| Ander Nieuws week 14 / nieuwe oorlog 2008 |
Somalia militants applaud making U.S. terrorist list

San Francisco chronicle
March 20, 2008
Mohamed Olad Hassan
Islamic militants in Somalia welcomed being added to the U.S. list of foreign terrorist organizations, saying Wednesday they only wish the designation had come sooner.
The State Department announced Tuesday that it added the military wing of the Council of Islamic Court to its list of foreign terrorist organizations. Some members of its military wing, called al-Shabab or "the youth," are affiliated with the al Qaeda terror network, U.S. officials said.
"We are happy that the U.S. put us on its list of terrorists, a name given to pure Muslims who are strong and clear in their religious position," said Sheikh Muqtar Robow, al-Shabab's spokesman, from an undisclosed site in Somalia.
He said he was pleased to be on a list that included Islamic militants - "our brothers" - in Iraq and Afghanistan. "We would have been happy to be the first, but now we are unhappy that we are the last," Robow said.
He accused the United States of targeting his group because it is "fighting against Ethiopia, a Christian nation that had invaded our country."
Mogadishu, the capital, has been engulfed in an insurgency of Islamic militants from the movement, which controlled much of southern Somalia for about six months before being driven out in December 2006 by the Western-backed Somali government and its Ethiopian allies.
On Wednesday, heavy fighting in Mogadishu killed at least eight people, including three Ethiopian soldiers, witnesses said.
Earlier in the day, Council of Islamic Courts leader Sheikh Hassan Dahir Aweys denied links between terrorists and al-Shabab and said the militants "are part of the coalition for the reliberation of Somalia."
"The U.S. policy toward Somalia is always wrong and twisted," Aweys said. "They made the wrong decision in 2006 when they backed the Ethiopian invasion, and they are wrong to designate part of the resistance as terrorists."
Designated terror organizations cannot legally receive material or resources from Americans, and their property and interests in the United States are blocked.
Officials from Somalia's transitional government say al-Shabab's leader, Aden Hashi Ayro, was trained in Afghanistan before the Sept. 11 attacks, and heads up al Qaeda's cell in Somalia.
The United States repeatedly has accused Somalia's Islamic movement of harboring terrorists linked to al Qaeda and allegedly responsible for the 1998 bombings of the U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania.
The U.S. military has staged several attacks on suspected extremists in Somalia over the past year. The United States also sent a small number of special operations troops to help the Ethiopian force that drove the Islamic movement into hiding.
The United States has avoided sustained military action in Somalia since leading a U.N. force that intervened in the early 1990s in an effort to fight famine.
That mission led to clashes between U.N. forces and Somali warlords, including a battle in Mogadishu that killed 18 American soldiers.
Somalia has been ravaged by violence and anarchy since warlords overthrew dictator Mohamed Siad Barre in 1991 and then turned on one another. The current transitional government - formed with U.N. help in 2004 - has struggled to assert any real control.
2008 Hearst Communications Inc. |
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| Ander Nieuws week 14 / nieuwe oorlog 2008 |