Thursday, December 31, 2009

Happy New Year 2010

Hope this New Year brings you, Hopes for a bright future, Affection and Love, Peace for the heart, Prosperity that’s unlimited, Year-round fun. Happy New Year!

Alternative Approaches to Pacifying Mogadishu

For the last twenty years, Somalis have hoped, and so we expressed in these pages of WardheerNews, that each prospective year would be decidedly different.  Although peace and development has sustainably improved with each passing year in the Horn of Africa region, things have gotten so sour for the Somali people that the otherwise hope-instilling "Happy New Year" cliché became rather an empty phrase.
Mogadishu Warlords
Former hawiye  warlords and members of the now defunct CIA-funded Alliance for Restoration of Peace and Counter-Terrorism
With the help of well-wishing, but impatiently hasty world community, only one model - a top down approach - to re-establish the Somali state has been repeatedly tried.  However, that model keeps failing.  To say the least, enormous political capital and human life have been spent on faulty solutions to Somalia's intractable problems, all of which have been centred on the question of Mogadishu. 

It was not that long ago when ruthless warlords, aided and abetted by the Bush administration, promised to bring peace to Mogadishu; but they caused more devastation to the already devastated city.  The Abdullahi Yusuf-Geeddi and, later on Abdullahi Yusuf –Nur Cadde Transitional Federal Government (TFG1), did not either grow beyond the sandy beaches of this troubled City.  The chaotic but short and tranquil period of the Islamic Courts Union ended up eroding all civil liberties to give way to several fundamentalist splinter groups that are now threatening what is left of the Somali fabric. And the current Sheriff - Sharmarke feeble administration is sadly confined to the besieged presidential palace of Villa Somalia (The New Yorker, December, 2009). 

After all is said and done, the only two things that had  consistently flourished in Southern Somalia (Mogadishu area) in the last 20 years are a culture of violence and an uneducated and corrupt leadership who seek phantom power at the expense of their devastated community.

Meanwhile, the two regional governments of Puntland in the northeast and Somaliland in the northwest have been registering gainful cultures of peace and functioning administrations, notwithstanding challenges in capacity building.  It is this contrast between the culture of violence in Mogadishu versus the evolving peaceful civic cultural life in Puntland and Somaliland that forces us to question the model so far utilized. 

We loudly wonder how Mogadishu would bring peace to any other region in Somalia when it is not at peace with itself!   Would it be asking too much to suggest that Puntland and Somaliland are rather in a better position to bring peace to Mogadihu?
Abdullahi Yusuf Ahmed Sh. Shariif
Former PM Geeddi PM Sharma'arke
Somalia's worsening political violence, including the Al Qaida inspired suicidal killings, are confined to Mogadishu and its environs. On the contrary, regional governments in Puntland and Somaliland have steadfastly moved into a sustained civic culture, thanks to an earlier wise investment in bottom up approaches to peace-building and comprehensive reconciliation, where traditional infrastructures such as elders, local intellectuals and moderate religious leaders are effectively employed.

With similar internal debate raging among the Somali community, WardheerNews spoke to Said Samatar, an expert on Somalia, whose forthcoming book is addressing this very debate.  Mr. Samatar is of the opinion that in order to foster comprehensive peace in Somalia, it is imperative that Mogadishu be treated as nothing more than a mere region in the tribal web of Somalia, thus forcing Mogadishu to first seek solutions for its own problems from within. 

After all, that is what other regions, particularly Puntland and Somaliland, first did to secure their own peace and governance.  They successfully utilized their own devises to foster local peace before moving into helping others.  With the hope that Mogadishu would change course and follow suit, we urge belligerent groups in Southern Somalia to tackle their problems on regional basis, thereby trying to first secure the peace and order for Mogadishu from bottom up. 

To attain a peaceful southern Somalia, the following steps must be taken:
That International community desist from further attempts to establish a Mogadishu-centred centralized national government for all Somalia's regions.  This model - a top down approach - has repeatedly failed despite massive political investment by the United Nations Organization and the African Union.
Like Puntland and Somaliland, Mogadishu and the rest of Southern Somalia commence a grass roots based peace-building through their traditional elders and moderate religious leaders.
All non-Southern political operatives in the Mogadishu-based Unity Transitional Federal Government of Sheikh Sheriff Ahmed vacate their positions and begin in an orderly manner to return to their home regions or any other peaceful region of their choice in the country.
Both Puntland and Somaliland administrations should begin to give moral and material support to the afore-mentioned grass roots based peace and reconciliation efforts between groups/clans in Mogadishu.
After proven and tested peace culture is established in Mogadishu and full pacification is achieved among the competing interests in Southern Somalia, the administrations of Puntland and Somaliland shall open up talks with a united Mogadishu-based administration on ways to establish a united federal structure for all Somalia.  Somalia’s frontline states must in the interim respect Somalia’s territorial integrity and assist these entities in developing integrated economies and capacities to ward-off threats emanating from Al-Shabab terrorist group.
We believe this approach is consistent with the original comprehensive reconciliation and peace building enunciated by the United Nation in its so-called "building blocks," where Somalia was divided into five peace building blocks, whose final product was to be culminated in an all inclusive federal structure.  By employing this original vision, the world would (1) extend due appreciation to the positive deeds so far done in Puntland and Somaliland; (2) give a tangible role to the true stakeholders in the question of Mogadishu without undue interference by other politicians who do not belong to this region and its intricate conflict; and (3) begin to treat Mogadishu as a region equal to other comparable regions by requiring of it to first solve its own conflict with its own means.

After twenty years of employing futile and faulty models with grandiose goals, there is a lot to gain by going back to the basics, articulate a vision that endorses that wise motto of "small is beautiful," and take baby steps to get to the big goal of pacifying Mogadishu.  In the interest of Somalia, a grass roots based approach to pacifying violent Mogadishu is one alternative that deserves due consideration.  

Court freed Somali suspect with chemicals, syringe

New Somali Government, Somali Police Commissioner Gen. Ali Hassan VoA Voice of America Interview AMISOM commander African Union peacekeeping forces in Mogadishu Who Made The Discovery
Foto: calanka
MOGADISHU, Somalia – In a setback for U.S. investigators probing links to the attempted attack on a Detroit-bound airliner, a Somali official said Thursday that another suspect who tried to board a plane with chemicals already had been freed.His release earlier this month will hamper efforts to learn if the incident in Mogadishu was linked to the attempted attack against the U.S.-bound plane on Christmas Day. Terrorism analysts had said the arrest in Somalia could prove highly valuable to the U.S. investigation.Somali Police Commissioner Gen. Ali Hassan Loyan said a Somali court released the suspect Dec. 12 after ruling that officials hadn't demonstrated he intended to commit a crime. The man, whose name has not been released, said the chemicals were for processing camera film.In light of the attempted attack on the Detroit-bound plane, Loyan said Somali authorities would share information and the confiscated materials with U.S. officials."Somalia's federal government affirms that it is ready to double its cooperation with the countries in the world, particularly with America, for it is clear that the incident that happened in Mogadishu and the one that happened in a region in America are similar," Loyan told a news conference in the Somali capital.The Somali case drew little attention before the attempted attack on the U.S.-bound plane. The Homeland Security Department did not learn of the November incident at Mogadishu's international airport until Wednesday, when U.S. officials began investigating for links between it and the Detroit case.State Department spokesman Ian Kelly said Wednesday that linking the case to the Christmas attack "would be speculative at this point."A Nairobi-based diplomat, though, said the incident has similarities to the attempted attack on the Detroit-bound plane. The Somali was said to have a syringe, liquid and powdered chemicals — tools similar to those used by the Nigerian suspect on Northwest Airlines Flight 253. The diplomat spoke on condition of anonymity because he wasn't authorized to release the information.The Somali suspect was arrested by African Union peacekeeping troops before boarding the Daallo Airlines plane bound for the northern Somali city of Hargeisa. The plane was then headed to Djibouti and Dubai. Officials on Wednesday said he was arrested Nov. 13; Loyan said he was arrested Nov. 6. The reason for the discrepancy wasn't clear.A Somali security official involved in the Mogadishu arrest said the suspect had a 1-kilogram (2.2-pound) package of chemical powder and a container of liquid chemicals, items that Loyan displayed on Thursday.A government-appointed expert concluded that the materials could not have brought down the commercial airliner. Loyan said the expert did conclude though that the materials were a danger to the aircraft.For the Amsterdam-to-Detroit flight, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab allegedly hid explosive PETN in a condom or condom-like bag just below his torso. In the Somali case, the powdered material smelled strongly of ammonia.Michael Stock, the president of Bancroft, an organization that advises AMISOM, the African Union peacekeeping force in Mogadishu, said after officials discovered the chemical materials on the Somali suspect the materials were provided for analysis to Western embassy officials involved in supporting AMISOM.U.S. investigators say Abdulmutallab, the Nigerian suspect held in the Detroit case, told them he received training and instructions from al-Qaida operatives in Yemen, which Western officials say is a jumping-off point for foreign fighters slipping into Somalia. Large swaths of Somalia are controlled by an al-Qaida-linked insurgent group, al-Shabab.Abdulmutallab is charged with trying to destroy an aircraft. U.S. authorities allege he tried to ignite a two-part concoction of PETN and possibly a glycol-based liquid explosive, setting off popping, smoke and some fire but no deadly detonation.If the Somali suspect was planning anything similar, it wasn't known what his specific target might have been. Foto: calankaMost passengers on Daallo's Mogadishu route are Somali. The carrier's Web site calls it the national airline of Somalia's neighbor, Djibouti.Some 1,800 U.S. troops are stationed in Djibouti, while Dubai would offer the greatest range of West-bound flights along the route in question.


