ICU, You See Me ?
The Islamic Courts' Union (ICU) seems to have abandoned Mogadishu without a fight. One thing is clear though. Superpowers may not be capable of defeating Islamist insurgencies and their guerilla tactics, but it's certainly within their reach to not let them rule.
The New York Times
By JEFFREY GETTLEMAN
Published: December 29, 2006
I would have stuffed my mouth with ecstasies on such an occasion but lets respect local traditions
Just hours after Islamist fighters abandoned Mogadishu, the capital from which they ruled much of Somalia, thousands of troops of the transitional government marched into the city on Thursday in a stunning reversal of fortune.
The government soldiers and the Ethiopian infantrymen who have been backing them poured in from the outskirts, residents said.
. . .
Ethiopia sided with the government because the Islamists had vowed to invade Somali-speaking areas of Ethiopia and wage a holy war against it.
By Wednesday, the Islamist military had been decimated by Ethiopian airstrikes and mass desertions. Clan elders, traditionally the pillars of Somali society, pulled their troops and firepower out of the Union of Islamic Courts, after a string of back-to-back military loses in which more than 1,000 fighters, mostly teenage boys, were quickly mowed down by the better-trained and equipped Ethiopian-backed forces.
“Our children were getting annihilated,” said Abdi Hulow, an elder with the powerful Hawiye clan. “We couldn’t sustain it.”
. . .
Even before the government troops had planted themselves in downtown Mogadishu, the political negotiations began.
Mr. Hulow and other elders said they had asked transitional leaders for positions in the new government in exchange for support. Ali Mohammed Gedi, the prime minister, told the elders that first he needed help in disarming the militias.
. . .
One group was noticeably absent from all these talks: conservative clerics, who seemed to have overplayed their cards.
. . .
The Islamist leaders may have miscalculated the appetite among Somalis for the harsh brand of Islam they were pushing. On Thursday, to celebrate the departure of the Islamists, many Mogadishu residents stuffed their mouths with khat, a mildly narcotic plant that the Islamists had outlawed, and cranked up Western music, which some clerics had tried to ban.
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