Thursday, April 30, 2009
April 27, 2009: Ethnic Oromos who oppose the Ethiopian government plan a mass protest in late May. Many of the planned protests will take place in Western Europe (EU countries) since that’s where the television cameras are.
April 22, 2009: Eritrea denied reports that Iran is using Eritrean ports to smuggle weapons into Africa. Allegedly, the Iranian weapons then move north through Sudan and into Egypt, then are smuggled into Hamas-controlled Gaza. However, the Eritrean government acknowledged that weapons smugglers might be “transferring arms on ships” outside of Eritrean territorial waters.
April 16, 2009: Eritrea has gotten a reputation in Africa and the Middle East for “hosting” just about every opposition group on the continent. A new opposition group has appeared in Eritrea, this time a group of Djiboutis who are opposed to the current government of Djibouti. This is of course very convenient for Eritrea, since the Eritrea-Djibouti border war remains unresolved.
April 14, 2009:Pseudo-State Somaliland , the separatist Somali “statelet” in northwestern Somalia, accused Eritrea of training rebels who have infiltrated -Somaliland . The report claimed that Somaliland police had arrested several “suspects” who were trained in Eritrea. The Somaliland Republic is an ally of Ethiopia. Eritrea argues that Somaliland is a creation of Ethiopia. The statelet is another place where Eritrea and Ethiopia wage their proxy war.
April 12, 2009: The Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF) disputed Ethiopian government claims made earlier this month that it has been defeated. The ONLF claimed that just the opposite is true and that ONLF forces have been very active in the last month and that its “offensive capacity” was stronger than ever.
April 10, 2009: The Ethiopian government claimed that the rebellion led by the Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF) is “on its last legs.” This is more than a bit triumphalist, for the rebels have not disappeared from Ogaden. The political war continues as ONLF spokespeople continue to accuse Ethiopia of genocide. Still, things have changed in the Ogaden over the last two years, especially since the great raid, in Spring 2008, on a Chinese oil exploration rig operating in the Ogaden. Attacking the oil venture and kidnapping Chinese workers was a big political move by the ONLF. The ONLF accused the government of stealing wealth from the Ogaden. The government sent the army into the Ogaden in force. It also began moving NGO aid groups out of Ogaden – a move for which it was condemned. Its smartest move, however, was to create its own developmental programs for the Ogaden, projects designed to appeal to “towns and tribes” (ie, farmers and businesspeople as well as pastoralists and even the nomads). It appears the political initiatives, coordinated with the military’s counter-insurgency operations, has begun to pay off – but the ONLF is not on its last legs, yet.
April 8, 2009: The UN accused Eritrea of failing to meet Security Council requirements to withdraw its troops from Djibouti. The UN passed the withdrawal demand resolution in January 2009. Eritrean forces attack Djibouti’s Ras Doumeira peninsula in June 2008
Next Article SOMALIA: Fighting Back
U.S. captain says arming crews could help fight pirates,Belgian military to protect ships off Somalia
Belgian military to protect ships off Somalia
MOGADISHU, Somalia Apr 30 - A commander of Islamist hardliners factionAl ShababTerrorist
was shot and killed in the Somali capital Mogadishu Thursday morning, reports.
The dead militant, identified only as Sheikh Muktar, was killed while sitting in front of an electric shop he owned inside Bakara Market, witnesses said."Three masked men shot the victim several times in the head and escaped," said a witness who did not want to be named.
No group has claimed responsibility for the killing, but Al Shabaab has been accused of targeting and assassinating Somali government officials and Islamic Courts Union militia commanders in recent weeks.Islamist hardliners like Al Shabaab and Hizbul Islam have rejected the Somali interim government, led by Islamist moderate Sheikh Sharif Ahmed as president, accusing the president of being a puppet of the West.The Islamist rebels have demanded that African Union peacekeepers leave the country, but President Sheikh Sharif recently defended the presence of the peacekeepers. READ:
Somalia has been mired in armed conflict since the early 1990s and has defied numerous attempts to restore national order. President Sheikh Sharif's government is the 15th attempt to restore order in the war-torn Horn of Africa country.
