Loading ...
Sorry, an error occurred while loading the content.

Anti-Ethiopian Protests Rock Somali Capital

Expand Messages
  • World View
    Anti-Ethiopian Protests Rock Somali Capital By Sahal Abdulle and Guled Mohamed Sat Jan 6, 2007 ET MOGADISHU (Reuters) - Ethiopian troops and Somali protesters
    Message 1 of 1 , Jan 7, 2007
    • 0 Attachment
      Anti-Ethiopian Protests Rock Somali Capital
      By Sahal Abdulle and Guled Mohamed
      Sat Jan 6, 2007

      MOGADISHU (Reuters) - Ethiopian troops and Somali
      protesters exchanged fire in Mogadishu on Saturday
      killing three people, witnesses said, as hundreds of
      Somalis demonstrated against the foreign forces and a
      government disarmament drive.

      And in a move likely to anger many Somalis, President
      Abdullahi Yusuf asked Ethiopia to train Somali armed
      forces, Ethiopian state television said.

      Yemen's foreign minister was quoted as saying some
      Somali Islamist leaders, ousted by Ethiopian-backed
      government forces in a two-week war, were now in

      In Mogadishu, protesters hurled stones and burned
      tires, wreathing streets in smoke and reviving
      memories of the chaos that had largely stopped during
      six months of strict Islamist rule by the Somalia
      Islamic Courts Council.

      "The Ethiopians opened fire and shot dead a young boy
      and a lady, they also killed another person," a
      witness said. Other witnesses agreed.

      "The (government) and Ethiopian troops invaded our
      country and they have shot my son for no good reason,"
      said Omar Halane, the boy's father.

      A Somali government source said only one person had
      died and gave a different version of events. He said
      police had opened fire in Tarbuunka square, where the
      Islamists held anti-Ethiopian demonstrations when they
      controlled the capital.

      In the latest show of discontent with the forces that
      ousted the Islamists in two weeks of open warfare,
      hundreds of Somalis marched through the capital
      chanting "Down with Ethiopia."

      "We are against the Ethiopian troops' occupation. We
      don't want them, they should leave," 20-year-old
      protester Ahmed Mohamed said. "They are harassing us
      in our own country."

      Ethiopian soldiers fired in the air to disperse crowds
      and government troops armed with AK-47s patrolled the

      A hospital source, speaking before the shooting
      incident, said at least five civilians were hurt.

      Somalia's government wants to install itself in
      Mogadishu, one of the world's most dangerous cities.
      Within hours of the Islamists fleeing, militiamen
      loyal to warlords reappeared at checkpoints in the
      city where they used to terrorize civilians.

      Residents fear Mogadishu could slide back into the
      anarchy that has gripped the city since the 1991
      ouster of a dictator.

      The government had given Mogadishu residents until
      last Thursday to hand in their weapons or be disarmed
      by force.

      But government spokesman Abdirahman Dinari told local
      radio on Saturday the disarmament program was
      postponed. Few weapons have been handed in as locals
      wait to see if the government can impose the relative
      stability experienced under the Islamists.


      Yusuf and Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi met in
      Addis Ababa on Saturday and agreed Ethiopia would
      train Somali troops, Ethiopian state television
      reported. Meles told Al Jazeera on Friday his troops
      would leave Somalia within two weeks.

      "President Yusuf requested Ethiopia to train Somali
      armed forces, which Prime Minister Meles accepted,"
      the television statement said, adding that Yusuf said
      he planned to set up an all inclusive government.

      Yemen's Foreign Minister Abubakr al-Qirbi was quoted
      as saying some Islamist leaders had arrived in Yemen.
      "Their presence ... creates an opportunity to seek an
      agreement between them and the transitional government
      of Somalia," United Arab Emirates daily al-Khaleej
      quoted him as saying.

      News of their presence coincided with a visit to Aden
      of a senior U.S. official, who called for dialogue
      between Somali groups, including "remnants" of the
      defeated Islamist movement.

      The Islamists, who deserted their last stronghold on
      Monday, have pledged to fight on. Residents say they
      have melted into the hills in Somalia's remote
      southern tip where Ethiopian and government forces are
      hunting them.

      Kenya has sent troops to seal its frontier. A witness
      and a police source at the Kenyan border post of Liboi
      said one of the Islamists' financial backers, Abukar
      Omar, had surrendered.

      "He was taken to a police station," the witness said.

      About 23 suspected Islamist fighters, including
      foreigners, have been arrested, according to a Kenyan
      police official.

      An assistant immigration minister told Reuters five
      Somali members of parliament had been detained in
      Nairobi for questioning on suspicion of helping the

      Western and African diplomats on Friday called for the
      urgent deployment of peacekeepers in Somalia as al
      Qaeda's deputy leader urged the Islamists to launch an
      Iraq-style insurgency against Ethiopian forces there.

