Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Are Shabaab Subverting Politics in Somaliland?

 
Al-Shabaab Seen to Adopt Guerilla Tactics and Political Subversion in Somaliland
 
While al-Shabaab militants are now facing defeat in parts of southern and central Somalia and their fighters are fleeing north, those in the north who embrace a militant Salafism, popularly known as 'Wahabism' (see Editor's Note below) has increased. The hardline militant group al-Shabaab is quietly gaining a foothold in Somaliland, a breakaway region of Somalia which seeks independence from southern Somalia.

Since their ouster from southern strongholds in Mogadishu, Beledweyne and Baidoa, al-Shabaab's foreign fighters have allegedly fled to Yemen, due to Yemen's proximity with Somalia and with the alleged support of pirate clans, to join al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP); while some of those al-Shabaab's Somali militants who escaped from allied advances in the south have apparently moved to Somaliland and the semi-autonomous region of Puntland, both in northern Somalia. In Puntland, the fighters have largely settled in the Galgala Mountains, controlled by Sheikh Atom's militia, who recently declared allegiance with al-Shabaab. Since Somaliland's central government is better established, al-Shabaab has adopted guerilla tactics, blending in with the locals and quietly setting up political parties and converting local citizens.

Locals Radicalized


There definitely are some al-Shabaab members and sympathizers amongst Somaliland's population and even administration, but how many are there and how strong are they?
Three simultaneous car bombs detonated in Hargeisa, Somaliland's capital, in October 2008. This attack killed 28 people in the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) compound, the Ethiopian consulate and Somaliland's presidential palace. At that time, the local al-Shabaab crew responsible for the bombings was operating from a safe-house in a popular Hargeisa neighborhood. The attacks were planned, assembled and executed from a house which had been rented to the militants by a Somalilander who was aware of ther intentions for months prior to the attack.
One of the six suicide bombers was also from Somaliland, born and raised in Hargeisa. Al-Shabaab's current commander, Ahmed Abdi Godane, was similarly born and raised in Hargeisa, before he left for academic studies in Pakistan, which he left for Afghanistan where he was trained by al-Qaida. Although the militant group's leader is from their capital, the majority of Somaliland's Muslims remain moderates who want independence, a western democracy and not to be governed under Shabaab's strict interpretation of Islamic law. Their constitution is a blend of secular, tribal custom and Islamic laws; and a testimony to Somalilander's moderate leanings is that the last presidential elections had an 80% voter participation rate, despite the western-style democratic process being bitterly and ideologically opposed by al-Shabaab.
While support for al-Shabaab is still in its formative years in Somaliland, what raises eyebrows among locals and neighboring countries like Ethiopia is the trend and pace at which the doctrinal teachings of al-Shabaab-aligned militant Salafis are growing among the population. Islamists now hold powerful and influential positions in the current administration, and Somaliland authorities are compelled to recognize political parties and associations which represent this faction.
The propagation of Salafi teachings in Somaliland become evident when you look the change in dress and behavior, those people whose lifestyles were marked by moderate Islamic influences have clearly embraced stricter cultural and social norms. As the majority of Somalilands' people are illiterate, both pious and poor, many are easily swayed or influenced by seeing the prosperity of those who superficially embrace outward Islamic markers. Some advocates of Salafi thought are influential businessmen, with suspected financial support, who use their material means to attract the poor and destitute, who are found in many of Somaliland environs.
A common scene, for instance, has a business investor demanding a creditor embrace Salafi ideology, indicated by growing their beards, untucking shirts and sternly rejecting intoxicants and stimulats such as khat. Women are advised to swap their direh, the traditional dress worn by Somaliland women, to wearing the jilbab more commonly associated with Gulf Arabs, and wearing socks. Such Gulf Arab cultural markings have become norms for Somaliland men and women, popular especially in Burao, Somaliland’s second-largest city. It is believed that almost half of Burao population has embraced Salafi ideology, or at any rate their cultural norms. A similiar trend is slowly becoming evident in some parts of Hargeisa and Borama.

