Somalia: Religious Violence Gets Organized

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October 20, 2006: The Islamic Courts say they will undertake a "intifada" campaign of guerilla warfare against the separatist governments in Somaliland and Puntland. The same tactics will be used across the border areas of Ethiopia and Kenya inhabited by Somali speaking people. This is in line with the popular Somali concept of "Greater Somalia", and an expansion of Somali borders. In addition to the low level violence, al Qaeda trained personnel are recruiting suicide bombers for more violent attacks. These will include assassination attacks against Transitional Government militias.

The Islamic Courts continue to crack down on lifestyle issues. For example, they are forbidding the chewing khat (a mildly narcotic leaf) during daylight (when, since this is the holy month of Ramadan, one should be fasting). Many Somalis fear that, next month, after Ramadan, the crackdown will continue, and more Somalis will resist. Thus the Islamic Courts promise of peace will crumble because of popular resistance to religious intolerance.

October 19, 2006: Ethiopia and Eritrea have extended their mutual hostilities to Somalia, where Ethiopia is backing the Transitional Government, which is losing a civil war, while Eritrea is backing the Islamic Courts, which are winning the Somali civil war.

October 18, 2006: Since the Islamic Courts have captured all the major ports, the Somali pirates have been put out of business. However, the Islamic Courts plan to form a coast guard, which may begin demanding fees for ships passing through Somali coastal waters.

October 17, 2006: The Islamic Courts have taken over a thousand gunmen from defeated militias, and are training them to serve with Islamic Courts militias. The retraining largely consists largely of religious indoctrination, as the Islamic Courts weapons and tactics are not much different than those of any other Somali armed group.

 

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