Ongoing Power Struggle Between Hawiye Jehadist Get Very Ugly , Al-Shabab Terrorist key officer slain.. ‘Civilians caught in the middle of the fightin
n a meeting last Saturday, Warren Bamford, special agent in charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Boston field office, and outgoing U.S. Attorney Michael J. Sullivan reassured members of the local Somali Muslim community that the FBI works to protect the civil rights of American citizens.
“Investigating civil rights violations is one of the top priorities of the FBI,” Sullivan said.
The meeting drew about 50 attendees to the Islamic Society of Boston Cultural Center in Roxbury and was a follow-up to one held in November, at which time Bamford outlined a strategy to begin outreach efforts aimed at establishing a partnership between the FBI and Boston’s Somali community.
Initial interest in such a partnership was born out of news last November that Shirwa Ahmed, a Somali-born Muslim and naturalized U.S. citizen living in Minneapolis, had been recruited by a terrorist organization to be a suicide bomber. After being trained in Minneapolis, Ahmed was sent to Somalia to carry out his mission. He blew himself up in a bombing in northern Somalia on Oct. 28.
The story took a local turn last month, when allegations arose in a meeting of the U.S. Senate Committee on Homeland Security that Al Shabaab, an Islamic terrorist group linked to al-Qaida, may be recruiting Boston youth to fight in Somalia. Boston Somalis were angered at the assertions, saying there was no evidence to back them up...more..http://www.baystatebanner.com/local16-2009-04-23
A NATO spokesman, James Appathurai, on Wednesday said the alliance has asked its military planners to come up with a stronger mandate and new rules of engagement for the mission.
He said a key issue is determining how to deal with captured pirates. NATO ships in recent weeks have captured several boatloads of suspected pirates but had to release them because of legal concerns.Earlier Wednesday, Russian defense minister Anatoly Serdyukov said Moscow is still deciding what to do with a boatload of suspected pirates captured by a Russian warship off the coast of Somalia. He said Russian authorities will decide on their fate soon..more..http://www.voanews.com/english/2009-04-29-voa62.cfm
"We haven't found any evidence that there's an active recruitment effort for young Somalis to fight in the military or jihadist groups (here)," Gomez said Friday.
The influx of Somali refugees to the U.S. started after the country's government collapsed in 1991. Somalia remains an impoverished and largely lawless country in the Horn of Africa with no central government.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Somalis are likely to be the youngest, newest and poorest of this country's foreign born population.http://www.komonews.com/news/local/44035812.html
Wednesday, April 29, 2009
Video: Capt. Phillips Describes Lifeboat Standoff With Pirates.Vice Adm. Gortney describes the rescue of Capt. Phillips
By Lolita C. Baldor
Associated Press Wednesday, April 29, 2009
WASHINGTON —- Growing evidence indicates battle-hardened extremists are filtering out of safe havens along the Pakistan-Afghanistan border and into eastern Africa, bringing sophisticated terrorist tactics that include suicide attacks.The alarming shift, according to U.S. military and counterterrorism officials, is fueling concern that Somalia is increasingly on a path to become the next Afghanistan —- a sanctuary where al-Qaida-linked groups could train and plan attacks against the West.So far, officials say the number of foreign fighters who have moved from southwest Asia to the Horn of Africa is small, perhaps two to three dozen.But a similarly small cell of militant plotters was responsible for the devastating 1998 bombings of the U.S. Embassies in Kenya and Tanzania. And the cluster of militants now believed to be operating in the region could pass on sophisticated attack techniques gleaned from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, U.S. officials said.“There is a level of activity that is troubling, disturbing,” Gen. William “Kip” Ward, head of U.S. Africa Command, said. “When you have these vast spaces that are just not governed, it provides a haven … for training to occur.”Ward said U.S. officials already are seeing extremist factions in eastern Africa sharing information and techniques.
