard-line Islamist rule in Somalia, according to one official who wasn't authorized to discuss the subject publicly. "There's no question that (the insurgency) is more violent than it has been in recent history, and we are extremely concerned about that," the U.S. official said.

Of several insurgent factions claiming territory in southern Somalia, the most powerful is unquestionably al Shabaab, whose leaders claim allegiance to Osama bin Laden and rule based on a strict form of sharia, or Islamic law.

In recent months, their forces have been bolstered by the arrival of foreign-trained jihadists and by ready supplies of cash, weapons and mercenaries flowing easily through one of the most lawless and impoverished regions of Africa.

The group has recruited perhaps hundreds of fighters from across the permeable border in Kenya, paying young, jobless Muslim men upward of $100 a month and promising large sums to the families of martyrs, say Kenyan ex-militants.

They're also joined by a small but influential number of jihadists from Arab countries who train the mostly young and inexperienced Somali fighters in suicide bombing and other tactics, the fighters say.

Despite nearly two decades of chaos and militia rule, foreign fighters are a new phenomenon in Somalia and a sign that al Shabaab is "becoming more dangerous," said Richard Barno of the Institute for Security Studies, a South Africa-based think tank. Analysts credit Shabaab's foreign wing with plotting five coordinated car bombings in northern Somalia last month that killed at least 31 people — the worst terrorist strike in the country in recent memory.

Analysts say it's unclear if Shabaab's links to al Qaida are operational or mere bluster, but CIA director Michael Hayden last week identified Somalia as a region where al Qaida was forming new partnerships. In March, the State Department designated al Shabaab as a terrorist organization that included "a number of individuals affiliated with al Qaida" and that "many of its senior leaders . . . trained and fought with al Qaida in Afghanistan."

U.S. officials accuse the group of sheltering suspects in the 1998 attacks on U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, which killed more than 220 people. The Pentagon has launched several airstrikes inside Somalia against suspected terrorists, including Aden Hashi Ayro, a top Shabaab commander and reputed al Qaida operative, who was killed in a U.S. strike in May.

In backing the Ethiopian invasion two years ago, Bush administration officials made similar allegations about leaders of the Islamic courts, including Hassan Dahir Aweys, a hard-liner who commands a militia from his base in neighboring Eritrea. But in a sign of a softer approach this time around, the U.S. official said that American envoys had met with allies of Aweys in recent months.

Aweys's forces have sometimes fought alongside al Shabaab against Ethiopian forces and secular, clan-based militias. In a recent interview with McClatchy, Mukhtar Robow, a Shabaab senior commander, said that he and Aweys "have a common enemy and are pursuing a common goal in the struggle to liberate our country" from Ethiopian forces.

While Robow accused the United Nations and the African Union peacekeeping mission of siding with the Somali government — his fighters have attacked peacekeepers and are suspected of murdering and kidnapping aid workers — he denied a global or anti-American agenda.

But he expressed allegiance to bin Laden's worldview and said that his fighters, if called upon by Islamic militant groups in other countries, would "join them to liberate them from Americans' interference in their affairs."

Meanwhile, Somali leaders have been paralyzed by a bitter power struggle between President Abdullahi Yusuf and Prime Minister Nur Hassan Hussein. With insurgents gaining ground, the dispute could signal "the beginning of the end" for the country's four-year-old transitional government, said Abdikarim Farah, a senior Somali diplomat based in Ethiopia.

Last week Shabaab forces overran the strategic port of Merka, 60 miles south of Mogadishu, and a smaller town 10 miles southwest of the capital — in both cases without firing a shot.

In Shabaab-controlled areas, the imposition of sharia law has brought sometimes-gruesome consequences. Last month in the southern port of Kismayo, a 13-year-old girl who reported being raped by three men was accused of adultery and stoned to death in a stadium in front of about 1,000 spectators, according to Amnesty International.

