Somalia: Current Conditions and Prospects for a Lasting Peace

Somalia: Current Conditions and Prospects for a Lasting Peace Ted Dagne Specialist in African Affairs August 31, 2011 Congressional Research Service 7-5700 RL33911 CRS Report for Congress Prepared for Members and Committees of Congress Somalia: Current Conditions and Prospects for a Lasting Peace Summary In October 2002, the Inter-Governmental Authority for Development (IGAD) launched a peace process designed to end factional fighting in Somalia, led by the government of Kenya. In September 2003, the parties agreed on a Transitional National Charter (TNC). In August 2004, a 275-member Transitional Parliament was inaugurated in Kenya. In October 2004, parliament elected Abdullahi Yusuf Ahmed as the new president of Somalia. In June 2006, the forces of the Islamic Courts Union (ICU) took control of the capital, Mogadishu. During the six-month rule by the ICU, Mogadishu became relatively peaceful, but efforts to bring peace did not lead to a major breakthrough. On December 28, 2006, Ethiopian troops captured Mogadishu with little resistance from the ICU. The Ethiopian intervention led to more chaos and instability in Somalia. In January 2007, the Transitional Federal Government (TFG) came to the capital, Mogadishu, from Baidoa after the ouster of the ICU. In June 2008, the TFG and the Alliance for the Re-Liberation of Somalia (ARS), a group dominated by members of the ICU, signed an agreement in Djibouti mediated by then-United Nations Special Envoy Ahmedou Ould-Abdullah. The parties agreed to a cease-fire, the withdrawal of Ethiopian forces, and the deployment of a United Nations peacekeeping force. A number of towns, including the third-largest town, Kismaayo, are now under the control of Al-Shabaab, a group opposed to the TFG. In February 2008, then-Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice designated Al-Shabaab as a Foreign Terrorist Organization. In January 2009, the Somali Parliament elected the leader of the ARS, Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmad, as president. In February 2009, President Ahmad appointed Omar Abdirashid Ali Sharmarke as prime minister. In late October 2010, President Ahmad appointed Mohamed A. Mohamed as prime minster shortly after Sharmarke resigned. In June 2011, Prime Minister Mohamed was forced to resign because the Speaker demanded a new government. Following the resignation, there were a number of demonstrations in Mogadishu and other towns in support of the Prime Minister. Deputy Prime Minister Abdiweli M. Ali (from New York like his predecessor) was appointed prime minister and in late June Parliament approved his nomination. Humanitarian, political, and security conditions continue to deteriorate across south-central Somalia. Between May and August 2011, an estimated 30,000 children have died as a result of the current humanitarian crisis. An estimated 3.7 million people are in need of assistance, and one in three children are malnourished. There are an estimated 792,544 Somali refugees in neighboring countries and 1.7 Internally Displaced People (IDPs). An estimated 12.4 million people are in need of assistance in the Horn of Africa region. In early August 2011, Al-Shabaab forces pulled out of Mogadishu, the capital. The Obama Administration is actively engaged in support of the TFG and in an effort to contain terrorist groups in Somalia and the region. The U.S. Congress has passed a number of resolutions and has conducted multiple hearings on Somalia. The United States provided an estimated $403.8 million in assistance to Somalia in FY2009. In FY2010, Somalia received $152.1 million. The Obama Administration has requested $84.9 million for FY2011 and $82.3 for FY2012. The United States also provides material support to TFG forces. As of August 2011, the United States has provided $581 million in response to the humanitarian crisis in the Horn of Africa region. On July 11, 2010, Al-Shabaab carried out multiple suicide bombings in Kampala, Uganda. An estimated 76 people, including one American, were killed and more than 80 injured. In late November 2010, President Museveni visited Mogadishu and met with Somali officials and AMISOM forces. Congressional Research Service Somalia: Current Conditions and Prospects for a Lasting Peace Contents Recent Developments ...................................................................................................................... 1 The Current Humanitarian Crisis .............................................................................................. 1 Security Conditions ................................................................................................................... 1 A New Government ................................................................................................................... 1 Al-Shabaab’s Attacks in Kampala ............................................................................................. 2 Transitional Federal Government (TFG) Reshuffle .................................................................. 2 The United States and Somalia........................................................................................................ 3 U.S. Assistance to Somalia........................................................................................................ 3 U.S. Concerns............................................................................................................................ 4 Human Rights and Humanitarian Conditions.................................................................................. 5 Al-Shabaab and the Islamic Movements in Somalia ....................................................................... 5 Background................................................................................................................................ 5 The Evolution of Al-Shabaab .................................................................................................... 6 The Leadership of Al-Shabaab .................................................................................................. 7 Foreign Fighters and Al-Shabaab .............................................................................................. 7 Al-Shabaab and Other Somali Terrorist Groups in Somalia...................................................... 8 Al-Shabaab Losing Support?..................................................................................................... 8 Internal Division Within Al-Shabaab ........................................................................................ 8 Hizbul Islam Leader Sheik Sharif Hassan Aweys............................................................................ 9 Peacekeeping Mission: Background................................................................................................ 9 The African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM)............................................................... 10 Political Developments: Background ............................................................................................ 11 Security Conditions: Background.................................................................................................. 12 Somali Piracy in the Horn of Africa .............................................................................................. 14 Overview ................................................................................................................................. 14 Who Are the Pirates? ............................................................................................................... 15 The Views from Somalia ......................................................................................................... 15 Policy Options to Address Piracy ............................................................................................ 16 Policy Options in Dealing with Political and Security Problems .................................................. 16 Background: 2006-2008 ................................................................................................................ 17 The Islamic Courts Union: Background ........................................................................................ 18 The Top Leaders of the Courts: Background ................................................................................. 21 The Executive Council (Before the Split) ............................................................................... 21 The Legislative Council or Shura (Before the Split) ............................................................... 22 The Alliance for the Re-Liberation of Somalia.............................................................................. 22 Al-Ittihad........................................................................................................................................ 24 Somalia: Background (1991-2006)................................................................................................ 25 Peace Processes ....................................................................................................................... 26 National Reconciliation Conference........................................................................................ 27 Ethiopia-Somalia Relations ........................................................................................................... 27 Legislation ..................................................................................................................................... 28 Congressional Research Service Somalia: Current Conditions and Prospects for a Lasting Peace Figures Figure 1. Major Somali Clans and Subclans.................................................................................. 29 Figure 2. Map of Somalia .............................................................................................................. 30 Figure 3. Somali Refugees in the Region ...................................................................................... 31 Figure 4. Humanitarian Access vs. IDPs ....................................................................................... 32 Tables Table 1. U.S. Assistance to Somalia ................................................................................................ 4 Table 2. The Leadership of the Executive Council of the ARS Before the Split ........................... 23 Contacts Author Contact Information........................................................................................................... 33 Congressional Research Service Somalia: Current Conditions and Prospects for a Lasting Peace Recent Developments The Current Humanitarian Crisis Somalia is facing one of its worst humanitarian crisis in decades. Between May and August 2011, an estimated 30,000 children have died as a result of the current humanitarian crisis. An estimated 3.7 million people are in need of assistance, and one in three children are malnourished. There are an estimated 792, 544 Somali refugees in neighboring countries and 1.7 Internally Displaced People (IDPs). Each day an estimated 1,500 Somali refugees arrive in Kenya, according to United Nations officials. An estimated 12.4 million people are in need of assistance in the Horn of Africa region. The United States has provided $581 million in response to the crisis as of August 2011. In August 2011, the Organization of Islamic Conference (IOC) pledged $350 million in assistance to Somalia. The African Development Bank and members of the African Union also pledged $350 million in response to the crisis in the region. In August 2011, Turkish Prime Minster Recep Tayyip Erdogan visited Mogadishu with his family and four ministers. Prime Minister Erdogan stated during his visit that the people of Turkey raised $115 million during the month of August in response to the humanitarian crisis. In August, the government of Turkey deployed a number of doctors to Mogadishu and pledged to build six hospitals. Security Conditions Since January 2011, the TFG and the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) have intensified their attacks against Al-Shabaab forces in Mogadishu and southern Somalia. As of June 2011, Al-Shabaab forces had lost a number of districts in Mogadishu to TFG and AMISOM forces. A number of Al-Shabaab fighters have defected to the TFG and a number of their senior commanders have been killed. On June 10, 2011, the Minister of Interior and National Security, Abdishakur Hassan Farah, was killed in a suicide attack. The attacker was reportedly his own niece. In mid-June 2011, Fazul Abdullah Mohammed, the mastermind of the U.S. embassy attacks in Kenya and Tanzania in 1998 and the most senior Al Qaeda operative in East Africa, was killed by Somali security forces in Mogadishu. According to senior Somali officials, valuable documents were captured from Fazul Mohamed, including letters written by him about the divisions and ineffectiveness of Al-Shabaab. In early August 2011, Al-Shabaab forces pulled out of Mogadishu. A New Government In late October 2010, President Ahmed appointed Mohamed A. Mohamed as prime minster, shortly after Prime Minister Abdirashid Ali Sharmarke resigned. In November 2010, Prime Minister Mohamed formed an 18-member cabinet. The previous government had 36 ministers. The new government had several Somali-Americans, including the Prime Minister and the Minister of Information. Over the past six months, Prime Minister Mohamed carried out a number of