Military and counterterrorism officials cautioned that the movements of the al-Qaida militants do not suggest they are abandoning the ungoverned Pakistan border region as a safe haven. Instead, the shift is viewed as an expansion of al-Qaida’s influence in a region already rife with home-grown militants.Last month, Osama bin Laden made it clear in a newly released audiotape that al-Qaida has set its sights on Somalia, urging Somalis to overthrow their new moderate Islamist president and to support their jihadist “brothers” in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Palestinian territories and Iraq.In the past, officials said, suicide attacks tended to be frowned on by African Muslims, creating something of an impediment to al-Qaida’s efforts to sell that aspect of its terrorism tactics.But on Oct. 29, 2008, suicide bombers killed more than 20 people in five attacks in Somalia, targeting a U.N. compound, the Ethiopian Consulate, the presidential palace in the Pseudo-State Somaliland region of somalia and two intelligence facilities in Puntland aka PIRATESTANregion of somalia .The coordinated assaults, officials said, were a watershed moment, suggesting a new level of sophistication and training.Ward said U.S. Africa Command is working to improve security in eastern Africa. But meanwhile, he said, the ties between the terror groups are continuing to grow.“I think they’re all a threat,” Ward said of both the foreign and African militants. “Right now it’s clearly a threat that the Africans have, but in today’s global society that threat can be exported anywhere with relative ease.”
The police still investigating the incident.The situation in north Galka’yo is reportedly tense and people are very worried about the new explosion in the hawiye jihadist group has claimed the responsibility of the attack yet. Such explosions are new to the town.
Egypt to host emergency anti-piracy summit
Tuesday, April 28, 2009
Liberian-owned ship released by pirates docks in Mombasa,Russian navy seizes 29 pirates off Somalia: report
Russian navy seizes 29 pirates off Somalia: report
MOSCOW (Reuters) – A Russian warship captured a suspected pirate vessel with 29 people on board off the coast of Somalia, Russian news agencies reported on Wednesday, citing defense ministry sources.Russia's Admiral Panteleyev anti-submarine ship seized the vessel 15 miles off the coast of Somalia at 1212 GMT on Tuesday, the Interfax and RIA Novosti news agencies reported."Seven Kalashnikov rifles, various pistols and an aluminum ladder were discovered during a search of the ship," RIA Novosti quoted the source as saying. Satellite navigation equipment and a large amount of ammunition was also seized."This allows us to assume that this group of pirates undertook two unsuccessful attempts to seize the TF Commander tanker with a Russian crew that was traveling through this region yesterday," RIA quoted the source as saying...more..http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20090428/wl_nm/us_somalia_pirates_russia
Mr Zapatero, standing next to Nicolas Sarkozy, French president, after a bilateral summit in Madrid, said the aim was not only to tackle piracy against cargo ships off the Somali coast “which is afflicting both our countries and others”, but also to find a comprehensive solution to Somalia’s broader economic and security problems. European and other navies, including Spain’s, have increased patrols by air and sea to quell the surge of pirate raids on cargo ships off the Horn of Africa, although years of overfishing by EU vessels is said to be at least one of the reasons for rising poverty and insecurity in the region.
In the past few days, Somali pirates have mounted two attacks more than 500 miles from Somalia’s coast.
Mr Sarkozy and Mr Zapatero insisted they had put any personal differences behind them following reported remarks by the French president at a Elysée palace dinner implying that Mr Zapatero was not intelligent even if he was politically savvy.
