War: Somalia: Restored govt declares State of Emergency for 3 months, AlQaeda rebels regrouping for guerrilla war
Reuters reporter Hassan Yare" in a dispatch today, "Somali parliament declares state of emergency" (Jan13,2k7) describes the complex situation faced by government there in the wake of the invasion by its Ethiopian ally, an invasion that displaced the rule of the AlQaeda-backed Union of Islamc Courts. Toward the end of that move, the USA also entered the scene in an airstrike against the AlQaeda leadership covertly behind the UIC.
Somalia's parliament declared on Saturday a three-month state of emergency amid fears of a return to clan violence after weeks of war ousted Islamists.The terminology used here is correct but does not mention that this particular variety of Islamism (or, Islamicism) is Islamofascist in the sense that it is covertly directed or influenced by Al Qaeda (yes, the same folks directing the Taliban in Afghanistan and a major stream in the Iraqi civil war. A caution: not all Islamist parties and governments are fascist, a democratic Islamic party governs Turkey, for instance.
However, in the case of Iraq's Al Qaeda, such Sunni deviants have carried forward a program of murder against Shi'ites that eventually provoked the Shia militias there, and triggered the present civil war.
Update:In Somolia, however, where the population is 95% Muslim, and Sunni, the AlQaedist stream of Sunnis will now be attacking other Sunnis.
Members of parliament in the government's interim seat of Baidoa -- its home until Ethiopian and Somali troops defeated Islamists who controlled much of the south, voted 154 to two to ratify Prime Minister Ali Mohamed Gedi's plan to restore order.
The government, which is seeking to install itself in the capital Mogadishu, faces a huge challenge to bring peace and security to the Horn of Africa nation, which has been without effective central rule since the 1991 ouster of a dictator.
The present government is of more recent vintage, according to the US State Departments webpage on Somalia: "Somalia has had no functioning national government since the collapse of the regime of Maj. Gen. Mohamed Siad Barre in January 1991. The present political situation in much of Somalia is marked by inter-clan fighting and the lack of security, with some areas of relative peace and stability. On October 10, 2004, Abdullahi Yusuf Ahmed was elected Transitional Federal President of Somalia for a five-year period. A Prime Minister, Ali Mohamed Gedi was approved by the Transitional Federal Assembly on December 24, 2004. A cabinet, known as the Council of Ministers, also exists. [The legislative structure is] parliamentary (Transitional Federal Assembly, established in August 2004. Shariff Hassan Sheikh Adan was elected Speaker of the Assembly in September 2004.)
A three-month state of emergency has been passed [into law]. If the need arises for the government to extend the period then the president will have to ask parliament for approval," second deputy speaker Osman Elmi Boqore told parliament.Africa > Somalia
The law prohibits demonstrations and bans possession of weapons. "The president has powers to announce a decree on how the state of emergency can be implemented," a parliamentary statement said.
President Abdullahi Yusuf called on clan elders and warlords to hand over militia for a new national army. The warlords had already agreed to merge their forces into such a force.An earlier report by Mohamed Olad Hassan of Associated Press via San Diago's Union-Tribune, "Somali warlords agree to disarm as government troops capture last Islamic[ist holdout in the south"
"You have to hand them over to the government and we will train them as government security officers, such as police and military," he said. "As we can see the guerrilla war that the Islamists talked about is starting."
MOGADISHU, Somalia – As Somalia's warlords were signing a deal to lay down their weapons, six militiamen were gunned down just yards away in a dispute over a parking spot.I take exception to AP's terminology here. There are many "Islamic movements," many of which are not Islamist, or "Islamicist. There are many Islamic movements in Somalia, only those that try to impose an AlQaeda/Taliban kind authoritarian political Wahabbist Sunni regime, opposed to democracy (which of course, would have its own general Islamic characteristics due to the demographics of the country) should be indicated.
Their bodies were propped up against a bullet-scarred wall opposite the presidential palace on Friday – a stark reminder of the challenges facing the government as it tries to restore order and establish real authority in this fractious, heavily armed country.
The government was only able to enter Mogadishu two weeks ago after Ethiopian troops routed an Islamic movement that had controlled most of southern Somalia for the past six months. Now it must deal with clan divisions that have spoiled the last 13 attempts to form an effective government since the last one collapsed in 1991.
