Monday, June 23, 2008

Qaeda urges Somali insurgents to fight on-Web video

An al Qaeda leader said a U.N.- brokered peace deal between the Somali government and some opposition figures was worthless and called on Islamist insurgents in the Horn of Africa nation to fight on.
"Do not accept anything less than an independent Islamic state, that does not recognise the legitimacy of international (law) ... and does not look to the East or to the West," Abu Yahya al-Libi said in a video posted on pro-al Qaeda websites on Sunday.
Libi praised hardline Islamists for rejecting a June 10 peace deal between Somalia's interim government and some opposition figures, saying he said "was not worth the paper it was written on".
"A withdrawal of occupying Ethiopian forces and their replacement with any other forces, be they from the African Union or the United Nations or under any other ... entities, does not change the situation," said Libi, who is believed to be hiding in Afghanistan or Pakistan.
The deal was rejected outright by hardline Islamists in exile and the insurgents on the ground, and experts have warned it was likely to have little impact on the violence.
Those who rejected the pact included Sheikh Hassan Dahir Aweys and Sheikh Hassan Abdullah Hersi al-Turki -- both on the U.S. and U.N. lists of al Qaeda associates.
Islamists who opposed the U.N.-led Djibouti talks have refused to meet the Western-backed government face-to-face until Ethiopian troops leave Somalia.
Since early 2007, insurgents have been carrying out near-daily, Iraq-style attacks on Somali and Ethiopian security forces. The Ethiopian forces are fighting with the government against the insurgents.
al-Qaida spokesman has urged Islamist militants in Somalia to fight a United Nations peacekeeping force slated to be deployed there.
In a 19-minute video posted on a militant Web site Sunday, Abu Yahya Al-Libi also urged Muslim extremists to set up an Islamic government in Somalia. The Somali government and the opposition Alliance for the Re-Liberation of Somalia agreed this month to "end all acts of armed confrontation" within 30 days and remove Ethiopian troops once a U.N. peacekeeping force is deployed. Al-Libi is one of the most visible faces of al-Qaida on the Internet, and has released five statements this year.He gained fame for escaping from Afghanistan's notorious Bagram prison in 2005.

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