“Did we speak of it? No,” said Mr Sarkozy, dismissing the reports as tawdry French politicking. “Does it interest us? No. Did we turn the page? We didn’t even open the book.” But he concluded with a flourish, indicating Mr Zapatero: “That doesn’t mean I don’t think he’s brilliant.”..more..http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/f406fd08-3413-11de-9eea-00144feabdc0.html
Somali cabinet minister Abdirashid Irro Mohammed told VOA that Mogadishu stands in unison with its neighbor to thwart the insurgent group's violent activities aimed at destabilizing the region. "Really, we are very sorry and we condemn such actions. Kenya is our neighbor state and our brotherly country, and they have their own constitution. So there is no reason that al-Shabab should attack them and endorse the Sharia law. So here, that is a very bad action and we condemn it, and we do not accept those kinds of threats, Mohammed said. "So I can say they (al-Shabab) are the enemies for all the region." He said although the government is relatively new, it is determined to ensure stability. "As you know our government has been formed in the last two months and still we are organizing our national security forces. And as soon as we will organize and establish and empower our national security forces, we will try… and we do believe that there would not be any longer that al-Shabab will attack Kenya or our government," he said. Mohammed said that Mogadishu is getting its security agencies together to address some of the challenges posed by hard-line Islamic insurgents including al-Shabab. "But still we are under preparation for our troops, and very soon we hope that we will establish and reorganize and recruit our national security forces like the military, police, national security. And as soon as these institutions will be established, we will control our country as well as we will protect the interest of our neighbor countries," Mohammed said. He said since the formation of the new government, it has been the aim to negotiate with the opposition to forge ahead in resolving the country's problems.
"We are trying our best to reconcile with our people, with our opposition, and to open a dialogue. And that is why it is one of our major concessions to take one step forward with the reconciliation to take and to implement the Sharia law," he said. Mohammed said the hard-line Islamic insurgents threatening the country's stability as well as neighboring countries are unlikely to be part of the Mogadishu government's reconciliation efforts....more,.http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/library/news/2009/04/mil-090428-voa05.htm
The alarming shift, according to U.S. military and counterterrorism officials, fuels concern that Somalia is increasingly on a path to become the next Afghanistan — a sanctuary where al-Qaida-linked groups could train and plan their threatened attacks against the western world.
So far, officials say the number of foreign fighters who have moved from southwest Asia and the Afghanistan-Pakistan border region to the Horn of Africa is small, perhaps two to three dozen.
But a similarly small cell of militant plotters was responsible for the devastating 1998 bombings of U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania. And the cluster of militants now believed to be operating inside East Africa could pass on sophisticated training and attack techniques gleaned from seven years at war against the U.S. and allies in Iraq and Afghanistan, U.S. officials said.
"There is a level of activity that is troubling, disturbing," Gen. William "Kip" Ward, head of U.S. Africa Command, told The Associated Press. "When you have these vast spaces that are just not governed it provides a haven for support activities, for training to occur."
Ward added that American officials already are seeing extremist factions in East Africa sharing information and techniques.
Several military and counterterrorism officials who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive intelligence matters cautioned that the movements of the al-Qaida militants do not suggest an abandonment of the ungoverned Pakistan border region as a safe haven.
Instead, the shift is viewed by the officials more as an expansion of al-Qaida's influence, and a campaign to gather and train more recruits in a region already rife with militants.
Last month, Osama bin Laden made it clear in a newly released audiotape that al-Qaida has set its sights on Somalia, an impoverished and largely lawless country in the Horn of Africa. In the 11-minute tape released to Internet sites, bin Laden is heard urging Somalis to overthrow their new moderate Islamist president and to support their jihadist "brothers" in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Palestine and Iraq...more..http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20090428/ap_on_go_ca_st_pe/us_terror_africa
Terrorists Moving From Afghan Border To Africa
LONDON: More spotter planes are urgently needed by the European Union's naval force to combat Somali pirates operating off the horn of Africa country's coast, senior naval officers said Tuesday. Somali pirates have made millions of dollars in ransoms hijacking commercial vessels in the busy shipping lanes of the Gulf of Aden and Indian Ocean, despite patrols by foreign navies off the Somali coast, disrupting aid supplies and trade routes.
The EU launched its naval operation in December with at least 12 of the 27-member states involved with four to eight warships deployed in the region.
But the force currently has one permanent aircraft available for the mission with another plane seconded for now.
"The shortage for us is actually not in warships but in maritime patrol aircraft," said Richard Farrington, chief of staff for the EU's "Operation Atalanta," which is headquartered in England.
