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Monday, November 16, 2009

Al Shabaab Losing Support of Muslims in Hiiraan

I found the following note in Walta info, a Private Media Group focused on Ethiopian News. Among other news, it reports the defection of al Shabaab Commander Mohamed Sheikh Abdullahi “Pakistan” to the Government, and the defection of the elders of the town of Belet Weyne in Hiiraan to Ahlu Sunna wal Jama'a, a Sufi militia group succesfully fighting al Shabaab.

Keeping in mind that this media group is a Pro-Ethiopan group inclined to be anti -Islamist, it still suggests that Al Sabaab has been unsuccessful at winning the support of the local population to their Islamist Dawa when it comes to practical life. Note the 11 new rules imposed by al Sabaab, including the $40,000 pwe year "protection" bribe demanded for aid agencies for the priveledge of feeding the People overwhich al Shabaab Rules.

Monday, 16 November 2009

In it’s “A Week in the Horn” report, Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) raised issues on the hopeful sign in Somalia, the joint commission meeting of Ethio-Djibouti, Eritrea’s greatest fear of the peace, democracy and unity of Ethiopia and US Policy in Somalia.

The Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General of the United Nations for Somalia, Mr. Charles Petrie visited Mogadishu this week.
  • The UN representative met with Prime Minister Omar Sharma'arke and other TFG ministers, pledging to open the UN Office in Mogadishu as soon as possible.
  • He said the international contact group for Somalia and the UN Security Council would be meeting soon to discuss how to disburse the funds pledged by the international community at the Brussels Conference in April, quickly.
  • This can only be characterized as a positive development, but the need for urgent and concrete action remains.

    Recent events have underlined the point.

  • In central Somalia, in the Hiiraan region, the town of Belet Weyne has again changed hands with one of the extremist opposition groups, Hizbul Islam, retaking control.
  • Hizbul Islam's presence has, however, not been welcomed by the local population with elders and a local MP, Hussein Haji Mohamed "Gagale" speaking out publicly against the presence of Hizbul Islam in Belet Weyne.
  • There have been reports that the previous governor of Hiiraan region, Sheikh Abdirahman Ma'ow, who had been linked to Hizbul Islam has now joined Ahlu Sunna wal Jama'a which has been fighting successfully against Hizbul Islam and Al-Shabaab terrorists in neighbouring regions.
  • The government in Mogadishu this week reported the defection of a prominent Al-Shabaab commander, Sheikh Mohamed Sheikh Abdullahi “Pakistan” to the government.
  • At a welcoming ceremony in the Prime Minister's office, Sheikh Mohamed said he had left Al-Shabaab because the organization had committed anti-Islamic activities, including the beheading of innocent people.

Al-Shabaab this week distributed a document demanding any aid organization operating in the areas of Bat and Bakool regions should follow a list of eleven strict rules. These include

  • a ban on promoting democracy
  • a requirement to fire all women and replace them with men within three months
  • a refusal to allow Sunday as a day off
  • a ban on celebrating Christmas
  • a ban on alcohol and movies,
  • the removal of all logos from vehicles
  • The agencies will also have to pay fees of $40,000 a year.

The events in Hiiraan clearly demonstrate the need for the international community to make good on its promises to the TFG, in terms of economic and security assistance, so that the TFG can reinvigorate its fight against those 'spoilers' driven by a jihadist ideology and bent on causing havoc.

The UN Security Council needs to act with the greatest sense of urgency to curb the activities of these 'spoilers' intent on destabilizing Mogadishu and other parts of Somalia by imposing sanctions against Al-Shabaab and Hizbul Islam, and their backers.

Meanwhile it is just over a year since five terrorist bombs hit Hargeisa in Somaliland, and Bosasso in Puntland. Among the targets, which included the Ethiopian Trade Office and the presidential Palace, was a UN facility in Hargeisa where the explosion of car bombs caused the death of two UN staff members and the injury of six others.

On 29 October 2009, the UN held a commemoration ceremony in Hargeisa. The attacks serve as a stark reminder of the need to remain constantly vigilant about activities of extremists.

Although Somaliland has been, by and large, peaceful and stable, the threats persist from groups such as Al Shabaab, whose agenda as part of the global jihadist movement, goes far beyond Somalia.

  • A number of Al-Shabaab come from Somaliland, including its leaders. A number of recent terrorist operations, including assassinations in Puntland this week, emphasize the problem.

It underlines once again the need for urgent action by the international community without further delay and the necessity for active support for governance wherever it is effective, through the TFG, in Somaliland and Puntland or through local committees and civil society structures.

It is this which will provide for the political and administrative reconstruction necessary, provide the resources for reconciliation and for incentives to help local communities counter the threats posed by terrorist organizations.

The Rest @ Walta Info, a Private Media Group focused on Ethiopean News

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