Africa: Politics and Societies South of the Sahara

Extremists Dreaming of a Somali Caliphate State on the Offensive

Posted in African Politics, Somalia by ruben eberlein on June 22, 2009

The situation in Mogadishu and Southern Somalia at large worsens day by day. It seems that nothing can stop the religious extremist groups from toppling the weak Transitional Federal Government (TFG) any time soon. The TFG is so desperate to even ask archenemy Ethiopia and other neighbouring countries to intervene.

Several high-ranking figures – the police chief in Mogadishu, the security minister and a member of parliament – as well as numerous bystanders were killed in recent days. The 4,300 soldiers strong AU force is occupied with defending the airport and key buildings of the TFG and has no mandate to move against the militias.

The intervention of the Ethiopian army in 2006 is the immediate cause for the upsurge of armed extremist groups like al-Shabab and Hisbul Islam who are accused to have strengthened their ties to global Jihadists in course of the last months. Ethiopia succeeded in overthrowing the Islamic Courts Union two years ago, but the net result was a split between moderates (with today’s President Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed on the top) and the extremists. Thus, the intervention of the regime under Meles Zenawi aggravated the conflicts with the silent backing of Western countries which seem to have no idea and real interest to stabilise Somalia which is at war since 1991.

Some months ago, I published this text which dealt with the international dimensions of the war in Somalia. Stay tuned for follow-up articles to be released here soon.

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