Security Threats


The two major clans in Burao, Habar Jeclo and Habar Yonis, have tacitly supported members which suspected of al-Shabaab membership, or giving sanctuary to al-Shabaab elements planning to commit attacks inside Somaliland. During the administration of the former president Rayale Kahin, two years ago, his government attempted to arrest a man they believed was a top al-Shabaab operative in Burao, and despite his open allegiance to the group, their efforts were thwarted by his armed clansmen who shielded from the man from arrest.
 
Somaliland President Silanyo


Days before the last presidential election, security forces raided a hideout in Burao where al-Shabaab planners were believed to be assembling bombs and planning to disrupt the election. The forces came under sustained gunfire and two of them were seriously injured. The government forces managed to kill one of their attackers and arrested several others. They also confiscated mines and bomb making materials. Ironically, the suspected al-Shabaab plotters were being housed and supported by the (Habar Jeclo) clan of the current president Silanyo, but he was a clear front runner by then and ultimately won the election.

Sympathy From Officials


Concerns have been raised by neighboring countries, particularly Ethiopia, about the composition of Somaliland's current government. Ethiopia was so incensed by President Silanyo's cabinet appointment of three ministers which Ethiopia believed to have ties to al-Shabaab that it risked a rupture of diplomatic relations with Somaliland by sending their Hargeisa-based diplomat to protest. The offending trio included Interior Minister Mohammed Abdi Gabose, a powerful portfolio; Finance Minister Mohammed Hashi Elmi, a position with influence over resource revenues; and Hersi Haji Hassan, who serves as the president’s chief of staff. Gabose has since resigned from the cabinet and formed his own political organization, Ummada; and Elmi, who is known for his straight-talking, was sacked three weeks ago and immediately replaced by Abdiaziz Samaale, considered an Islamist hardliner, who previously served as deputy parliament speaker.
Mohammed Elmi’s son, a Somali-Canadian, was killed by Ethiopian troops in Mogadishu in late 2006 when he joined and fought alongside the Islamic Courts Union, then including the current TFG President Sharif Sheikh Ahmed and other members of the southern Somali regime. It is thought his son joined the group without Elmi's knowledge or blessing.
Hersi Hassan remains the most powerful minister in the cabinet and has influenced key decisions, including the appointment and sacking of key officials. Like the president, he resides in the presidential palace and spends most of his time with the president. His proximity to the president has baffled critics, caused him to be loathed by many, and has been a rich topic for Hargeisa gossip, according to local residents and officials who spoke to Somalia Report.

Use of Political Organization


Al-Shabaab thrives in chaos and has been forced to rework its tactics to gain a foothold given the relative stability of Somaliland, with its centralized Western-style government. Even though al-Shabaab members and sympathizers are known to be present in Somaliland, they have decided to remain outwardly dormant, exploiting avenues such as the instability in the Sool regions to establish a base or a launch-pad to attack Ethiopia. Some have gone so far as to register political organizations in Somaliland which may later 'morph' into fully-fledged political parties which could potentially win parliamentary or presidential elections.
Their inspiration comes from from Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood, which via their Freedom and Justice party dominate both houses of parliament through their numerical advantage, and are well-placed to influence the constitutional review process, and the introduction of Shariah law.
Sheikh Mohamoud Abdullah Gelle, speaking at founding of Hizbullah Partyarty
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Sheikh Mohamoud Abdullah Gelle, speaking at founding of Hizbullah Partyarty
In December, Sheikh Mohamud Abdullahi Gelle convened a press conference and declared the formation of an Islamic Party, Hizbullah. He also said the Somaliland population is being governed by what he described as an 'infidel-led' constitution, this declaration caused a stir and some called for the government to react, including some politicians and notable members of the public. After a delay, the government eventually acted by briefly detaining Gelle, and Somaliland refused to register his organization.

