The “Shebab” — that is, “the youth” — are now in control of 80% of Somalia. If the youth of any civilization are that civilization’s future, and if wherever one looks, Islam’s youth are the most militant in their views, tenaciously upholding the doctrine of jihad, what does this bode for the future of Islam and its interactions with the rest of the non-Islamic world?
“Radical Islamists linked to al-Qaeda set to take control of Somalia,” by Mike Pflanz for the Telegraph, December 26:
Hardline Islamists are poised to take control of large areas of southern Somalia, opening a possible new front in the war on terrorism.
Fears are growing that this lawless area, bordering Kenya and Ethiopia, could become a stronghold for terrorists with possible links to al-Qaeda.
Could? Be sure: it already is.
Somalia’s weak official government, the 14th in the last 17 years, depends entirely on the presence of Ethiopian troops, who are deployed in and around the capital, Mogadishu.
They invaded in December 2006, mounting an American-supported operation which overthrew an earlier Islamist regime, styling itself the Islamic Courts Union.
But Ethiopia has pledged to withdraw its troops at the end of December. When they leave, the official government is likely to fall – or be forced to evacuate Mogadishu.
An armed group styling itself Al-Shebab is likely to take over. Already, its fighters are believed to control more than 80 per cent of southern Somalia. These radical Islamists believe in imposing Sharia law and they recently approved the stoning of a 13-year-old girl.
Al Shebab, the fanatical armed wing which broke from the Islamic Courts Union which ran Somalia for the second half of 2006, now holds more than 80 per cent of the country — more territory than the Courts controlled during their reign.[…]
Al Shebab’s chief military commander, Muktar Robow, said earlier this year that he was ready “to take orders from Sheikh Osama bin Laden”.[…]
But there are concerns whether al Shebab, whose name means “the youth” and whose forces are largely illiterate and disaffected young men, can peacefully consolidate their power once they are in charge.
“Unless they can reach out and form some new alliances, which is not an easy thing to do among Somalia’s clans, they will fail and we will see the start of yet another civil war,” said Mr Abdi.
“I’m not optimistic. The future looks bleak and is likely to be bloody.”