"This is a really critical area for us and we need more," Farrington told Reuters in an interview.
"It does constrain us," he said at a piracy conference in London.
"The EU operation could bring better results if more aircraft were sent European aircraft with long range, useful in detecting [pirate] motherships that can then be inspected by special forces teams," Greek Commodore Antonios Papaioannou, a former commander of the EU force, told Reuters in a separate interview in Athens on Tuesday
The London-based International Maritime Bureau has said piracy incidents nearly doubled in the first quarter of 2009, almost entirely due to Somalia and there were 18 attacks off its coast in March alone.
"We haven't solved the problem, but we've made the pirates' operations more difficult," Papaioannou said, noting that the EU mission could contain but not eradicate piracy as long as law and order were not restored in Somalia..nore..http://www.dailystar.com.lb/article.asp?edition_id=10&categ_id=2&article_id=101464
Govt warns Islamists of military action
“Kenya is a sovereign country. We have the capacity and the ability to stave off any incursions,”Foreign Affairs assistant minister Richard Onyonka said on Monday.
He was responding to reports that the insurgents were planning to take over North Eastern Province and subject it to the rule of Sharia law. Mr Onyonka said the government would do anything to protect its territory. North Eastern Provincial Commissioner Kimeu Maingi was at the weekend quoted as saying the Al-Shabaab, a militia group linked to al-Qaeda, had officially communicated to the government, warning “they would stop at nothing, including armed conflict, to invade the province and make it part of their country and rule it using their religious laws”. Aggression scheme
Speaking on the sidelines of a Somalia conference in Nairobi exploring the country’s civil service training opportunities, Mr Onyonka said such threats would not deter Kenya from ensuring that the Somali Transitional Federal Government (TFG) is successful in achieving its agenda.
Mr Maingi had said the abduction of several Kenyans at the border town of Mandera last month was part of Al-Shabaab’s wider scheme to aggress Kenya. Elsewhere, Labour minister John Munyes asked the government to intensify security in the North Rift following new attacks by cattle rustlers believed to be from Uganda.Mr Munyes said security should be beefed along all Kenyan borders to repel the attackers.He said many people had died and livestock worth millions of shillings lost as a result of the persistent raids by bandits in his Turkana North constituency. ..more..http://www.nation.co.ke/News/-/1056/591800/-/u650jh/-/index.html
KHARTOUM, Sudan Apr 28 - The president of Somalia’s Government of National Unity has defended the presence of African Union peacekeepers (AMISOM),
Sheikh Sharif Ahmed, who the Somali parliament elected in January as president, is on an official visit to the Sudanese capital Khartoum, where he held talks with Sudanese President Omar Bashir.
He indicated that the current troubles in Somalia seem to be directing the country towards a new cycle of violence, while appealing to the international community to support the interim government.
“The U.S. government has pledged to support us in reinstituting our security forces, which is a good sign that the world is ready to support Somalia,” President Sheikh Sharif said.
He noted that the armed opposition “includes pro-peace and violent groups,” while rejecting criticism from Sheikh Hassan Dahir Aweys and Al Shabaab member Sheikh Hussein Ali Fidow. Islamist hardliners have accused Sheikh Sharif of being a puppet of the West.
He avoided giving a direct response when asked if his government would combat against the armed opposition, but noted the government had plans to retake security control of the country.
According to Sheikh Sharif, the Sudan government has promised to help train Somali police, which the Somali President welcomed.
Speaking about a controversial deal regarding Somali territorial waters, he said: “The deal between our [Somali] government and the Kenyan government is an understanding and we will present the document to parliament soon.”
Since coming Somali president in January, Sheikh Sharif has been traveling around the world and has visited a number of countries, including Belgium, Turkey, and Sudan.
The armed opposition, namely Al Shabaab and Hizbul Islam, have vowed to continue the anti-government insurgency until AMISOM peacekeepers withdraw from Somali soil.