important reforms, including anti-corruption measures. In February 2011, the Somali Parliament decided to extend its own mandate by three years. The mandate of the TFG was set to expire in August 2011, with new elections planned before August 20, 2011. Parliament, however, extended its term without consulting the TFG. The TFG opposed the three year extension and donor governments criticized the unilateral move by parliament. Congressional Research Service 1 Somalia: Current Conditions and Prospects for a Lasting Peace The TFG is also expected to adopt a new constitution and implement other measures. In an effort to resolve the crisis, President Yoweri Museveni of Uganda and the Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary General, Ambassador Augustine P. Mahiga, called for a meeting in early June 2011 in Kampala, Uganda. On June 9, 2011, the Speaker of Parliament and President Ahmed agreed to postpone elections for twelve months. They also agreed that elections for the Speaker of Parliament and President would take place before August 20, 2012. The Speaker had also demanded to form a new government. The parties agreed that within 30 days of the signing of the agreement, the Prime Minister would resign and the President would appoint a new prime minster. Parliament is required to approve the cabinet within 14 days. The Prime Minister was forced to resign because the Speaker demanded a new government. Following the agreement, there were a number of demonstrations in Mogadishu and other towns in support of the Prime Minister. On June 19, 2011, Prime Minister Mohamed resigned. Deputy Prime Minister Abdiweli M. Ali (from New York like his predecessor) was appointed and in late June approved by the Parliament. Al-Shabaab’s Attacks in Kampala On July 11, 2010, the Somali terrorist group Al-Shabaab carried out multiple suicide bombings in Kampala, Uganda. An estimated 76 people, including one American, were killed and more than 80 injured. The United Nations, the African Union, and the United States condemned the terrorist attacks. More than 20 suspects are currently in prison in Uganda. The attacks took place at a rugby club and Ethiopian restaurant while people were watching the final match of the World Cup. The following day, an Al-Shabaab official, Ali Mohamud Rage, stated that “we are sending a message to Uganda and Burundi, if they do not take out their AMISOM troops from Somalia, blasts will continue and it will happen in Bujumbura (Burundi’s capital) too.”1 The international community condemned the attacks. In an interview with the South African Broadcasting Corporation, President Obama stated that he had called President Museveni to express “the condolences of the American people for this horrific crime that had been committed.” The United Nations Security Council in a statement said “members of the Security Council condemn in the strongest terms the terrorist attacks that occurred in Kampala, Uganda, on 11 July 2010, causing numerous deaths and injuries.” The African Union also condemned the attacks. In late July 2010, at the 15th Assembly of the Heads of State and Government of the African Union in Kampala, Uganda, the African Union agreed to send an estimated 4,000 more troops to strengthen AMISOM. Guinea and Djibouti pledged a battalion each. Members of the InterGovernmental Authority for Development (IGAD) also agreed in early July to send an estimated 2,000 troops. Transitional Federal Government (TFG) Reshuffle In mid-May 2010, the Somali Speaker of Parliament resigned after several months of dispute with the Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minister. A day later, President Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmad fired the Prime Minister. In late May, President Ahmad reinstated the Prime Minister. The 1 Congressional Research Service 2 Somalia: Current Conditions and Prospects for a Lasting Peace reversal of the decision was temporary. In late September 2010, Prime Minister Abdirashid Ali Sharmarke was forced to resign. In late May 2010, the Finance and Deputy Prime Minister, Sheik Sharif Hassan, ran for Speaker and won the support of 217 members of parliament (MPs) out of 550. During the vote, an estimated 388 MPs were present. Four ministers resigned in protest, arguing that this was preplanned and that Hassan used government resources to bribe members of parliament to support his candidacy. The former Speaker was targeted by the current Speaker and the President because he was pushing for parliament to resume its session in order to question government officials about government activities and responsibilities. The Prime Minister and the Deputy Prime Minster pushed for parliament to remain in recess. In June 2010, the Somali government appointed a new cabinet. The new cabinet includes members of Ahlu Sunna Wal Jamaa, who signed an agreement with the TFG a few months earlier. The United States and Somalia The Obama Administration is actively engaged in support of the TFG and in an effort to contain terrorist groups in Somalia and the region. The U.S. Congress has passed a number of resolutions and conducted multiple hearings on Somalia. In early August 2009, Secretary of State Hilary Clinton met with President Sheik Sharif Ahmad of Somalia in Kenya. The Secretary expressed U.S. support for the TFG. President Sheikh Sharif briefed the Secretary and her delegation about the challenges facing his government and asked for U.S. support. In late September 2009, President Ahmad came to the United States to address the U.N. General Assembly, and visited in Washington to meet with U.S. officials and Somali community members. In late September 2009, he expressed concern that pledges made by some governments to the TFG have not been delivered. He made the point that every time a pledge is made to the TFG, the insurgents also get support from their allies. He asserted that the insurgents get the support faster and the TFG has to wait for months.2 U.S. Assistance to Somalia The United States provided an estimated $403.8 million in assistance to Somalia in FY2009. In FY2010, Somalia received $152.1 million. The Obama Administration has requested $84.9 million for FY2011 and $82.3 million for FY2010. The United States also provides material support to TFG forces. In September 2010, U.S. support for TFG forces increased and the Obama Administration is reaching out to other donor governments to assist Somalia.3 The Obama Administration has also requested $91.8 million for U.N. Support to the African Union Mission in Somalia (UNSOA) for FY2012. The European Commission provided $399 million in development aid to Somalia from 2003 to 2009, and $125 million in humanitarian assistance between 2005 and 2008. 2 3 Ted Dagne met with President Ahmad and his delegation in Washington on September 29, 2009. Ted Dagne interview with senior Somali and State Department officials in early October 2010. Congressional Research Service 3 Somalia: Current Conditions and Prospects for a Lasting Peace Table 1. U.S. Assistance to Somalia ($ in thousands) FY2009 Actual Total FY2010 Actual FY2011 Request FY2012 Request 403,838 152,176 84,958 82,371 32,250 31,270 25,818 25,821 1,550 1,550 1,550 1,550 Development Assistance Economic Support Fund Global Health and Child Survival-USAID International Military Education and Training 40 International Narcotics Control and Law Enforcement 2,000 2,000 Nonproliferation, Antiterrorism, Demining and Related Programs 2,353 2,000 53,550 Peacekeeping Operations 246,600 102,000 Public Law 480 (Food Aid) 123,438 15,003 51,000 Source: Congressional Budget Justification, FY2012. U.S. Concerns U.S. officials are concerned that Al Qaeda and its allies in East Africa continue to pose serious threats. Al Qaeda poses a direct threat against U.S. interests and allies in East Africa, although Al-Shabaab appears more focused at this point on carrying out attacks against Somali citizens, the TFG, and African Union peacekeeping forces (AMISOM). Al-Shabaab, however, has threatened to attack neighboring countries, including Ethiopia, Kenya, and Eritrea. On February 2, 2009, Director of National Intelligence Dennis Blair, at a Senate Select Committee on Intelligence hearing, stated: We judge most Al-Shabaab and East Africabased Al Qaeda members will remain focused on regional objectives in the near-term. Nevertheless, East Africa-based Al Qaeda leaders or Al-Shabaab may elect to redirect to the Homeland some of the Westerners, including North Americans, now training and fighting in Somalia.4 Somalia: Facts and Statistics Population: 10.1 million Growth rate: 2.85% (2010 est.) Life expectancy: 50 years Approximate size: slightly smaller than Texas Capital: Mogadishu Infant Mortality Rate: 107.4 deaths/1,000 live births (2010 est.) HIV/AIDS, adult prevalence rate: 0.5% (2007 est.) GDP, per capita: $600 (2009 est.) GDP, real growth rate: 2.6% (2009 est.) Ethnic groups: Somali, 85%; Bantu & other non-Somali, 15% (including Arabs, 30,000) Religion: Sunni Muslim Official language: Somali Source: CIA, The World Factbook 2010 4 Director of National Intelligence Dennis C. Blair, Annual Threat Assessment of the U.S. Intelligence Community for the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, February 2, 2010. Congressional Research Service 4 Somalia: Current Conditions and Prospects for a Lasting Peace On August 5, 2010, more than a dozen Somali Americans/permanent residents were arrested. Attorney General Eric Holder announced that 14 people are being charged with providing support to Al-Shabaab. Two indictments unsealed in Minnesota states that Amina Farah Ali and Hawo Mohamed Hassan raised funds for Al-Shabaab. The indictment states that 12 money transfers were made in 2008 and 2009. Holder stated at a press conference that “the indictments unsealed today shed further light on a deadly pipeline that has routed funding and fighters to the AlShabaab terror organization from cities across the United States. These arrests and charges should serve as an unmistakable warning to others considering joining terrorist groups like Al-Shabaab— if you choose this route, you can expect to find yourself in a U.S. jail cell or a casualty on the battlefield in Somalia.” Human Rights and Humanitarian Conditions The humanitarian situation in Somalia remains dire, according to United Nations officials and Somali humanitarian workers. The fighting in Mogadishu has added more challenges to already poor conditions on the ground. Targeted attacks on humanitarian groups have made delivery of assistance difficult. The Obama Administration has also suspended assistance in areas controlled by Al-Shabaab. An estimated 1.1 million people have been displaced and more than 475,000 have fled to neighboring countries in the past two years. Human rights groups and Somali observers estimate more than 22,000 people have been killed over the past two years. Civilians, humanitarian workers, journalists, and human rights advocates have been the primary targets of the insurgents, TFG, and Ethiopian security forces. According to Amnesty International, “rape, killings and looting have become widespread. Entire neighborhoods have been destroyed.” A number of Somali journalists covering the crisis in Somalia have been assassinated by insurgents and security forces over the past 18 months. Dozens of humanitarian and human rights advocates have been killed, injured, or imprisoned. Because of these targeted attacks, many human rights advocates and journalists have fled Somalia to neighboring countries for safety. Somalis working for international NGOs and foreign media have also been attacked by insurgents and TFG/Ethiopian security forces. Al-Shabaab and the Islamic Movements in Somalia Background The United States, Somalia’s neighbors, and some Somali groups have expressed concern over the years about the spread of Islamic fundamentalism in Somalia. In the mid-1990s, Islamic courts began to emerge in parts of the country, especially in the capital of Mogadishu. These courts functioned as local governments and often enforced decisions by using their own militia. Members of the Al Ittihad Al Islami5 militia reportedly provided the bulk of the security forces for these courts in the 1990s. The absence of central authority in Somalia created an environment 5 The 2005 U.S. State Department Country Report on Terrorism described Al Ittihad Al Islami as “a Somali extremist group that was formed in the 1980s and reached its peak in the early 1990s, failed to obtain its objective of establishing a Salafist emirate in Somalia and steadily declined following the downfall of the Siad Barre regime in 1991 and Somalia’s subsequent collapse into anarchy. AIAI was not internally cohesive, lacked central leadership, and suffered divisions between factions.” Congressional Research Service 5 Somalia: Current Conditions and Prospects for a Lasting Peace conducive to the proliferation of armed factions throughout the country. Somali factions, including the so-called Islamic groups, often go through realignments or simply disappear from the scene. Very little is known about the leadership or organizational structure of these groups. There have been a number of radical Islamic groups in Somalia whose prominence alternately waxed and waned: Al Ittihad Al Islami (Islamic Union), Al Islah (Reform), Al Tabligh (Conveyers of God’s Work). In 1995, a group called Jihad Al Islam, led by Sheikh Abbas bin Omar, emerged in Mogadishu and gave the two main warlords, General Mohammed Farah Aideed and Ali Mahdi, an ultimatum to end their factional fighting. The group claimed at that time that it maintained