Author Topic: GI files - Somalia : The Impending Battle (2006)  (Read 2719 times)

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Offline mayya

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GI files - Somalia : The Impending Battle (2006)
« on: August 06, 2014, 18:34:57 PM »
RE: READER RESPONSE: Good reporting ...


Released on 2013-02-20 00:00 GMT
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5033033
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2006-11-02 19:50:55
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[email protected]

Mark
Let me read though tonight and consult with some friends and will let you
know.
Also is it possible to fwd this two articles to www.dehai.org (somehow
neutral eriterean website) , www.meskerem.net ( eritrean opposition
website but anti-ethiopian), www.asmarino.com (eritrean opposition
website, evangelican, I think CIA supported), www.awate.com (eritrean
opposition, islamist, Ethiopia-friendly)?

Let me know
safi

Mark Schroeder <[email protected]> wrote:

Dear Safi:

Sorry that you were unable to open the links yesterday. Below are the
two analyses that I forwarded to you. I'd appreciate your comments, and
never mind your concerns that you may be biased--your perspective will
be very helpful for me. Thanks for your thoughts.

Best,

--Mark




Stratfor -- Predictive, 
Insightful, 
Global 
Intelligence 
Somalia: The Impending Battle 
Oct 26, 2006 
Summary 

Troops in Somalia are digging in for an anticipated battle between the 
country's interim government and its allies on one side and the 
Supreme Islamic Courts Council (SICC) on the other. Despite recent 
successes, a SICC victory is not assured, since the Islamists have yet 
to prove themselves in a pitched battle. The interim government and 
its allies face their own logistical obstacles, however. Regardless of 
who emerges victorious, fears are running high among Somalian 
civilians that clan reprisals will result from this struggle. 

Analysis 

Troops in Somalia are digging in for an anticipated battle between the 
country's interim government and its allies on one side and the 
Supreme Islamic Courts Council (SICC) on the other. 

Despite recent successes, a SICC victory is not assured, since the 
Islamists have yet to prove themselves in a pitched battle. The 
interim government and its allies face their own logistical obstacles, 
however. Regardless of who emerges victorious, fears are running high 
among Somalian civilians that clan reprisals will result from this 
struggle. 

Somalia's secular interim government and its Ethiopian and regional 
backers have so far blocked SICC from its goal of preserving and 
expanding its authority. The SICC now appears to be gearing up to 
overcome this obstacle. Thus, SICC leader Sheikh Hassan Dahir Aweys 
said Oct. 24 that the time for negotiations with the interim 
government was over. Aweys dared the interim government's backer, 
Ethiopia, to invade. Ethiopia's taking up the challenge would benefit 
SICC since increased Ethiopian involvement would motivate Somalians to 
support SICC against Christian foreigners. 

The Islamists began rallying 2,000 troops just east of the interim 
government's base, Baidoa, on Oct. 26. This move came a day after the 
Islamists cut off the delivery of fuel from Mogadishu to Baidoa to 
deny government forces mobility. Aweys intends to hold massive rallies 
in Mogadishu and other cities under SICC control Oct. 27, a strategy 
designed to mobilize additional fighters. 

A SICC victory over Baidoa and Ethiopian and allied troops is not 
assured, however. First, its base of power is the professed loyalty of 
Somalian warlords, many of whom could have professed that loyalty for 
political reasons. There is a substantial difference between 
convincing warlords engaged in a perpetual power struggle to profess a 
potentially beneficial loyalty and actually getting them to act on it 
by deploying their own militias far from their personal centers of 
power. Second, even if the warlords can be mobilized, finding 
sufficient transportation to project their forces en masse in southern 
and central Somalia could prove problematic -- to say nothing of the 
logistics needed to sustain combat operations. And third, getting 
those militias to coordinate and operate on the same level as a 
uniformed military force poses great challenges to the Islamists. 

Baidoa has the benefit of Ethiopia's backing -- a country with a 
structured, equipped military, which could prove decisive in any 
conflict with the fairly ragtag Somalian militias. With additional 
support from Uganda and Kenya, even logistical support alone, will 
shift the balance of power even further to Baidoa's corner. 

Dependency comes at a cost for Baidoa, though. Addis Ababa and its 
allies face major hurdles, which imperils Baidoa's likelihood of 
success. Ethiopia has reportedly had trouble in the past supplying its 
troops on the Somalian border with food and water. Supplying engaged, 
advancing units would prove even more problematic. Although Ethiopian 
troops are operating near their own border, their supply lines run 
much deeper into Ethiopia. Though Ethiopia does field a number of 
transport aircraft capable of operating from improvised airfields like 
those in Baidoa, it is probably not capable of supporting a large 
presence in Somalia solely by air. 

War in Somalia will involve infantry, trucks and "technicals" -- 
pickups with heavy machine guns and recoilless rifles mounted in the 
truck beds. Ethiopia does have some 250 old Soviet-era tanks (T-54s 
and T-62s) and 300-plus armored reconnaissance/fighting vehicles, not 
to mention artillery, artillery rockets and air defense. It also would 
enjoy undisputed control of airspace, fielding 25 Mi-24 Hind attack 
helicopters and a number of combat fighter jets that could be used to 
engage massed Somalian militias or bombard a small town in which those 
militias might shelter. 

