HOME About Blog Contact Hotel Links Donations Registration
NEWS & COMMENTARY 2008 SPEAKERS 2007 2006 2005

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

US: No contact with Somali Islamic leader

ISN SECURITY WATCH (Wednesday, 28 June 2006: 11.40 CET) – The US has ruled out any contact with the new leader of Somalia's powerful Islamists, saying Sheikh Hassan Dair Aweys was on Washington’s list of terrorists.

Dahir Aweys, an Islamic cleric designated by the US as a global terrorist, has denied the charges against him, but said the Islamic Courts Union (ICU), which now controls much of Somalia, would work with any country that showed them respect.

The cleric is also on a UN list of al-Qaida associates.

Aweys, the new supreme leader of the ICU, said on Monday that Sharia law would be imposed throughout the country. His group seized control of the capital, Mogadishu, earlier this month from an alleged US-backed warlord alliance.

He replaced Sharif Sheikh Ahmed, who was seen by many as a moderate and had called for dialogue with the US and other world powers.

However, despite Washington’s refusal to have contact with Dahir Aweys, US State Department Spokesman Sean McCormack said Washington had made no decision about relations with the group as a whole.

”Of course we are not going to work with somebody like that and of course we would be troubled if this choice is an indicator of the direction that this group would go in,” McCormack told a press conference.

Washington is apparently holding out hope that the collective ICU leadership will be cooperative with the international community.

According to reports, the US placed Dahir Aweys on its list of terrorists as it was believed he headed al-Itihaad al-Islamiya, an Islamic militant group accused of having links to al-Qaida.

According to the US State Department, al-Itihad al-Islami carried out a number of attacks against Ethiopian forces and was blamed for a series of bombings in 1996 and 1997.

"It is not proper to put somebody on a list of terrorists who has not killed or harmed anybody. I am not a terrorist," Aweys told Agence France Presse news agency after being named to lead a new legislative council.

Somalia's last functioning government collapsed in 1991. The UN-backed transitional government, has fled to the town of Baidoa, some 250 kilometers from the capital, and remained relatively ineffective.

Last week, the ICU reached a cease-fire with the interim government and the two factions agreed to work together.

Islamist militias seized Somalia's capital Mogadishu from warlords on 5 June after months of fighting that killed at least 350 people, mostly civilians.
(By ISN Security Watch staff, AFP, BBC)
Web IntelligenceSummit.org
Webmasters: Intelligence, Homeland Security & Counter-Terrorism WebRing
Copyright © IHEC 2008. All rights reserved.       E-mail info@IntelligenceSummit.org