offices in several countries, including Yemen, Pakistan, Kenya, and Sudan. Some members of this group later formed the Sharia (Islamic law) Implementation Club (SIC) in 1996. SIC’s principal objective was to establish Sharia courts throughout the country. Some members of the Mogadishu-based former Transitional National Government (TNG) reportedly were key players in the establishment of these courts. Very little is known about al-Islah, although it is perceived as a group dominated by Hawiye clan businessmen. According to the State Department’s 2006 Country Reports on Terrorism, “while numerous Islamist groups engaged in a broad range of activities operate inside Somalia, few of these organizations have any known links to terrorist activities. Movements such as Harakat al-Islah (al-Islah), Ahlu Sunna wal Jamaa (ASWJ), and Majma Ulimadda Islaamka ee Soomaaliya (Majma’) sought power by political rather than violent means and pursued political action via missionary or charity work.” In late September 2001, the Bush Administration added Al Ittihad to a list of terrorism-related entities whose assets were frozen by an Executive Order 13224. Bush Administration officials accused Al Ittihad Al Islami of links with Al Qaeda. None of the groups mentioned above remain active, although some of their leaders are now leaders of groups engaged in terrorist activities in Somalia. The leader of Hizbul Islam, Sheikh Hassan Aweys, who is on the U.S. terrorist list, was a leader in Al Ittihad Al Islami. In the late 1990s, after a Ethiopia and its Somali allies attacked and crushed Al-Ittihad, a number of its fighters, the current leadership of Al-Shabaab, went to Afghanistan and others went underground. The Evolution of Al-Shabaab In 2003, the leadership of Al-Ittihad, including Sheik Ali Warsame, brother in law of Sheik Hassan Aweys and a number of other top leaders, met and later decided to form a new political front. The young members of Al-Ittihad disagreed with the decision of the older leadership in 2003 and decided to form their own movement. These young leaders, some of whom had fought in Afghanistan, met in Laasa aanood, a town in northern Somalia, and later formed a group known then as Harakat Al-Shabaab Al-Mujahedeen, currently known as Al-Shabaab. The current leader of Al-Shabaab, Ahmed Abdi Godane, the late Aden Hashi Ayrow, Ibrahim Haji Jama, Mukhtar Robow, helped form the new movement. The primary objective of this group was irredentism and to establish a “Greater Somalia” under Sharia. But Al-Shabaab was not active and did not control any territory in Somalia until 2007-2008. The Ethiopian invasion and the ouster of the Courts from power in December 2006 contributed to the emergence of a strong resistance movement. The leadership of the Islamic Courts moved to Eritrea, while the Al-Shabaab secretive leadership slowly took control over the resistance movement. Many Somalis joined the fight against the Ethiopian forces. Some of these volunteers did not know or had only limited knowledge of the intent and objectives of Al-Shabaab. By mid2007, the true leaders of Al-Shabaab emerged and the ties with Al-Qaeda became clear. In February 2008, then Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice designated Al-Shabaab as a Foreign Congressional Research Service 6 Somalia: Current Conditions and Prospects for a Lasting Peace Terrorist Organization and as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist. The TFG was able to win over some Al-Shabaab fighters to join the government side. The Leadership of Al-Shabaab The leaders of Al-Shabaab are not well known, with few exceptions. Some of the key commanders and leaders of Al-Shabaab come from Somaliland. Ahmed Abdi Godane (also known as Abu Zubayr), who is designated by the U.S. as a terrorist and who trained and fought in Afghanistan, is a key commander from Somaliland. Mukhtar Robow (Abu Mansur), who is also designated as a terrorist, is considered one of the key leaders of the Shabaab and a former spokesman, although in recent months he has been marginalized and has been at odds with the other commanders, especially Godane. Robow is now the commander of the Bay and Bakool regions. Another key leader is Ibrahim Haji Jama (al-Afghani), who is on the U.S. terrorism list and also from Somaliland, and reportedly trained and fought in Afghanistan. Other key leaders of Al-Shabaab include Bashir Mohamed Mohamud, Sudi Arable, Fuad Ahmed Khalaf “Shangole,” Ali Mohamed Hussein Rage (current Al-Shabaab Spokesman), Ahmed Korgab, and Mohamed Fidow. Foreign Fighters and Al-Shabaab Some observers and security officials estimate there are several hundred foreign fighters in Somalia. U.S. officials have long expressed concern about the presence of known terrorist individuals in Somalia. Some observers contend that Somalia is being used as a transit and hiding place by some of these individuals, including Harun Fazul, the leader of the 1998 and 2002 bombings, Saleh Nabhan, and Talha al-Sudani. Nabhan was killed by U.S. forces in September 2009, and al-Sudani was reportedly killed in Somalia in 2007. In May 2009, the U.S. State Department issued a press release confirming the presence of foreign fighters in Mogadishu, while France, the United Nations, and the African Union made similar statements. According to senior security sources in Mogadishu and regional officials, some of the foreign fighters are now commanding both Somali and foreign fighters in Mogadishu and other parts of Somalia. In May 2009, a spokesman of Al-Shabaab admitted that foreign fighters have joined the fighting. According to Sheik Husayn Fidow, “the Muslim people of Somalia have asked for assistance from other Muslim nations worldwide.” In response to these wellcoordinated attacks, TFG President Sheik Sharif Ahmad stated that his government will respond forcefully. Some of the top foreign commanders in Al-Shabaab include • Fazul Abdullah (also known as Harun Fazul) from Comoros and the mastermind of the 1998 U.S. embassy bombings in Kenya and Tanzania • Sheik Mohamed Abu Faid, Saudi national • Abu Mansur Al Ameriki, American national • Abu Musa Mombasa, Pakistani national • Mohamoud Mujajir, Sudanese national • Abu Suleiman Al-Banadiri, Somali of Yemeni decent Congressional Research Service 7 Somalia: Current Conditions and Prospects for a Lasting Peace Al-Shabaab and Other Somali Terrorist Groups in Somalia On February 1, 2010, Al-Shabaab and the Ras Kamboni group, led by Hassan Al Turki, reportedly agreed to merge under one name: Al-Shabaab Mujahidin Movement. Both Al-Shabaab and the Ras Kamboni group have been coordinating their attacks against the TFG and working closely with foreign fighters over the past two years. Senior TFG officials consider the merger a reaffirmation of a pre-existing informal alliance between the two groups.6 The merger is also triggered in part due to defections and the reported illness of Hassan Al-Turki, the leader of Ras Kamboni. Al Turki, an Ethiopian from the Ogaden clan, was designated as a terrorist by the United States in 2004. Another possible reason for the merger is due to the expected major military offensive by TFG forces against Al-Shabaab and its allies. A number of negotiations on merger with Hizbul Islam have failed. Al-Shabaab Losing Support? Internal divisions and defections seem to be weakening Al-Shabaab. Two senior Al-Shabaab leaders, Mohamed Faruq and Ali Hassan Gheddi, defected with an estimated 550 fighters to join the TFG. Ahlu Sunna Wal Jamaa, a militia group that was previously opposed to the TFG, has been working closely with the TFG against Al-Shabaab and other anti-government militia groups. Al-Shabaab brutal measures against the civilian population has contributed to a widespread antiShabaab sentiments. The December 2009 suicide bombing during a graduation ceremony for medical students at a hotel in Mogadishu further eroded Al-Shabaab’s popularity. The attack reportedly killed 23 people, including three TFG ministers. The suicide bombing was carried out by a Danish citizen of Somali descent. Among the dead and wounded were students, family members, journalists, members of parliament, and faculty members. One of the ministers killed, Ibrahim Addou, was an American citizen and a former faculty member at American University in Washington, DC. Al-Shabaab recruitment among the Somali Diaspora seems to be declining due to increased law enforcement monitoring and also growing anti-Shabaab sentiment, although some foreigners are going to Somalia to join the movement. Internal Division Within Al-Shabaab In August-September, Al-Shabaab launched a series of attacks against African Union and TFG forces in Mogadishu. In late September 2010, Al-Shabaab lost many fighters infighting and retreated from some areas it had firm control in the past. The loss led to internal infighting since some of the senior commanders were opposed to these attacks, arguing that it was too risky. In September 2010, Mukhtar Robow (Abu Mansur) withdrew his forces from Mogadishu and went back to his stronghold: the Bay and Bakool region, according to senior Somali and regional officials. Some Al-Shabaab commanders assert that the loss of many of their fighters during the August-September fighting could be because of new weapons that AU and TFG forces allegedly received from donor governments. Meanwhile, the TFG intends to deploy a two-pronged approach in dealing with Al-Shabaab: continue the offensive and reach out to moderate elements of Al-Shabaab. 6 Ted Dagne interviewed President Sheik Sharif Ahmad of Somalia and other senior officials, January 29 and February 1, 2010. Congressional Research Service 8 Somalia: Current Conditions and Prospects for a Lasting Peace Hizbul Islam Leader Sheik Sharif Hassan Aweys In late April 2009, Sheik Sharif Hassan Aweys returned to Mogadishu from Eritrea. Sheik Aweys had remained in Eritrea and formed his own faction after the top leadership of the ARS signed an agreement in Djibouti with other Somali parties, which led to the formation of the current government. ARS-Asmara, under the leadership of Aweys, did not garner significant support, although Aweys intensified his support for the extremist groups inside Somalia. ARS-Asmara leaders were not in full agreement with Aweys and his support for the extremist groups inside Somalia. They provided written documentation to this effect to a visitor in April 2009. These leaders stated that they formed their own organization and would disassociate themselves from Aweys. Sheik Aweys came under intense pressure from some of his supporters to return to Mogadishu, and he also came to the conclusion that he was isolated and losing support in Eritrea. Sheik Aweys seemed confused at times and routinely contradicted himself in an interview in Asmara, Eritrea. When asked if he was prepared to state publicly his support for a peaceful participation in the current political process, Aweys responded positively. However, when he was asked whether he would denounce terrorism and call for an end to violence against civilians, Aweys stated that since he considers the American interpretation of terrorism as anti-Islam, he “cannot condemn terrorism.” Doing so, he asserted, is “denouncing his own religion.” Aweys believes that he was placed on the U.S. terrorism list because of his religion and beliefs. When asked if he wished to be removed from the list, Aweys stated that he would not seek to be removed because that would be going against his religion. Sheik Aweys asserted that since there are no major differences among Somalis, if left alone, Somalis will find their own solution. When confronted about his role in support of terrorism and violence in Somalia, he characterized these acts as a struggle against the enemies of Somalia. Upon his return to Mogadishu in late April 2009, Sheik Aweys discovered that the clan elders and militia who supported him in the past now wanted him to work with the government and end the violence. The militia group he helped create, Hizbul Islam, also was split and some have joined AlShabaab. Some of the top leaders of the Al-Shabaab also want him to declare an alliance with Osama Bin Laden and cut his ties with Eritrea, measures he has resisted thus far. Peacekeeping Mission: Background On December 6, 2006, the United Nations Security Council passed Resolution 1725, “reiterating its commitment to a comprehensive and lasting settlement of the situation in Somalia through the Transitional Federal Charter, and stressing the importance of broad-based and representative institutions and of an inclusive political process, as envisaged in the Transitional Federal Charter.” U. N. Security Council Resolution 1725 further called for “all Member States, in particular those in the region, to refrain from any action in contravention of the arms embargo and related measures, and should take all actions necessary to prevent such contravention.” Moreover, the Security Council expressed its “willingness to engage with all parties in Somalia who are committed to achieving a political settlement through peaceful and inclusive dialogue, including the Union of Islamic Courts.” The Security Council, acting under Chapter VII of the Charter of the United Nations, authorized the Inter-Governmental Authority for Development (IGAD) and the African Union to establish “a protection and training mission in Somalia.” U. N. Security Council Resolution 1725 specifically stated that countries bordering Somalia “would not deploy troops to Somalia.” Congressional Research Service 9 Somalia: Current Conditions and Prospects for a Lasting Peace On February 20, 2007, the U.N. Security