To counter the Ethiopian armed forces, SICC militia and its assortment 
of warlords riding on technicals reportedly continue to receive 
weapons from Ethiopia's rival Eritrea, including surface-to-air 
missile systems, anti-tank recoilless rifles and rocket-propelled 
grenade weapons systems, heavy machine guns and anti-aircraft 
artillery cannons. More menacingly than these conventional armaments 
is the likelihood that hard-liners within the SICC led by Adan Hashi 
Ayro, an extremist trained in Afghanistan, will recruit foreign 
jihadists to boost their fighting force. It is believed Yemen will 
become a transit point for the recruitment of jihadists fighting in 
Iraq to join the fray in Somalia. 

The battle for Baidoa is not the ultimate prize, though. To achieve 
their goals, the Islamists must hold Mogadishu and eject the secular 
government and its allies from Baidoa. For their part, the interim 
government and its Ethiopian and Ugandan allies have to hold Baidoa 
and eject the Islamists from Mogadishu. Neither of these goals is 
realistically achievable, however. The Islamists cannot project force 
to take Baidoa from the already-entrenched interim government and its 
Ethiopian backers. And the Ethiopians would be foolish to try fighting 
their way into Mogadishu. 

And while Somalian and neighboring political actors mobilize and 
maneuver their forces, however, Somalian civilians fear they will bear 
the brunt of the looming battle. Reprisals against rival clans, 
especially between the Hawiye and Darood clans in central Somalia 
--the clans of Aweys and Interim President Abdullahi Yusuf, 
respectively -- is a fear that resonates deeply ahead of Somalia's 
battle. 

Copyright 2006 Strategic Forecasting Inc. All rights reserved.

Reprint Rights: 
Articles from Stratfor may not be reproduced in multiple 
copies, in either print or electronic form, without the 
express written permission of Strategic Forecasting, Inc. 
For mass reprint permission or content licensing, please 
e-mail [email protected] for more information. 




Stratfor -- Predictive, 
Insightful, 
Global 
Intelligence 
Geopolitical Diary: Somalia's Islamists Court Mainstream Muslims 
Oct 23, 2006 
Somalia's Supreme Islamic Courts Council (SICC) appears to have 
reached the limits of its control: On Saturday, the movement lost the 
city of Bur Hakaba to government troops. It was the SICC's first such 
loss since it began scoring a string of victories in June, but it 
comes as the SICC is showing signs of recognizing other constraints 
and the need to expand its base of support in Somalia. 

In southern and central Somalia, a variety of factors have kept the 
SICC and its influence boxed in. Geography is, of course, important: 
The Islamists are based in Mogadishu, while the seat of the interim 
government is Baidoa. Bur Hakaba, the town that SICC forces lost this 
weekend, is strategically situated on the road between the two. The 
Islamists are prevented from expanding their influence northward, 
toward the autonomous Puntland and Somaliland regions, by the Darood 
clan of Somalian President Abdullahi Yusuf. To the south and west, 
there are a combination of Kenyan, Ugandan and Ethiopian forces. The 
SICC's hold over portions of central and southern Somalia is less than 
assured as well, as it faces possible threats from ousted warlords and 
local clansmen. 

Without having consolidated its hold in key areas, and with rivals and 
enemies on all sides, the SICC clearly cannot hold to a static 
position. Thus, leaders of the Islamist movement met Oct. 20 in 
Mogadishu with the country's Sufi religious leadership in hopes of 
broadening its support among Somalia's mainstream Muslim masses. 
Though it is significant that the meeting occurred, any support from 
the country's Sufi majority likely would be tenuous and brief. 

The SICC leadership has said it seeks to unite all Somalian Muslims 
against foreign interference, and -- by engaging the Sufi leadership 
-- could portray itself as a unique force capable of overcoming clan 
and localized politics for the defense of the country. Ethiopian 
aggression in Somalia is the most obvious rallying point in this 
regard. The Sufi leadership likely would be attracted to this unifying 
rhetoric -- not to mention having a pragmatic interest in making sure 
it is on the winning side if the SICC should manage to defeat its 
secular and foreign foes. 

At the same time, however, the SICC's fundamentalist approach to 
religion is out of step with the mainstream population. Though 
certainly religious, most Somalis do not subscribe to the Islamist and 
Wahhabist interpretations of Islam, and have misgivings about the 
strict form of Shariah the SICC would seek to impose. Recent 
manifestations of Shariah in Somalia have included bans against 
swimming for women, outlawing the popular qaat narcotic leaf and 
shutdowns of popular radio stations and cinemas. For all that the 
SICC's leaders speak of being a nationalistic force that provides law 
and order, these examples of hardline Shariah -- and fears of others 
-- tend to spark resentment from the masses whose support the 
Islamists now seek. 

Attempts to attract more forces and support to break out of the SICC's 
political and geographic box, then, could prove very challenging 
indeed. 

Copyright 2006 Strategic Forecasting Inc. All rights reserved.

Reprint Rights: 
Articles from Stratfor may not be reproduced in multiple 
copies, in either print or electronic form, without the 
express written permission of Strategic Forecasting, Inc. 
For mass reprint permission or content licensing, please 
e-mail [email protected] for more information. 



Mark Schroeder
Stratfor
Strategic Forecasting, Inc.
Analyst, Sub-Saharan Africa
T: 512-744-4085
F: 512-744-4334
sch[email protected]
www.stratfor.com