Resistance grows to the U.S.-backed Somali regime
Published Dec 10, 2009 9:27 PM
A bomb blast at the Shamo Hotel in Mogadishu on Dec. 3 has further destabilized
the unpopular and fragile Transitional Federal Government of Somalia. It clings
to power due to the deployment of 4,500 troops under the auspices of the
African Union Mission to Somalia (AMISOM), a move engineered by the U.S.
government through the U.N. Security Council.
The attack killed more than 20 people, including four ministers of the
government headed by President Sheikh Sharif Ahmed.
The TFG has never had control over more than a section of the Somali capital,
despite the allocation by both the Bush and Obama administrations of millions
of dollars in weapons and equipment to the AMISOM forces. The
government’s position has become even more precarious with the expulsion
of three top military officers of the TFG, bringing to light splits within the
On Dec. 6 it was announced that new police and military commanders were being
appointed to handle the worsening security situation. Garowe Online reported,
“Gen. Ali Mahamed Hassan [Madobe] is the new police chief, replacing Gen.
Abdi Hassan Awale [Qaybdid] while Gen. Mahamed Gelle Kahiye is taking over the
military from the sacked Gen. Yussuf Hussein Osman [Dhumaal].”
This same report went on to state, “The embattled Somali government
recently sacked Somali military and police commanders for failure to curb the
rampant insurgency in the war-torn country.” Although the TFG cabinet and
Prime Minister Omar Abdirashid Sharmarke praised the newly appointed police and
military commanders, opposition to the decision was reflected in demonstrations
of hundreds of people in the capital in support of the former officials.
In the immediate aftermath of the bombing, the TFG placed blame on the main
Islamic resistance organization, al-Shabaab. Al-Shabaab denied responsibility
for the attack. The other organization fighting the TFG, Hizbul Islam, also
refuted allegations that it was involved in the explosions, which took place
during a graduation ceremony for Benadir University.
A spokesperson for al-Shabaab, Sheikh Ali Mohamud Rage, said: “We declare
that al-Shabaab did not mastermind that explosion. ... It is not in the nature
of al-Shabaab to target innocent people.” (Reuters, Dec. 4)
The al-Shabaab spokesperson went on to stress: “We know that some
so-called government official left the scene of the explosion just minutes
before the attack. That is why it is clear that they were behind the
Al-Shabaab controls large sections of the southern and central regions of the
Security situation deteriorates
These developments in Somalia illustrate that the situation is quite unstable
in the capital, where the AMISOM forces and the TFG are based. As a result of
the instability, the TFG prime minister has called for greater direct U.S.
military involvement in Somalia.
Comparing the situation in Somalia to the U.S. policy towards Afghanistan,
Prime Minister Omar Abdirashid Ali Sharmarke wrote in a letter to the Times of
London: “We accept that ... the situation in Somalia will appear beyond
repair but the reality is very different. What is so startling is that all the
conclusions are as true about Somalia as they are about Afghanistan.”
(Reuters, Dec. 5)
The prime minister of the TFG continued by arguing: “Piracy and the
growth of Islamic extremism are not the natural state of being. They are but
symptoms of an underlying malaise—the absence of government and hope. The
irony is that it would cost only a quarter of what is being spent right now on
the warships trying to combat piracy to fund our plan and actually solve the
problems rather than simply chasing them round the Indian Ocean.”
This appeal is closely associated with the view by the U.S. that Somalia is a
haven for al-Qaida. Corporate media reports claim there are hundreds of
“foreign fighters” inside al-Shabaab. The al-Shabaab organization
has denied these accusations and says it is a movement led and supported by
The U.S. has already dispatched a tremendous flotilla of warships, as alluded
to by the prime minister. The Gulf of Aden and the Indian Ocean are shipping
lanes for billions of dollars in goods and weapons. The problem of piracy
derives from U.S. interference in the region, which has sparked increased
instability and conflict.
Apparently there are other problems with the U.S.-backed AMISOM forces, which
are composed of troops from Burundi and Uganda. The troops have been accused of
committing atrocities against Somali civilians while carrying out the war
against the Islamic resistance movements.
Despite the millions of dollars allocated to the AMISOM forces and the TFG,
recent reports indicate that the soldiers have not been paid in months. The
failure by African Union officials to account for millions of dollars for
Somalia operations “has dried up payments for 4,500 peace-keeping troops
after upset donors abruptly halted disbursements.” (Uganda Monitor, Dec.
The same report said Ambassador Nicholas Bwakira, the African Union special
representative in Somalia, told Voice of America that the Ugandan and Burundian
troops had not received any salaries since May and “this has a very bad
impact on the morale of the troops and that of the government
Uganda reports that 37 of its troops have been killed in the fighting in
Somalia. Burundi admits to losing 43 of its soldiers.
Meanwhile, Hizbul Islam organization leader Sheik Hassan Dahir Aweys urged the
Somali people to escalate their struggle against the U.S.-backed AMISOM forces:
“The people can reach peace and progress if they fight against the
foreign troops in Somalia. The Somali people can return their prestige and
honor after 20 years of conflict and political deadlock.” (Shabelle.net,
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