Thursday, January 11, 2007

A Somali Jihadist: "We're Not Al-Qaeda"

The following lead (courtesy of Bashir) introduces a most interesting interview with a Somali militia member, published yesterday on the website of TIME Magazine:

Said Ali, 21, is a volunteer fighter for the Shabab militia, the feared enforcers of the Islamic Courts Union. The U.S. brands the organization as an ally of al-Qaeda; in reality, it is also a nationalist anti-warlord movement that contains many Muslim moderates and has no international ambitions. He was 11 when he left his village in southern Somalia and traveled to Mogadishu to look for an education. But all public education had collapsed with the last functioning government in 1991, leaving private school the only option. And Said Ali, like most of his generation, was unable to afford the fees. Instead, he found a job as a porter, and then graduated to selling shirts and kikoi wraps by the side of the road. In time, he was given a job inside a clothes store in Bakara Market, where he earned about 10,000 Somali shillings (80 cents) a day. But often he would be forced to hand over his earnings to armed militias blocking the roads on his way home. He came out of hiding in central Mogadishu to meet TIME's Alex Perry. . . .*
Read the full interview on TIME's website (click here).
*Photo above, by Abukar Albadri (EPA), shows fighters loyal to the Islamic Courts Union loading up on trucks to head to the front in December 2006.
NOTE: Be sure to read Joseph Peter's probing comment on this posting. (CLICK HERE)

1 comment:

Joseph Peter said...

As an American profoundly concerned about the current direction of American foreign policy, the subject interview with a member of the Shabab militia, coupled with the recent revelation of at least one American airstrike on supposed "al-Qaida suspects", using the deadly A/C-130 gunship weapons system, raises many profoundly disturbing questions. What follows is a sampling of the questions that come to mind:

1.) What is the true aim of American foreign policy on the horn of Africa?

2.) Why has the United States, which professes to be advocating the spread of democracy, allied itself with the repressive Meles Zenawi regime in Addas Ababa, in respect of the latter's intervening militarily in Somalia?

3.) How reliable is the putative intellegence that supposedly informs American actions in the horn of Africa?

4.) What authorization from the Congress has been sought by the Bush Administration to conduct military operations in Somalia under the American flag or otherwise?

5.) What consultation with or advisement to the Congress has been provided by the Bush Administration as regards U.S. military operations in Somalia?

6.) What is the putative evidence underlying the branding of the Union of Islamic Courts as "al-Qaida"?

7.) What sums have been expended by the United States on "counterinsurgency" operations in Somalia, and what groups have been the recipeints of such covert largesse?

8.) Has the United States been co-opted by Somali warlords who have merely, as it were, re-branded themselves as anti-terrorist?

9.) What consideration, if any, has been given by U.S. policymakers to the long term implications of American intervention in Somalia?

10.) Given that Ethiopia is, officially, a Christian nation (although it has a large Muslim minority), what thought, if any, has been given by U.S. policymakers to the implications of U.S. support of Ethiopia's invasion of Muslim Somalia?

There can be no gainsaying that the American people are entitled to answers to all of the foregoing questions? If, dare I say when, such questions are answered, it is quite likely that the answers will prompt further questions. I hope and pray that our Congress will raise all of these questions, and more, in the context of exercising its Constitutional prerogative of legislative oversight of the Executive Branch.

Joseph Peter Drennan