"Their agenda is to control the whole country with sharia. They are in it for power," said Issa Abdi Ismail, a rail-thin Kenyan who joined al Shabaab this year for the promise of a $150 monthly salary. He quit about two months ago after commanders sent him to train with a foreign jihadist to become a suicide bomber and attack Ethiopian troops in the government-controlled town of Baidoa.

"I was told that even if you kill one person, you will have sacrificed yourself for God," Ismail said at a cafe in the teeming Somali enclave of Eastleigh, in Nairobi. "I had joined just for the money. I could not go through with that."

Despite the influence of foreign fighters, however, analysts say that al Shabaab can only take Mogadishu by forming alliances with other Islamist militias, which could weaken their influence. Somali officials say that al Shabaab's strict version of sharia is unpopular among other groups and everyday Somalis, many of whom opposed the Islamic courts for similar reasons in 2006.

"Tensions between the groups are there already. Once you take out the hard-core members, there are divisions among the foot soldiers," said Abdisaid M. Ali, an analyst and former Somali cabinet secretary.

Questions also surround Ethiopia's plan to withdraw the several thousand troops still guarding government sites in Mogadishu. Experts believe that al Shabaab and its allies are waiting for Ethiopian forces to leave to avoid a bloody battle for Mogadishu, but Ethiopia has been vague about a timetable for withdrawal.

Already, more than 1.3 million Somalis have fled their homes since 2007, with many living in squalid encampments on the outskirts of cities and in Kenya, the United Nations says. Some 3.2 million people — more than half the country — need urgent humanitarian assistance, a number that relief agencies say will surely rise with the next round of fighting.
If you prick us, do we not bleed?  
  if you tickle us, do we not laugh? if you poison  
  us, do we not die? and if you wrong us, shall we not  
  revenge? m.of v. w.shaka                                             speare

Julie Fern

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Re: SOMALIA...the new crescenting global guerrilla "islamist militant" problem
« Reply #1 on: November 20, 2008, 07:17:34 AM »
a-hole.

CTL

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Re: SOMALIA...the new crescenting global guerrilla "islamist militant" problem
« Reply #2 on: November 20, 2008, 08:04:14 AM »
Wait, for a problem to be new, doesn't it have to be younger than 20 years old?
If looks could kill, you would be an uzi.

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Re: SOMALIA...the new crescenting global guerrilla "islamist militant" problem
« Reply #3 on: November 23, 2008, 02:06:22 AM »
um everyday there is something new...don't be ignorant"...the media is hiding the big problem behind the byproduct of piracy...the real problem which is on the failed state and the inner termoil...this problem is being blunted by the western media's focus on piracy...but jackasses like keith olbermann and anderson cooper and bill o'reilly will focus on bush...give me a break.

guardian uk...



Somalia sinks deeper into a state of total disintegrationMillions have fled their homes in terror; a raped 13-year-old has been stoned to death for 'adultery'; aid workers have been murdered by Islamist militias. While the world's attention is on the pirates off its coast, the failed African state is being ripped apart by violence.Peter Beaumont guardian.co.uk, Sunday November 23 2008 00.01 GMT The Observer, Sunday November 23 2008 Article history
A Somali boy carries a newly-caught fish through the war-scarred streets of Mogadishu last week. Photograph: Mohamed Sheikh Nor/AP

Zam Zam Abdi fled Mogadishu after being threatened with death by the hardline Islamist militia - the Shabab. The message from the armed group once allied to the Union of Islamic Courts, the coalition that briefly seized power in 2006, was simple: if she continued working for her women's rights organisation in the Somali capital, she would be killed. The warning was posted on her office gates. But it is what happened to a friend and colleague, working for another organisation, that persuaded her to escape. He was shot dead and the same note left on his body.

