The War with Islam: Siege of Kismayo
This dispatch from Nairobi in the Corriere della Sera says the warlords have moved back in as well:
December 29th, 2006: Warlords return with the provisional government. A problematic peace in Mogadishu. The Prime Minister of the transitional government, Ali Mohammed Gedi, enters the capital: “We have won”
NAIROBI: -“We have won! The 'holy men' (as the fundamentalists are called in Somalia) have been routed”. This is the first statement by Ali Mohamed Gedi, the Prime Minister of the Somali transitional federal government upon his arrival Friday morning in Mogadishu. Gedi, escorted by a group of Ethiopian soldiers, was surrounded by a rejoicing crowd which danced as it celebrated his. In another part of the city – in the northern quarters – groups of Somalis greeted government soldiers and their Ethiopian allies with rocks. This is a sign that the city is divided and that some will miss the Islamic Courts.
Most regretted is the security that the fundamentalists were able to impose on the capital after 15 years of civil war during which the population was subjected to hardship and exaction. Now, many testify that the transitional government will be unable to maintain the order imposed and maintained by the Courts. Should the capital fall again into the hands of armed groups and the chaos caused by an internecine war, should every movement necessitate an armed escort or be greeted by a Kalashnikov aimed at the head, it will be disaster.
THE RETURN OF THE WARLORDS. The warlords, the protagonists of that terrible period, have returned to Mogadishu among government followers and have retaken hold of their headquarters. The Islamists had confiscated them and when they entered, filmed the diabolical items found therein for their propaganda videos: bottle of scotch, Ethiopian gin, beer, and ordinary videocassettes and magazines labeled as pornographic.
One of the warlords, Mohamed Qanyare Afrah -once the powerful leader of the Murusad clan, and former owner of the Daynile Airport (the international airport was reopened by the Islamists after having been closed for ten years) at which planes laden with qat (a leaf that his chewed and considered a drug –and therefore outlawed by the Courts used to land)- gave a telephone interview to the Corriere della Sera in which he declared that he had no intention of collaborating with the government: “Prime Minister Gedi can’t even manage his own household. He and President Abdullar Yussuf are a pair of incompetents. I used to be a minister but now I’m merely an MP and I intend to wage political war from my seat. I shall not cooperate, but neither shall I begin a boycott.
On the phone, Qanyare, who, until the victory of the Islamic Courts last June had been one of the leaders of the Alliance for Peace and Control of Terrorism backed by the Americans, assured that he would neither take up arms no organize a personal militia. I shall collaborate with government provided all factions disarm. Somalia must now live in peace”.
THE SOMALI FLAG – However, Gedi, accompanied by the Minister for the Interior, Hussein Aidid, visited the airport and the seaport, both under the watch of Ethiopian tanks. The Somali flag had been raised over several police stations, where the fundamentalists had imposed a black flag with Arabic writing. So far, there has been no sign of uprising, but everyone is wondering how long this state of relative quiet will last.
The Islamic militias, headed by a hardened and pure group of shebab (“youth”) are concentrated around the port city of Kismayo and have requested military assistance from all Muslim around the world and have sworn that this time they will not only resist but will launch a counteraccack.
USA AND ETHIOPIA – Obviously, Kismayo, a key city where all recent wars in Somalia began, is under special observation by the United States, which intends to tighten the net meant to capture those responsible for the US embassy bombings in Nairobi and Dar Es Salaam in 1998. A C130 reconnaissance aircraft continuously overflies the city while on the horizon warships are thundering. No one believes that they will permit arms and fighters, determined to go into combat for Islam, to pass. It seems that the Americans and the Ethiopians intend to tighten the siege of Kismayo. Then, Addis Abeba, charged by Washington to do their dirty work for them, will ask the Courts to surrender and should this not occur, will proceed to wipe out the fundamentalists. Obviously, not. Massacres are excluded.
Massimo A. Alberizzi