Council passed resolution 1744 reiterating its support for the Transitional Federal Institutions and authorizing the African Union to establish a mission in Somalia. Resolution 1744 calls for “a national reconciliation congress involving all stakeholders, including political leaders, clan leaders, religious leaders, and representatives of civil society.” The resolution, while it welcomed the withdrawal of Ethiopian troops from Somalia, did not include a provision that restricts the participation of Somalia’s immediate neighbors in the peacekeeping operation as resolution 1725 did. The Security Council unanimously adopted Resolution 1772 on August 20, 2007, authorizing the African Union to maintain its operation in Somalia for an additional six months. The resolution also authorized peacekeeping forces on the ground to take all necessary measures to support and protect those involved in the Reconciliation Congress. Finally, Resolution 1772 called on all Member States, especially those in close proximity to Somalia, to comply with the arms embargo that was established in 1992 by Resolution 733. The African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) At the African Union Summit in late January 2007, several African countries pledged to contribute troops for a peacekeeping mission in Somalia. Ghana, Nigeria, Burundi, Uganda, and Malawi have pledged troops. The African Union is facing difficulties in convincing governments to make serious troop contributions to the mission. Observers contend that without a negotiated settlement with groups still outside the TFG, it will be difficult to maintain peace and stability in Somalia. In late July 2010, at the 15th Assembly of the Heads of State and Government of the African Union in Kampala, Uganda, the African Union agreed to send an estimated 4,000 more troops to strengthen AMISOM. Guinea and Djibouti pledged a battalion each. Members of the Inter-Governmental Authority for Development (IGAD) also agreed in early July to send an estimated 2,000 troops. As of July 2010, there were an estimated 7,000 AMISOM peacekeeping personnel in Somalia. As of July 2010, an estimated 26 Ugandan peacekeepers and 29 peacekeepers from Burundi have been killed. The African Union peacekeeping mission is mandated to • support dialogue and reconciliation in Somalia, working with all stakeholders; • provide, as appropriate, protection to the TFIs and their key infrastructure, to enable them carry out their functions; • assist in the implementation of the National Security and Stabilization Plan of Somalia, particularly the effective reestablishment and training of all inclusive Somali security forces, bearing in mind the programs already being implemented by some of Somalia’s bilateral and multilateral partners; • provide, within capabilities and as appropriate, technical and other support to the disarmament and stabilization efforts; • monitor, in areas of deployment of its forces, the security situation; • facilitate, as may be required and within capabilities, humanitarian operations, including the repatriation and reintegration of refugees and the resettlement of IDPs; and Congressional Research Service 10 Somalia: Current Conditions and Prospects for a Lasting Peace • protect its personnel, installations and equipment, including the right of selfdefense.7 Political Developments: Background In February 2009, President Ahmad appointed Omar Abdirashid Ali Sharmarke as prime minister. Sharmarke is the son of the former President of Somalia, who was killed during the 1969 military coup. Sharmarke received overwhelming support in the Transitional Parliament. The appointment of Sharmarke provided important representation in the new government for the Darod clan. Sharmarke belongs to the same sub-clan, the Majertain, as former president Yusuf. Moreover, the Transitional Parliament was expanded in 2008 and now includes an additional 149 members from the main opposition group, the ARS. Parliament also extended the mandate of the Transitional Federal Government by another two years until 2011. Some observers expressed concern about the size of the new parliament, while others argued that it was a necessary measure to make the parliament more inclusive. In late December 2008, President Yusuf resigned from office and left for Yemen. President Yusuf was opposed to the Djibouti peace process and repeatedly clashed with his prime minister. In January 2009, the Somali Transitional Parliament elected the leader of the ARS, Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmad as president. President Ahmad is seen by many Somalis as a leader with the best chance of bringing peace and stability to Somalia and as someone who can bring those elements outside the peace process to join the new government. In January 2009, President Ahmad went to Ethiopia and took part in the African Union (AU) summit, where he was welcomed by member states. In 2006, Ethiopian forces attacked and forced out Ahmad’s Islamic Courts Union from power. However, President Ahmad was warmly welcomed by Ethiopian authorities during the AU summit in Ethiopia. Humanitarian and security conditions continue to deteriorate in south-central Somalia, despite some political progress and a recent peace agreement between the Somali Transitional Federal Government (TFG) and the Alliance for the Re-Liberation of Somalia (ARS), a group formed by former members of the Islamic Courts Union (ICU) and Somalis from different backgrounds. The ouster from power of the ICU by Ethiopian forces in December 2006 created a security vacuum that was soon occupied by the more radical elements of the ICU’s military factions. The moderate leadership of the ICU became marginalized, splintered, and weakened over the past year. U.S., TFG, and Ethiopian officials labeled the entire leadership of the ICU as extremist and terrorist in 2006. Eighteen months later, however, the same governments supported the inclusion of some former ICU members in a U.N.-led peace process. In May-June, 2008, TFG and ARS officials met in Djibouti under the auspices of the United Nations. Officials from the United States, Europe, the African Union, the Arab League, the Organization of Islamic Conference, and regional governments took part as observers during the talks in Djibouti. The parties agreed on a wide range of issues, including cessation of hostilities and a commitment to find a durable peace agreement.8 The parties agreed to support the deployment of a United Nations peacekeeping force and the phased withdrawal of Ethiopian forces from Somalia. The agreement, however, links the withdrawal of Ethiopian forces with the 7 8 Communiqué of the African Union Peace and Security Council 69th Meeting, January 19, 2007. CRS interview with senior TFG officials and members of the Somali opposition in Kenya, May and August 2008. Congressional Research Service 11 Somalia: Current Conditions and Prospects for a Lasting Peace deployment of a U.N. peacekeeping force, although Ethiopian forces have already withdrawn from some areas. In addition, in November 2008, the Ethiopian government announced that its forces would pull out of Somalia by the end of 2008. In January 2009, Ethiopian forces completed their withdrawal from Somalia. The parties also agreed to provide unhindered humanitarian access to civilians in need and to establish a Joint Security Committee to ensure implementation of security arrangements and create an interim joint security force.9 The parties established a High Level Committee, chaired by the United Nations, to deal with political, justice, and governance issues. The Djibouti agreement is complicated and has repeatedly been undermined by infighting within the TFG, insecurity, the growing influence of insurgent groups, and limited support by the international community. The TFG forces, under the leadership of President Yusuf, were weak, ineffective, and seriously debilitated by defections. In 2008-2009, an estimated 40% of the police force, trained by the United Nations, left the force due to lack of payment. Some donor governments have withheld funds pledged to the TFG due to lack of transparency and human rights abuses. Infighting within the TFG, especially between then-Prime Minister Nur Adde and then-President Yusuf, weakened the TFG. In November 2007, Prime Minister Nur Adde replaced Ali M. Ghedi, a man seen by many Somalis as ineffective and highly partisan. Prime Minister Nur Adde, who was seen by many Somalis and Somali observers as a key actor to bridge the gap between the TFG and the opposition, often clashed with President Yusuf. In July 2008, the prime minister dismissed the mayor of Mogadishu and governor of Benadir region, Mohamed Dheere, because of mismanagement of funds. In protest, 10 pro-Yusuf ministers resigned, triggering a crisis within the TFG. In August 2008, the prime minister and the president met in Ethiopia, and later reached an agreement on a number of issues. In Mid-December 2008, President Yusuf fired Prime Minister Nur and named Mohamed Mohamud Guled as the new prime minister. The prime minister rejected his dismissal, arguing that President Yusuf lacked the legal authority to dismiss him and that only Parliament has the power to dismiss the prime minister. On December 15, 2008, a majority of the Somali Parliament voted in support of Prime Minister Nur Adde. The government of Kenya imposed a travel ban and asset freeze against President Yusuf. Security Conditions: Background In late September 2009, government forces seized control of Beledweyne from Hizbul Islam. Beledweyne, a town near the Ethiopian border, has changed hands several times in the past six months. Meanwhile, attacks against government forces and African Union peacekeeping troops in Mogadishu intensified in September. An estimated 21 people, including 17 African Union peacekeepers, were killed in a suicide attack in late September 2009. The Deputy Force Commander was one of the victims in the attack. Al-Shabaab used two stolen United Nations trucks to carry out the attack against the AMISOM headquarters in Mogadishu. Two of the suicide bombers are believed to be Somali-Americans. In mid-September 2009, U.S. forces killed Saleh Ali Saleh Nabhan, a senior al-Qaeda member suspected of attacks against the U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania and the leader of the terrorist attack against the Paradise Hotel in Mombasa, Kenya, in 2002. Several other foreign 9 United Nations Political Office for Somalia (UNPOS), August 2008. Congressional Research Service 12 Somalia: Current Conditions and Prospects for a Lasting Peace fighters were killed along with Nabhan. The killing of Nabhan has reportedly shaken the leadership of Al-Shabaab, according to regional and Somali security sources. Of the three most wanted al-Qaeda leaders in East Africa, the only one left is the leader of the group and the mastermind of the U.S. embassy bombings: Haroon Fazul. The killing of Nabhan is likely to weaken the link between the Shabaab and al-Qaeda, and it may take some time for al-Qaeda to replace Nabhan with someone familiar with that region. Earlier that year, Al-Shabaab and Hizbul Islam made important gains in Mogadishu and other parts of Somalia, in large part due to defections to the insurgency and lack of resources by the TFG. The TFG forces later regrouped, and by mid-June managed to regain some lost ground in Mogadishu. In early May 2009, Somali extremist groups backed by foreign fighters launched a major offensive against the TFG and AMISOM. More than 300 people were killed during that period and many more wounded. The primary objective of this offensive is to oust the TFG from power and force AMISOM to leave Somalia. Several Al-Shabaab factions, Hizbul al-Islam, and foreign fighters have been engaged in a series of battles against government forces. Al-Shabaab also reportedly assassinated a number of senior TFG officials, including the police chief and the Minister of Interior. Senior Somali officials, African Union sources, and other regional officials estimate that more than 400 foreign fighters from Afghanistan, Yemen, Pakistan, the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Kenya, and Saudi Arabia have been engaged in support of the Al-Shabaab forces. More than 290 fighters reportedly entered Mogadishu in early May, and an estimated 50 fighters were in Mogadishu for much longer. Some of these fighters have been killed in battles in Mogadishu, according to senior officials in Mogadishu. The insurgents receive support from outside and from some Somali businessmen, who are unhappy with the TFG leadership. Over the years, some Somali businessmen backed one faction or another to protect business or clan interests. As of January 2010, insurgent groups were in control of most of south-central Somalia, including the third-largest town, Kismaayo. TFG forces, as well as the African Union Mission to Somalia (AMISOM), do not have control or presence outside Baidoa and Mogadishu. Even in the case of Mogadishu, the insurgents control some parts of Mogadishu and some of their forces are active outside the capital. The Al-Shabaab forces also have expanded their military operations to other parts of Somalia and routinely assassinate opponents and government officials. In late October 2008, simultaneous and well-coordinated suicide attacks in Puntland and Somaliland reportedly killed an estimated 20 people and injured many more. The targets of the attacks were the Ethiopian Consulate, the office of the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), and a security office close to the Presidential Palace. The suicide mission was reportedly carried out by members of the Al-Shabaab, although no organization claimed credit for the attacks. One of the suicide bombers was an American-Somali from Minneapolis who, according to press reports, left the U.S. to take part in the suicide attacks. Reportedly, over a dozen Somali youth from Minneapolis have left the United States, and some community leaders believe they went to Somalia to join the insurgency. There is no clear evidence of how many and for what purpose these Somalis left Minneapolis.10 Over the past decade, many Somalis have returned to Somalia to work as journalists, humanitarian workers, and teachers. A number of these Somalis have been killed in the past two years by insurgents and security forces. 