Friday, April 13, 2007

Ethiopia upsets the Hawiye

Indian Ocean Newsletter N° 1212 14/04/2007
Since the bloody confrontations at the end of March, a large part of the Hawiye community wants Ethiopian troops to leave Mogadishu.

Beyond an active core of Somalian insurgents, a large proportion of the Hawiye community now wants to see the back of the Ethiopian troops in Mogadishu. These insurgents are former partisans of the Islamic Court Union (ICU) whose leaders have returned to Mogadishu and are mainly of the Hawiye/Habr Gedir sub-clan Ayr ethnic group. This anti-Ethiopian feeling is so widespread that it has pushed the Deputy Prime Minister of the Transitional Federal Government (TFG), Hussein Mohamed Farah Aydeed (Hawiye/Habr Gedir/Saad) in his turn to call for the departure of the Ethiopian troops during his recent visit to Asmara in Eritrea.

The actions of the radical Islamic armies against the Ethiopian soldiers in Mogadishu at the end of March benefited from the support of Somalian former officers, like General Mohamed Nur Galal (Hawiye/Habr Gedir/Ayr) trained at the military academy in the former Soviet Union. But these insurgents have also obtained political support from some Hawiye/Abgal (although the Abgal mainly support the TFG) like Abdi Iman Omar (sub-clan Harti) who is the brother of the Imam Mohamud Imam Omar. They are also supported by Abdullahi Sheikh Hasan Ali a politician of the Wa’buudan sub-clan and Maalin Hashi Mohamed Farah, who had been a member of the former Islamist Shura.

Finally, the insurgents obtained tacit approval from other dignitaries, like the political head of the Ayr, Mohamud Mohamed Ulusow. This former governor of the central bank, appointed in 2005 to this post by the current Prime Minister Ali Mohamed Gedi, has now gone over to the opposition. It is true that his house in Mogadishu had been attacked last month by the TFG troops. Several traditional chiefs of the Hawiye community are now openly calling for the departure of the Ethiopian forces. They consider that their community has been sidelined inside the TFG and are wary of a strengthening of the political power in Mogadishu of the Darod community, which includes the Somalian President Abdillahi Yussuf. One of the Hawiye spokesmen defending this line is Ahmed Diriye (Habr Gedir, Suleiman) who in the past has been a supporter of the warlord Mohamed Farah Haideed. Hussein Siad Qoorgaab, spokesman for the Hawiye committee for a cease-fire, openly denounced the American government this week for its support of the action of the Ethiopian army in Somalia.