Somali arrested at airport with chemicals, syringe

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Somali pirates seize Indonesian chemical tanker‎ - Somali pirates fire at Kuwaiti oil tanker

Somali pirates have hijacked a chemical tanker in the Gulf of Aden - the third vessel seized in waters around Somalia this week.

Maritime officials said the Pramoni - a 20,000-tonne Indonesian-owned vessel - was seized en route to India and was now heading towards Somalia.The ship has a crew of 24, most of whom are Indonesian.Last Monday Somali pirates captured two other ships with 45 crew off the East African coast.

A UK-flagged chemical tanker, the St James Park, was captured in the Gulf of Aden while on its way to Thailand from Spain.The Navios Apollon, a Panamanian-flagged Greek cargo ship with 19 crew, was hijacked north of the Seychelles.In the latest incident, the captain of the Singapore-flagged Pramoni reported by radio that the ship had been hijacked but all the crew were well, the EU counter-piracy force Navfor said.The ship's crew consists of 17 Indonesians, five Chinese, one Nigerian and one Vietnamese, it added.Pirate attacks are common off the Somali coast and international navies have been deployed to counter them.Somali pirates seize Indonesian chemical tanker-

KUALA LUMPUR — Heavily armed Somali pirates fired on a Kuwaiti oil tanker near the Arabian Sea on Wednesday in an attempt to hijack the vessel, a global maritime watchdog said.

Noel Choong, head of the International Maritime Bureau piracy reporting centre in Kuala Lumpur, told AFP pirates armed with automatic weapons and rocket-propelled grenades launched the attack from a skiff off Somali waters.

"The Somali pirates chased the tanker and sprayed bullets early Wednesday in a bid to hijack the ship," he said."Fortunately, the tanker managed to escape the pirates," Choong said, adding there were no reports of injuries to the crew.He urged seafarers to be on high alert as pirates were attacking ships on "all fronts.""Pirates are expanding their areas of attack. They are now operating in the Gulf of Aden, Arabian Sea and in the Indian Ocean," he said.National oil conglomerate Kuwait Petroleum Corp. said later that none of its large fleet of tankers had been attacked, but an industry source told AFP the vessel in the report could belong to a private company based in the emirate.Several other Gulf and pan-Arab oil tanker companies are based in Kuwait.Somali pirates captured a freighter, bulk carrier and a chemical tanker recently, defying foreign warships patrolling the Gulf of Aden and ending the year with millions in ransom.The marauding sea bandits' latest catch was the St James Park, a British-flagged chemical tanker with a crew of 26 from nine different countries, which was seized on Monday.Since the resumption of pirate attacks following the end of the summer monsoon season three months ago, Somali pirates have expanded from the Gulf of Aden into the wide open seas of the Indian Ocean, venturing as far as the Seychelles and beyond, Choong said.Despite the increased international military presence off Somalia's coastline -- the longest on the African continent -- pirates have raked in huge ransoms.Alongside the EU, the United States and other national navies deployed warships off the Somali coast in December 2008 to protect vessels and secure maritime routes in the Gulf of Aden and the Indian Ocean.

Somali arrested at airport with chemicals, syringe

MOGADISHU, Somalia – U.S. officials are investigating a Somali man's alleged attempt to board a flight last month carrying chemicals, liquid and a syringe in a case bearing chilling echoes of the plot to blow up a Detroit-bound airliner on Christmas Day.Terrorism analysts said the arrest in Mogadishu, the Somali capital, could prove highly valuable for the Detroit investigation if the incidents turn out to be linked.The Somali was arrested by African Union peacekeeping troops Nov. 13 before boarding the Daallo Airlines plane bound for the northern Somali city of Hargeisa, then Djibouti and Dubai."We don't know whether he's linked with al-Qaida or other foreign organizations, but his actions were the acts of a terrorist. We caught him red-handed," said a Somali police spokesman, Abdulahi Hassan Barise.A Nairobi-based diplomat said the incident has similarities to the attempted attack on Northwest Airlines Flight 253 in that the Somali was said to have a syringe, liquid and powdered chemicals — tools similar to those used by the Nigerian suspect on the Detroit-bound plane. The diplomat spoke on condition he not be identified because he wasn't authorized to release the information.Barigye Bahoku, the spokesman for the African Union military force in Mogadishu, said the materials could have caused an explosion that would have resulted in cabin decompression, though he didn't think it would have brought the plane down.For the Amsterdam-to-Detroit flight, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab allegedly hid explosive PETN in a condom or condom-like bag just below his torso. In the Somali case, the powdered material smelled strongly of ammonia, and samples were sent to London for testing, Bahoku said.The case drew little attention before the Christmas incident, but on Wednesday U.S. officials began to investigate any possible links to the Detroit attack. None would speak on the record.In Washington, State Department spokesman Ian Kelly said U.S. investigators are working with Somali authorities, and linking the case to the Christmas attack "would be speculative at this point."Thomas Sanderson, a security analyst at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, said the Somali suspect is extremely valuable for U.S. investigators, who will compare his statements with Abdulmutallab's.Police spokesman Barise said the suspect is in Somali custody, but Sanderson said he was sure the U.S. has told the Somali government: "He's ours, and we're taking him."He said there was no certainty the two were trained by the same group, but believed the similarities are "probably an indicator that more than just two people have been trained and prepared and ordered or convinced to carry out individual acts of terrorism," Sanderson said.Michael Stock is president of Bancroft, an organization that advises AMISOM, the African Union peacekeeping force in Mogadishu. He said that when the passenger aroused suspicions, Somalis summoned Bancroft guards who patrol the airport."At the time, we provided the explosive material itself for analysis and a description of the incident to Western embassy officials involved in supporting AMISOM, for them to pass to law enforcement," Stock said. He said he heard nothing further.U.S. investigators say Abdulmutallab, the Nigerian suspect held in the Detroit case, told them he received training and instructions from al-Qaida operatives in Yemen, which Western officials say is a jumping-off point for foreign fighters slipping into Somalia. Large swaths of Somalia are controlled by an al-Qaida-linked insurgent group, al-Shabab.Abdulmutallab is charged with trying to destroy an aircraft. U.S. authorities allege he tried to ignite a two-part concoction of PETN and possibly a glycol-based liquid explosive, setting off popping, smoke and some fire but no deadly detonation.If the Somali suspect was planning anything similar, it wasn't known what his specific target might have been. Most passengers on Daallo's Mogadishu route are Somali. The carrier's Web site calls it the national airline of Somalia's neighbor, Djibouti. Some 1,800 U.S. troops are stationed in Djibouti, while Dubai would offer the greatest range of Westbound flights along the route in question.A Somali security official involved in the Mogadishu arrest said the suspect had a 1-kilogram (2.2-pound) package of chemical powder and a container of liquid chemicals. He said the suspect was the last passenger in line to board.The man's name was not released, but the security official gave it as Abdi Hassan Abdi and said he was middle-aged. Stock said the name he got was Abdi Hassan Abdullah, but it was unclear that is his real name.Once the chemicals and syringe were detected, the suspect tried to bribe the team that detained him, the security official said. He said he had a white shampoo bottle containing a black acid-like substance, a clear plastic bag with a light green chalky substance, and a syringe containing a green liquid. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he wasn't authorized to release the information.A spokeswoman for Daallo Airlines said that company officials were unaware of the incident and would have to seek more information before commenting. Daallo Airlines is based in Dubai and has offices in Djibouti and France.

