Andrew Harding traces the life of Mohamud (Tarzan) Nur, son of a shepherd, who grew up in an orphanage to become the mayor of Mogadishu. He is aiming to become the country’s president.
Whatever the West touches, it destroys. Somalia, Sudan and Ethiopia show the evidence of Western meddling and aggression.
The spectre of famine haunts parts of Africa again, with more than 20 million people facing starvation across Somalia, Nigeria and South Sudan.
Yet the document outlining specific charges against Amina insists that she transferred funds to “terrorist organisations” through various hawalas (business means used frequently in the Muslim world to send money).
The report adds that countries in sub-Saharan Africa have weathered the global recession better than expected, and better than in previous, milder economic slowdowns.
The question, whether “Somalia’s ‘president’ is a nationalist or agent of Western interventionists” is not an idle one. Sheikh Sharif Ahmed was installed as head of Somalia’s powerless interim government (IG) last year, and has been maintained in his dubious position since then by Western countries, their allies, the African Union (AU) and the UN “to fight al-Qaeda in Africa”...
In the introduction to his 1985 book, Of Emperors and Pirates, the American professor, Noam Chomsky quotes St. Augustine narrating a dialogue between Alexander the Great and a pirate. “How dare you molest the seas?” demands Alexander. “How dare you molest the world?” replies the pirate. “Just because I do it with a little boat, I am called a pirate and you do it with a huge ship and you are called an emperor!”
Iraq and Afghanistan were far from the only victims of the neo-cons’ aggression under George W. Bush. Several other Muslim countries suffered grievously too, without receiving nearly as much attention in the world media, and, by extension, among Muslims. Somalia is perhaps the single greatest example. Crescent has covered developments there as best we can, largely thanks to M. A. Shaikh, who writes on the new government of Sherif Sheikh Ahmed in this issue, but elsewhere in the Muslim media Somalia has been largely ignored.
Somalia finally had a new government last month after Sheikh Sherif Shaikh Ahmed, former head of the Islamic Courts’ Union (ICU), was sworn in as president on January 31. The removal from power of the corrupt and docile transitional national government (TNG) and its president Abdillahi Yusuf (controlled by the US and Ethiopia) is undoubtedly a welcome development.
On Friday 16 January, while Israel continued its brutal slaughter in Ghazzah, less than a thousand miles away, another foreign army was being forced to withdraw its troops from Muslim land it had also illegally occupied. On that day, to the joy of millions Somalia, Ethiopia was forced to pull its troops from Mogadishu, having invaded and occupied it just over two years earlier. Through a close examination of the conflict, one can draw valuable lessons for Hamas and the Muslim world.
Somalia is being recognised as the worst and most violent “failed state” in the world, and the tragedy of its people as the “most-ignored human tragedy”. Even the odd commentator in the international media is now calling on the ‘international community’ to help Somalia to restore peace by ignoring the corrupt and ineffective Interim Government (IG) and replacing it with “moderate” members of the Islamic Courts Union.
That, in most cases, the UN merely goes through the motions of mediating an end to conflicts is widely known and generally resented. Consequently, the inevitable failure of most of its efforts comes as no surprise to most. Its mishandling of the conflict in Somalia – culminating in the bogus ‘peace-deal’ signed by the weak interim government and nominal insurgents on June 9 is typical.
The US and Ethiopia, alarmed by the growing strength of the "insurgents" backing the Union of Islamic Courts (UIC), have stepped up their military operations in recent months to maintain the faltering interim government (IG) in office. Not only have they increased the number of indiscriminate air-raids and missiles, but they have also extended the targets to include crowded mosques.
On March 3, there was further evidence of the US's involvement in Ethiopia's occupation of Somalia, when a Tomahawk missile fired from a US submarine hit the town of Dobley in southern Somalia, five miles from the border with Kenya, destroying at least one house and injuring six people.
The transitional federal government (TFG) of Somalia, which was put in power in December 2006 after the removal of the ruling Union of Islamic Courts (UIC) by the Ethiopian army – began to disintegrate last October, finally crumbling soon after its 72-year-old leader, Abdullahi Yusuf Ahmad, fell ill in December and was taken to Britain for medical treatment. Now the new government, a remnant of the TFG, whose name it continues to use, is also backed by the US, Ethiopia and their allies, including those in the region such as Kenya.
A year ago (December 2006) the US government persuaded Ethiopia to invade Somalia, giving it military and financial backing to remove from power the Union of Islamic Courts (UIC) and replace it with the transitional federal government (TFG). Both Washington and Addis Ababa thought at the time that they had gained effective control of Somalia by replacing the UIC with an administration made up of warlords, military officers and secular officials. But now they have no doubt that whatever control they had has crumbled:
Ethiopia’s war in Muslim Somalia has been one of the major news stories of the last year. However, less well-known is the fact that Somali Muslims living under Ethiopian rule in the Ogaden have a 700-year history of resistance against Ethiopian rule. FAHAD ANSARI reports.
It was in December 2006 that the Ethiopian army – with the US’s military and financial support – invaded Somalia and paved the way for the expulsion of the Union of Islamic Courts (UIC) and its replacement by the clan-based interim government (IG). Now it is once again pouring its troops into Mogadishu, the capital of Somalia, to prop up the IG (which has foundered as a result of a dispute between its president, Abdullahi Yusuf Ahmed, and prime minister Ali Mohamed Ghedi) and to prevent the UIC from seizing power.
The last thing a Muslim country like Somalia – which has been in the grip of turmoil and lawlessness for 16 years and is now under occupation by Ethiopian and US forces – needs is intervention in its turbulent affairs by Muslim governments, such as Saudi Arabia and Egypt, that are allies of the US and back its anti-Islamic programme in the Horn of Africa. Yet that is exactly what took place in mid-September, when three top leaders of the so-called Somali interim government (IG) and 300 clan heads (warlords, most of them) gathered in Jeddah and signed a “national reconciliation pact”, as the minority accord was presented.