In the Fall 2007 issue of the Journal of International Security Affairs I published an article entitled “Somalia: Rise and Fall of An Islamist Regime,” but the story wasn’t over: now the group whose fall and rise I traced there is back in power. In June 2006 Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed claimed national power, but by the end of that year the Sharia regime in Somalia had been toppled; now Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed is the President of Somalia.
It is also worth noting that in October 2006 the Islamic Courts in Somalia called upon Somalis living abroad to return home to wage jihad; many have heeded that call, even from the United States.
“Islamist Sharif elected Somali president,” from AAP, January 31 (thanks to JE):
Islamist leader Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed has been elected Somalia’s president, leaving him in charge of a fragile peace process aimed at ending 18 years of civil conflict.
After his election on Saturday the young cleric promptly vowed to form a broad government and invited all armed groups in the war-ravaged Horn of Africa nation to join the UN-sponsored reconciliation effort.
Sheikh Sharif, who chairs the Islamic Courts Union (ICU), comfortably won the vote held in neighbouring Djibouti, only days after the Ethiopian troops who sent him into exile two years ago completed their pullout from Somalia.
He defeated Maslah Mohamed Siad Barre, a general and the son of a former president, in the second round of voting, according to an official tally of some 430 lawmakers’ votes.
“We have 293 votes for Sharif Sheikh Ahmed and 126 for Siad,” said Hussein Mohamed Jama, head of the presidential electoral commission.
“I declare Sharif Sheikh Ahmed the president of Somalia after winning this election,” Parliament Speaker Aden Mohamed Nur said.
In a brief acceptance speech following a vote that ended after 4am local time, Sheikh Sharif vowed to reach out to the former transitional government as well as to the Shebab, a hardline offshoot of the ICU which rejects talks.
“Very soon, I will form a government which represents the people of Somalia. We will live peacefully wih East African countries and we want to cooperate with them,” he said.
“I am extending a hand to all Somali armed groups who are still opposed to this process and inviting them to join us,” he added.
Prime Minister Nur Hassan Hussein, long seen as the young cleric’s main rival to take the helm of the war-ravaged country, pulled out of the contest after trailing Sheikh Sharif by a massive 160 votes in the first round.
“I am ready to cooperate with whoever is elected to make Somalia a peaceful country,” he then said….