A US pipeline for jihad in Somalia?

Somali-American men are returning to their homeland to fight alongside Al Shabab, an insurgent group with ties to Al Qaeda. Some experts think an organized recruiting effort is responsible for luring them back to Somalia.

Prayers: Worshipers attend evening prayers at the Abubakar as-Saddique Islamic Center in Minneapolis. Shirwa Ahmed, implicated in a terror attack in Somalia, attended this mosque.

By Michael B. Farrell Staff writer / December 30, 2009 Seattle Nearly two decades after their parents fled war and famine for the safety and abundance of Minnesota, Ohio, and the wet suburbs of Seattle, a steady stream of young Somali-American men are headed back into the

They are going to wage jihad in a homeland they barely know, driven by a heady brew of nationalist and religious fervor and lured by what experts say is a sophisticated recruitment network exploiting vulnerabilities in the Somali diaspora.

As many as six Somali-Americans are believed to have died after taking up arms with Al Shabab, the Al Qaeda-linked Islamist militants battling the transitional government in Somalia. Shirwa Ahmed, who traveled from Minneapolis to help execute an attack on Oct. 29, 2008, that killed 20 people, is believed to be the first American suicide bomber.

Somali refugees in North America and Europe began returning to their homeland to fight after Ethiopia invaded Somalia in 2006, routing the Islamist coalition then governing much of the country. The incursion provoked a declaration of holy war by Somalia’s Muslim hard-liners against their neighboring Christian nation, and, more broadly, the United States for its perceived support of the invasion.

Since then at least 20 young Somali-Americans have gone to join the insurgency. Their path to radicalization, and perhaps eventually to the ranks of militant Islam, represents a pressing concern for US counterterrorism officials today. Many of the young men who traveled to the battlefields in the Horn of Africa have died, but a handful have returned.There’s no evidence yet that these Al Shabab (the Youth) fighters have targets outside their homeland, federal officials say, but radicalized US citizens or legal residents present a unique challenge – they can come and go with relative ease.“That is the single most significant issue,” says David Gomez, assistant special agent-in-charge of the Seattle field office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Once someone has been radicalized and trained by militants, he says, “he is then a viable recruitment target for any terrorist group.”A string of recent counterterrorism cases adds new weight to this concern. In December, five young Americans from the Washington, D.C., area were arrested in Pakistan for reportedly trying to join a militant training camp connected to Al Qaeda. In Chicago, David Headley has been charged with traveling to India to help orchestrate the 2008 Mumbai (Bombay) attacks that killed about 170 people.And a federal terrorism case against a Denver airport shuttle driver, arrested in September, claims that he intended to use bombmaking know-how obtained in Pakistan to blow up New York subways.“The question remains: How do we protect ourselves from threats that emanate from overseas? We cannot close our borders or cut off the Internet. We must start at the source,” FBI Director Robert Mueller said earlier this year in a talk to the Council on Foreign Relations.

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President Faroole of Puntland: Swimming against Powerful Tides

With the closing of yet another tumultuous year, two thousand and nine, which, like its predecessors, ushered in chaos and confusion among Somalis, President Abdirahman Mohamed Faroole of Puntland is faced with three political challenges. While two of these challenges, namely the question of the disputed regions of Sool, Sanaag and Cayn, and the human rights issue of Ethiopian Somali prisoners, primarily those belonging to the Ogaden clan family, are local in nature, the third and tempest challenge comes from the powerful Chairman of the African Affairs Subcommittee of the United States Congress, Mr. Donald Payne, who in a letter dated November 22, 2009 publicly rebuked Mr. Faroole.

To say the least, these challenges are formidable and, if not carefully attended to, could cumulatively have serious repercussions for the existence and wellbeing of Mr. Faroole’s government.

A bit background is due here: At the wake of establishing the Puntland regional state in 1998 by the then victorious former faction leader Abdullahi Yusuf Ahmed, who had successfully ejected violent Islamic groups from the territory, the vision was to create an all Somali sanctuary with an autonomous status in the northeastern flank of stateless Somalia. More importantly, the following goals were embedded in the vision:

To create an autonomous regional administration within a future federal government system for Somalia;

To challenge Somaliland's claim for a unilateral secession by placing claim on all Harti-inhabited regions of Sool, Sanaag and Cayn;

To create an oasis marked by free market-based economy and a bottom-up peacemaking.
In the past, Puntland went into two loosing wars with Somaliland on said territorial question. Consequently, with the reality on the ground hugely favoring Somaliland, which has ruled these regions for most of the last twenty years, President Faroole seamlessly has changed political direction on this question.  Reliable sources who attended the grand Dhulbahante meeting recently held in Nairobi, Kenya, confirmed to WardheerNews that Mr. Faroole informed the conveners that the disputed regions are no longer a priority for his administration. Moreover, Mr. Faroole’s administration’s decree announcing that any Nairobi convener (including 3 Garaads of the Dhulbahante clan family), who are going to Puntland to mount opposition activity, be it peaceful or otherwise, against Somaliland, would be arrested on arrival complicated matters more.

The consequences of Mr. Faroole’s policy change could be one of two: This change could foster good relationship between his government and that of Somaliland, hence ultimately sacrificing the Dhulbahante question by effectively letting Hargeysa administer the disputed regions; or this could lead, if remotely, the formation of Sool/Sanaag/Cayn resistance forces to reclaim their region and seek a clan-based regional state independent both from Hargeysa and Garowe. The former case seems to be more likely to happen in the event that Mr. Faroole stays course and decides to squeeze any potential opposition to Somaliland’s authority. But this would come with a price, primarily a prospective instability fomented in Puntland.
Pres. Faroole meeting with Ethiopian goverment officials
President Abdirahman Faroole meeting with Ethiopian officials
A second sore point on Mr. Faroole's administration is the accusation that his security forces imprisoned Ethiopian Somalis, or as some call them, members of the Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF). It is alleged that at least one prisoner is "murdered" while in custody, whereas others are reportedly handed over to Ethiopian authorities for questioning. Despite alleged mistreatment in the hands of Puntland and Somaliland or other Somali leaders for multiple times, ONLF by all accounts is a recognized resistance and political movement whose goals and objectives are part of a larger historical question – the question of Somalis under Ethiopian rule. As such, they must be given protection and other due process guaranteed under the 1958 UN convention.

Despite a counter claim made by the Puntland authority that at least "one prisoner died from tuberculoses-related illness," it is plausible that the Faroole administration wanted (out of his mishandling of ONLF members) to send at least two messages: (1) Puntland administration is not going to tolerate anything that may threaten its regional benefactor, Ethiopia; and (2) Puntland would stand only for the sole interest of its "stakeholder.” In other words, Puntland leaders are going to pursue only their local interest and forfeit any other higher ideals that were in the past recognized, such as safeguarding the rights of all Somali speaking people.

One possible result from alienating ONLF, which at times plays on the primordial feelings of the larger Ogaden clan, could be a retaliation by ONLF or ONLF sympathizers exacting casualties against all business interests and transhumance movements associated with Puntland that move in and out of the Somali Regional State of Ethiopia.

