Africa News blog

African business, politics and lifestyle

Somalia’s new chance

February 2, 2009

How times change. Somalia’s new Islamist president has been feted in Ethiopia, whose army drove him from power two years ago – with Washington’s backing – when he headed a sharia courts movement.

Sheikh Sharif Ahmed was greeted with a standing ovation from African Union leaders at a summit in Ethiopia, which pulled the last of its troops out of Somalia last month, leaving the government in control of little beyond parts of Mogadishu. The hardline Islamist al Shabaab militia control much of the rest of southern Somalia.

Somalia was far from being a prominent front in former President George W. Bush’s “War on Terror”, but the reverse Washington suffered there appears to be among its most dramatic. Meanwhile, the past two years have brought at least another 17,400 civilian dead in Somalia and more anarchy that has fuelled a wave of piracy.

Ahmed’s former administration was marked out by both the United States and Ethiopia as being little different to Afghanistan’s Taliban. Hardline members of the group were accused of links to al Qaeda. Now he is widely described by the international community as a “moderate” and he himself has welcomed the new U.S. stance as positive.

“One can say that the U.S. position towards Somalia has become honest,” he told the Egyptian newspaper el-Shorouk. “In the framework of the Djibouti negotiations, America has become a force which supports peace.”

But Somalia’s new president, chosen by parliamentary vote at the weekend, must now face the al Shabaab militia who grew out of the armed wing of the sharia courts
movement but later split with him. Al Shabaab have vowed to fight and highlighted his support from “non-believers”.

To try to bolster Ahmed, Tanzania’s President Jakaya Kikwete, the African Union chairman, called for U.N. troops to join the 3,500-strong AU peacekeeping force in Somalia. Right now, they cannot do much more than to try to defend themselves.

But some analysts and Ahmed’s aides believe that creating a U.N. force would be counterproductive because it could be seen as Western interference and encourage those who fought the invading Ethiopian troops to pursue their struggle.

Getting Somalia’s clans behind the government will be another big task, a challenge previous leaders have failed to meet during 18 years of conflict.

What is the chance that Ahmed’s election as president will be able to bring peace to Somalia? What should Africa and the rest of the world do to try to make sure that happens? What do you think?

Comments

The Somalis must find a solution by themselves. Any government formed outside Somalia is seen as imposed on the Somali people just like the previos failed attempts. Shiek Sharif must reconcile with his former comerades first rather than cozying up with Ethiopia which is seen as a primary enemy of Somalia by most Somalis. If he can not bring all factions opposing his govenment and attempts to use force against them, then he is doomed to failure and more bloodshed will continue. Shiek Sharif must resist pressure from the west to cozying up with Ethiopia and rather focus on bringing ARS Asmara and Alshaba to his fold if he wants to bring peace to Somalia.

Posted by Daniel John | Report as abusive
 

SHEIKH SHARIF SHEIKH AHMED not only jingles hope for the Somalis, home and abroad, but calls in all groups, people, religions and factions. He is of a life where everyone is equal having finished memorising the whole Quran (Muslim holy book) before the age of 10, and having taken pursuit of Islamic teachings in Arab universities away from home.
Currently Sheikh Sharif is bring a stride of hope, change and a stand against extremism, piracy and corruption in the government. People take their hats off for him, and it means everyone will want to be included in the modest pride and happiness of the nation’s prosperous future. Expect the ARS, of course!

 

The anti-dotes of Somalia Crises arte threefold.The national factors, regional factors and international, factors. The national factors depend on the ability of Sheikk Sherief to to solve the security crisis. The Regional factor is that the Ethiopia government should stop in the interference of internal affairs of Somalia.
The International facotr is the how the international community support economically the collapsed state of Somalia. The above llisted threefolds could stabalize Somalia.

 

Am sorry to disappoint you and and the many well-wishers from the Abgals, but Like the previous 14 govts, which corrupt UN and EU dipolmats, put together in foreign lands, Mr shraif’s govt is very unlikely to bring peace to southern Somalia. In fact, it is even unlikely to bring peace to the capital let alone the whole of the south. Although,rarely mentioned by Rueters and other western media outlets, the problem in somalia is mainly in the south and central regions which are inhabited by the Hawiye tribe. In reality, the conflict in southern somalia, is a war within the various clans of this tribes, some which have suddenly embraced radical islam as veil to hide their clans’ agenda. It is high time that world leaves southern somalia to its people. The so called AU forces are totally ineffecive and soon or later they will withdraw, just as Ethiopean did this month.

Posted by maandag | Report as abusive
 

Post Your Comment

We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see http://blogs.reuters.com/fulldisclosure/2010/09/27/toward-a-more-thoughtful-conversation-on-stories/
  •