Monday, April 27, 2009
1. They Have a Robin Hood Complex
Many Somali pirates see themselves as good guys. And at one point, they were. After the government in Mogadishu collapsed in 1991, neighboring countries began illegally fishing in Somali waters. The first pirates were simply angry fishermen who boarded these foreign vessels and demanded a "fee." But as the illegal fishing persisted, some early pirates banded together and called themselves "coast guards." They claimed to be looking after Somalia's territorial integrity until the government could pull itself back together.
These weren't the only vigilantes on the scene, however. Other pirates made their debut robbing U.N. ships that were carrying food to refugee camps in Somalia. These bandits argued that if they hadn't taken the food, warlords would have seized it on land. And they had a good point. Warlords gobbled down at lot of Somalia's relief food during the 1990s.
But from these perhaps defensible beginnings, piracy spread farther from Somalia's shores and evolved into a multimillion-dollar enterprise. Today, pirates are blunt about their motives. In late 2008, after a band of pirates seized a Ukrainian freighter full of weapons and demanded $25 million for its release, Sugule Ali, a member of the pirate crew, told a reporter, "We only want the money."
2. Nobody Brings Home the Bacon Like a Pirate
According to some estimates, pirates in 2008 pulled in as much as $150 million, indicating that piracy is now Somalia's biggest industry. In fact, successful pirates are the country's most eligible bachelors. While small-time swashbucklers earn in the low five figures, bosses can pull in $2 million a year—this, in a country where you can buy dinner for less than $1. But as their wallets fatten, many pirates are heading for greener pastures, and the real money is flowing out of the country with them. Many are buying properties on the seashore of Mombasa, Kenya, where new condos are being built every day. If a condo is selling for a few million dollars, there's a good chance the bosses will throw in an extra half-million, just to make sure the Kenyans don't ask too many questions.
3. Being a Pirate Is Easy!
Piracy is so simple that anyone can do it. All you need is a gun, an aluminum ladder (for scaling other ships), and a motorboat. Then you just have to wait for commercial ships to pass by. Best of all, you don't have to worry about your targets shooting back. By international agreement, civilian vessels aren't allowed to carry guns because governments don't want armed ships moving from port to port. "Once pirates are on board, they've got the upper hand," says Martin Murphy, a piracy expert with the Corbett Center for Maritime Policy Studies. The best defense against piracy is speed, but because most commercial ships aren't designed to go fast, pirates don't have any trouble chasing them down. The most sophisticated marauders use machine guns and GPS systems, but many pirates are still low-tech fisherman. After they board a ship, all they have to do is steal or ransom the goods and prisoners. The cargo of a typical commercial ship ransoms for about $1 million.
4. The Law Can't Touch Them
Everybody knows piracy is wrong, but is it illegal? The truth is that the places where pirates operate are actually lawless. In Somali territory, there's no functional government to make or enforce regulations. And because nations don't control much of the ocean, there are no laws on the high seas, either. Throughout history, governments have patched together legal frameworks to bring pirates to justice, but it's never fast or easy. Pirates—even those caught in the act by one navy or another—are often simply released on the nearest Somali beach, without so much as a slap on the wrist.
With Somali piracy on the rise, the world is playing legal catch-up. In November 2008, the United Kingdom signed an agreement to try pirates captured by the Royal Navy in Kenya. And other countries are following Britain's lead, with nations including the United States, Singapore, and Turkey signing similar agreements. But Kenya, despite having the most powerful democracy in East Africa, doesn't appear to have an effective court system. When Britain's first batch of eight captured pirates went on trial in Mombasa in December, the defense argued that Kenya shouldn't have jurisdiction and succeeded in persuading the judge to defer the trial. The long-term solution to piracy is a stable Somali government with a functional judiciary, but that requires peace between the country's warring clans. Somalia's new president, elected in February 2009, is just starting to get groups to talk...more..http://online.wsj.com/article/SB124060718735454125.html
Migration and Jihad in
the Horn of AfricaEvan F. Kohlmann
Designation of Al-Shabaab
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