But the most debilitating challenge to Faroole's position on the Ogaden prisoners comes from the powerful Chairman of the African Subcommittee of the US Congress, Congressman Payne, who in his rebuke of Puntland, stated the following:

"This is not the first time Puntland authorities have harassed, tortured, killed, and handed over men of Ogadeni origin to Ethiopian security. Over a year ago, two senior members of the Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF) were handed over to Ethiopian security by a Puntland minister. They came, with the permission of Puntland authorities; to discuss the murder of an elder.....I strongly condemn this abusive and dictatorial behavior and demand the immediate release of the prisoners. I also call for those responsible for the killing of the prisoner and intimidation of Ogadenis to be held accountable, including senior officials who authorized these measures. Failure to act quickly on this matter will have serious consequences."

Faroole and members of his administration meeting with Congressman Donald Payne in Nairobi
Mr. Faroole and some members of his cabinet meeting with Congressman Donald Payne in the US Embassy in Nairobi.
Given the power that congressional subcommittees, particularly their Chairpersons, wield, these words, coming from the very person who is the number one law maker on the US-Africa policy, should worry Puntland leaders and the inner circle that advises Mr. Faroole.

The Puntland administration, if it intends to weather these challenges, must bring peace and order into its region, coupled with good governance by taking some of the following corrective measures:
  1. Puntland must seek cooperation and consultation with Congress Payne and his staff on matters concerning the rights of ONLF and other non-combatant Ethiopian refugees in its region.  In a post Rwanda world, African human rights issue are no longer peripheral matters to be left alone to small time dictators or rulers of mini states in a distant country.

  2. Puntland should be able to explain the cause of death of the concerned prisoner in Puntland. Furthermore, it has to bring all the rest of "ONLF" prisoners to an open and legitimate court, where Amnesty and Red Cross observers are invited to hear and, if need be, represent said prisoners. This may present both challenges and opportunities for Puntland in showcasing its court system.

  3. Puntland must quickly rescind its decree to arrest Dhulbahante elders and bring them back to the table for consultation on their question. Puntland has every right to denounce war and confrontation against Somaliland. It is not, however, prudent to antagonize groups who are part of the "original stakeholder" of the Puntland regional state.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Somalis Discuss Establishing Regional Government in the South

Sheik Aden Mohamed Nur, seen, speaking to journalists in Baidoa (2008 file photo)

Sheik Aden Mohamed Nur, seen, speaking to journalists in Baidoa (2008 file photo)

A Somali politician says a major conference has been held in a town near Somalia's border with Kenya and Ethiopia to develop a plan to establish a regional government in southern Somalia. Al-Shabab Islamic militants, who largely control the regions under discussion, have dismissed the conference as a "propaganda stunt."

According to southern Somali politician Aden Mohamed Nur "Saransoor," 200 delegates gathered in the Somali border town of Dolow in the Gedo region three days ago to discuss the way forward for liberating southern Somalia from Islamist radicals and for creating a regional state The politician says the objective of the conference was to find a way to establish a semi-autonomous state encompassing six regions - Gedo, Bay, Bakool, Lower and Middle Juba and Lower Shabelle.

Saransoor says delegates at the conference were politicians, clan elders and community leaders from each region. He says a technical committee has been formed to develop a clear plan.
The proposal is not without precedent. In 1998, the northern Somali region of Puntland declared autonomy from south-central Somalia after a series of failed attempts at national reconciliation. Somalia was torn apart by factional fighting after the overthrow of the country's Honourable Somali President Mohamed Siad Barre, in 1991. Observers say if the conference attracted as many delegates as claimed, it underscores the growing sense of frustration among various clan-based communities in southern Somalia. They say some Somalis may be viewing regionalism as a solution to Somalia's problems because they are not convinced the weak U.N.-backed central government in Mogadishu can be counted on to curb radicalism, restore stability in the country, and share resources equitably.Somalia's transitional government took power in early 2007 after neighboring Ethiopia intervened militarily to oust Islamists from power. Near-daily insurgent attacks have kept the government unable to exert any influence outside of a small area of the capital. The government has also been sharply criticized by Somalis for being corrupt and remaining financially and militarily dependent on the West, Ethiopia, and the African Union.

Al-Shabaab islamist fighters on patrol in Mogadishu (File)
APAl-Shabaab islamist fighters on patrol in Mogadishu (File)

In 2007 and 2008, al-Shabab, a militant group with ties to al-Qaida, rallied Somalis with calls for nationalism and consolidated vast amount of territory in southern and central Somalia and large areas of Mogadishu. In recent months, al-Qaida-trained foreign militants have reportedly taken over much of the training and operations of the organization. A vicious suicide bombing in Mogadishu earlier this month that killed and wounded 60 people increased fears in Somalia and in the West that the country is on the verge of becoming a significant base for al-Qaida.
On Monday, the information official for al-Shabab in the Juba region, Hassan Yacqub Ali, declared it would be impossible for anyone to challenge al-Shabab's power in southern Somalia. He dismissed the conference in Dolow town as a publicity stunt designed to attract money from the West.

Somali pirates hijack chemical tanker-official,Somali Pirates Seize Cargo Ship, British Tanker - International , Somali Pirates Seize 2 Ships, Hold 45

MOGADISHU, Dec 29 (Reuters) - Somali pirates have hijacked a UK-flagged chemical tanker sailing to Thailand from Spain, a maritime official said on Tuesday. Andrew Mwangura of the Kenya-based East Africa Seafarers' Association said the St James Park sent out a distress signal on Monday from the Gulf of Aden and had now changed course for the Somali coast. Somali pirates told Reuters late on Monday they had hijacked another vessel but did not give any details. (Editing by David Clarke)

NAIROBI, Kenya — Striking into the heavily patrolled Gulf of Aden, Somali pirates seized a British-flagged chemical tanker — the first merchant vessel to be hijacked there in nearly six months, the same day that a ship was taken by brigands in the Indian Ocean, officials said Tuesday.

The double hijacking late Monday shows that, a year after an international naval armada began deploying off Somalia to protect shipping, piracy remains a problem. Monday's attacks occurred more than 1,000 miles (1,600 kilometers) apart, indicating the wide range of territory prowled by pirates and underscoring the difficulty of policing such a large area. Cmdr. John Harbour, the spokesman for the European Union's anti-piracy force, said the seizures were likely only a coincidence and not coordinated because several pirate bands operate in the Indian Ocean and Gulf of Aden...more

Somali Pirates Seize Cargo Ship, British Tanker - International ...
Somali Pirates Seize 2 Ships, Hold 45 Crew Members

Ahlu-Sunnah Waljama stops vehicle laden with explosive materials

The officials of the moderate Islamists faction of Ahlu-Sunnah Waljama in Gedo region northwest of the Somali capital Mogadishu have announced that they have apprehended a vehicle loaded with explosive equipments.“On Tuesday night our patrolling security personnel have stopped a vehicle, and ransacked and found explosive equipments which were hidden at the underneath of the vehicle they have also succeeded in catching those figures that were carrying the explosive materials” said the spokesman of Ahlu-Sunnah Waljama at Dolow district in Gedo region speaking to media on Tuesday morning.The spokesman has also added that they have stopped the vehicle in an area between Bula-Hawo and Dolow district, and according the statement of the spokesman of Ahlu-Sunnah Waljama the vehicle was heading towards Bay region which is a strong hold of Al-Shabab.

It was less than 3 days when the security personnel of Ahlu-Sunnah Waljama have apprehended 4 men carrying explosive things in the same district of Dolow.

