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Stop the Ethiopian-US aggression on the Somali Islamic Courts

30. December 2006

by Lars Akerhaug

The threat of disaster is again looming over Somalia after Ethiopia, supported by the US, has begun pulling in military troops, until recently described as “advisors” in an attempt to topple the government of the Islamic courts. They want to put power in the hands of the Ethiopian and Western-backed (UN recognized) “interim government” controlling only a small percentage of the country. They are backed by the Americans, too busy in Iraq and Afghanistan to themselves military intervene.

Today the Somali Islamist courts are calling to make Somalia ground for “holy war” for Muslim Mujahedin fighters from around the world. But even though conflict between Ethiopia and Somalia has been common latter years, it is not necessarily the norm.

According to the Hadith, the Prophet of Islam ordered his followers to leave Ethiopia out of the Muslim conquest. – The Prophet himself instructed his followers to respect and protect Ethiopians. In 615, Muhammed’s wife and cousin sought refuge at Axum (Aksum) with a number of these followers. This group was fleeing from Mecca’s leading tribe, the reactionary Kuraysh, who sent emissaries to bring them back to Arabia, but the Negus Armah protected them. Today the tradition tells that Ethiopia cannot be attacked by a Muslim army unless the country itself is aggressing against an Islamic state. This is the rationale for the Islamic courts threatening Ethiopia with war unless they leave the country.

Somalia is one of the countries worst struck by the post-cold war colonial world order. After the Ethiopian-Somalian war the US (and China) sided with the “scientific-socialist” Muslim state of the pan-Somalian and anti-tribal modernist leader Mohammed Siad Berre. The support was however, always uneasy and the economical support to his regime dropped as the war cooled off. Subsequently, when sectarian groups commenced fighting a separatist struggle for “independence” based on tribal demarcations the regime fell apart. This resulted in the infamous pro-US “UN intervention” known from the film “Black Hawk Down” and subsequent war lord fighting and the establishment of the rogue state “Somaliland”, basically a conglomerate of power for two of the main Somali clans.

The Islamic courts share many traits with Taliban. The afghan Islamist group was a reaction to the lack of law and order and the rule of warlords, often proxies of Foreign states. The Islamic courts was backed by local business in the area of Mogadishu (thriving economically because of the lack of state bureaucracy burning the economies of other African countries). As Taliban, although based heavily on Pashtun tribal allegiances, the Islamic courts are putting Islam forward as an alternative to tribal loyalties. As an alternative to sectarian war and lack of law and order, many Somalis have welcomed their grip of power.

The Somali Islamists are a thorn in the eye of the US. The last thing the White House warlords need now is another state opposing their dominance in the Arab and Islamic region. Followingly they claim that the Islamic courts will create a haven for al-Qaeda in the African Horn. Although a small group of fighters from Al-Qaeda might exist in the country, it’s doubtful that their or any foreign presence serves substantial backing for the Islamist group contending for power in the country. Their support stems from Somali citizens being tired and weared off after more than a decade of civil war and foreign interventions.

It is too early to say what will be the effect of the Islamic courts grasping for power. Their ideology of conservative Islamism backed by business is not comparable to Islamic liberation movements like Hamas or Hizbollah. They lack a clear political program or stated intentions (or even a explicit ambition for state power).

However, the Somali people have an obvious and self-evident right to themselves determinate and decide the future of their own country. This include the right to resist the foreign presence of Ethiopian troops fighting the “US war on terrorism”. As we turn the page to 2007 the American empire has once again demonstrated their willingness to put aside slogans of democracy or independence in their quest for world dominance.