Somalia Conflict

Just what is fuelling the conflict in Somalia? There are three main power groups in the country with the Transitional Government widely recognised as the legitimate government following its return from exile. All three groupings wish to see the country ruled under Islamic Law, however opposition and rebel groups see the transitional government as a puppet of western forces, particularly the USA, and find its interpretation of Sharia Law insufficiently strict. The former Somali President, Skeikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed believed that rebel forces, Somalia's Islamist al-Shabaab militia (supported by Al-Qaeda) and Hizbul Islam, were undermining the country and did not reflect its historical values.

al-Shabab itself, meaning 'Youth', is the military wing of the former Union of Islamic Courts (ICU) that  was dominant in southern and central Somalia until they were expelled in 2006 by Ethiopian reinforced government troops.

However they returned pledging to oust the internationally recognised government of President Ahmed, and, in the areas which they control, have installed strict Sharia Law. This group, originally led by Muktar Ali Robow, the former ICU deputy defence secretary, now succeeded by Moktar Ali Zubeyr, currently has around 6000 armed militia at their disposal, compared with the government's 4000 troops, although, as they become embedded it is reported that some government troops are defecting to al-Shabab.

Another rebel group is Hizbul Islam (meaning Islamic Party) led by cleric Sheikh Hassan Dahir Aweys and whilst joining forces with al-Shabaab against the government are in conflict against each other in other parts of the country such as Kismayu which has recently fallen from Hizbul Islam into al-Shabaab hands. Some reports suggest that Hizbul Islam has now disbanded and merged with al-Shabaab. This video documentary poses the question "Who is fuelling the Somalia conflict?" Equally importantly is the question "Who will win the Somalia conflict?" Certainly the majority of the population are mainstream Sunni, who do not adhere to the literal and rigid interpretation of the Koran imposed by al-Shabab, however, despite African Union troops attempting to maintain some form of peace and neighbouring countries such as Kenya reinforcing the border, the outcome, if there is one, may be decades away.

The international community is unwilling to become embroiled, however, given Somalia's strategic position in the Horn of Africa is anxious that should al-Shabab usurp the government then it may wish to extend its reach into Eritrea and other Arab states. Of course the real losers of the conflict are Somalia's children who have known nothing but war and conflict for the duration of their lives; 200,000 of them have even been drawn into the conflict as child soldiers in support of both sides. These children are in the middle of a humanitarian crisis, however even aid agencies fear to work in Somalia due to the conflict risking the lives of their staff, many of whom face kidnap and abduction. The video above discusses who is behind the Somalia conflict whilst the video (below right) was made and distributed by al-Shabab in 2008 to recruit westerners. It urges Muslims to travel to Somalia and join the global jihad.


Somalia Conflict

Somalia Conflict

Somalia Conflict

Somalia Conflict


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Somalia Conflict

Somalia Conflict

A video documentary exploring the ongoing conflict in Somalia, with pictures and images of the conflict that has displaced and killed many.


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