AHLU-SUNNA – The New Kid In The Block

Historically, in Somalia men were categorized either as “wadaad” (religious) or “waranle” (a warrior).  Wadaads mostly stayed above the fray of Somalia’s prevalent tribal conflicts.  They transcended tribe and region, pursued religious learning and teaching, and performed various other religious and social functions such matrimonial services and quran schools.  For they sought neither riches nor power they built no discernable organizational structure or highierachy.  They often complemented tribal elders in keeping the peace among the clans and the lid on violence.  As a non-warrior, the Wadaad carried only the Quran, the ubo or buraashad (a water jar) and a small dagger, not for protection, but as utensil to be used for the next meal of mutton or lamb that maybe donated by a hosting family.  Among the Wadaads, there has always been a great diversity; there were the “Timo Wayne” with their bushy, middle-parted hair  trademark, ever drifting from one community to another; then there are the dedicated “Xer” or students who study under a prominent sheikh for years; the ubiquitous “Macalin Quran” or the Quran teacher under whose gaze nearly every Somali kid learns to recite the Quran  in his/her formative years;  and even the average “mohamed-Somali” who simply prays five times a day can be considered a Wadaad.  Diverse schools of thought also exist among the Wadaadis; the Qaadiriya, Salaxiya, Ahmedia and others, each with its own nuanced preferences, justifications and reasoning for some slightly different from the next school of thought.  Until recently, Sufis were a small subset of the overall Wadaads considered most liberal or outlandish in some of its religious activity.  Nowadays, Sufi is used to describe anyone who doesn’t fall under the spell of the newly imported Wahabism. Yet, with seemingly so many differences among the Sufis, albeit no significant theological differences, there has never been religion based violence in Somali history – that’s until recently.  At times of distress,Sufis typically retreated to their Kitabs for explanation and guidance.      

The emergence of an armed Sufi religious group in Somalia, Ahlu Sunna, is a sign of the times.  A sign of how desperate and distorted the situation has became in Somalia, and it is this desperation that transformed these traditional, moderate, non-violent sufis into a full-fledged armed militia. The old days of Sufis turning the other cheek when attacked or mistreated is behind us. The Buraashad has now been replaced or perhaps complemented by AK-47, thanks to the extremist groups like Al-Shabab and its elk.  For two decades, since the collapse of the central government, the Sufis kept a low profile, kept to themselves, had taken no part in Somali’s carnage and focused on their familiar territory of worshiping.  Despite persecution by successive fanatical religious groups, from Al-Itihad in the 1990’s to today’s Al-shabaab, the sufis maintained their composure, resisted the urge to retaliate and remained faithful to their non-violent ways.   For years, they saw the creeping fanaticism of Al-Shabaab and its foreign ideology underpinned by distorted interpretation of Islam that extol self-destructive extremism, hate, and total and absolute submission to them (not to God). Yet the Sufis, true to their tradition of non-violence, continued to turn the other cheek despite increasing attacks directed at them to the pointed where they were no longer safe, even inside their mosques.   


Sufis has a tradition of honoring their religious figures.   Throughout Somalia, when a well known religious figure with a large following dies it is common for his disciples to build a shrine and an adjacent masjid in his honor (in fact, this is true for much of the Muslim world, save Saudi Arabia). It’s sort of memorial with the masjid as spiritual anchor.  In a sense, the shrine and the mosque institutionalize the sheikh’s work by providing a permanent site that ensures the work of religious learning will continue.  In the country side, one may often come across a “Dahar”, a structure without walls designed to provide shade for travelers, next to a grave.  The Dahar is a donation for public use in honor of a deceased parent (a beloved father or mother) by a family, in essence a foundation.  This practice can come in many forms.  For example, some families instead dig a water-well and donate it to the public.  For some unfathomable reason, the adherents of the newly imported ideology and imposed on us by Al-Shabaab find such a practice abhorrent and its practitioners deserving of beheading.  Even more shocking, this extends to the Mowliid, the yearly memorial in honor of Prophet Mohamed, in which, typically, the Prophet’s life and examples are talked and explored. The praising of Prophet Mohamed and honoring him has become the grounds for tossing a live grenade in mosques full of worshipers!  Faced with murderous attacks, in their own mosques and centers of learning, the destruction of toms of their revered teachers by Al-shabaab and their ideological brethren, the Sufis were compelled to face the stark reality of either abandoning their religious beliefs or standing up for themselves, and for the Somali people whose culture and history has also being systematically erased by the fanatics.  The Sufis has done what no organized group of significance has in a generation – stand up for their rights and that of others, and opposed evil.

Al-Shabaab exists today because Somalis brutalized by 20 years of civil war carnage, disillusioned by over a dozen sham “peace conferences”, battered by tribal warlord thugs and brutalized by Ethiopian invasion, simply sought solace in fatalistic indifference.  Taking advantage of a society fatigued by decades of unabated violence, successive extremists religious groups starting with A-Itihad dubbed the public by presenting themselves as Islamic groups who will usher in a new dawn of peace when in reality they have being engaged in an active campaign to, in the name of Islam, desecrate and destroy the history, culture and symbols of Somalia. The Somali flag is an outlaw in Al-Shabaab territory today, Somali statues are pulled down, historic burial sites desecrated and razed, the national anthem banned and any cultural expression forbidden!  This is the kind of stuff conquerors do to the vanquished in the process of dispossessing them. Yet, ironically, all this is done in the name of our religion turning Islam into a source of violence, pain, oppression and dispossession. Even more remarkable is the toll Al-Shabaab took on freedom, even personal freedoms.  Women are being subjected to the double humiliation of being forced, on one hand, to wear burqa, an all enveloping shroud of clothing that is foreign to Somalia, and prohibiting certain pieces of their under garment such as the bra, on the other!  Men are punished for not growing their beards or trimming it, for a kempt beard is un-Islamic in the minds of the fanatics. Their overarching theme seems to be associating anything negative, irrational, unjust and inhumane with Islam!      

However offensive and distasteful regulating the most personal intimate aspects of an individual’s life may be, it seems rather innocuous in comparison with how Al-Shabaab truly views human life.  Al-Shabaab’s cruelties are well documented, but we mainly hear the more sordid cases like the stoning of the little girl in Kismanyo, raped by members of Al-Shabaab’s own militia, and stoned to death half buried as the public were forced to witness the gruesome affair of murdering a little girl in a public arena.  Her mortal sin was her audacity to seek justice against her rapists. Dubbed by the false pretentions of Al-shabaab as a force for justice, she thought she might find a redress only to end up enduring the most agonizing slow death a living creature can be subjected to.  Imagine the terror in this little girl’s heart as she scanned the faces of the crowd, bewildered and terrified in her half-grave, seeking a glimpse of kindness, a last minute reprieve or maybe a mere familiar face, before hurling stones start tearing up her youthful flesh.  Al-Shabaab has no interest in justice or fairness but merely wished that day to orchestrate a lynching spectacle in honor of Al-Shabaab’s official defamation of Islam and its proclamation of the subjugation of Somali women. It was the ultimate display of Al-Shabaab monstrosity that dared the courage of all Somalis.  Perhaps, one day, the people of Kismanyo and Somalis in general will redeem themselves by erecting a new Hawo Tako monument for this little girl as a symbol of liberation of Somali women from the travesties of Al-Shabaab and as a rejection of extremist ideologies in its all forms. 