      (Additional reporting by Farah Robleu, Daud Yusuf in
      Garissa, Wangui Kanina in Nairobi, Tsegaye Tadesse in
      Addis Ababa)


      Somalia: A State Restored? Not So Fast
      by William S. Lind

      For more than a decade, Somalia has been Exhibit A in the Hall of
      Statelessness, a place where the state had not merely weakened into
      irrelevance but disappeared. Somalia's statelessness had defeated even
      the world's only hyperpower, the United States, when it had intervened
      militarily to restore order. Fourth Generation war theorists, myself
      included, frequently pointed to Somalia as an example of the direction
      in which other places were headed.

      Then, over the past several weeks, a Blitzkrieg-like campaign by the
      Ethiopian army seemed to change everything. A Fourth Generation
      entity, the Islamic Courts, which had taken control of most of
      Somalia, was brushed aside with ease by Ethiopian tanks and jets. A
      makeshift state, the Transitional Federal Government, which had been
      created years ago by other states but was almost invisible within
      Somalia, was installed in Mogadishu. The Somali state was restored –
      or so it seems.

      This direct clash between the international order of states and
      anti-state, Fourth Generation forces is a potentially instructive test
      case. If the Ethiopians and their sponsors succeed in re-creating a
      self-sustaining Somali state, it may put Fourth Generation elements
      elsewhere on the defensive. Conversely, if the Somali state again
      fails, it will suggest that outside efforts to restore states are
      unlikely to succeed and the future belongs to the Fourth Generation.

      It is too soon to know what the outcome will be. However, we might
      want to ask the question, what does each side need to accomplish in
      order to succeed?

      The first thing the Transitional Federal Government and its Ethiopian
      and other foreign backers must accomplish is to restore order. Many
      Somalis welcomed the Islamic Courts because they did bring order. They
      shut down the local militias, made the streets safe again and began
      the revival of commerce, which depends on order.

      Can the Transitional Federal Government do the same? Its problem is
      that its main instrument is the Ethiopian army, which is hated by many
      Somalis. Its own forces are largely warlord militias. If the TFG fails
      to bring order, not only will it have failed to perform the first task
      of any state, it will make the Islamic Courts look good in retrospect.
      Precisely this dynamic is now playing itself out in Afghanistan.

      The pro-state forces' second task is in tension with the first: the
      Ethiopian Army must go home soon. "Soon" here means weeks at most. If
      the Ethiopian invasion turns into an Ethiopian occupation, a
      nationalist resistance movement is likely to emerge quickly. Such a
      nationalist resistance would have to ally with the Islamic Courts,
      just as the nationalist resistance in Iraq has been pushed into
      alliance with Islamic 4GW forces, including al-Qaeda. Non-state forces
      are usually too weak physically to be picky about allies.

      The third task facing the TFG is to split the Islamic Courts and
      incorporate a substantial part of them into the new Somali state. In
      the end, political co-option is likely to do more to end a 4GW
      insurgency than any action a military can take.

      What about the Islamic Courts? What do they need to do to defeat the

      They have already accomplished their first task: avoid the Ethiopian
      army and go to ground, preserving their forces and weapons for a
      guerrilla war. Had they stood and fought, not only would they have
      lost, they would have risked annihilation. Mao's rule, "When the enemy
      advances, we retreat," is of vital importance to most 4GW forces.

      The next task is harder: they must now regroup, keep most of their
      forces loyal, supplied, paid and motivated, and begin a two-fold
      campaign, one against the Ethiopians or any other foreign forces and
      the second against the Transitional Federal Government. This will be a
      test of their organizational skills, and it is by no means clear they
      have those skills. Time will tell, time probably measured in weeks or
      months, not years.

      Against occupying foreign forces, the Islamic Courts will need to wrap
      themselves in nationalism as well as religion, so that they rather
      than the TFG are seen as the legitimate Somali authorities. The fact
      that the TFG has to be propped up by foreign troops makes this task
      relatively easy.

      Against the TFG itself, the Islamic Courts' objective is the opposite
      of the government's: it must make sure order is not re-established.
      Here, terror tactics come into if play, and if car bombs, suicide
      attacks and the like spread in Somalia, it will be a sign the Islamic
      Courts are organizing.

      The Islamic Courts may have an unlikely ally here in the old war lords
      and clan militias. The Islamic Courts suppressed these elements, but
      their comeback will help, not hurt them. They were and may again
      become the main source of disorder, and all disorder works to the
      Islamic Courts' advantage.

      The new government in turn needs to suppress these forces just as the
      Islamic Courts did, but it may be unable to do so, not only because it
      has no real army of its own but also because it has warlords and
      militias as key constituents. This mirrors the situation in Iraq,
      where the Shi'ite-dominated government cannot act against Shiite
      militias because it is largely their creature.

      How will it all turn out? My guess is that in Somalia as elsewhere,
      the dependence of the wanna-be state on foreign troops will prove
      fatal. In the end, Fourth Generation wars are contests for legitimacy,
      and no regime established by foreign intervention can gain much
      legitimacy. On the other hand, if the Islamic Courts cannot organize
      effectively, the new government could win by default. Either way, it
      is safe to say that the outcome in Somalia will have an impact far
      beyond that small, sad country's borders.



      To subscribe to this group, send an email to:

    Your message has been successfully submitted and would be delivered to recipients shortly.