Cracking Somali Government

Cracking Somali Government

CAIRO — The US-backed interim government in Somali is on life support losing the hearts and minds of the people as well as conceding major cities to the armed opposition.

“We haven’t been paid in eight months,” a government soldier named Hassan told the New York Times on Saturday, March 29.

“We rob people so we can eat.”

Last week government soldiers went to a market in the capital Mogadishu and, at gunpoint, stole sacks of grain.

The innocent civilians were only rescued by fighters of the ousted Supreme Islamic Courts of Somalia (SICS).

Interim Premier Nur Hassan Hussein knows that his troops rob civilians.

“This is the biggest problem we have,” he said in an interview this month.

The prime minister also admitted that every month, more than half of the government’s revenue are stolen by “our people.”

Backed by the US, the Ethiopian army invaded Somalia last year to the SICS, which ruled for six months after routing a US-backed alliance of warlords and restored unprecedented order and stability for the first time in 15 years.

SICS fighters captured on Wednesday, March 26, the two strategic towns of Jowhar and Mahadai from the interim government.

Recent months have seen a strong comeback for the Courts which had seized four smaller towns and a military checkpoint near Mogadishu earlier this month.

“I feel this slipping away,” admitted government representative at the US Mohamed Abdirizak.

Failed US Policy

The looming failure is raising questions about Washington’s strategy of installing the interim government by force.

“The policy has failed,” said Representative Donald M. Payne, Chairman of the US House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Africa and Global Health.

“We’re Baghdad-izing Mogadishu and Somalia,” he said.

The Ethiopian military intervention in neighboring Somali was backed and supported by the Bush administration.

Washington reportedly supplied the Ethiopian with intelligence on SICS forces and oppositions, making it easy to defeat them in a couple of weeks.

US gunships had targeted Somali resistance leaders in a series of air strikes.

A recent US strike on the southern Somali city of Dobley targeted Aden Hashi Farah Ayro, the leader of Al-Shabaab group, the SICS military wing, but instead claimed the lives of many civilians.

The strike was the fourth by the US on Somali territories in the past 14 months.

On January 8, 2007, a US AC-130 gunship killed ten civilians in a failed attack on figures in southern Somalia.

A few days later, the US launched another raid on fleeing SICS fighters.

The US Navy carried out a third strike last June against what it described as “Islamist fighters” hiding in the mountains in the northern Puntland region.

To counter the resurgent resistance, the US State Department earlier this month designated Shabaab a terrorist organization.

The move was questioned not only by many Somalis but also European diplomats and critics in Congress.

They fear it will only raise the group’s profile among the increasingly disillusioned populace.

“We’re making people feel wrongly treated and pushing them toward more radical positions,” said Representative Payne.


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