While the dramatic horrors visited upon this little girl in Kismanyo symbolizes the overall savagery of Al-Shabaab and its attempts to usurp our religion, the daily mundane violence subjected to the population under its control is often overlooked. Its adoption of assassinations as a routine practice against community notables, elders, businessmen, educator, reporters and the intellectuals alike is astonishing. The mere fact of neutrality, a questioning of their methods or simply not being enthusiastic enough about their organization can marked you as a target for murder, resulting in young assassins lurking outside the victim’s local mosque awaiting to strike him down as he emerges from prayer.  Apparently this is an Islamic justice, in the minds of fanatics, and questioning it makes one anti-muslim, meaning, deserve to be gun-down in a broad daylight,  preferably in public location, as an example to others who may entertain any ideas of not loving Al-shabaab enough. To name just a few of these victims, Daud Dirir of Kismanyo, a religious elder and a businessman was gun downed just as he left a mosque after the midday prayer. Dusamareeb’s only doctor was paraded in public and beheaded during the few hours Al-Shabaab gained control of the city a mere few weeks ago.  Ironically, as they lost control of the city, there was no one to treat the wounded Al-Shabaab left behind.  An elderly woman was also murdered for carrying a “tusbax” or a rosary!    Two other women were also killed with no apparently cause.  In Afgooye, we heard of the man who dared smoked a cigarette and was murdered by the militants because he failed to extinguish it quick enough as ordered. In Mogadishu, a man’s cell phone went off while in a mosque and an Al-Shabaab militant grabbed the phone, threw it on the floor and opened fire on the phone.  Pouncing bullets wounded several people. These are merely few examples of the wide spread violence perpetuated against the average Somali on daily basis in the regions under the control of the Al-Shabaab fanatics and its elks.  
While Somalia has being rife with extreme violence since the start of the civil war, Al-Shabaab and Xisbul-Sunna’s violence is particularly treacherous.  And it’s not just the casualness with which the violence is practiced.  Or even the mass carnage of the suicide bombers.  The fact that, all this ugly gruesome business is justified in the name of Islam is particularly insidious and demented.  It is a triple blow. We not only lose many lives, often the best and the brightest as was the case in December 3rd,, but they also managed to defile our religion and razed many of what little cultural heritage we have left.   Yet we are so slow to realize this disturbing reality of the fanatics wrapping themselves in Islamic head-gear to mask their crimes as they systematically set out to erode the basic tenants of Islamic teaching.  Perhaps, being in state of despair we believe no group or faction is capable of standing up to them.  After all, we have seen multitude of warlord thugs, big and small, come and go, their only contribution an added misery.  Not to mention the numerous TFG regimes, comprising of uncommitted office seekers at best, and certifiable Ethiopian agents at worst, consistently failing to discharge even the most basic of their responsibilities to the public. In fact, we deemed some of these so called TFGs so objectionable and offensive that we, out of anger, cheered on Al-Shabaab against it knowing well that we were choosing between “furuq” and “qanje”!  What we have not seen until now is a truly grassroots organization, like Ahlu-Sunna, with a broad support across tribal and provincial lines and with undisputed religious credentials and deep ties to the inner fabrics of the Somali society developed over a millennia.  So, it is quite understandable that the Al-Shabaab and Xisbu-Islam fanatics, dabbling their extremist foreign ideology, are far more alarmed by the rise of the Sufis than they are witj Mr. Sharrif’s feeble regime which is on a life support system despite receiving considerable international military and financial support.  The strong local support across tribal lines and a built-in family-level relationships with local communities is allowing Ahlu-Sunna to militarily and ideologically challenge and undermine Al-Shabaab and Xisbu-Islamic’s fake religious charade.  

And there is a precedent of sorts for this.  Al-Itihad, Al-Shabaab’s forerunner, had in the mid 1990’s succeeded in occupying Gedo, after defeating the SNF militia, and promising “Islamic rule”.  Initially, the local population welcomed them hoping the “Ikhwans” will bring peace and stability.  But even before consolidating power, Al-Itihad embarked on two adventures that ultimately proved its undoing.  First, the imposition of harsh rules dubbed as “sharia” leading to the flogging of 65-years old nomadic woman who was accused of not properly wearing hijab and her subsequent death from injuries sustained during her canning.  The resulting outcry led to the assassinations of numerous elders, by Al-Itihad’s hand, who dared to speak out against the senseless violence.  The episode marked the turning point and precipitated further erosion of Al-Itihad’s support among the Gedo’s populace.  Further complicating Al-Itihad’s ability to mollify Reer Gedo’s suspicions was the presence of “shesheeye” or outsiders, Somalis from outside Gedo who monopolized Al-Itihad’s key decision-making positions and who were perceived less concerned about, or responsive to, the locals.  Today, the foreign jihadists hosted by Al-shabab are playing a similar role, this time with the most grave national and international ramifications.

  The second adventure was Al-Itihad’s careless rhetoric against Ethiopia, whose new regime was, at the time, focused on internal power consolidation, and its support for the ONLF.  The Ethiopians not only crushed Al-Itihad in Luuq, just as they have done three years ago near Baydhabo, but also embarked on arming and sponsoring warlords across the country.  In time, Gedo descended into a vicious protracted violence with some of the Marehan sub-clans siding with Al-tihad while others aligned themselves with one warlord or another supported or sponsored by Ethiopia.  The result was a devastating decade-long mini-civil war which Gedo is yet to recover.  The important point is that the extremist groups are and have been instrumental in ensuring Ethiopian’s involvement in Somalia’s affairs and occupation of its territory.  It often seems that Al-Itihad/Al-Shabaab and Ethiopia need and feed off each other!  Al-Shabaab skillfully capitalizes on the Ethiopian occupation and incursions by appealing to Somali nationalism against Somalia’s historic rival while also working hard its Islamist/jihadist connections to the Middle East. Yet it is the Islamists’ extreme rhetoric, with no ability to back it up, that provides all the pretexts Ethiopia needs to intervene in Somalia putting the country at risk of being overran by Ethiopia at a time when we can’t even muster a united front let alone defend ourselves from external enemies.

Ethiopia, on its side, deftly uses the presence extremist organizations in Somalia as a tool to divert its people’s attention from its domestic shortcomings by exaggerating the danger posted by the Islamist ragtag militia and stirring up domestic fear and nationalism which are, in turn, leveraged to crackdown its opposition and institute draconian repressive measures against some nationalities, such as Somalis and Oromas, by pinning down a terrorist sign on them.  Indeed, the extremists in Somalia proved exceedingly valuable for Addis Ababa because it allowed Ethiopia to effectively depict itself, to the world and more importantly to West, as an indispensible bulwark against Islamic extremism in the Horn African earning the Bush administration’s recognition and the designation of Addis Ababa as a strategic partner in the global war against terrorism with reward of a large package of economic and military assistance. The highlight of this very successful diplomatic footwork can be seen how Ethiopia, in effect, engineered a “Somali government” of its liking in Nairobi and ensured an invitation to invade and occupy the country with the full understanding and active support of  the world’s powers to be, namely the US and EU.

Ethiopia’s diplomatic work was essential done for it by the extremists.  For a small, poor country ravaged by civil war for twenty years with a third of its population scattered around the globe and the rest facing constant violence and starvation, to be in the eye of a terror war or on a military focus of the world’s super power is a feat that can only be accomplished by the recklessness and negligence of Al-Shabaab and attests to its lack of concern for the safety and the well being of the Somali people.  The impact of this reality was felt by Somalis on both sides of border.  In 2007, after the ONLF over ran a Chinese oil exploration site killing Ethiopia soldiers Addis expelled International NGO’s from the Ogaden region and undertook a mini terror campaign against the Ogadenis. When the US undersecretary for African affairs, Ms. Frazier, visited Jigjig, the regional capital of the Somali region of Ethiopia, after an outcry by several NGOs including the Red Cross regarding Addis Abab’s refusal to let food aid get through to the Ogaden region at the height of the drought season, Ethiopian troops burned down twelve villages between the towns of Shilavo and Wardhere killing many civilians in that week. In a press conference, Ms. Frazier blamed Somalis, as Ethiopia troops committed atrocities under her noise, for engaging contraband activities across the border.  The fact that the Addis regime was starving the Somali population in Ogaden was, in eyes of the US, negated by the Ethiopia’s military actions in taming extremists in Somali proper, which allowed Addis to brutalize Somalis on both sides of the border and have the West largely pay for it in the form of military and economic assistance. Such was the magnitude of the diplomatic gift the Islamists bestowed on Ethiopia – something Addis would have been hard pressed to achieve on its own.

Al-Shabaab is in reality a recarnation of Al-Itihad of the 1990’s therefore the parallels and similarities between them are no coincidence.  Clearly the scope of the conflict is much broader today than in the 1990’s and stakes much higher but the road to disaster seems airily familiar.  In the 1990’s the conflict was largely localized, the only outside involvement been Ethiopia.  Today there are layers of external influences and possible interventionists.  On one hand, there is Al-Shabaab, its extremist brethren and their global jihadist alliances. On the other hand, there is Ethiopia, the AU, and a concerted Western effort behind and in support of a nominal Somali TFG body.