'Most of us had to leave,' she said. 'We had emails and phone calls telling us to stop working. They used an expression famous in Somalia: Falka aad ku jirtid maka baxeeysa. May ama haa? It means - "Stop what you are doing or we will act. Yes or no?" Then someone spoke on the radio - a local leader called Sheikh Mahmoud - delivering the same warning.'

Zam Zam, 28, separates the chaos and violence that has pervaded her country since the overthrow of President Mohamed Siad Barre in 1991 into 'ordinary Mogadishu' and 'not ordinary'. 'Ordinary', in Zam Zam's definition, describes her country's persistent clan warfare, even the heavy fighting in the city that drove her to leave before with her daughter when Ethiopian troops - supporting the internationally recognised government - shelled her neighbourhood in 2006 to drive the Islamic Courts out after six months in power.

In the ordinary violence and chaos, Zam Zam and her colleagues could still work, negotiating with the clan warlords. In common with the UN, Zam Zam believes that what is happening now is something else. Something terrible, exceeding perhaps even the bloodsoaked chaotic days of the early 1990s when Somalia was last plunged into anarchy.

It is Mogadishu that symbolises what is happening. A large proportion of its population - already jobless, hungry and surviving on aid - has fled the fighting in the city between the Shabab and the forces of the country's weak and rapidly imploding government, backed by its Ethiopian allies. The streets are stalked by assassins, kidnappers and suicide bombers. And the Shabab is threatening to overrun the country's south and centre.

If what is happening is a disaster, it is a disaster hardly noticed by the world. Yet it has not only been human rights workers who have been attacked. Government officials, politicians and journalists, anyone who does not fit in with the Shabab's world view, have been threatened and killed, mostly for being tainted by Western ideas. 'When the leadership of the Islamic Courts fled in 2006, the Shabab became more independent,' said Zam Zam.

For humanitarian workers, problems were exacerbated when one of the Shabab's leaders, accused also of being a leader of al-Qaeda, was killed in a US air strike in late spring in the town of Dusa Mareeb. 'When the US hit Shabab hideouts they started seeing us as being spies of the West. If people were kidnapped they would ask to see our laptops before releasing us to see what information we held on them.'

While the world has focused on the rampant piracy problem afflicting the Gulf of Aden, which saw yet another tanker held for ransom last week, the seizing of ships is only a symptom of a much more terrifying malaise.

What it points to is the wholesale failure of a state and the international community's abandonment of the Somalia problem except where it affects its interests - in terms of shipping trade and the 'war on terror' for the West and on a more local scale for the regional interests of Ethiopia and Eritrea.

Last week, however, the African Union Commission's chairman, Jean Ping, reiterated what many are convinced of: that the piracy problem is inseparable from Somalia's caustic political and security problems. 'Piracy is an extension on the sea of the problem you are facing on the land ... [it] is an important aspect of all the disorder you already have in Somali territory,' he said.

Somalia is not so much a failed state as one that is atomising. Forty-three per cent of the country is in dire need of humanitarian assistance, about 3.2 million people at the last count. There are 1.3 million internally displaced, 100,000 of them fleeing the fighting in Mogadishu alone since the beginning of September. Inflation is running at 1,600 per cent. One in six children in southern and central Somalia is acutely malnourished.

Dozens of aid workers, most of them locals, have been murdered this year, largely by members of the Shabab. According to the Shabab, even locals who take money from the UN are therefore in the pay of foreign interests and enemies to be killed.

Mogadishu and other centres have been hit by suicide attacks - merely one aspect of an intensely violent society. There is the religious conflict between the factions of the Islamic Courts allied to the Shabab and those they regard as insufficiently Islamic. Then there are the ever-present clan conflicts, at the centre of which is the rivalry between the Hawiye and the Darod groups. Added to this is the battle between the Transitional Federal government backed by Ethiopia and the Islamic Courts.

