Stand off in the Horn of African Nation.

Halkaan ka akhri

As Islamist forces and interim government troops allegedly backed by African peace keeping forces battle for the control of key districts in Mogadishu, observers fear a large-scale war and question the government’s military capability to take control over the capital.

Elias Adam For Somali Swiss.  (25/03/11)

Somalia has been in a state of near anarchy since 1991, when warlords overthrew dictator Mohammed Siad Barre and then began fighting among themselves for control of various areas and resources. Then Islamists came to play a role in the political in 2006, after they they defeated Mogadishu warlords in furious battle. Next, In 2008, the UN assisted with the formation of an interim government – a feeble body that has been unable to restore order and was forced to flee from the main cities in the south of the country.

Islamist forces and Somali interim government troops said to be backed by the African peace keeping troops have reportedly taken up defensive positions around the capital Mogadishu in the recent few weeks, sparking concerns of a large-war, as the Transitional federal government of Somali extends its legitimacy for three years.

The interim government controls the tiny strategic street that leads to the presidential palace, the airport and seaport of Mogadishu, according to reliable reports of the local media outlets of Mogadishu the government re-took control of Dayniile neigbhorhood in the capital in early 2011,  where the ministary of national defense is located as the government prepares a large scale war with Islamists.

Pro-Islamist fighters in Somalia (Alshabab, and Hisbul Islam) consolidated in late 2010, as that signals the predomination of the Islamists at least in southern Somalia, but the Tranisitional Federal Government seems to persist in the face of the powerfull Islamists.

Observers are concerned that if Somalia fails to stand on its feet, the waterways near the indian ocean will develope insecurity, piracy and counter-piracy and that may bring about a wide spread security crisis in the whole region as already seen in Kampala bomb-blasts, and the new threats and fears of other bomb-blasts in Bujumbura according to the spokesman of Al shabaab fighters , Sheikh Ali Mohmoud Rage better known as Ali Dhere called for the movement in early 2011, to take reprisal actions in Kampala and in Bujumbura.

Peacekeeping troops from Uganda and Burundi are deployed in Somalia and they are battling Islamists alongside government troops and pledged to send more troops to Somalia. Local and international human rights activists blame the African peace keeping forces to shell deliberately the civilian residential areas in the capital and Alshabab is blamed for using the civilians as a protective shield.

Political observers underline that the interim government is overshadowed by political deadlocks and corruption scandals as the international community did not fulfil its promises to support the government. In contrast Islamists are blamed for committing humanrights violations like flogging, stoning to death, assassinations, and unjustified killings. Committing a minor offence in the area of Alshabab control means taking responsibility of a greater risk-there are some causes for concern.

Somalia is home to a more tolerant form of Sufi Islam (Ahlu Sunah Waljama’a), and most of the Ahlu Sunah Waljama’as appear to be fairly moderate,  they are not well arranged as Alshabab but they strongly oppose Alshaba and its about. The key players at this point appear to be Alshabab,  the interim government. Another key player appears to be Ahlu Sunah Waljama’a.

Unless the goverment and the international community become ready and serious to bring about an alternative political approach to solve the elusive poltical issues that kept Somalia in an armed conflict for two decades, the unprotected civilians will continue to live under the mercy of the artillery.

SomaliSwiss         Elias Adam

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