WARARKA BARAAWEPOST Friday 25 december 2009
This was the scene recently when a suicide bomber blew himself up at a medical school graduation in
It also has ties to al-Qaida. And that has raised new alarms.
: Where al-Qaida and its allies attempt to establish a foothold, whether in
Amid the lawlessness and threat of kidnapping, few foreigners travel to
, The New Yorker: This is a country that has been ignored, neglected by the outside world for the past 20 years -- nearly 20 years. In that time, the state, such as it existed, it had already crumbled and devolved into feuding militias, clan-based militias. And, in essence, that's carried on in the same way, in the same fashion.
So, what do you see when you go to a failed state?
: Let's put it this way. I flew in with the president of
There were armored personnel carriers and troops awaiting us on the airstrip. They -- they belonged to the African Union. They were Ugandans. I was immediately hustled into one of those APCs. It had two machine gunners on turrets on top. And we, within a few minutes, had assembled a long convoy with armored cars.
This is the president.
: This is his arrival home. There wasn't a street left unguarded.
We then went through a series of anti-suicide bomber barriers, past more sentries, and into the gates of Villa
The president who
This summer, in
President Sharif, not that long ago, was considered a bad guy, right? And now a lot seems to have been invested in the possibility of what he could do for
: The good Islamist. He's a man who has shown a certain amount of pragmatism.
The idea is this. There are some uncomfortable moments in the past, there were positions he took, there were friends he had that nobody really wants to go back there and talk about anymore. I discussed this at length with him and with the Americans. And it makes for an interesting story.
He's something new in perhaps the Muslim world, emerging as a man who comes from a position of militant Islam, and has now rescinded his ties with those who look upon al-Qaida with kind eyes. The
And it looks like the partnership is here to stay, assuming he can survive in office. He now says -- he never says he was in favor of al-Qaida, but he now can see that some of his former allies were extremists, and he could do nothing about it.
And how strong are those former allies? And what are their ties to al-Qaida or their potential ties to al-Qaida?
: Osama bin Laden has -- you know, has appeared in a video lauding them and urging fellow Muslims to support them. To that extent, they have received the kind eye of -- you know, of Osama bin Laden.
Structural links are more difficult to know about. There are certainly some foreign terrorists who have taken sanctuary there. They are now doing jihadi videos like much as we have seen in
There are now jihadi suicide bombers. This was unknown before 2007. They now are adopting the tactics that we have seen with the most virulent form of extreme Islam elsewhere, al-Qaida. They -- if they're not al-Qaida, they certainly want to be.
What you have is a society where you have two generations of youth who are unemployed, largely untaught in many cases, and who, in the collapse of the traditional structures of the Somali state, now seem to be dangerously susceptible to the kind of siren call of the idea of global jihad.
What there certainly is there is an insurgent force, which is -- which has, both in rhetoric and action, called upon al-Qaida as a mentor force, as the standard that it would seek to follow. And it's got a lot of people worried.
When I asked
The setting was a private university established only recently to train doctors amid the chaos. And the three government ministers killed, he said, were diaspora Somalis, who had once fled their homes and the violence, but later returned to help their country.
: So, I came away with a strong feeling of hope on the one hand because I saw diaspora Somalis, Somalis that had lived our comfortable lives in the West, but had returned, because they're patriotic, because they want to do something in their lives, other than make money somewhere, and yet, you know, worried and anxious because of the ability of the Shabab to strike so close to the very heart of this very fragile state -- so, very mixed feelings.
All right. Jon Lee Anderson, thanks for talking to us.
: Thank you.
: The United Nations Security Council today took steps to curb the arms shipments to the Islamist insurgents in
Source: PBS NEWSHOUR
Shabakadda warbaahinta ee Baraawepost Muqdisho Somalia firstname.lastname@example.org