10 “Young Somali Men Missing from Minneapolis,” International Herald Tribune, November 27, 2008. Congressional Research Service 13 Somalia: Current Conditions and Prospects for a Lasting Peace The TFG remains vulnerable and its ability to defeat the insurgents depends on resources, including Armored Personnel Carriers (APCs), mobility, and a well-organized and sustainable military operation. The presence of the African Union force has helped prevent the takeover of Mogadishu by the insurgents. But the African Union force does not have a Chapter 7 mandate, requiring the force to be on the defensive rather than take offensive measures against the insurgents. The African Union force has used its long-range artilleries against the insurgents. These measures have weakened and forced the insurgents to remain outside the range of these weapons. But the most serious challenge facing the TFG forces and those of the AU is that the insurgents are highly decentralized and move in small units, and operate independently of one another. Somali Piracy in the Horn of Africa11 Overview I Somali pirates have intensified their attacks in the Gulf of Aden, carrying out attacks on over 111 commercial ships, and successfully hijacking an estimated 40 ships in 2008. In 2010, there were 219 attacks, 49 successful, by Somali pirates. In 2011, more than 100 ships have been attacked by Somali pirates. Ransom payments per ship hijacked averaged $4-$5 million in 2010 and 2011, and totaled roughly $105 million through the end of 2009, according to the Office of Naval Intelligence. The United States, Russia, India, China, and several other countries have deployed warships to tackle piracy in the Horn of Africa region. As of June 2011, Somali pirates were holding more than 400 crew members and over two dozen ships. In late August 2010, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, Susan Rice, stated during a U.N. Security Council debate on piracy that “ultimately, only security and stability in Somalia will resolve the root causes of the current piracy problem.” In February 2009, the U.S. Navy arrested 16 suspected Somali pirates. In December 2008, the Indian Navy reportedly arrested 23 Somali and Yemeni pirates. Moreover, the Russian Navy also arrested a number of suspected Somali pirates. In January 2009, the United States and Britain signed legal agreements with the Government of Kenya to extradite suspected pirates to be prosecuted in Kenya. An estimated 90 pirates have been detained. Some insurgent leaders have warned the pirates to end the piracy and to release crew members and ships currently controlled by the pirates. On December 16, 2008, the United Nations Security Council passed a resolution authorizing the use of “all necessary measures” by foreign military forces to stop piracy in Somalia. The resolution authorizes military operations inside Somalia and in its airspace for one year, with the consent of the TFG. In late August 2010, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, Susan Rice, stated during a U.N. Security Council debate on piracy that “ultimately, only security and stability in Somalia will resolve the root causes of the current piracy problem.” 11 For more on piracy in the Horn of Africa, see CRS Report R40528, Piracy off the Horn of Africa, by Lauren Ploch et al. Congressional Research Service 14 Somalia: Current Conditions and Prospects for a Lasting Peace Who Are the Pirates? The number of Somali pirates is unknown. While there are more pirates now than in previous years, the pirates do not seem to have a unified organization with a clear command structure. Many of these pirates are reportedly fishermen and former militia members of the Somali warlords. The pirates primarily come from the Puntland region of Somalia and are members of different clans. Some press reports have suggested that the pirates are being controlled and directed by the Islamic insurgents in south-central Somalia. There is no evidence, however, to support this assertion, and during the six months the ICU was in power, the leaders took measures to end piracy and other criminal activities. In November 2008, Sheik Hassan Aweys called on the pirates to end their criminal activities, and other insurgent leaders threatened to take military action against the pirates. The pirates, however, are not operating alone, according to a number of Somali and regional sources. Some Somali businessmen and officials in Puntland are reportedly behind the piracy. The pirates are reportedly receiving valuable information about the types of ships, cargo, and timing from Somalis in the Persian Gulf.12 They also possess sophisticated technology, including global positioning systems (GPS), automatic identification system (AIS), and satellite phones. The Views from Somalia Some Somalis view the piracy crisis as a foreign problem with little impact on their daily life. Some argue that the piracy problem will continue as long as the ship owners are willing to pay the pirates ransom. In the face of difficult economic conditions and a growing humanitarian crisis, many Somalis resent the fact that the piracy problem has received a great deal of international attention. Some Somali community leaders contend that some Somalis get involved in criminal activities in order to survive, while many others have made these kinds of criminal activities a lifetime profession. Since the collapse of the Siad Barre government in 1991, Somalis have been principal victims of criminals. Somalis had to pay “taxes” to warlords in order to pass from one neighborhood to another. Humanitarian assistance convoys are routinely targeted by criminal elements, forcing humanitarian agencies to hire gunmen for protection. Many Somalis contend that in the absence of a better alternative, they have come to accept life with all the difficulties they face daily.13 Some Somalis argue that the fishermen have become pirates because their way of life was destroyed by illegal fishing and toxic waste dumping that has been ignored by foreign governments. In 2005, the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) released a report documenting the damages resulting from toxic waste dumping on Somalia’s shores. According to a UNEP spokesman, “there’s uranium radioactive waste, there’s lead, there’s heavy metals like cadmium and mercury, there’s industrial waste, and there’s hospital wastes, chemical wastes, you name it.” According to the report, the primary reason for toxic dumping in Somalia is cost. The report states that it costs $2.5 per ton to dump toxic waste in Africa compared to $250 per ton to dump waste in Europe.14 In July 2008, then-United Nations Special Envoy Ould-Abdallah stated that “because there is no (effective) government, there is so much irregular fishing from European 12 CRS interviews with Somali officials, opposition leaders, and regional officials. Ted Dagne interviewed many Somalis in Dadaab refugee camp in Kenya in 2007-2008. 14 13 Congressional Research Service 15 Somalia: Current Conditions and Prospects for a Lasting Peace and Asian countries.” The Special Envoy argued that it is important to tackle these illegal activities by some countries, and not to solely focus on the problem of piracy.15 Policy Options to Address Piracy The United Nations Security Council has passed resolutions on piracy in the Horn of Africa. Another way that the international community has responded to the threat of piracy is by deploying warships to the Gulf of Aden. Since the deployment of these warships to the region, however, the number of hijacked ships has increased. Somali community leaders and regional analysts argue that the groups most capable and best positioned to handle the piracy problem are the Islamic insurgents and the clan elders. The Islamic Courts dealt with this problem effectively when they were in power, according to senior leaders of the Islamic Courts and independent observers. The Islamic insurgents claim that they are opposed to these kinds of criminal activities for religious reasons. The Islamic leadership sees the piracy problem as a source of concern because they fear that they could be erroneously or deliberately linked to the piracy phenomenon and become targets of punitive action by the international community. Another option is to provide quick and robust economic incentives to lure the unemployed away from piracy and other criminal activities. Policy Options in Dealing with Political and Security Problems Some suggest that the international community may consider engagement with the Islamic insurgents and clan elders as a means to resolve the political and security problems facing Somalia. According to some observers, it is pivotal to strengthen the moderate elements of the Islamic movements discretely. Most observers believe that the Al-Shabaab can only be contained by another Islamic movement supported by clan elders. Some of the most influential leaders in the Al-Shabaab are on the U.N. and U.S. Terrorism Lists. Some observers argue that removing some of these individuals from these lists in exchange for some concessions, including an end to the insurgency and acceptance of a negotiated settlement, should be considered as an option. One of the facilitators of the Djibouti talks was a Somali man on a U.N. Terrorism List. According to U.N. officials, that man is no longer on that List. Some of the leaders in the Al-Shabaab seem determined to continue their military campaign and are not inclined to participate in negotiations. According to some experts, targeted measures, including sanctions and assassination of the most extreme elements of the Al-Shabaab, could pave the way for other moderate leaders to emerge. However, others believe that this option is likely to backfire in the short term and increase anti-Western violence. Another option is to refer some of these individuals to the International Criminal Court (ICC) for war crimes. The most effective way of containing the extremists, most observers contend, is to look for a Somali-led solution, both political and military. The TFG, Islamic Courts, Somaliland, Puntland, and other moderate Somali forces could form a coalition to contain the advances of the most extreme elements of the Al-Shabaab politically and militarily. Such a coalition is likely to get 15 Ted Dagne interview with U.N. Special Envoy in Kenya, August 2008. Congressional Research Service 16 Somalia: Current Conditions and Prospects for a Lasting Peace more support of the Somali population rather than a peacekeeping force. The coalition can be assisted by neighboring countries. A Somali-led initiative would take away one of the most powerful justifications used by the Al-Shabaab to wage war, the presence of foreign forces. A unified regional approach is pivotal, however. Most believe that Eritrea has leverage over some of the influential Islamic leaders, some of whom are in Eritrea. Background: 2006-2008 On December 24, 2006, Ethiopian and TFG forces launched a military campaign against the forces of the ICU, a group that took over power in Mogadishu in June 2006. On December 28, 2006 Ethiopian troops captured Mogadishu with little resistance from the ICU. The ICU leadership decided a day before the Mogadishu attack to leave the city in order to avoid bloodshed and the destruction of Mogadishu, according to a senior official of the ICU.16 On January 1, 2007, the ICU lost its last stronghold, Kismaayo, after its forces withdrew to an area near the Kenyan border, although most of its fighters and leaders either simply melted into society throughout Somalia or fled to neighboring countries. Some of the top leaders of the ICU are in Yemen, Djibouti, Kenya, and Somalia.17 In late January, the Chairman of the Executive Committee of the Somali Council of Islamic Courts (SCIC), formerly known as ICU, Sharif Sheik Ahmed, traveled to Kenya. On January 24, 2007, the U.S. Ambassador to Kenya, Michael Ranneberger, reportedly met with Sheik Ahmed. Other leaders of the Courts have also been approached by U.S. officials as part of a new strategy to reach out to Court officials and others to participate in proposed negotiations among Somali groups and the TFG. The Ethiopian military intervention, while it has accomplished its military objective of ousting the Courts from Mogadishu and other areas the Courts controlled, was criticized by governments and regional organizations. The African Union, the European Commission, the Arab League, and others have called for the deployment of a United Nations peacekeeping force. Ethiopian officials argued that their military action was justified because the Islamic Courts posed a serious threat to Ethiopia and regional stability, and because the Islamic Courts is an extremist, Jihadist group. Ethiopian and U.S. officials also have accused the Courts of being influenced or tied to wellknown terrorist individuals and Al