These conflicts are underscored by complex, interleaving rivalries even within the Islamist factions which have pitted the Shabab - literally the 'Youth' - against the more moderate Djibouti faction. On top of all this has been the mushrooming of criminal activity, piracy, smuggling and people-trafficking, some of it linked to groups such as the Shabab. Foreign jihadi fighters have also been attracted into the chaos. The consequence has been a disaster.

'The situation is very serious,' said a Mogadishu businessman who spoke to The Observer on Friday asking not to be identified for fear of being targeted by one of the rival groups. 'A lot of the population has fled from the city. Some areas are deserted and it is very difficult and dangerous. There are no jobs. People are only surviving on the food provided at the kitchens of the aid organisations. Others get money sent from their relatives overseas.

'The military loyal to the government are looting. They are taking mobiles from people and committing other crimes. Then there are the different factions of the resistance who call themselves names like the Union of Islamic Courts or Islamic Jihad. Last week the Shabab took two more towns. This is the worst situation since the civil war began,' he added. 'You don't know who will attack or kill you.'

If you prick us, do we not bleed?  
  if you tickle us, do we not laugh? if you poison  
  us, do we not die? and if you wrong us, shall we not  
  revenge? m.of v. w.shaka                                             speare

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Re: SOMALIA...the new crescenting global guerrilla "islamist militant" problem
« Reply #4 on: November 23, 2008, 02:08:06 AM »
And despite the advances on the battlefield made by the Shabab, he does not believe that the period of calm and order enjoyed in Somalia in 2006 when the Islamic Courts first took over would be replicated if the Islamist groups won once more. 'This time it will be worse,' he said. 'The Courts replaced the clan warlords but had no ideas for the future and were driven back. This time the Islamic groups will fight among themselves. This time we will have Islamic warlords. They will fight and there will be more difficult problems.'

Somalia's tragedy has been a slow, deadly and divisive affair that has ground out over the years since the fall of the socialist state founded by Siad Barre in 1991. Its roots, at least partly, are to be found in his disastrous war to seize the Ogaden region of Ethiopia, an adventure that would lead to eventual defeat for Somalia's forces and the beginning of Ethiopia's long history of interference in Somalia, which saw it arm the warlords who brought Siad Barre down.

Despite the overthrow of his authoritarian regime, the rival clans responsible for his downfall could not agree on a replacement, leading to lawlessness and social collapse. The result was a country that, when confronted with famine, was unable to cope, leading to the deaths of more than a million of its people.

While the rest of the world knows Somalia for the intervention by American and Pakistani troops as part of Operation Restore Hope in 1993, for Somalis the country's story has been told in clan strife and repeated failures - 14 to date - to establish a government whose writ runs throughout the state.

The most recent effort was the establishment of the Transitional Federal Government (TFG) in Djibouti in 2004 whose authority was quickly challenged by the Islamic Courts, which emerged out of the port city of Kismayo and sought to establish a strict interpretation of sharia law before being driven out by Ethiopian troops who intervened on behalf of the TFG.

While the rule of the Islamic Courts was, by most Somali accounts, a period of relative calm, it is what has happened since that has driven Somalia towards a new catastrophe. Despite a peace deal between one of the factions of the Islamic Courts and the TFG, the Courts' former militia, the Shabab, has split apart - with the most militant faction responsible for the most violence, in particular those who look to the leadership of Sheikh Hassan Dahir Aweys, a hardline Salafist said to be close to al-Qaeda.


The outcome so many Somalis feared has already come to pass in large areas of south-central Somalia that have fallen under the control of the country's reinvented militant Islamist movement. In recent days its fighters have captured two more towns close to the capital, including Elasha, nine miles south of Mogadishu. In Elasha in recent days rival Islamist groups have already clashed violently.

Elsewhere, the Shabab is already consolidating its victories, including in Marka, capital of the Lower Shabele region. Speaking to a crowd in Marka, Muktar Robow - known as 'Abu Mansur' - a spokesman for the Shabab said the group had come to secure the region against foreigners and criminals.

