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  • [SW Country]( WIC - Al-Hayat ) Somalia Between the Fire of the United States, The Allegations of Bin Laden and the Obscurity Of “El Itihad El Islami” (Islamic Union)        Part II  :Posted on [25 Dec 2001]


Somalia Between the Fire of the United States, The Allegations of Bin Laden and the Obscurity Of “El Itihad El Islami” (Islamic Union)        Part II

WIC  December 22, 2001

Source Al-Hayat News paper
December 11 & 12, 2001  

Part 1     Part 3     Part 4

December 11, 2001

Dense Forests in the South and Remote Mountains in "Bont" [the old Arabic name of Somalia] are the probable Hideouts in Somalia for the Qaada Leader and his followers

The first episode of a T.V series presented on December showed different points of view  of the Somalis about the confession of Usama bin Laden that some of his Qaada troops had fought the American forces in its mission code named "restoration of hope" in Somalia in 1993.

In this context Eng. Hossein Aidid the son of the late Somali leader Mohammed Fareh Aidid denied any such role for bin Laden in the killing of 12 American service men and the shooting down of 2 Helicopters in Mogadishu on Oct 3, 1993.

The same episode displayed the first part of a group of documents which "Al Hayat" newspaper obtained from Mogadishu trying to link "The Somali Islamic Unity" movement to bin Laden.

The same episode showed the part of the document revealing the first steps towards the formation of the Somali Fundamentalist Islamic Movement and its top leaders, in particular the "Islamic Unity Group" which the U.S.A believes is closely related to bin Laden and was posted on the USA list of suspects.

The document tried to demonstrate the strong relationship between the Somali Islamic Movements and the transitional government headed by Abdi Qassem Sallad Hassan focusing on the Islamic Unity and expoung its objectives of seeking to establish an Islamic State in the horn of African.

Today’s episode includes the second part of these documents, which shows the Islamic Unity locations and bases in Somalia. It also indicates the probable sites in which the Qaada leader may seek shelter as a hide out in case he could fly out from Afghanistan especially that lots of rumors have been circulating about the possibility of an American strike against certain locations in Somalia if the connection with bin Laden is proved. 

-a-

December 12, 2001

Somali Fundamentalist Islamic Groups Withdraw
from the Core of the Civil War.

In parts 1 and 2, a series of documents collected by "Al-Hayat" from Mogadishu have been presented. In these documents, a major Somali party tried to make a reference to a relationship of some kind between the "Somali Islamic Unity Movement" and "Usama Bin Laden". They also briefly examined the origin of the Fundamentalist Islamic group in Somalia, with particular reference to the Islamic Unity, being accused by the USA to have been involved in the events of September 11, 2001 executed by Usama Bin Laden followers.

The documents focused on the Islamic Unity, indicating its objectives and the efforts made to establish an Islamic country in the horn of African. Reference has also been made to the location and military bases of the “Unity” in Somalia, together with the possible sites of refuge in which the leader of "Al Qaada" might seek protection upon fleeing from Afghanistan. Further, attempts were made to establish a relationship between the Islamic Unity and the current provisional government being presided by Abdi Qasem Sallad Hasan.

The parts, that follow shall examine the relationship of Sallad Hasan to the Islamic movement, as dealt with in the previous two parts. Focus shall be made on the establishment of the Islamic Unity in Somalia, the role it played in the civil war, and the relationship of the said movement to the one with the same name in the Ogaden region of Ethiopia. Focus shall also be made on the other Islamic Unities and Movements in Somalia, starting from the beginning of the civil war which has created all such Movements and Unities, in addition to the landing of American forces in Mogadishu. 

December 12, 2001

Americans enter Mogadishu As  Islamists withdraw

towards the South and the North

For over a period of two years or more, Somalia was dying of internal breakdown and self destruction that have long been encountered. The political regime which ruled the country has been linked with corruption, and lost its control under the influence of the people’s revolt in 1988 which started from the north through to the capital city Mogadishu. This has forced the president Mohamed Seyad Berri to leave the country in January 1991 after having been in power after a military coup in 1969.

A few weeks following the overthrow of the hated dictator, the outburst of the eagerness has been calmed down, with a resulting new stage of total confusion, allowing 15 tribes to compete with each other to lead the country after Seyad Berri, under the cover of political organizations and military groups. Non of these, however, have been successful in achieving the said targets, and have rather destroyed the remaining institutions and the infrastructures of the country. As a result, problems with electric power, water supply, and food have all been encountered and led people to the verge of death.