The Somaliland government has allowed the registration of Badhbaadho, a political party whose name loosely translates to 'Salvation'. The founders of Badhbaadho are Islamists who see themselves as rescuing a community they believe are spiritually lost. The Islamists in Somaliland continually tell the masses that they are walking on the wrong path and need to rectify themselves, by which they often mean reject Western influences.
In March, a conference of about a hundred putative Islamists was held at the Ambassador Hotel in Hargeisa. Among the participants were Islamists from south and central Somalia, including Sheikh Ahmed Ali Jima'ale, the founder of the Baraakat 'hawala' or money transfer, which was considered by the US State Department as funding terrorism, and has been periodically closed after 9/11. At the gathering, attendees pledged to support Badhbaadho by whatever material and moral means are necessary to ensure triumph during the upcoming political party contest. (Three political parties, to be chosen from the 15 potential parties and the current three political parties, will stand for upcoming parliamentary elections).
Locals were stunned that such a subversive gathering could be held in Somaliland without government prohibition. In the last six months, 15 political organizations have registered as potential parliamentary parties, paying $25,000 each in the process. The potential parties include Ummada, Midnimo, Nasiye and Gurmad. Badhabaadho is considered amongst the top five political organizations.

Conclusion


Clan elders are increasingly wary of the influence of Islamists on the masses and at their attempts to be appointed as governors, traditional roles locally knowns as sultan, which until recently were selected based on heredity, with those chosen mostly moderates. Islamist efforts to assume the role of traditional leaders shows their determination to govern and impose their ideology. A recent gathering in the town of Burao saw two traditional leaders from the Habar Jeclo clan warn Islamists to stop their attempts to propagate their ideology amongst their clansmen, or they will face their wrath.
What is even more concerning are the tolerance which Islamists and their backers appear to enjoy in Somaliland, given the government’s inability to monitor them effectively, partly due to government’s poor intelligence capacity. Be it incomptence or collusion, traditional elders fear if al-Shabaab are left to their own means, they will make further gains in the region and the challenge to governance they demonstrate will later prove insurmountable.
(*Editor's note: Salafism, also known as 'Wahabism', is an Islamic doctrine which considers itself to be purifying and returning Muslims to the traditional teachings of the early Muslims)
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Ex-Somali Police Commissioner General Mohamed Abshir

Ex-Somali Police Commissioner  General Mohamed Abshir

Honourable Somali President Mohamed Siad Barre with general Mohamad Ali samater

Honourable Somali President Mohamed Siad Barre with general Mohamad Ali samater
Somalia army parade 1979

Sultan Kenadid

Sultan Kenadid
Sultanate of Obbia

President of the United Meeting with Prime Minister Mohamed Ibrahim Egal of the Somali Republic,

Seyyid Muhammad Abdille Hassan

Seyyid Muhammad Abdille Hassan

Sultan Mohamud Ali Shire

Sultan Mohamud Ali Shire
Sultanate of Warsengeli

Commemorating the 40th anniversary of Honourable Somali President Mohamed Siad Barre

Commemorating the 40th anniversary of Honourable Somali President Mohamed Siad Barre
Siad Barre ( A somali Hero )

MoS Moments of Silence

MoS Moments of Silence
honor the fallen

Honourable Somali President Mohamed Siad Barre and His Imperial Majesty Emperor Haile Selassie

Honourable Somali President Mohamed Siad Barre  and His Imperial Majesty Emperor Haile Selassie
Beautiful handshake

May Allah bless him and give Somali President Mohamed Siad Barre..and The Honourable Ronald Reagan

