Somalia: Militant Islam Marches On


September 7, 2006: Some Puntland factions want to work with the Islamic Courts. These are the same factions that are inclined towards reunification with Somalia, and are angry at what they perceive as government corruption.
Meanwhile, popular opposition to the Islamic Courts is growing. This is mainly because the more radical of the Islamic Courts leaders have been allowed to use their gunmen to enforce strict rules of "Islamic" behavior. For example, movie theaters, videos, television and music have been outlawed in Mogadishu (and some other towns where the Islamic radicals have sufficient influence.) Women are being forced to curb their movements and cover up. Somali women traditionally have a lot of freedom of action, responsibility, and economic power. The crackdown of the Islamic conservatives
September 6, 2006: While Ethiopia and Kenya are willing to send peacekeepers to Somalia, that is opposed by of Djibouti, Eritrea, Sudan and Uganda, as well as the Islamic Courts and former members of the Somali armed forces. But the transitional government has long backed a peacekeeping force. The peacekeeper issue again, as it did in Sudan, comes down to a tug-of-war between the African Union/UN/West, and the Arab Union/Islamic Conservatives.
September 5, 2006: For the first time in over a decade, Mogadishu's port received a relief shipment. The reopening of the port makes it a lot easier, and cheaper, to get food, and other, aid, into the country.
September 4, 2006: The Islamic Courts and transitional government have agreed to form a joint military force. However, no dates were specified, and the peace talks were adjourned until October 30th. A lot can happen between now and then.


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