There are believed to be around 20,000 militiamen in Somalia and the country is awash with guns. Other obstacles include remnants of the Islamic movement – some are believed to be hiding in Mogadishu – and resentment among some Somalis of Ethiopia's intervention in the war.
Hours after the signing, Defense Minister Col. Barre “Hirale” Aden Shire said Ethiopian-backed government forces had captured the last remaining stronghold of the Islamic movement after five days of fighting in the southern town of Ras Kamboni. He said Ethiopian and Somali forces chased fleeing Islamic fighters into nearby forests and the fighting would continue.This tragic event was immortalized in the famous movie Black Hawk Down.
Ras Kamboni is in a rugged coastal area a few miles from the Kenyan border. It is not far from the site of a U.S. airstrike Monday targeting suspected al-Qaeda militants – the first U.S. offensive in Somalia since 18 American soldiers were killed here in 1993.
The agreement reached Friday between President Abdullahi Yusuf and the clan warlords aimed to establish enough security in the capital so that international peacekeepers can deploy and protect the government until it can establish an effective police force and army.60 percent of the population are nomadic, and 85% of the land is desert.
“The warlords and the government have agreed to collaborate for the restoration of peace in Somalia,” said government spokesman Abdirahman Dinari. “The agreement means they have to disarm their militia and their men have to join the national army.”
One of Somalia's most powerful warlords, Mohamed Qanyare Afrah, told Associated Press after the meeting that the clans were “fed up” with guns and ready to cooperate.
But another warlord issued a warning to the government.
“If the government is ready to reconcile its people and chooses the right leadership, I hope there is no need to revolt against it,” said Muse Sudi Yalahow, whose fighters control northern Mogadishu. “If they fail and lose the confidence of the people, I think they would be called new warlords.”
Friday's fighting in the capital began when clan gunmen fired a rocket-propelled grenade and briefly exchanged gunfire with government troops. The battle, which one militiaman said was sparked by a dispute over where to park an armored car, left at least six dead and 10 wounded.
Since Tuesday, there have been several attacks against government forces and their Ethiopian allies, and five people have been killed, witnesses said. In addition, assailants threw a grenade into a Mogadishu hotel late Thursday, killing a government soldier, said lawmaker Jini Boqor. The hotel is used by Somalia's police chief.
The United States, United Nations and the African Union all want to deploy peacekeepers to stop Somalia from returning to clan-based violence and anarchy. But so far no African governments have responded to the call for an 8,000-strong peacekeeping force for the country, although Uganda has indicated it is willing to send 1,500 peacekeepers as part of a wider mission.
Late Thursday, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon urged the international community to redouble efforts to stabilize Somalia and reiterated his concern that U.S. attacks were harming civilians and could have “unintended consequences.”
Eritrean President Isaias Afwerki said in a statement on a government Web site Friday that U.S. involvement in Somalia is creating turmoil in the Horn of African region and would “incur dangerous consequences.” Eritrea and Ethiopia are bitter rivals.
Ethiopian and U.S. forces are pursuing three top al-Qaeda suspects believed to be in Somalia. The U.S. has repeatedly accused the Somali Islamist movement of harboring the suspects, wanted in connection with the 1998 U.S. Embassy bombings in Kenya and Tanzania.
Recent air attacks against the fleeing Islamic movement have killed 70 nomadic herdsmen in the last four days, British charity Oxfam said Friday, citing its local Somali partner organizations. It said the deaths occurred near Afmadow, about 220 miles southwest of Mogadishu.
The United States has said it only conducted one airstrike and no civilians were killed. The Ethiopian military has used attack helicopters against militants in Somalia.The war, at least the general instablity, is not over. And it is part of an AlQaeda offensive on at least three fronts: Afghanistan, Iraq, and Somalia.
The U.N. food agency said it has started distributing food to 18,000 Somalis, many of whom were women and children and had fled fighting in the south. The agency said ongoing military activity meant they could not get food to another 190,000 people who were desperately in need.
Somalia has not had a functioning government since clan-based warlords toppled dictator Mohamed Siad Barre in 1991 and then turned on each other, sinking the Horn of Africa nation of 7 million people into chaos.