Home | Contact us | Links | Archives

Islamic Radicals On March In Somalia

ISSUE 247
Front Page
Index
Headlines

Extremists Linked To The Terrorist Courts Of Mogadishu Burn Haatuf Newspaper In Buroa

IGAD Forces Must Stay Out Of The Territories Of Somaliland

Somalia's Islamic Group Imposes Harsh Rules On Media, Says Press Watchdog

UN Pulls Staff Out Of Somalia

Djibouti To Hold Summit To End Somali Violence

Range Resources Signs US$50 Million Deal With Canadian Canmex

Regional Affairs

Garbage Collection Puts Money In The Pockets Of The Poo

U.S.-Ethiopian Security Ties Deepen

CANMEX Signs MOU To Acquire Interest In
Two Oil And Gas Prospects In Puntland, Somali

Editorial
Special Report

International News

Somalia: Washington's New Approach To The SICC

If Killing Civilians Is Terror, Then Who's The Terrorist?

Muslim Cabbies Refuse Alcohol-Toting Fares

Two Teens Charged As Adults In Killing

Monitors Needed On Ethiopia-Somalia Border - Envoy

Scholar Calls On International Community To Interfere In Somalia

Case Of Ends And Means In Conflict

FEATURES & COMMENTARY

As Threat Of Regional Conflict Grows, A Critical Moment For Somalia

Ibis Triumph Raises Hopes For Rarest Bird

The Emerging Russian Giant Plays its Cards Strategically

Ex-Model Iman Hopes To Help Working Women

Islamic Courts Union Stirs Kenya

Somalia : Radical Militant Youth Group Becoming Dominant - Analyst

Food for thought

Opinions

Somaliland Native Doctors In The Diaspora Should Contribute To Their Community
Like Dr. Idan

Three Things That The World Can Do In Somalia To Avoid A Taliban-like Regime

Great Things That Happen In Somaliland

Here Again The Warlords Became-Islamo-Warlords!

Driven To Death By Political
Instability And Poverty

Reply To The Article Titled: ''Security Threat To Somaliland From Islamic Courts'' By Rashid Nur

Exposing The Lexicon Of The Anti-Somaliland Camp

BOOK REVIEW: LADH


Anthony Mitchell

Nairobi , Kenya, October 7, 2006 – Resting a hand on one of two pistols stuffed into his waistband, Aden Hashi Ayro, military commander of the Islamic movement that is advancing across Somalia, fits the part of a radical revolutionary perfectly.

Increasingly, as his forces seize town after town in southern Somalia, the once reclusive Mr. Ayro is taking a public role. His emergence is a signal that radicals in the movement are gaining the strength to put their anti-Western, antimodern stamp on Somalia.

Mr. Ayro, who is in his 30s and allegedly received al-Qaida training in Afghanistan, has been linked by United Nations officials to the murders of 16 people, including BBC journalist Kate Peyton. Counterterrorism officials also believe he was involved in plotting to blow up an Ethiopian airliner.

He has never been photographed and until recently was rarely seen in public. He stepped from the shadows last week in Kismayo, Somalia, to address hundreds of his fanatical gunmen who had just seized the strategic port without firing a shot.

Islamic forces have captured almost all of southern Somalia’s strategic and economic centers, making them the de facto authority in the nation and sidelining the virtually powerless Government.

The fighters are under a loose alliance of Islamic courts, some more radical in their interpretation of Koranic law than others. With the courts has come a semblance of order after 15 years of civil war but the strict and often severe interpretation of Islam espoused by some in the movement raises memories of Afghanistan’s Taliban. They have brought public floggings and executions of criminals to the capital, Mogadishu.

Western governments say it is too early to tell if the moderates in the Islamic council or hardliners like Mr. Ayro will emerge on top.

“There is an ostrich-like sense of denial here,” US-based counterterrorism expert Peter Pham said, adding that the moderates could not compete because the hardliners controlled the guns. “What we have here is a dangerously radical movement.”

Mr. Ayro potentially was the most dangerous of them, Mr. Pham said. He claimed Mr. Ayro was the courts’ go-between with al-Qaida and said the terrorist group was looking to take advantage of Somalia’s strategic location in Africa, bordering the Middle East.

Mr. Ayro had a much clearer link to international terror than the Islamic group’s leader, Sheikh Hassan Dahir Aweys, he said.

The US Government accuses Sheikh Aweys of links to al-Qaida. But analysts also say he is the only one who can avoid a disastrous war because he has enough military might to persuade more hardline elements, such as Mr. Ayro, to accept a power-sharing deal with Somalia’s cornered Government.

Mr. Ayro’s 3000 radical cadres, known as The Youth, appear to be spoiling for a fight. UN reports indicate that 200 anti-aircraft missiles were shipped into Somalia in March for the Islamic group despite an arms embargo.

Foreign Muslim fighters — reportedly from Chechnya, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Lebanon and Eritrea — have joined the fray. In Kismayo, Mr. Ayro was the first official in the movement to acknowledge the long-rumored presence of foreign fighters.

Dahir Rayale Kahin, President of Somaliland, which declared independence from Somalia in 1991, said the region was seeing a radicalization of the moderate, Sufi-inspired Islam that had dominated Somali culture for centuries.

Fanaticism may have been behind the assassination on September 17 of an Italian nun, a longtime medical worker in Somalia who was shot dead in Mogadishu.

A day later, Somalia saw its first car-bombing, a failed attempt on Abdillahi Yusuf Ahmed, President of the transitional Government. The Government blames both attacks on Islamic radicals.

With or without the specter of Islamic extremism, the Horn of Africa is already a tinderbox. Tensions between Ethiopia and Eritrea are simmering over a border conflict and have spilled over into Somalia. Ethiopia, with a big Muslim population, is fearful of a neighboring fundamentalist state.

Kenyan-based regional analyst Matt Bryden said: “I am afraid we are sliding towards a regional conflict with states lining up on different sides of the divide.”

Mr. Pham said that, without immediate international diplomacy, the radicals’ takeover of Somalia could prove as costly as the failure to deal with the Taliban’s rise in Afghanistan.

“Failure to invest a small amount in stability and security in this country will reap a devastating cost later,” he said. “That is the lesson we have all learned from 9/11.”

Source: WST 'The West Australian'


Home | Contact us | Links | Archives