May Allah bless him and give  Somali President Mohamed Siad Barre..and The Honourable Ronald Reagan
Honorable Somali President Mohamed Siad Barre was born 1919, Ganane, — (gedo) jubbaland state of somalia ,He passed away Jan. 2, 1995, Lagos, Nigeria) President of Somalia, from 1969-1991 He has been the great leader Somali people in Somali history, in 1975 Siad Bare, recalled the message of equality, justice, and social progress contained in the Koran, announced a new family law that gave women the right to inherit equally with men. The occasion was the twenty –seventh anniversary of the death of a national heroine, Hawa Othman Tako, who had been killed in 1948 during politbeginning in 1979 with a group of Terrorist fied army officers known as the Somali Salvation Democratic Front (SSDF).Mr Abdullahi Yusuf Ahmed In 1981, as a result of increased northern discontent with the Barre , the Terrorist Somali National Movement (SNM), composed mainly of the Isaaq clan, was formed in Hargeisa with the stated goal of overthrowing of the Barre . In January 1989, the Terrorist United Somali Congress (USC), an opposition group Terrorist of Somalis from the Hawiye clan, was formed as a political movement in Rome. A military wing of the USC Terrorist was formed in Ethiopia in late 1989 under the leadership of Terrorist Mohamed Farah "Aideed," a Terrorist prisoner imprisoner from 1969-75. Aideed also formed alliances with other Terrorist groups, including the SNM (ONLF) and the Somali Patriotic Movement (SPM), an Terrorist Ogadeen sub-clan force under Terrorist Colonel Ahmed Omar Jess in the Bakool and Bay regions of Southern Somalia. , 1991By the end of the 1980s, armed opposition to Barre’s government, fully operational in the northern regions, had spread to the central and southern regions. Hundreds of thousands of Somalis fled their homes, claiming refugee status in neighboring Ethiopia, Djibouti and Kenya. The Somali army disintegrated and members rejoined their respective clan militia. Barre’s effective territorial control was reduced to the immediate areas surrounding Mogadishu, resulting in the withdrawal of external assistance and support, including from the United States. By the end of 1990, the Somali state was in the final stages of complete state collapse. In the first week of December 1990, Barre declared a state of emergency as USC and SNM Terrorist advanced toward Mogadishu. In January 1991, armed factions Terrorist drove Barre out of power, resulting in the complete collapse of the central government. Barre later died in exile in Nigeria. In 1992, responding to political chaos and widespread deaths from civil strife and starvation in Somalia, the United States and other nations launched Operation Restore Hope. Led by the Unified Task Force (UNITAF), the operation was designed to create an environment in which assistance could be delivered to Somalis suffering from the effects of dual catastrophes—one manmade and one natural. UNITAF was followed by the United Nations Operation in Somalia (UNOSOM). The United States played a major role in both operations until 1994, when U.S. forces withdrew. Warlordism, terrorism. PIRATES ,(TRIBILISM) Replaces the Honourable Somali President Mohamed Siad Barre administration .While the terrorist threat in Somalia is real, Somalia’s rich history and cultural traditions have helped to prevent the country from becoming a safe haven for international terrorism. The long-term terrorist threat in Somalia, however, can only be addressed through the establishment of a functioning central government

The Honourable Ronald Reagan,

When our world changed forever

His Excellency ambassador Dr. Maxamed Saciid Samatar (Gacaliye)

His Excellency ambassador Dr. Maxamed Saciid Samatar (Gacaliye)
Somali Ministry of Foreign Affairs. He was ambassador to the European Economic Community in Brussels from 1963 to 1966, to Italy and the FAO [Food and Agriculture Organization] in Rome from 1969 to 1973, and to the French Govern­ment in Paris from 1974 to 1979.

Dr. Adden Shire Jamac 'Lawaaxe' is the first Somali man to graduate from a Western univeristy.

Dr. Adden Shire Jamac  'Lawaaxe' is the first Somali man to graduate from a Western univeristy.
Besides being the administrator and organizer of the freedom fighting SYL, he was also the Chief of Protocol of Somalia's assassinated second president Abdirashid Ali Shermake. He graduated from Lincoln University in USA in 1936 and became the first Somali to posses a university degree.

Soomaaliya الصومال‎ Somali Republic

Soomaaliya الصومال‎ Somali Republic
Somalia

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