Qaeda. Islamic Courts officials have repeatedly rejected these allegations and on a number of occasions have offered to work with U.S. officials, according to one senior Courts official. Allegations about the presence of the three suspects involved in the bombings of the U.S. embassies in Tanzania and Kenya in 1998 were made on many occasions over the years. However, the Islamic Courts did not exist as an organized group when these allegations were made. Those in charge of Mogadishu and other areas in southern Somalia were the warlords who were and in some cases still are ministers in the current Transitional Federal Government. On January 8, 2007, the U.S. Air Force, using AC-130 gun ships, attacked several locations in southern Somalia, reportedly to kill the three terror suspects in the 1998 U.S. embassy bombings in Kenya and Tanzania. Reportedly, the United States launched another attack the following day, although U.S. officials deny any further attacks. The British humanitarian group, Oxfam, stated in a press release that an estimated 70 people were killed in the bombings and vital water resources were destroyed in Afmadow district. A number of governments criticized the U.S. attacks, 16 17 Author interview with senior ICU official in late December 2006. Author interview with senior ICU official and regional sources in the Horn of Africa. Congressional Research Service 17 Somalia: Current Conditions and Prospects for a Lasting Peace including officials in Europe and the government of Djibouti, where U.S. forces are currently stationed. Djiboutian Foreign Minister Mahmoud Ali Yusuf told the BBC that the raid was counterproductive to achieving peace. He also stated that his government had not been informed about the air strikes. According to a New York Times article, the United States actively coordinated with Ethiopian forces in targeting suspected terrorists and Islamic Union forces.18 U.S. Special Operations troops from Task Force 88 were reportedly deployed to Ethiopia and entered Somalia. Moreover, the United States reportedly shared intelligence with the Ethiopian military and used an airstrip in Eastern Ethiopia to launch attacks inside Somalia. A senior Ethiopian government official denied that there was any coordination with U.S. forces. During the occupation, Ethiopian troops came under attack, and a number of Ethiopian soldiers were killed by snipers or in ambushes. Some Somalis and human rights advocates are concerned over what some people refer to as a witch hunt by TFG and Ethiopian security forces. Ethiopian and TFG security forces reportedly went house to house to arrest Oromos (an Ethiopian ethnic group), supporters of the Islamic Courts, and members of the TFG considered not supportive of the new Somali government and the Ethiopian intervention. The government of Kenya deported dozens of Somalis and other nationals to TFG officials and Ethiopian security forces, according to Kenyan sources. In one particular case, Kenyan officials reportedly blindfolded and handcuffed 30 individuals and returned them to Mogadishu, where these detainees were taken by Ethiopian and TFG security personnel to unknown locations, according to Somali sources and government officials in the region. A number of Kenyan Muslims who were in Ethiopian detention were released in 2008. On January 17, 2007, the Transitional Federal Parliament ousted the Speaker of Parliament, Sharif Hassan Sheik Adan, from his position. The former Speaker, who has been a vocal critic of the Ethiopian intervention and the U.S. air strike, has a strong following in Mogadishu and was active in reaching out and engaging the Islamic Courts officials when they had control over Mogadishu. Then U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Africa Jendayi Fraser stated in midJanuary 2007 that “the no-confidence motion brought against the Parliament Speaker is likely to have a negative impact on this process of dialogue.”19 In late January, the TFG elected Sheikh Adan Mohamed Nur Madobe, a former warlord and an ally of President Abdullahi Yusuf, as Speaker of Parliament. The Islamic Courts Union: Background In early 2006, factional violence in Mogadishu once again erupted, killing hundreds of civilians and displacing many more people. The surge in violence was between militia loyal to the Islamic Courts and a self-proclaimed anti-terrorism coalition backed by powerful local warlords. The fighting in Mogadishu erupted when the forces loyal to a well-known warlord and then Minister of National Security of the TFG, Mohamed Qanyare, attacked one of the Courts. The fighting received unusual attention in Somalia and in the region due, in large part, to reports that the warlords were backed by the United States government. The Bush Administration acknowledged that Washington was assisting “responsible individuals” to help bring stability and fight terrorism in Somalia. Then-Assistant Secretary of State for Africa, Jendayi Fraser reportedly stated that the 18 Michael Gordon and Mark Mazzetti. “U.S. Used Base in Ethiopia to Hunt Al Qaeda,” New York Times, February 23, 2007. 19 Congressional Research Service 18 Somalia: Current Conditions and Prospects for a Lasting Peace United States “will work with those elements that will help us to root out Al Qaeda and prevent Somalia becoming a safe haven for terrorists.”20 In late June 2006, Fraser stated that the United States has three major policy goals in Somalia: counter-terrorism efforts, creation of an effective government, and responding to the humanitarian needs of the Somali people. On February 18, 2006, the Alliance for the Restoration of Peace and Counter-Terrorism (ARPCT) was created, allegedly to fight terrorism. Very little is known about ARPCT, although the founders of the Alliance are known warlords who contributed to numerous armed clashes and instability in Somalia over the past decade. Members of the Alliance reportedly include Bashir Rage, Mohammed Qanyare Afrah, Muse Sudi Yalahow, Omar Finnish, and Abdirashid Shire Ilqyete. These actors were seen by many Somali groups as major obstacles to the creation of central authority in Mogadishu, as agreed to by all major Somali groups under the IGAD peace agreement in 2004. In early June 2006, Prime Minister Ali Mohamed Gedi dismissed four ministers from the Transitional Federal Government belonging to ARPCT. These ministers include Mohamed Qanyare (National Security Minister), Musa Sudi Yalahow (Commerce Minister), Issa Botan Alin (Rehabilitation Minister), and Omar Finnish (Minister for Religious Affairs). The warlords were dismissed because they reportedly ignored calls by Prime Minister Ghedi’s government to stop the fighting in Mogadishu. The Islamic Courts leaders argued then that the TFG did nothing to challenge these warlords and kept them in senior positions in the TFG until the Islamic Courts defeated the warlords in Mogadishu. In late July 2006, members of the TFG parliament complained that the U.S. government bypassed the TFG and provided support to the warlords, the same warlords who obstructed peace in Somalia. A member of the TFG parliament told a U.S. Congressional delegation in August 2006 that “you cannot fight terrorism by supporting warlords.”21 In early June 2006, the forces of the Islamic Courts captured Mogadishu, forcing ARPCT militia to flee the capital. The chairman of the Islamic Courts, Sharif Shaykh Ahmed, stated that his group would negotiate with the TFG. In response to accusations that the Islamic Courts Union was associated with or had harbored international terrorist elements, Shaykh Ahmed stated that “we are not terrorists and we will not allow anyone to hijack the capital. We have said hundreds of times that America’s talk of terrorism in Somalia is fabricated and serves suspicious political purposes.”22 The forces of the Islamic Courts Union strengthened and expanded areas under their control after the defeat of the warlords in Mogadishu. The Islamic Courts forces captured the towns of Jowhar and Beledweyne in mid-June 2006. For the first time in years, Mogadishu became relatively peaceful, and the Islamic Courts received support from the population in areas it controlled. The level of support enjoyed by the Islamic Courts, however, is difficult to measure, although the group had constituencies from multiple sub-clans and had broad support among Somali women. According to Somali sources in Mogadishu and Islamic Courts officials, the people provided crucial support by feeding their forces and working with Islamic Courts officials in bringing peace and stability. During the Mogadishu fighting, women supporters of ICU played important 20 Peter Goodspeed, “Somalia Looking Like Pre-Taliban Afghanistan: U.S. Backed Warlords, Al Qaeda-Linked Thugs Kill Dozens” National Post, with files from News Services. May 16, 2006. 21 The author met with several Members of Parliament and the TFG Foreign Minister in Kenya in August 2006. 22 “Somali Islamic Courts Leader Comments on Domestic Situation, Future Outlook.” Al-Ashraq Al-Awsat. June 6, 2006. Congressional Research Service 19 Somalia: Current Conditions and Prospects for a Lasting Peace roles. Since the Islamic Courts largely functioned as providers of social services, the Courts did not maintain a large fighting force. The warlords maintained a robust force in different parts of Mogadishu, with heavy weapons and “technicals” (machine-guns mounted on pickup trucks). The Islamic Courts group had only four technicals when the fighting erupted with Qanyare and other warlords, according to a senior Courts official. The ICU success in Mogadishu effectively led to the collapse of the ARPCT and forced the warlords to flee. Negotiations between the Transitional Federal Government and the Islamic Courts in Sudan did not lead to a major breakthrough, although the talks ended speculation that the Islamic Courts rejected negotiations. The Islamic Courts leaders stated that they would work with the Baidoabased transitional government, although disagreement on key issues remained. In June 2006, the transitional parliament voted in favor of a foreign peacekeeping force. But this move was rejected by some Islamic Courts leaders as being unnecessary and counter-productive. Earlier, in 2005, the African Union had approved a proposal for Uganda and Sudan to deploy a peacekeeping force to Somalia under the auspices of the IGAD. The deployment did not take place in large part because of the refusal of the United Nations Security Council to remove a United Nations arms embargo on Somalia. The Bush Administration did not support the lifting of the arms embargo, although the United Nations Security Council did provide the necessary exemption in December 2006. In mid-June 2007, an International Somalia Contact Group, consisting of the United States, Norway, United Kingdom, Sweden, Italy, Tanzania, and the European Union, was formed and met to discuss the unfolding Somalia crisis. The United Nations, the African Union, the Arab League, and IGAD were also invited as observers. The Contact Group did not invite Somalia’s immediate neighbors, in part due to Somali opposition and international concern that these countries are engaged in activities in support of or against some groups in Somalia. In a press release after its first meeting, the Contact Group stated that “the goal of the International Contact Group will be to encourage positive political developments and engagement with actors inside Somali to support the implementation of the Transitional Federal Charter and Institutions. The Contact Group will seek to support efforts, within the framework of the Transitional Federal Institutions, to address the humanitarian needs of the Somali people, establish effective governance and stability, and address the international community’s concern regarding terrorism.” Meanwhile, in early January 2007, the International Contact Group on Somalia issued another communiqué strongly urging that it is “essential that an inclusive process of political dialogue and reconciliation embracing representative clan, religious, business, civil society, women’s, and other political groups who reject violence and extremism be launched without delay.” The Islamic Courts, while well received by the people in the areas the Courts controlled, received negative press coverage, especially in the West. The Courts’ activities were often characterized as extremist and jihadist. The ICU was accused of shutting down cinemas and prohibiting women from working. Some of these measures were taken by the Courts, although for reasons other than the Courts’ alleged jihadist and extremist ideology. For example, movies were banned in the morning in response to requests from parents because Somali children were going to movies in the morning instead of school.23 The ban on television did not take place, except for restrictions on watching soccer games late at night, according to Islamic Courts officials and Somali residents in Mogadishu. This measure was reportedly taken because of disturbances and fighting late at night. There is no evidence to support the allegation that women were prohibited from working. 