November 10, 2006
SOMALIA: SITUATION REPORT
POLITICAL AND SECURITY ASSESSMENT
1. TRANSITIONAL FEDERAL INSTITTUTIONS (TFIs) OF SOMALIA
2. ISLAMIC COURTS UNION ( ICU)
1.1 Recent successes of the Transitional Federal Institutions include
a) Acceptance without any preconditions in the participation of the Khartoum Three Somali Talks at high level delegation led by a Deputy Prime Minister, Abdullahi Sheikh Ismail despite the gross violations by ICU of the provisions of the Khartoum One and Two through reckless territorial expansion.
b) Khartoum Three talks collapsed not due to causes or obstacles created by TFG/TFIs, but by the preconditions put forward by the ICU as their prerequisite to enter into talks with the Government in their attempt to buy time for their jihadist war.
c) Co-chairmanship of IGAD through Kenya of the Somali Peace Talks under the proposal of TFG at recent meeting with the Somalia International Contact Group (ICG) held in Nairobi, Kenya. ICU were attempting to divide IGAD and drive a wedge between TFIs and IGAD member states through a proxy war between Ethiopia and Eritrea with the ICU aim of blocking an AU Peace Mission to Somalia in order to maintain the Arms Embargo while TFG continued to maintain its good diplomatic relations with the core and critical IGAD member states of Kenya, Ethiopia, Uganda and the Sudan.
d) Exposure of the terrorist nature of the ICU on concrete examples and crimes committed by them to the diplomatic and international community at high level forums.
e) TFG was staging international diplomatic offensive for the UN to lift the Arms Embargo based on its National Security and Stabilization Plan (NSSP) and AU Peace Mission Plan for Somalia.
f) TFIs have been drastically improving governance and security conditions in Bay and Bakool regions of Somalia as strong and launching bases for extending their rule to other regions of the country.
g) The President of the TFG was paying official and successful visits to China and a number of Far-east Asia countries in a diplomatic offensive to secure both diplomatic and financial support for TFIs
h) For the first time since the collapse of the Somalia Central Government in 1991, TFG has succeeded to issue new and fraud-proof Somali National machine-readable passport and IDs. This will significantly help in the fight against terrorism for terrorists will not be able now to use Somali passports as was happening in the past.
i) TFG Cabinet has now started making the first steps to create the Government bureaucracy and institutions of administration.
1.2 TFIs’ DIFFICULTIES IN THE SEPARATION OF POWERS
The Speaker of the Transitional Federal Parliament (TFP), Sharif Hassan Sheikh Aden led the TFI delegation to Khartoum Two Somali Peace Talks under a mandate given by the TFG President despite the fact that this role falls into the constitutional jurisdiction of the Executive Branch. This mandate could be either extended or withdrawn without a lot of political or institutional or diplomatic interventions. The Speaker, however, traveling on non-official visits to Nairobi and Jeddah, decided not to return to the Seat of the TFIs for consultation with the rest of the leadership on the Peace Talks, Khartoum Three in particular despite the TFG President’s request for the Speaker to do so. Instead, the Speaker was positioning himself as the Government Chief Negotiator in the planned Khartoum Three Talks without a fresh and agreed upon mandate as he also continued to appoint unilaterally some members of the TFP as contact persons with the ICU in the preliminary intermediate meetings for confidence-building purposes between the two sides before Khartoum Three as the provisions of Khartoum Two stipulated. This unilateral conduct of the Talks by the Speaker on behalf of the TFIs was seen as lacking transparency and devoid of the leadership and participatory role of the Executive Branch. Nevertheless, the Speaker was voted on to lead the TFIs delegation to Khartoum Three Talks. Surprisingly, the Speaker initiated a TFIs parallel delegation of his own choice to the Talks and declined to depart for Khartoum on 30th of October unless he was authorized to have his own delegation with him, ignoring the constitutional reality that any agreement entered into by the Government is subject to the ratification of the Parliament he himself chairs. Hence, a blurring up of the fundamentals of the TFIs Constitution on the Separation of Powers of the State.
1.3 To make the above situation worse, two dramatic developments occurred afterwards:
a) The Speaker, in a vain attempt, tried to lead a parallel TFIs delegation to Khartoum while he ignored the President’s request to join him in Baidoa for setting up a consensus TFIs delegation.
b) The Speaker, after the collapse of the Peace Talks, led a small group of MPs again in a unilateral fashion to Khartoum enter into talks with the ICU leadership, a move that made the Speaker look like a rebel. The Speaker even refused the advice of the Cabinet to go to Khartoum via Baidoa for urgent consultations.
c) Unilateral decision-making by any top officer of the TFIs gave chance or opportunity to the “ spoilers” on both sides of the equation.
1.4 The above developments are a clear demonstration of the institutional difficulties being experienced by the TFIs.
2. ISLAMIC COURTS SOMALIA (ICU)
2.1 In their attempt to divide the TFIs, the ICU leadership invited the Speaker of the Transitional Federal Parliament to Mogadishu . Top ICU figures such as Hassan Dahir Aweys and Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed have been holding a series of meetings with the Speaker. The Speaker, having braved to go alone and ahead with talks with the ICU leadership, has put himself into a tight corner and situation of an unpredictable outcome.
2.2 While the power structure of the ICU is said to consist of:
a) The Leadership (Executive led by Sh. Sharif Sh. Ahmed and Shura by Hassan Dahir Aweys).
b) The Shabaab led by Alqaeda Commanders.
c) Hassan Dahir Aweys as the commanding link between the two,
It is now emerging that the influx of foreign jihadists to enlarge the ranks and file of the ICU include an additional power structure of Alqaeda Shura enjoying the real ICU power as this undeclared and secret Shura commands the fighting forces including a growing number of jihadist elements of foreign and locally trained men. Reliable sources confirm that the Foreign Shura in southern Southern (mainly in Mogadishu , Kismayo, and Merka) is a direct arm of the Alqaeda International.
2.3 The source added that the Alqaeda is to use Somalia as training ground to recruit over 300,000 ( three hundred thousand) universal jihadist army from young Somalis of school age trained in suicide techniques to engage with the “enemy” anywhere in the world. Overrunning Somalia and its neighbors is not the primary objective of this strategy, they say. The fighting in Iraq, Afghanistan etc and worldwide counter-Alqaeda measures made Somalia the most suitable country for implementing Alqaeda objective of world domination through terror networks, according to this information.
2.4 It is a fact that most schools in Somalia are ran by religious groups and many students are now under ICU military training in Mogadishu and other southern cities. This information on students under intensive military training has been announced officially by the ICU in their latest declaration of jihad against Somalia, assuming that the TFIs are insignificant challenge given ICU/Alqaeda primary objectives.
Ismail Warsame, Director of NATTCO