According to the community-based station Radio Garowe, in the north of the country, he said that the Shabab intended to establish an Islamic court to administer justice, adding: 'We will not allow the citizens to be oppressed again.'

Militarily, it is a situation so bleak for the forces of the TFG and its Ethiopian allies that President Abdullahi Yusuf Ahmed admitted two weeks ago that Islamists now control most of Somalia, raising the prospect that his government could completely collapse. 'We are only in Mogadishu and Baidoa, where there is daily war,' he said.

That leaves a fundamental question: will the Shabab press its advantage to attempt to take Mogadishu once again? On Friday the indication was that it might be its intention, as the capital saw one of the fiercest gun battles in recent weeks when Islamist fighters attacked the house of a local government official, leaving 17 dead.

The Islamist factions have also become increasingly bold in recent weeks, with their spokesmen in Mogadishu regularly holding news conferences and carrying out floggings in the parts of the capital they control, whereas only a few months ago they were careful not to be seen in the open.

Despite the high profile of the Shabab in recent weeks, some analysts believe that it may be content with the chaos in Mogadishu that has bogged down the contingent of African peacekeepers as well as Somali-Ethiopian troops. They believe, too, that the Shabab is wary of the several thousand Ethiopian troops who defeated them before.

Fears over what would happen if the Islamists were to take the capital and impose sharia law across the south were underlined by a single incident at the beginning of the month - the stoning to death for adultery of a 13-year-old rape victim, Aisha Ibrahim Duhulow, in Kismayo. 'You know how bad it is getting,' said Zam Zam, 'when a 13-year-old is stoned to death. Then you know that it is really scary.'

'Somalia in general and Mogadishu is in the midst of a deep political, humanitarian and security crisis,' said Asha Haji Elmi, an MP and activist and delegate to the UN-led peace process, who fled before the Ethiopian advance in 2006. Now based in Nairobi, she remains in daily contact with people in Somalia.

'They talk to me about a precarious situation, and it is civilians who are paying the heaviest price, especially women and children. It is unbelievable. There are internally displaced spread everywhere. There is no secure place.'

She forcefully rejects any new attempt to impose a military solution on her country: 'The solution is political. It requires dialogue. That is the only symbol of hope. A military solution cannot be the answer to the problem. Everyone who has tried to solve Somalia's problems by force has failed.'

A short and bloody history
1960 Britain withdraws from British Somaliland, making way for a union with Italian Somaliland. The new country is known as the Somali Republic.

1969 A coup launched by Mohamed Siad Barre ushers in a period of increasingly authoritarian rule.

1977 Siad Barre invades the Ethiopian territory of Ogaden in a bid to create a Greater Somalia. The Soviet Union and Cuba back Ethiopia.

1991 Siad Barre is deposed by warlords, largely from the south, armed and supported by Ethiopia. The country descends into factional fighting. In May the northern clans declare an independent Republic of Somalia.

1993 Facing an appalling famine, the UN launches a humanitarian effort led by US and Pakistani troops. Thwarted by General Mohamed Farah Aideed, the mission suffers casualties, including the episode described in the film Black Hawk Down, above right, when 17 US Rangers were killed - and the UN mission leaves in 1995 in the wake of the US withdrawal.

2004 The two-year peace process concludes in the establishment of the Transitional Federal Government. It never manages to establish real authority.

2006 A coalition of businessmen, clerics and militias known as the Union of Islamic Courts sweeps to power. Ethiopia, encouraged by the US, intervenes to support the TFG and drives back the Courts, claiming they are allied to al-Qaeda's East African network.

2008 With the leadership of the Courts in exile, a resurgent Islamist movement, focused on the hardline Shabab militia group, makes gains throughout the country, threatening Mogadishu and Baidoa by November.



