Urbin Report

Monday, June 26, 2006

al-Qa'eda new home base

From the Telegraph UK:

Islamic militia in control of much of southern Somalia yesterday appointed a hardline cleric on Washington's most wanted list as its supreme leader.

Sheikh Hassan Dahir Aweys was named as the head of the Islamic Courts Union's "consultation committee", replacing the more moderate Sheikh Sharif Ahmed. Mr Ahmed, a former teacher who led the alliance in taking control of Mogadishu earlier this month, is being given a lesser role.

Mr Aweys's elevation raises doubts about a deal negotiated last week with the interim government, based in the city of Baidoa. Mr Aweys has condemned the interim government in the past.

A spokesman said the group had changed its name from the Islamic Courts Union to the Somali Supreme Islamic Courts Council. It believes a government based on strict Islamic law is the only way for the country to emerge from 15 years of anarchy.

In a May report, the United Nations accused Mr Aweys of setting up military training camps for his militiamen in violation of a widely-flouted arms embargo in Somalia.

His appointment will further stoke fears, especially in Washington, that Somalia will become a "Talibanised" safe haven for al-Qa'eda, much as Afghanistan did in the 1990s.

HT to Jimmy K., who points out:
Bill Clinton's Cut and Run policy in Samalia has now created another al-Qa'eda, Taliban State.