In January 1, 1992, the United nations announced that the mortality rate in Somalia has reached the level of 350,000 persons. In the meantime, attempts have been made world-wide to save the country through a small UN contingent comprising 500 soldiers from Pakistan landing in Mogadishu airport. These, however, were unable to change the situation due to the outbreak of terrorism and the tribal conflicts and bandits all over the country, which led the American president "Bush" to call for the involvement of his military forces.

On December 4, 1992, president Bush announced that he has given his orders to the Defense Minister "Cheeney" to send a huge military force to Somalia. He also said: At this point of time there is already American amphibious troops from the Marine Forces near the coast of Mogadishu, and that other forces shall follow the existing one to help support the mission of "Restoration Hope". The president added: Our forces shall do the job with both courage and mercy, the Somali people and children in particular are in need of such a help and of alleviating their suffer, we are capable to help and offer hope".

The American Military involvement has thus been initiated in late 1992 within the framework of restoration hope, which was first planned to be a humanitarian mission, and has then so much changed into a graveyard for more than 75 soldiers form 23 countries including about 20 American soldiers.

The questions to be asked is: Who is responsible for the deaths of so many soldiers who just came to restore the hope in a country that has long been suffering from war and famine? Is it the conflicting tribes or the newly established Islamic unity movement? Has this movement actually been cooperating with the "Al Qaada" organization, whose leader"Usama Bin Laden" has admitted the killing of the Americans only?

These question may be answered through the detailed events occurring in that period. That is, the American troops could not have reached the coast of Mogadishu on December, 9, 1992 without an arrangement made between a number of the conflicting tribes with Mr. Robert. O’Kelly, the representative of the American president who has been delegated to Somalia shortly before the landing of the American troops. Mr. O’Kelly, the former American ambassador to Somalia in the 1980’s had paved the diplomatic way for the arrival of the American forces to Mogadishu, as he did later in the other landing regions in December 1992. These regions represented the humanitarian relief districts located in north and central Somalia, namely in Mogadishu, Bali Dogli, Bedaoh, Oader, Bladween, Gialalas, Bardera, Kesmayo, and Merca.

Gaining control over all aspects of "human relief" started to quickly gain a known trend:

The Army Psychological Operations Unit starts dropping fliers warning that the Unified Intervention Task Forces "UNITAF" will soon arrive asking the local inhabitants to cooperate and not to resist. O’Kelly after that pays personal visits to the local chief and the town or village sheikhs asking them to peacefully accept the UNITAF forces in order to receive the relief supplies.

O’Kelly’s diplomatic attempts finally succeeded on December 21, 1992 to reach an agreement between the leaders of the two competing flanks in the "Unified Somali Conference", the strong man General Mohammed Fareh Aidid and his rival the Somali "temporary President" at that time, the businessman Ali Mahdi Mohammed.

The agreement stipulated the termination of the conflicts between the flanks, and the turning over of their heavy weaponry to certain locations in the Capital City under the supervision of "UNITAF". The agreement also stipulated the destruction of any armed vehicles belonging to the militias in the streets of Mogadishu and considering the militias as being bandits, and dealing with them accordingly.

Both Aidid and Ali Mahdi before that agreement had hailed the intervention of the American forces and provided support to such forces.

Aided had complete control over the south of Mogadishu while Ali Mahdi had complete control over the north of Mogadishu.

Under this agreement in support of the Americans and due to the complete control of Aidid and Ali Mahdi over Mogadishu; the "Islamic Unity" had no access to combat the Americans especially in the Capital City.

The Islamic Unity

The name "Islamic Unity" was first mentioned on January 1, 1993 in two separate releases in "Al Hayat". The first press release was given by Colonel Fred Beck the Marines spokesman in Mogadishu: "A group of the American Marines seized one of the strongholds of the Somali Islamic Unity in the city of Merca 90km south of Mogadishu on December 31, 1992".

In the second release which was given by the person in charge of the foreign relations for Europe and the USA in the Islamic Unity Mr. Mohammed Othman, who reaffirmed what Colonel Beck had stated "Our forces withdrew from Merca in order to avoid total confrontation with the U.S.A, we do not want, at present, any military confrontation yet we have not given up our weapons nor did we give in to any power".