23 The author had over 25 conversations between July 2006 and March 2007 with senior Islamic Courts officials and Somali residents in Mogadishu. Congressional Research Service 20 Somalia: Current Conditions and Prospects for a Lasting Peace Islamic Courts officials point out that in the short time they were in power, they did more than restore law and order. Properties taken by warlords were reportedly returned to the rightful owners. For example, the family of President Yusuf reportedly returned to Mogadishu after almost 16 years when the Courts restored order in the capital, according to an Islamic Courts official. Most important, they argue, they gave hope to the people of Somalia that they can live in peace after more than a decade of violence. The Top Leaders of the Courts: Background The Islamic Courts Union, which emerged to the scene in 2006, included some of the top leaders of Al-Ittihad. General knowledge of the top leadership of the Islamic Courts Union, later renamed the Somali Council of the Islamic Courts (SCIC), is sketchy. The leadership was often referred to as jihadist, extremist, and at times terrorist by some observers without much evidence to support the allegations. For example, the assessment of the Islamic Courts by U.S. officials was that less than 5% of the Islamic Courts leadership can be considered extremist, according to a senior State Department official. In late June 2006, the Courts established a consultative body to function as the legislative (Shura) arm of the Courts. Hassan Dahir Aweys was elected to head the Legislative Council. Aweys was one of the top leaders of the now-defunct Al-Ittihad Al-Islamiya (AIAI) and was designated by the Bush Administration as a terrorist. Sharif Sheik Ahmed, the leader of the Courts, was appointed chairman of the Council’s Executive Committee to lead the day-to-day affairs of the Courts. Some observers and government officials have erroneously described Aweys as the leader of the Courts. However, the moderate leader of the Courts, Sharif Sheik Ahmed, was never replaced by Aweys. Some observers argued that referring to Aweys as the leader of the Courts was deliberately designed by some groups and governments to give the Courts a negative image. The leadership of the Islamic Courts remained largely under the control of religious scholars and academics. The focus by some observers and officials on three individuals in 2006-2007, Aweys, Hassan Al-Turki, and Aden Ayro, may have been to show the Islamic Courts as a group controlled and influenced by these individuals. Al-Turki, a man born in the ethnically Somali Ogaden region of Ethiopia, was listed by the Bush administration as a terrorist because of his membership in AlIttihad. According to Courts officials, Al-Turki did not even hold a leadership position within the organization. Both Aweys and Al-Turki were placed on the list because of their membership in Al-Ittihad. Ayro’s role within the Courts was highly exaggerated since he did not hold a leadership position in the organization. Ayro was often referred to as the leader of Al-Shabaab, the Youth, although there is no evidence to support that he was the leader of that group. Ayro was suspected of killing four aid workers in the breakaway region of Somaliland as well as a Somali scholar in Mogadishu named Abdulqadir Yahya. In May 2008, Ayro was killed in a U.S. air strike. Since the killing of Ayro, the insurgency has intensified its attacks and is now in control of many parts of south-central Somalia. The Executive Council (Before the Split) Sheikh Sharif Ahmed. Received a Law Degree from a University in Libya; served as President of Somali Intellectuals Associations; President of the District Court in Jowhar; President of Somali Council of Islamic Courts (SCIC); never been active in politics; married with two children. Now, Chairman of the ARS. Congressional Research Service 21 Somalia: Current Conditions and Prospects for a Lasting Peace Abdurahman Muhamoud Farah. Vice President of SCIC. Studied in Mogadishu; a longtime advocate of peace and clan unity; never active in politics. Abdulqadir Ali Omar. Vice President of SCIC. Longtime advocate of clan unity; religious scholar, and advocated against abuses by the warlords. Ibrahim Hassan Addou. Foreign Secretary and a member of the Shura (Legislative Council) of the SCIC; Ph.D., MA, BA from American University, Washington, D.C.; Worked at American University from 1981 to 1992; held several positions at Benadir University in Mogadishu, including Vice President for Academic Affairs and President; married with three children. The Legislative Council or Shura (Before the Split) Hassan Dahir Aweys. Speaker of the Shura. Former army officer in the Somali Armed Forces; fought in the Ethiopia-Somalia wars in the 1970s; former senior member of Al-Ittihad; fought against Ethiopia and Abdullahi Yusuf in the mid-1990s. Omar Imam Abubakar. Number two in the Shura and effectively the most influential and active member of the Shura; received his Ph.D. from a University in Saudi Arabia; lectured in Mauritania and Somalia for many years. Abdulahi Ali Afrah. Senior leader in the Shura. Holds a BA in Agriculture, longtime civil servant in the Siad Barre government; received an MA from a University in the U.S. and lived in Canada for many years. Muhamoud Ibrahim Suleh. Senior member of the Shura, son of a well-known religious leader. The Alliance for the Re-Liberation of Somalia In September 2007, Somalis from the Diaspora, civil society, opposition groups, and former members of parliament met in Eritrea and formed the Alliance for the Re-Liberation of Somalia (ARS). More than 400 people participated at the founding conference. Al-Shabaab did not participate, and later condemned the leadership of the Alliance. The Alliance significantly reduced the dominance of the Council of the Islamic Courts and brought into the leadership people from civil society, women’s groups, and former members of the TFG. The Alliance also brought into the coalition people from different regions and clans of Somalia. In addition, individuals, such as Hassan Aweys, considered by the West as extremists or terrorists were not given leadership positions. According to the Alliance, the main objectives of the coalition are as follows. • The liberation of Somalia from Ethiopia. • Somali solutions by Somali stakeholders through dialogue and peaceful means. Congressional Research Service 22 Somalia: Current Conditions and Prospects for a Lasting Peace • To establish a National Government “completely devote its utmost care to the welfare of the people, protect its rights, properties and promote its spiritual and material development.”24 • Fighting crimes and violence targeted against civilian population, such as killing, raping, pillaging, dislodging and displacing. • Resettlement of displaced people. • To organize general elections once peace and security are established. In March 2008, the chairman of the ARS, in a letter to the President of the Security Council, wrote, “A peacekeeping mission would be possible only after the departure of the Ethiopian troops. Experience has shown that when peacekeepers are unilaterally imposed by the Security Council, they turn into peace enforcers. To avoid such a situation, the consent of the parties to the conflict is essential.” In January 2008, the ARC leadership informed a congressional delegation that the ARS will accept a humanitarian cease-fire, zones of tranquility, and negotiations with the TFG and others once Ethiopian forces are replaced by a neutral force. This position led to a split of the ARS. Many of the top leaders of the ARC left Eritrea for Djibouti to participate in the U.N.-sponsored negotiations. Table 2. The Leadership of the Executive Council of the ARS Before the Split Name Title Affiliation Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed Chairman Somali Council of the Islamic Courts (SCIC) General Jama Mohmed Galib Vice Chairman Civil Society Zakaria Hagi Mohamud Abdi Vice Chairman Parliament Prof. Ibrahim Hassan Addou, Ph.D. Foreign Affairs Advisor SCIC Dr. Mohamed Ali Dahir Administration Consultant Somali intellectual Prof. Abdirahman Ibrahim Ibbi Assistant to the Chairman Parliament Ambassador Yusuf H. Ibrahim Foreign Affairs Secretary Parliament Ahmed Abdullahi Sheikh Information Secretary Civil Society Col. Omar Hashi Aden Interior Secretary Parliament Col. Omar Hashi Aden Interior Secretary Parliament Abdifitah Mohamed Ali Finance Secretary SCIC Yusuf Mohamed Siad Defense Secretary SCIC Dr. Mohamed Ahmed Mohamed, MD Health Secretary Civil Society Dr. Mohamed Ali Ibrahim, Ph.D. Justice Secretary SCIC Dr. Mohamud Abdi Ibrahim Relief and Rehabilitation Secretary 24 Political program of the Alliance for the Re-Liberation of Somalia. Congressional Research Service 23 Somalia: Current Conditions and Prospects for a Lasting Peace Name Title Affiliation Mrs. Fowsia Mohmed Sheikh Human Rights Secretary Parliament Mohamud Ahmed Tarzan Planning & Training Secretary Diaspora Abdulkadir Mohmed Dhakane Education Secretary Parliament Mohmed Ibrahim Garyare Social Affairs Secretary Diaspora Ahmed Abdulle Hussain Reconciliation Secretary SCIC Abdullahi Sheikh Auditing Secretary SCIC Al-Ittihad Al-Ittihad was perhaps the most active and at one point most successful of all the Islamic groups. Al-Ittihad is an Islamic group whose principal ideology was to establish an Islamic state and to bring law and order by utilizing the Islamic court system. Founded in the late 1980s, Al-Ittihad unsuccessfully sought to replace clan and warlord politics with an Islamic state. In the early 1990s, Al-Ittihad had modest successes; for example, it administered territories under its control in the south. But Al-Ittihad never emerged as a major military or political force in Somalia. The clan-based groups and factions led by warlords in Mogadishu are secular and have been at odds with Al-Ittihad, even though some of these groups maintained tactical alliances from time to time with Al-Ittihad. Al-Ittihad’s failure to maintain control over territories and spread its ideology led to a shift in strategy in the mid-1990s. Al-Ittihad abandoned its ambition to spread its ideology through military means and began to concentrate on providing social services to communities through Islamic schools and health care centers. Al-Ittihad’s social activities and religious objectives in Somalia seemed inconsistent with its activities in support of armed groups in the Somali-inhabited region of Ethiopia. In Ethiopia, AlIttihad was reportedly engaged in military activities in support of ethnic Somalis. Several antiEthiopian groups are active in the Somali region and Al-Ittihad cooperated with these groups in carrying out attacks against Ethiopian targets. In 1999, the Ogaden Islamic Union, under the leadership of Muhammad Muallem Omar Abdi, the Somali People’s Liberation Front under the leadership of Ahmed Ali Ismail, and the Western Somali Liberation Front under the leadership of Muhammad Haji Ibrahim Hussein formed a coalition called the United Front for the Liberation of Western Somalia, their term for the Somali-inhabited region of Ethiopia.25 The Ogaden National Liberation Front was engaged in military activities in the region, and in the past formed alliances with other Ethiopian opposition groups. Many Somali watchers believe that Al-Ittihad’s strength was highly exaggerated and that information about its alleged links with international terrorist organizations is unreliable. The State Department’s Country Reports on Terrorism stated in 2006 that “in recent years the existence of a coherent entity operating as AIAI (Al-Ittihad) has become difficult to prove.” There is no reliable information or pattern of behavior to suggest that Al-Ittihad had an international agenda, as was the case with the National Islamic Front (NIF) government of Sudan. Some observers note that if Al-Ittihad had a clear internationally oriented agenda, its obvious ally in the region would be the NIF regime in Sudan or the Sudanese-backed Eritrean Islamic Jihad. The 25 Foreign Broadcast Information Services (FBIS). “Islamists Regroup Their Forces After Ethiopian Preemptive Strike,” May 17-23, 1999. Congressional Research Service 24 Somalia: Current Conditions and Prospects for a Lasting Peace Sudanese regime did back regional extremist groups and international terrorist organizations, but there was no apparent relationship between the NIF and Al-Ittihad. Many Somalis often refer to Al-Ittihad’s social services and the peace and stability that prevailed in the areas it controlled. In late September 2001, the Bush Administration added Al-Ittihad to a list of terrorism-related entities whose assets were frozen by an executive order. Bush Administration officials accused Al-Ittihad of links with Al Qaeda. The Administration did not publicly offer evidence supporting its allegations, but some officials asserted that links between AIAI and Al Qaeda date back to the U.S. presence in Somalia during Operation Restore Hope (1992-1994). This assertion, however, seems inconsistent with the reality on the ground at that time, according to some observers. Then, the dominant players in Mogadishu were the warlords and not Al-Ittihad. In early November 2001, federal authorities raided several Somali-owned money transfer businesses in the United States operated by Al-Barakaat Companies. The Bush Administration ordered the assets of Al-Barakaat frozen because of its alleged links to Al Qaeda. U.S. officials, however, later seemed to back off from their earlier assertion that AlBarakaat and individuals associated with the money transfer business sector are directly linked to Al Qaeda. In September 2002, U.S. officials cleared three Somalis and three Al-Barakaat branches accused of ties with Al Qaeda. The three individuals and businesses were removed from the U.S. Treasury Department list of terrorist supporters and their assets were also unfrozen. The United States has had no presence in Somalia since Washington pulled out of the peacekeeping operation in 1994. In September 2008, the European Court of Justice annulled the decision taken by the EU Council to freeze the assets of two Somalis and Al-Barakaat International Foundation of Sweden. Somalia: Background (1991-2006) In 1991, General Mohamed Siad Barre, who came to power through a military coup in 1969, was ousted from power by several Somali armed groups. Following the collapse of central authority in Mogadishu, rival Somali groups engaged in armed struggle for personal political power and prevented food and medicine from reaching innocent civilians suffering from drought and famine. An estimated 500,000 people died from violence, starvation, and disease as Somalia was wracked by continued internal chaos. On November 9, 1992, then-President George H.W. Bush authorized Operation Restore Hope, using the U.S. military, to safeguard non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and their efforts to provide humanitarian assistance to the suffering Somali civilian population. The U.S.