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Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Kenya throws out Somali warlord

Kenya takes some action on Somalia as described here:
A Somalia warlord has been arrested and deported from Kenya, after it said it would no longer host those who "destabilise" its lawless neighbour.
Abdul Rashid Hussein Shiry, a member of the alliance defeated by an Islamic militia in recent fighting, was led from his Nairobi hotel by police.
Kenya has played host to Somali peace talks involving almost all faction leaders, for the past three years.
The Islamists control Mogadishu but the warlords are said to be regrouping.
The BBC's Mohammed Olad Hassan in Mogadishu says the warlords of the Anti-Terror Alliance are strengthening their positions in Jowhar, 75 kilometres (60 miles) to the north-west.
On Tuesday, thousands of north Mogadishu residents demonstrated against the Union of Islamic Courts.
But BBC Somali Service editor Yusuf Garaad Omar says the Islamists are generally far more popular than the warlords, who are hated for their role in Somalia's 15-year civil war.
The US was accused of backing the warlords but has neither confirmed nor denied the persistent reports.
Sharif Shaikh Ahmed is seen as a relative moderate
Sharif Sheikh Ahmed told the BBC Arabic service that the Islamic Courts were not a movement.
"They are a kind of popular revolution by the Somali people after 16 years of anarchy and killing, plunder and kidnapping," he said.
"This body is not a political one. Rather we want to give power back to the Somali people so it can make its own decisions and decide its own destiny."
The violence in Mogadishu has been the most serious for a decade with some 330 people killed and about 1,500 injured in the past month.
It began when warlords who had divided Mogadishu into fiefdoms united to form the Anti-Terrorism Alliance to tackle the Islamic courts, who they accused of sheltering foreign al-Qaeda militants.
The Islamic courts deny this. They were originally set up in Mogadishu as a grassroots movement by businessmen to establish some law and order in a city without any judicial system.
The Islamic militia warns it is now within 20km (12 miles) of Jowhar, the town where the defeated warlords fled.
However, clan elders have warned the Islamists not to attack Jowhar.
Prime Minister Ali Mohammed Ghedi has welcomed the Islamists' victory and wants to hold talks with them.
His government is based in Baidoa 250 kilometres (155 miles) but only controls a small part of the country.
Emphasis added. A "relative moderate" - that's damning with faint praise. Compared to Hitler, Mussolini was a "relative moderate." UPDATE: Some example of "relative moderate" speech:
The leader of Islamist fighters controlling Somali capital Mogadishu warned the United States it would pay dearly for any intervention in the country, a pan-Arab paper reported on Wednesday.
Sheikh Sharif Ahmed, the chairperson of the Islamic courts that have battled warlords for four months, said the US would face a disaster similar to a botched 1993 intervention that left 18 US army officers and 300 Somalis dead.
"If US forces intervene directly against us in Mogadishu, then we are ready to teach them a lesson they will never forget and repeat their defeat in 1993," Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed told Saudi-owned daily Asharq al-Awsat.
He rebuffed US accusations that his group, which are militias affiliated with the country's 11 Islamic courts, may be linked to the al-Qaeda terror network.
"We are not terrorists and we have said hundreds of times that America's talk about terror in Somalia is fabricated for suspect political motives," he said.
"We have no link to those being pursued by America, which is the biggest terrorist nation in the world despite its calls for democracy and respect for noble human values."
(Previous discussion on the question of cross allegations of al Qaeda links contained in this post)

Does "unstable" begin to convey the right impression?

On the other hand, pirate attacks off Somalia are down, though there are still captured crews and ships waiting to be ransomed.

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