Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Somalia: All the fun you can have in one hellhole

Peace has not broken out in Somalia as indicated here:
At least six people are dead after Somalists militiamen attacked two checkpoints that were controlled by armed men loyal to a faction leader. The fighting took place in the outskirts of Mogadisho. Yesterday's fighting near Lafole region, was the first since the 5th of June. The Islamic Courts took over the area which was controlled by a faction known as Alliance for the Restoration of Peace and Counter Terrorism[ARPCT].

All the dead are said to be from Hassan Qeiybdid's camp who was a member of the warlords defeated earlier this month. An eye witness said that this ongoing effort by the Islamic Courts is yet another struggle to control Mogadisho and its outskirts. The Alliance captured three battle wagons from the militiamen.
The ICU seeks to consolidate its position. And reports of ICU "raids" on private homes where watchng of the World Cup might have been going on here:
The Somali Council of the Islamic Courts raided homes that were showing the World Cup and foreign films, the Alliance has intensified its action against foreign influence.

The Islamists entered private homes,yesterday,that they suspected of showing the World Cup and foreign movies without permission. Witnesses said that the militiamen destroyed televisions in the Hamar-Jadid neighbourhood of Mogadisho.

The Alliance led by Sheikh Hassan Dahir Aweys,banned the World Cup and foreign movies cutting off power supplies in the cinemas shortly after they had taken control of Mogadisho.

The Islamists believe that this form of foreign influence will corrupt the minds of the muslims and turn them away form God. This move came after the Alliance changed its name from the Islamic Courts Alliance to Somali Council of the Islamic Courts.
However, there have been denials that the Somali Council of the Islamic Courts is similar to the Taliban of Afghanistan, though the distinctions elude me at the moment.

Not too surprisingly, the Transitional Somali government has accused the Somali Council of the Islamic Courts of violating the recent peace accords as reported here:
The Transitional Federal Government has condemned on Wednesday the recent attack by Islamic militia in which they have captured the control of key post from militia loyal to Abdi Hassan Qeybdid in the southern outskirt of the Somalia capital.

The deputy minister of information in the transitional federal government based in the provincial town of Baidoa Salad Ali Jelle told the local media that TFG was sorry about the violence in the capital describing the seizure of Qeybdid’s position as in breach of the peace deal signed in Sudan by delegations from Islamic courts union and transitional federal government on 22 June.
Ethiopia is watching events in Somalia unfold with a concerned eye (and the Somalis don't much care for Ethiopia, anyway) and perhaps some eyes on the ground, as the report alleges an intrusion by Ethiopia into Somalia to recover an "Ethiopian spy":
Heavily armed Ethiopian troops are reported to have again crossed into Somalia territory on Wednesday and moved inside Hiran region in west of Somalia where they have met with local officials and back to their country.

The Ethiopian soldiers with several battlewagons have stormed the village of Jawil in Hiran region where they have forcefully freed one of their spies who has been arrested there, witnesses told Somalinet.
And, Ethiopia's Prime Minister has decided that Somalia's Islamists pose a threat"
Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi said on Tuesday that the Islamic Courts Union which controls Somalia's capital Mogadishu is dominated by al-Itihaad al-Islamiya members, which posed a threat to Ethiopia.

The United States calls the al-Itihaad al-Islamiya group a "terrorist" faction with links to al Qaeda.

"At the moment the new leadership ... is dominated by Al-Itihaad, an internationally recognised terrorist organization," Meles told a press conference.

The sharia courts appointed Sheikh Hassan Dahir Aweys, named in a U.N. list of al Qaeda associates, to lead their governing council, raising fears they want to install Taliban-style rule.

Meles said the appointment of Aweys, who denies links to terrorism, confirmed that the Islamists were a dangerous group.

"Indeed the chairman of the new council they have established is a certain colonel who also happens to be the head of al-Itihaad," he said.

"Al-Itihaad has been involved in terrorist outrages in Addis Ababa. It is a terrorist organization which has no qualm in planting bombs in hotels, and so it would be absolutely prudent for us to take proper precautionary measures," Meles added.
And the Voice of America reports on a new Somali Parliment here:
The Islamic Courts militia, which now control Somalia’s capital, have named a cleric as the head of a new parliament. Sheik Hassan Dahir Aweys was appointed Saturday at a meeting of Islamic authorities in Mogadishu. Some in Washington consider Sheik Hassan Dahir a terrorist with suspected ties to Osama bin Laden’s al-Qaida network. However, the Islamic Courts have denied any links to terrorism or al-Qaida and say they are interested only in restoring law and order to Somalia.
And don't forget the broad daylight murder of a Swedish journalist which has the Sweidsh government asking for an inquiry by "Somali authorities."
Adler was shot in the back by an unknown assailant while covering a rally on Friday in Mogadishu in support of the Islamist leaders who control the Somali capital and most of the country's south.

The shooter has not been caught, but the militia said the killing was planned by a foreign enemy that wants to shatter weeks of relative peace since the Islamists took over.

I understand that vacation packages to Somalia are being heavily discounted...

UPDATE: After careful study, changed the title to conform acceptable spelling of "hellhole."

I also note that Colonel Austin Bay is fishing in these waters.

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