-led United Task Force (UNITAF) successfully subdued the warlords and armed factions and enabled NGOs to safely provide humanitarian relief to Somalis. In May 1993, UNITAF handed over the operation to the United Nations. The U.N. effort was known as United Nations Operation in Somalia (UNOSOM) II. In May 1993, UNOSOM II coalition forces were attacked by one of the factions in Mogadishu. On October 3, 1993, after a 17-hour battle between U.S. troops and Somali factions in Mogadishu, in which 18 U.S. Rangers were killed, President Clinton ordered the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Somalia. In March 1994, the United States completely pulled out of Somalia and, one year later, the United Nations pulled out the remaining peacekeepers. Since the withdrawal of United Nations forces in March 1995, Somalia has been without a central government and has been splintered into several regions controlled by clanbased factions. Congressional Research Service 25 Somalia: Current Conditions and Prospects for a Lasting Peace Peace Processes There have been 14 Somali reconciliation or peace conferences to bring an end to the fighting in Somalia since the early 1990s. Some were held under the auspices of or were supported by the United Nations, or governments in the Horn of Africa. These efforts have largely failed to bring about lasting peace in Somalia. Moreover, competing efforts by international actors contributed to the failure of peace efforts in Somalia. In 1996, the government of Ethiopia convened a peace process in the resort town of Sodere, Ethiopia. Many political actors and armed factions participated, although a few boycotted the peace process. The Sodere process collapsed when the government of Egypt convened another meeting of the Somali groups in Cairo in 1997. Subsequently, the Cairo initiative failed when yet another peace conference was convened by Somali factions in Bosaso, Somalia in 1998. In February 2000, IGAD approved a peace plan proposed by the government of Djibouti. In May 2000, the Somali Reconciliation Conference opened in Arta, Djibouti in which 400 delegates took part for several months of deliberation. The Arta process was boycotted by several powerful warlords, as well as the governments of Somaliland and Puntland. On August 13, 2000, participants agreed to the creation of a Transitional National Government (TNG) and a Transitional National Assembly (TNA). On August 26, 2000, participants nominated Abdulqassim Salad Hassan as president of the TNG. In October 2002, the Inter-Governmental Authority for Development launched another peace process, led by the government of Kenya. An estimated 350 delegates from different regions of Somalia participated in the opening session of the conference in the Kenyan town of Eldoret. The government of Somaliland boycotted the conference. In the first phase of the conference, the parties signed a temporary cease-fire, and agreed to respect and honor the outcome of the conference. The parties further agreed to establish a federal system of government and committed themselves to fight terrorism. In September 2003, the parties agreed on a Transitional National Charter, paving the way for a National Unity government. In August 2004, a new Transitional Somali Parliament was inaugurated in Kenya. The 275member parliament consists of the major political factions and seems to represent all the major clans of Somalia. The Transitional Charter allocated 61 seats for the major four clans and 31 seats for the small clans. The Charter also allocated 12% of the seats to women. The Charter accepted Islam as the national religion and agreed that Sharia law would be the basis of national legislation. In fact, previous Somali constitutions had similar provisions. In October 2004, the Somali Transitional Parliament elected Abdullahi Yusuf Ahmed as the new president of Somalia. The swearing-in ceremony was attended by 11 heads of government from African countries and representatives from regional organizations and the United Nations. In November 2004, President Abdullahi Yusuf Ahmed appointed Professor Ali Mohamed Gedi as prime minister. The transitional government, however, was not able to function effectively or move to Mogadishu in large part due to opposition from the warlords in Mogadishu, even though some of these warlords signed the agreement and were ministers in the government. The inability of the transitional government to establish effective control allowed warlords and clan factions to dominate many parts of Somalia until late December 2006. Some observers contend that the defeat of the warlords by the Islamic Courts paved the way for the establishment of central authority in Mogadishu. Congressional Research Service 26 Somalia: Current Conditions and Prospects for a Lasting Peace National Reconciliation Conference Somalia’s recent peace effort, the National Reconciliation Congress, convened in the Shagaani district of Mogadishu on July 15, 2007, after being postponed twice for logistical and security reasons. The first phase of the conference ended on August 30, 2007. Somali Ambassador to Kenya Mohammed Ali Nur spoke optimistically about the results of the first phase of the conference at a news conference in Nairobi, Kenya: “I am happy to announce the declaration of peace agreement between major clans who are participating in the congress has already been signed.… The transitional government has done and will continue doing its best to lead the process of reviving Somalia from the ashes of the vicious civil war.” Whereas the first phase of the conference focused on the resolution of clan conflicts and disarmament, the second phase focused on issues such as power sharing, governance, sharing of natural resources, sea piracy, welfare, and internally displaced persons. Ethiopia-Somalia Relations For over four decades, relations between successive Ethiopian governments and Somalia have been poor. Somalia invaded Ethiopia twice in the 1960s under Emperor Haile Selassie and in 1976 during the Mengistu Haile Mariam military rule. In the first war, the Ethiopian military commander General Aman Andom defeated Somali forces, but his request to go inside Somalia was rejected by the Emperor, and he was ordered to remain behind the border. The 1976 invasion of Ethiopia by Somali forces and the Western Somali Liberation Front (WSLF) initially succeeded, leading to the capture of many Ethiopian towns by Somali forces. Somali forces briefly captured the third-largest city, Dire Dawa, in Eastern Ethiopia. However, Ethiopian forces, with the support of Cuban and South Yemeni forces, were able to defeat the Somali forces, although elements of the Somali rebel forces remained in control of remote areas in the largely Somali inhabited areas of Ethiopia. Both Ethiopian and Somali governments intervened in the internal affairs of the two countries, and successive governments on both sides supported each others’ armed opposition groups. The current president of the Transitional Federal Government, President Abdullahi Yusuf, was one of the first to receive Ethiopia’s assistance after he fled Somalia in the late 1970s. He was one of the first senior officials to challenge the Siad Barre government. Ethiopia was also the principal backer of the Somali National Movement (SNM), the group that liberated the northwest region of Somalia, currently known as Somaliland. The change of government in Ethiopia did not end Ethiopia’s intervention in Somali affairs. The current government of Ethiopia became a key backer of a number of Somali factions and leaders, including the current president of the TFG, Abdullahi Yusuf, Hussein Aideed, and other Somali factions. The Barre government was also a major sponsor of Ethiopian armed rebel groups. The current ruling party of Ethiopia, the Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF), received assistance from Somali authorities and a number of the EPRDF leaders reportedly carried Somali-issued passports. Other rebel groups, including the Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF) and the Oromo Liberation Front (OLF), also received assistance from Somalia. The ouster of the Siad Barre government and the absence of a central government in Somalia ended support for Ethiopian armed groups, although some Somali factions continue to support the ONLF. For most of the 1990s, Ethiopia’s primary concern was Al-Ittihad in Somalia and its activities in support of the ONLF. Congressional Research Service 27 Somalia: Current Conditions and Prospects for a Lasting Peace Al-Ittihad and ONLF carried out a number of attacks against Ethiopian targets, and Ethiopian security forces have violently retaliated against these groups and their supporters. The fighting with Al-Ittihad was triggered in the early 1990s when Ethiopian security forces brutally cracked down on the Ogaden National Liberation Front, a member of the first transitional government of Ethiopia. The ONLF joined the transitional government of Ethiopia in part because the Ethiopian Transitional Charter provided nations and nationalities the right to self determination; however, the ONLF push for self determination created tension between the ruling EPRDF and the ONLF. In the early 1990s, Ethiopian security forces assassinated a number of ONLF leaders, cracked down on the organization, and moved the Ethiopian Somali region capital from Gode to Jijiga, a central government stronghold. Members of the ONLF fled to Somalia and were embraced by AlIttihad, a fairly new group at that time. Hence, some observers view Al-Ittihad as a group largely concerned with domestic issues. Ethiopia’s principal interest at that time was to ensure that a united Somalia did not pose a threat to Ethiopia and that the Somali-inhabited region of Ethiopia remained stable. Ethiopian forces attacked Somalia a number of times over the past decade and often maintained presence inside Somali territory. Ethiopia’s relationship with the current president of the TFG was strengthened when Yusuf backed Ethiopia’s efforts against Al-Ittihad in the 1990s. The Ethiopian government’s animosity towards the ousted Shura leader of the Islamic Courts, Sheik Aweys, is linked to Aweys’ role as one of the leaders of Al-Ittihad fighting against Ethiopia and that of Abdullahi Yusuf. In 2004, the government of Ethiopia released a report, the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia’s Foreign Policy, Security Policy and Strategy. The 158-page report covers a wide range of issues, including Ethiopia’s assessment of its relations with Somalia. The report states that Somalia attacked Ethiopia twice in pursuit of its Greater Somalia ambition. The report notes that “at this time the Greater Somalia agenda has failed.” Moreover, the Greater Somalia agenda no longer poses a serious threat to Ethiopia. The report contends that the factionalization of Somalia has allowed anti-peace and extremists elements to become strong, posing a threat to Ethiopia. In order to reduce the threat from some parts of Somalia, the Ethiopian government must pursue a policy of engagement and support to Puntland and Somaliland, according to the report. The report also recommends a policy of targeting those armed elements that threaten Ethiopian security. This report was released two years before the Islamic Courts emerged, although the report gave the same labels of extremist, terrorist, and anti-peace to groups that were dominant at that time. Legislation H.Res. 339 Introduced 4/21, 2009; passed 4/22/2009. H.Res. 859 Introduced 10/22/2009. S.Res. 108 Introduced 4/22/2009; passed 4/22/2009. H.Res. 1538 Congressional Research Service 28 Somalia: Current Conditions and Prospects for a Lasting Peace Introduced 7/20/2010; passed 7/27/2010. H.Res. 1596 Introduced 7/30/2010. H.Con.Res. 303 Introduced 7/22/2010. S.Res. 573 Introduced 6/29/2010. Figure 1. Major Somali Clans and Subclans Congressional Research Service 29 Somalia: Current Conditions and Prospects for a Lasting Peace Figure 2. Map of Somalia Source: Cartographic Section, United Nations Department of Peacekeeping Operations, Map No. 3690 Rev. 7, January 2007. Adapted by CRS. Congressional Research Service 30 Somalia: Current Conditions and Prospects for a Lasting Peace Figure 3. Somali Refugees in the Region Source: United Nations. Congressional Research Service 31 Somalia: Current Conditions and Prospects for a Lasting Peace Figure 4. Humanitarian Access vs. IDPs Source: United Nations. Congressional Research Service 32 Somalia: Current Conditions and Prospects for a Lasting Peace Author Contact Information Ted Dagne Specialist in African Affairs, 7-7646 Congressional Research Service 33