Unfortunately, Gedo, along with Kismayo and Baydhabo, is, once again, the epic center of Somalia’s extremist groups setting the stage for yet another intervention, not just by Ethiopia, directly or indirectly, this time, but possibly Kenya as well which has increasingly being drawn of lately to Somali’s quack-mire with reports of thousands of Somalis, both of Kenyan and Somali nationals, being trained across the border for eventual intervention in Somalia, specifically in Gedo and Kismayo regions.  It’s a matter of time before Gedo convulses in another round of gruesome violence as Al-Shabaab’s reign becomes no longer viable.  It may now be an opportune time for Reer Gedo, Kismayo and Baydhabo to take stock of their situation before the reckoning day finally beckons.  Far from bringing peace and stability, Al-Shabaab has not only plunged the country into yet another round of more destructive fighting but its presence ensures  dimensions of external interventions and influences in Somalia’s domestic affairs with the collateral damage of making peaceful settlement and long-term stability even more remote.

We Somalis can no longer afford the mounting cost of Al-Shabaab and other extremist organizations in our midst. Al-Shabaab will prolong our agony and kill whatever little chance that may still exist of stabilizing the South and bringing the country back together.  Al-Shabaad’s deceitful appeal to religious purity and to Somali nationalism notwithstanding, it posts the gravest threat to us today!  Al-Shabaab is not, by and large, a Somali organization ideologically, politically or religiously.  It is not a Somali organization by its tradition, outlook, political goals or agenda, or even religious faith!  It doesn’t even recognize Somalia as a nation and state. It can oppress the Somali people, launch gruesome suicide attacks across the country, mutilate the innocent, assassinate prominent individuals, threaten neighbors, antagonize the world, attract drone and cruise missile attacks, but it neither defend nor protect a single Somali city or town from an outside force. It even seems to understand that it is transient in nature. It’s made up of masked gun men who wreak havoc on us now but keep their faces and identity hidden for the post Al-Shabaab life.  Al-Shabaab seeks to disinherit us by defiling and defaming our religion and destroying any cultural heritage, from destroying graves, statues and monuments to renaming of venues and streets to non-Somali names.  It’s high time to rid them of our lives.  And Ahlu-Sunna may just be the group to facilitate it.

As mentioned earlier, the cumulative effect of Al-Shabaab’s conduct led to the sudden rise of Ahlu-Sunna in central Somalia and ensuing clashes between Ahlu-Sunna, on one side, and Al-Shabaab/Xisbu-Islam on the other, with Al-Shabaab steadily losing ground to Ahlu-Sunna.  As Ahlu-Sunna pushes southward Al-Shabaab  and Xisbu-Islam’s key bases in central Somalia are threatened.    Ahlu-Sunna, it seems, is the only organization in the country today capable of standing up to the extremists and able to go toe-to-toe with them owing to the fact that it is a volunteer force largely drawn from the very local communities it is protecting.  And though it is too early to know whether this represents a temporary situation, the benefits of Alhu-Sunna’s battlefield successes are already tangible. Much of Galgaduud is breathing easier.  Beled Weyne may soon be able to throw the yoke of extremist off their backs.  Mr. Sharrif’s regime is able to borrow more time as Al-Shabaab/Xisbu-Islam divert large number of their forces to central Somalia and deploy against Ahlu-Sunna.  Puntland’s security would have been even more precarious today if Al-Shabaab’s forces were massed at the gates of Galkacyo.  Yet the TFG’s attitude towards Ahlu-Sunna is perplexing.  Mr. Sharrif’s stance on Ahlu-Sunna seems to swing from thinly disguised hostility to a complete disregard of their existence as his regime, at times, claimed Ahlu-Sunna’s own victories as his own.  Thought the caustic exchanges between them seem to have subsided, there is no cooperation between the two despite continuous offers from Ahlu-Sunna to work with the TFG and against the extremists.  The TFG howls for support from the “international community” on daily basis but is unwilling to cultivate and work with domestic allies, like Ahlu-Sunna, at a time when its very existence is in question and it is so heavily reliant on foreign troops for its day by day survival.  This only reinforces the profound concerns Somalis already harbor about the competency and the commitment of the TFG and Mr. Sharrif’s leadership, which makes Ahlu-Sunna that much more important for it is the only defense Somalis have against the ravages of the extremist groups.       

Ahlu-Sunna does not seek to supplant or replace the TFG.  In fact, politics is not high on its agenda.  Its primary goal is to ensure the freedom to worship in peace. But it knows this is not possible without defeating and disarming extremists.  The TFG may be losing a golden opportunity by not supporting domestic groups that could help its cause and that the Somalia. No amount of foreign assistance can compensate for the necessity of a strong domestic support base (this has been the folly of all so called TFG including this one) and Ahlu-Sunna is uniquely positioned to provide it given there is a willing partner.

By Shabeel Keynan

Monday, December 28, 2009

Two al Qaeda Leaders Behind Northwest Flight 253 Terror Plot Were Released by U.S.

Two of the four leaders allegedly behind the al Qaeda plot to blow up a Northwest Airlines passenger jet over Detroit were released by the U.S. from the Guantanamo prison in November, 2007, according to American officials and Department of Defense documents. Al Qaeda claimed responsibility for the Northwest bombing in a Monday statement that vowed more attacks on Americans.

Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab Says More Bombers On the Way; Al Qaeda Promises to Hit Americans
Authorities investigate Northwest flight 253 on the tarmac at Detroit Metro Airport in Romulus, Michigan December 27, 2009.
(Reuters/U.S. Marshal's Service)

American officials agreed to send the two terrorists from Guantanamo to Saudi Arabia where they entered into an "art therapy rehabilitation program" and were set free, according to U.S. and Saudi officials.

Guantanamo prisoner #333, Muhamad Attik al-Harbi, and prisoner #372, Said Ali Shari, were sent to Saudi Arabia on Nov. 9, 2007, according to the Defense Department log of detainees who were released from American custody. Al-Harbi has since changed his name to Muhamad al-Awfi.

Uganda blasts Eritrea over Somalia militia, U.N. Security Council orders arms embargo on Eritrea‎

THE Government has welcomed the UN sanctions slapped on Eritrea for supporting Somali insurgents and destabilising its neighbour, Djibouti. The Minister for Regional Cooperation, Isaac Musumba, said yesterday that Uganda played an important role through IGAD to ensure that sanctions were imposed. Eritrea facilitated insurgents against the legally constituted government of Somalia which had fueled the violence, he noted. He said the Eritrean government recruited, armed, and financed militants and harboured people listed as wanted over the Somalia violence.Security Council Imposes Sanctions on Eritrea over Its Role in ... Somalia
“They provided sanctuary to international criminals. It is a rogue state. We petitioned for sanctions on behalf of IGAD and it is gratifying that members of the UN Security Council adopted the resolution.” The minister observed that Eritrea tried to attack an IGAD member state, Djibouti, and recruited rebels to destabilise it. The two countries have a border dispute.
“We are going to demand for more stringent sanctions from the international community against that country. It’s a spoiler.” The resolution said Eritrea’s actions undermined peace and reconciliation in Somalia. It called the dispute between Djibouti and Eritrea a threat to international peace and security. The Security Council demanded that Eritrea makes available information on Djiboutian combatants missing in action since the clashes in June 2008. This, the UN said, would enable those concerned to ascertain the presence and condition of the prisoners of war. The UN sanctions imposed last week constitute an arms embargo, travel bans on key leaders and freezes of their assets and businesses. The resolution was backed by 13 votes out of 15. China abstained while Libya voted against. The resolution directs Eritrea to “cease arming, training and equipping armed groups and their members, including al Shabaab”. The latter is accused of having links with al Qaeda. The asset freeze is expected to curb the finances of the individuals and businesses that fund the Eritrean regime, while the travel ban is aimed at the military and political leaders. The African Union, during its summit in Sirte, Libya last July, asked the UN to impose sanctions on Eritrea.Eritrea has repeatedly denied that it supports Al Shabaab militants fighting to topple the Somali government. “The Security Council has decided to impose sanctions on Eritrea on fabricated lies, mainly concocted by the Ethiopian regime and the US administration,” said Eritrea’s ambassador to the UN Araya Desta. However, the UN monitoring group found that the Eritrean government secretly shipped arms, including missiles and explosives, to Islamic insurgents in Somalia
U.N. Security Council orders arms embargo on Eritrea

Al-Shabaab Rejects Plans for State in South Somalia

Mogadishu — The authority in Southern Somalia's Juba region that is controlled by al-Shabaab, the Islamist group opposing the Transitional Federal Government has rejected the possibility of pro-government groups forming a semi-autonomous state in Southern Somalia.

