Posted by: Lister | February 1, 2009

Sheikh Sharif Ahmed

Sharif Ahmed has been elected president of Somalia. The BBC:

The most pressing problem for the new president is how to deal with the radical Islamist group al-Shabab.

So far they have shown no willingness to join the grand coalition between Sheikh Sharif’s ARS and the remains of the transitional government under Mr Hussein.

They have spent the last two years building their military and financial strength and will be hard to dislodge by force.

Since the Ethiopian intervention at the end of 2006 al-Shabab has grown in size, ambition, organisation, and seems increasingly radical.

Their leaders have benefited from the bitter feelings generated by the Ethiopian intervention and are now probably the best organised force in Southern Somalia.

So Ethiopia went in, took out the Islamic courts and now have left — with the former chairman of the Islamic courts now voted in as President of Somalia. The BBC profile on presidential candidates:

Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmad is the leader of the moderate Djibouti-based wing of the Islamist ARS.

He is also a member of the Abgaal clan.

He was chairman of the Islamic Courts’ Union which ran Mogadishu in 2006, until it was ousted by Ethiopian troops.

He says he wants to make peace with Ethiopia, recruit Islamist militia fighters into a national security force, and rebuild the country’s social services.

He told Reuters news agency that he was prepared to discuss any political or religious issues with insurgents still fighting in Somalia.

Good luck with “the lads”.

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Responses

  1. 39 civilians killed by AU peacekeepers, who had been hit by a roadside bomb.

    Officials say the incident happened on Maka al-Mukarama road, which connects the presidential palace and the airport in southern Mogadishu. The incident occurred on the same day that the new Somali president, Sheik Sharif Sheik Ahmed, was attending an African Union summit in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa.

    Ethiopia invaded Somalia in 2006, to depose an Islamic government led by Ahmed that had taken control of Mogadishu.

  2. al-Jazeera:

    As the parliament met in neighbouring Djibouti to elect Ahmed, al-Shabab, which split from the Islamic Courts’ Union over the peace process and disapproves of Ahmed, moved into the of Baidoa were the government normally meets.

    “It is true that al-Shabab and the radical elements believe that Sheikh Sharif is a traitor, he is engaged with the arch-enemy of Somalia, Ethiopia, and the West,” Rashid Abdi of the International Crisis Group think-tank told Al Jazeera.

    “They paint him as a man who has, basically, sold out.

    “It will be very, very difficult for Sheikh Sharif to engage in dialogue with the radical Islamist groups in southern Somalia, but essentially these are his former comrades in arms, so we should not stop him from making that attempt,” he said from Nairobi, the capital of Kenya.

    Ahmed insisted that his experience as leader of the Islamic Courts’ Union during their brief period of power had prepared him for the task of stabilising the country, which has been without an effective central government since 1991.

    “When I begun that task many used to tell me that I would fail and that I should abandon my lofty ideas for peace. These calls came to me from friends, relatives and all those who knew me,” he said.

  3. al-Jazeera:

    Ethiopian troops have reportedly crossed into neighbouring Somalia after it made a plea for foreign troops to help it battle opposition fighters seeking to overthrow the government.

    Somalia’s parliamentary speaker made the request on Saturday after several days of heavy fighting in the north of the capital, Mogadishu.

    “The government is weakened by the rebel forces. We ask neighbouring countries – including Kenya, Djibouti, Ethiopia and Yemen – to send troops to Somalia within 24 hours,” Sheikh Aden Mohamed Nur, the Somali parliamentary speaker, said.

    Ethiopian troops last entered Somalia in late 2006 to support the then-government and drive out Islamic Courts Union fighters led by Sharif Ahmed, the current president.


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