Mogadishu, Somalia, August 15, 2009 – Somalia's hard-line Islamic
insurgents have rejected peace overtures after President Sheikh Sharif
Sheikh Ahmed called on them to stop the violence and begin peace
This comes less than a week after President Sheikh Sharif held talks
with U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in Kenya's capital,
The insurgents including, al-Shabaab denounced President Sheikh Sharif's
invitation calling him an agent of the west who wants to control the
At a press conference Monday, President Sheikh Sharif accused al-Shabaab
of being under the command of al-Qaida, which aims to turn Somalia into
a safe haven for international terrorism.
Political analyst Ali Abdillahi told VOA that Mogadishu is too weakened
to negotiate with the hard-line insurgents.
"I wonder who he (President Sheikh Sharif) will try to negotiate with.
Also, the government thing it can sort of appeal to the not o much of
the hard-liners. But it seems on both sides not only the issue of
negotiations but there is also the possibility of escalation of
violence," Abdillahi said.
He said there are indications that the insurgents seem to have the upper
"Al-Shabaab wings are saying that whatever arms given to the government,
they will take it from them as happened with the AK 47s that were given
to them recently. So what you find is that whatever weapons are given to
the government will ultimately end up in the hands of al-Shabaab because
the government does not have anyone to fight for them," he said.
Abdillahi said the government faces a daunting task of defeating
insurgents who are highly motivated.
"Al-Shabaab has a lot of spirit and they have a well disciplined group
of militants and the government is not well prepared to challenge them
on the battlefront. So the best way they (government) they could think
of is maybe to have a negotiation on the table. But I wonder whether the
government will be ready to negotiate from a point of weakness rather
than a point of strength," Abdillahi said.
He said President Sheik Sharif Sheikh Ahmed's administration is too
fragile to govern.
"The government seems to be at its weakest point; financially and
militarily, they are very weak. And there are also other factions which
apparently are deserting the government in the form of the military," he
Abdillahi said a cross-section of Somalis is refusing to recognize the
"There is also organized peaceful party which is being arranged to sort
of appeal to the international community as an alternative government
because most of the Somali elite don't see this government as
representative of them," Abdillahi said.
The hard-line insurgent groups have so far refused to recognize the
government, vowing to overthrow the administration and implement the
strictest form of Sharia law.
The insurgent groups control most of the country including some areas in
the capital, Mogadishu.
Somalia has been without an effective government after former longtime
ruler Mohammed Siad Barre was overthrown in 1991.
Siyad Barre's overthrow reportedly led warlords to escalate the
conflict, which plunged the country into deeper crisis.
Source: VOA, August 11, 2009