The Islamic Somali Groups militias were cautious not to indulge in any direct military confrontation, especially against American troops. Some of these Groups’ leaders affirmed on several occasions to "Al Hayat" that: "The Islamic militias will not indulge in an unequal battle against American troops and will leave that mission to tribal militias".

The Islamic militias withdrew from the main cities that were accessed by the American troops since December 9, 1992 in the framework of operation "Restoration Hope" and before the accession of the other International troops within the framework of "UN Second Operation in Somalia" known as (UNOSOM-2) in May 1993. During that period the Islamic Groups were buying new weapons, mobilizing its forces and attracting new supporters and advocates in areas  away from the Capital City. The prices of the weapons on sale in the famous Bakarah market in the center of Mogadishu had rapidly fallen since the coming of the American troops, the gunmen tended to sell their weapons in fear that UNITAF forces may confiscate such weapons.

The traders of weapons in the Bakarah market had stated to Al Hayat during the year 1992 that most of the buyers came from outside Mogadishu accompanied by people from the Capital City who are closely related to the known Islamic Groups of the City.

The Islamic militias especially the "Islamic Unity" movement established camps outside the capital city, where it also set up a cooperative social system which it considered a model of the Islamic society in particular in cities and small towns such as Luuq, Elwaq, Deelue and Beldouha in the Gedo province which is near the Ethiopian borders south of the Country and Busasu north east of Somalia. It was continuously seeking to expand and spread its camps in the largest possible number of towns especially those adjacent to the Indian Ocean or the Gulf of Aden.

In this context, the person responsible for the external affairs with Europe and the United States in the "Islamic Unity" Mr. Mohamed Othman had confirmed to "Al Hayat" newspaper in April 1993 that his forces had withdrawn from the harbor city of Las Qoura north east of Somalia after occupying it since July 1992  and following agreement with and gaining consent of  the notables of the city who objected to the activities of the "Unity" organization in their area.

A member of the Administrative Council who is the media official in the Somali "Agency for relief and development" Mr. Omar El Hag Ali declared to "Al Hayat" newspaper that the inhabitants of Las Qoura had left it since it customary is for them to avoid the high temperatures  in July and when they came back they found the "Unity" forces occupying the area. Negotiations were carried out between the city’s notables and the "Unity’ which promised to vacate the area but it did not, forcing the inhabitants to form an armed militia headed by General Abd Allah Gamih also known as "Alko" which blockaded the city for two months forcing the "Unity" forces to withdraw from the city.

At that period (1992-1993) Afghanistan had become fed up with the large number of "Arab Afghans" and the fighters of the "Qaada" network whose mission had ended after the withdrawal of the Russian forces in 1989 from that country especially with the escalation of intense fighting among the Afghani factions. While some of these "Arab Afghans" were unable to return to their countries for fear of being arrested, some of them feed to a number of the neighboring countries of central Asia. Others feed to African countries especially Sudan, Kenya and Tanzania while others headed to Somalia where they were accommodated by the Somali and Augadian "Islamic Unity" movement in camps outside Mogadishu.

The "El Fath Pioneers" Organization which is a separist group of the Egyptian "Gihad" organization headed by Mr. Ayman El Zawahri had revealed in one of its circulars carrying the name of the organization that elements of the "Arab Afghans" had headed for Somalia. This was stated in the context of criticizing the Afaghani movement "Taliban". The circular which reached "Al Hayat" newspaper in Cairo on June, 1997 strongly criticized the "Taliban" movement describing it of being "a gathering containing the good as well as the evil" it also strongly criticized the Afghani Groups leaders and stated that "they were consumed by the lust for power, and whims and being away from the spirit of Islam" Furthermore the circular described the "Arab Afghans" as "Orphans being exploited" and revealed that some of them have escaped after the end of the Afghani war to Somalia, Tajikistan and other countries and criticized those who stayed back and were associated with the "Taliban" movement.

The Somali Islamic group and their "Arab Afghan" guests continued consolidating their forces outside Mogadishu, especially near the Ethiopian borders until the end of 1993.

In November of the said year their forces began to gradually move towards Mogadishu where tension began to rise between the forces of the leader of the "United Somali Conference" Mr. Mohammed Fareh Aidid and the forces of "The U.N. second Operation in Somalia (UNOSOM-2) after taking over the tasks of the "Restoration Hope Operation "from the American forces.


Part 1     Part 3     Part 4


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