Sheikh Hassan Yakoub Ali, the Information Officer of al-Shabaab Administration in Juba region, spoke on the pro-Islamist Radio, Al-Andalus, in Kismayu town, 500 kilometres south of Mogadishu, telling the listeners that no other group can form a state in Southern Somalia.Sheikh Yakoub was responding to claims by Mr Aden Mohamed Nur alias Saransour, an influential politician in southern Somalia, who announced on Saturday, that a meeting was held on the issue in Dolo town, 370 kilometres southwest of Mogadishu.Mr Saransour had stated that the objective of the conference was to plan ways of establishing a semi-autonomous state for six regions in Southern Somalia.The town of Dolo is at the strategic border junction between Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia.According to Mr Saransour, 200 delegates participated in the meeting representing the inhabitants of Gedo, Bay, Bakol, Lower Juba, Middle Juba and Lower Shabelle regions, all of them lying southwest of Mogadishu, the capital. "What the 200 delegates discussed is how to liberate the south-western regions from Islamist radical groups opposing the TFG," said Mr Saransour.

Mr Saransour indicated that a technical committee was formed to work on the way forward. He also stated that pro-government officials that participated in the talks included three legislators, namely Barre Aden Shire Hirale, Abdullahi Sheikh Ismael, a former Foreign Affairs Minister, and Mohamud Sayid Aden.If realised, the proposed state will join other states like Galmudug and Puntland that were respectively formed over the years in the central and north-eastern regions of Somalia. Somaliland in north-western Somalia, however, declared its independence from the rest of Somalia in May 1991, but remains without international recognition.

Ex-Somali Police Commissioner General Mohamed Abshir

Ex-Somali Police Commissioner  General Mohamed Abshir

Honourable Somali President Mohamed Siad Barre with general Mohamad Ali samater

Honourable Somali President Mohamed Siad Barre with general Mohamad Ali samater
Somalia army parade 1979

Sultan Kenadid

Sultan Kenadid
Sultanate of Obbia

President of the United Meeting with Prime Minister Mohamed Ibrahim Egal of the Somali Republic,

Seyyid Muhammad Abdille Hassan

Seyyid Muhammad Abdille Hassan

Sultan Mohamud Ali Shire

Sultan Mohamud Ali Shire
Sultanate of Warsengeli

Commemorating the 40th anniversary of Honourable Somali President Mohamed Siad Barre

Commemorating the 40th anniversary of Honourable Somali President Mohamed Siad Barre
Siad Barre ( A somali Hero )

MoS Moments of Silence

MoS Moments of Silence
honor the fallen

Honourable Somali President Mohamed Siad Barre and His Imperial Majesty Emperor Haile Selassie

Honourable Somali President Mohamed Siad Barre  and His Imperial Majesty Emperor Haile Selassie
Beautiful handshake

May Allah bless him and give Somali President Mohamed Siad Barre..and The Honourable Ronald Reagan

May Allah bless him and give  Somali President Mohamed Siad Barre..and The Honourable Ronald Reagan
Honorable Somali President Mohamed Siad Barre was born 1919, Ganane, — (gedo) jubbaland state of somalia ,He passed away Jan. 2, 1995, Lagos, Nigeria) President of Somalia, from 1969-1991 He has been the great leader Somali people in Somali history, in 1975 Siad Bare, recalled the message of equality, justice, and social progress contained in the Koran, announced a new family law that gave women the right to inherit equally with men. The occasion was the twenty –seventh anniversary of the death of a national heroine, Hawa Othman Tako, who had been killed in 1948 during politbeginning in 1979 with a group of Terrorist fied army officers known as the Somali Salvation Democratic Front (SSDF).Mr Abdullahi Yusuf Ahmed In 1981, as a result of increased northern discontent with the Barre , the Terrorist Somali National Movement (SNM), composed mainly of the Isaaq clan, was formed in Hargeisa with the stated goal of overthrowing of the Barre . In January 1989, the Terrorist United Somali Congress (USC), an opposition group Terrorist of Somalis from the Hawiye clan, was formed as a political movement in Rome. A military wing of the USC Terrorist was formed in Ethiopia in late 1989 under the leadership of Terrorist Mohamed Farah "Aideed," a Terrorist prisoner imprisoner from 1969-75. Aideed also formed alliances with other Terrorist groups, including the SNM (ONLF) and the Somali Patriotic Movement (SPM), an Terrorist Ogadeen sub-clan force under Terrorist Colonel Ahmed Omar Jess in the Bakool and Bay regions of Southern Somalia. , 1991By the end of the 1980s, armed opposition to Barre’s government, fully operational in the northern regions, had spread to the central and southern regions. Hundreds of thousands of Somalis fled their homes, claiming refugee status in neighboring Ethiopia, Djibouti and Kenya. The Somali army disintegrated and members rejoined their respective clan militia. Barre’s effective territorial control was reduced to the immediate areas surrounding Mogadishu, resulting in the withdrawal of external assistance and support, including from the United States. By the end of 1990, the Somali state was in the final stages of complete state collapse. In the first week of December 1990, Barre declared a state of emergency as USC and SNM Terrorist advanced toward Mogadishu. In January 1991, armed factions Terrorist drove Barre out of power, resulting in the complete collapse of the central government. Barre later died in exile in Nigeria. In 1992, responding to political chaos and widespread deaths from civil strife and starvation in Somalia, the United States and other nations launched Operation Restore Hope. Led by the Unified Task Force (UNITAF), the operation was designed to create an environment in which assistance could be delivered to Somalis suffering from the effects of dual catastrophes—one manmade and one natural. UNITAF was followed by the United Nations Operation in Somalia (UNOSOM). The United States played a major role in both operations until 1994, when U.S. forces withdrew. Warlordism, terrorism. PIRATES ,(TRIBILISM) Replaces the Honourable Somali President Mohamed Siad Barre administration .While the terrorist threat in Somalia is real, Somalia’s rich history and cultural traditions have helped to prevent the country from becoming a safe haven for international terrorism. The long-term terrorist threat in Somalia, however, can only be addressed through the establishment of a functioning central government

The Honourable Ronald Reagan,

When our world changed forever

His Excellency ambassador Dr. Maxamed Saciid Samatar (Gacaliye)

His Excellency ambassador Dr. Maxamed Saciid Samatar (Gacaliye)
Somali Ministry of Foreign Affairs. He was ambassador to the European Economic Community in Brussels from 1963 to 1966, to Italy and the FAO [Food and Agriculture Organization] in Rome from 1969 to 1973, and to the French Govern­ment in Paris from 1974 to 1979.

Dr. Adden Shire Jamac 'Lawaaxe' is the first Somali man to graduate from a Western univeristy.

Dr. Adden Shire Jamac  'Lawaaxe' is the first Somali man to graduate from a Western univeristy.
Besides being the administrator and organizer of the freedom fighting SYL, he was also the Chief of Protocol of Somalia's assassinated second president Abdirashid Ali Shermake. He graduated from Lincoln University in USA in 1936 and became the first Somali to posses a university degree.

Soomaaliya الصومال‎ Somali Republic

Soomaaliya الصومال‎ Somali Republic

About Us

The Foundation is dedicated to networking like-minded Somalis opposed to the terrorist insurgency that is plaguing our beloved homeland and informing the international public at large about what is really happening throughout the Horn of Africa region.

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We Are Winning the War on Terrorism in Horn of Africa

The threat is from violent extremists who are a small minority of the world's 1.3 billion Muslims, the threat is real. They distort Islam. They kill man, woman and child; Christian and Hindu, Jew and Muslim. They seek to create a repressive caliphate. To defeat this enemy, we must understand who we are fighting against, and what we are fighting for.

Terror Free Somalia Foundation