If you prick us, do we not bleed?  
  if you tickle us, do we not laugh? if you poison  
  us, do we not die? and if you wrong us, shall we not  
  revenge? m.of v. w.shaka                                             speare

Julie Fern

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Re: SOMALIA...the new crescenting global guerrilla "islamist militant" problem
« Reply #5 on: November 23, 2008, 08:22:01 AM »
putz.

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Re: SOMALIA...the new crescenting global guerrilla "islamist militant" problem
« Reply #6 on: November 24, 2008, 01:23:58 AM »
...this is going to have to be addressed in very short order...


Dozens Killed as Fighting Intensifies in Somalia

 
By MOHAMMED IBRAHIM and SHARON OTTERMAN
Published: November 21, 2008

MOGADISHU, Somalia — At least two dozen people, including six children, were killed in heavy fighting here in Somalia’s capital on Friday as government troops tried to reassert control and Islamist insurgents fought back fiercely, witnesses said.


Times Topics: SomaliaBodies littered the streets of the bullet-pocked city, and hundreds of residents began to flee. Both sides claimed victory.

Violence between Islamist rebels and government forces has intensified over the past few weeks. Islamist insurgents now control much of south central Somalia, including many neighborhoods within Mogadishu, and seem intent on seizing the few enclaves the government, with Ethiopian muscle, still controls.

The gun battles on Friday started just after dawn outside the house of a local district commissioner, Ahmed Daaci, in a southern neighborhood of the city. At least 17 people died and 6 were wounded in that fighting, according to witnesses’ accounts.

Mr. Daaci, who survived the attack, said that government forces had repulsed a group of insurgents who attacked his house, and that 17 of the attackers were killed.

The bodies were left on display for hours, after government forces blocked residents from collecting them, an apparent attempt to ward off further attacks.

“I saw 12 dead bodies lying on the streets, and there were 2 bodies in front of my house,” said Abdurashid Abdullahi, a resident of the Medina neighborhood, where the fighting took place. “They are the Islamists,” he said.

More fighting erupted in the afternoon, when Islamist insurgents and government forces, backed by Ethiopian troops, fired artillery at each other. Six children were killed when a mortar shell slammed into their house, said a resident who lived next to the crushed building.

Ethiopian troops were to start leaving some positions in Mogadishu on Friday, under terms of a recent United Nations-brokered peace deal in Djibouti between the transitional government and a coalition of Islamist groups. African Union troops are scheduled to replace them.

But there were no signs of a withdrawal, witnesses said.

One of the insurgent groups, a faction of the Union of Islamic Courts, considered one of the more moderate Islamist groups in Somalia, said it had lost six men in the day’s fighting and had killed 15 government soldiers. The figures could not be independently verified.

Ethiopian troops entered the country in late 2006 and ousted an Islamist administration that briefly controlled much of south and central Somalia. But the Islamists regrouped, and have steadily progressed from staging sporadic hit-and-run guerrilla attacks to seizing — and holding — large swaths of territory.

A deal reached late last month between the transitional government and the main Islamist-led opposition group called for Ethiopian troops to pull out of areas in Mogadishu and the central garrison town of Beledweyne by Nov. 21, which was Friday.

Under the deal, the Somali government and the opposition Alliance for the Reliberation of Somalia are to assemble a 10,000-strong police force to help the African Union peacekeepers control the areas.

Somalia has been without a functioning central government since 1991, when Mohammed Siad Barre was removed from power and the army fell into the hands of clan militias, throwing the country into lawlessness.

Mohammed Ibrahim reported from Mogadishu, and Sharon Otterman from New York.

If you prick us, do we not bleed?  
  if you tickle us, do we not laugh? if you poison  
  us, do we not die? and if you wrong us, shall we not  
  revenge? m.of v. w.shaka                                             speare

Julie Fern

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Re: SOMALIA...the new crescenting global guerrilla "islamist militant" problem
« Reply #7 on: November 24, 2008, 07:29:17 AM »
and what your boy gump ever do about it?

Julie Fern

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like, for britney spears?