The Ramadan Remedy

Mogadishu Morning

As the sun rises in Mogadishu this morning, it does so with a new spirit and a new prospect. Its luminous rays glow with the promise of hope and suffuse the hearts of these suffering souls with renewed optimism; it is optimism intertwined with some pessimistic undertones. But with the spirit of Ramadan saturating the surroundings of this bullet-battered city with its unique sense of jovialty and peace, some of the long-lost passions of the people have also been revived. Just like in its glory days, when Mogadishu was pulsating with youthful vitality, an animated public move about the city in preparation for the month of Ramadan. Ebullient Mogadishan women fill their baskets with dates in preparation for the holy month and buoyant kids are already counting down towards the Eid festival. All around, the city is bustling with a fertile effervescence and yet has a distinctive aura of tranquillity about it. It is surrounded by a peculiarly soothing ambiance which has somehow managed to remain defiantly placid despite the ricocheting bullets and the menacing mortars.


But while the high spirit appreciably diffuses some of the tensions in Mogadishu, a strong sensation of hostility also seems to pervade every part of the city. Ramadan, as the people of Mogadishu have come to learn, is a month of intense battles. The UN is increasing its international and local personnel in Somalia, though they are still not venturing out into the deadly Mogadishu streets. The African Union troops are positioning their mortars and have promised to increase the war. The mystic Sufis have declared war on Hizbul Islam and Al-Shabab. And the Islamists, on their part, have also vowed more attacks during Ramadan and have promised to defeat the ‘Christian Crusaders’ and the ‘enemies of Allah’ in the path of their holy war.


Ethiopia, sensing the precarious situation of her neighbouring country and fearing for the safety of AMISOM troops, has also showed a eagerness to send her troops to Somalia once again.

“We will provide all the assistance that we can from our side of the border but we will not cross it, even if the TFG (transitional government in Mogadishu) is threatened,” Meles told journalists in Addis Ababa.

“The only time when we may cross it is if the lives of AMISOM troops are under threat, and if they ask for our assistance. Then we will intervene without hesitation,” he said.

Meles said such an intervention would only involve facilitating the evacuation of the peacekeepers through Ethiopian territory.

“In such an eventuality we would be prepared to go as far in to Somalia as necessary to help AMISOM to do so. But this is completely hypothetical and I don’t expect it to happen,” he said.

Of course, the survival of the TFG, by all means, looks, or perhaps is, unfeasible, but the story that is making the rounds here in Mogadishu is Ethiopia’s bold willingness to enter Somalia in the possible event of the Islamists, who are inching closer to the presidential palace, defeating the Ugandan and Burundian forces. Analysts here believe that an Ethiopian incursion, or American or any other foreign entity for that matter, into Somali soil would galvanise the public into action, thus giving Al-Shabab and Hizbul Islam a strategically strong advantage at this crucial stage. More interesting, however, is Ethiopia’s insistence on saving the lives of African Union troops and leaving the fate of Sheikh Sharif and his weak TFG to the hands of the Islamists. Could it be an ‘inconspicuous religious warfare’ as one political enthusiast put it?

And where is the US/EU/NATO in all of this?

Well…here they are:

“The Pentagon has between 2,500-3,000 troops from all four major branches of the military assigned to the Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa stationed in Camp Lemonnier in Djibouti, Somalia’s neighbor to the north. France has its largest overseas military base and 3,000 troops in the same small nation. Several hundred troops from Britain, Germany, the Netherlands and Spain have also been deployed there under NATO auspices since the beginning of the decade. The U.S. has used its airfield in Djibouti for attacks in Somalia and Yemen.

Last year the Pentagon secured its second major installation in the area, in the Indian Ocean nation of Seychelles, where it has deployed over 130 troops, Reaper unmanned aerial vehicles (drones) and three P-3 Orion anti-submarine and maritime surveillance aircraft.

In addition to the U.S.-led multinational Combined Task Force 150 and Combined Task Force 151 naval deployments off the shores of Somalia (with logistical facilities in Djibouti), NATO and the European Union are running complementary naval operations, Operation Ocean Shield and European Union Naval Force (EU NAVFOR) Somalia – Operation Atalanta, respectively. This March NATO announced it was extending its deployment for another – unprecedented – three years, until the end of 2012. Last month the Netherlands “agreed to a NATO request to deploy a submarine off the coast of Somalia….” [15]

And of course they are still pumping millions of dollars and tonnes of weapons to keep the Sharif’s government from being overrun by the Islamists; or perhaps to keep the flame of hostility ablaze.

And that is not all. The Iranian Foreign Minister, Manouchehr Mottaki, said in a meeting with the head of an African organization on Sunday that Tehran was now ready to resolve the ongoing Somali crisis.

What more. Well Ramadan Kareem, I guess. Things look unpromising here. The remedy is sought in the bullet.


About Mogadishu Man
Blogging from Mogadishu seems somewhat inconceivable doesn't it?

3 Responses to The Ramadan Remedy

  1. Presidence malanou says:

    “Of course, the survival of the TFG, by all means, looks, or perhaps is, unfeasible, but the story that is making the rounds here in Mogadishu is Ethiopia’s bold willingness to enter Somalia in the possible event of the Islamists, who are inching closer to the presidential palace, defeating the Ugandan and Burundian forces. Analysts here believe that an Ethiopian incursion, or American or any other foreign entity for that matter, into Somali soil would galvanise the public into action, thus giving Al-Shabab and Hizbul Islam a strategically strong advantage at this crucial stage.”

    With due respect Mr MM, While It may be true that the Somali community may naturally be resentful to the Ethiopian or Americans, according to Zenawi in his statement he instade ruled out any possibility of his troops incursion into Somalia UNLESS it is in the case of evacuation of the AU troops if overwhelmed by the Islamists. He went on to say the but he did not expect that to happen.

    Although you are basing your annalysis on stories around Mogadishu, i personally see no defeat of the AU troops by the Islamist and even the edging closer to the Presidential Palace as you have put it, this imagination you have has been on for a long time and each time the extremists have come closer they have lost both men and equipment. I was in Mogadishu when they lost Juba hotel and remember the fire recieved at the site were journalists had been invited to be shown a newly captured position. Unless some big changes happened after i left , but from what i observed and the developments at present , it may be meer wishful thinking that the Islamists can overrun Villa Somalia because the AU is being reinforced day by day, and the government is recruiting and conducting training of Somali nationals in considerable numbers.
    One other reason that may be overlooked is the fact that the AU Forces are not in Somalia to fight, but to simply cause a conducive environment and convice the warring parties to accept to talk. In this situation the peacekeepers would avoid any direct confrotation with the Islamists unless their mandate is violated. As long as the mandate includes supporting the transitional government, they will provide security to positions where the transitional government operates and shifting from positions of no strategic importance may not necessarily mean defeat.
    But as i have always implored you Mr MM, the TFG and the Islamists are one and the same in all aspects, their difference is in meer personalities and there absolutely no reason why simple clan differences should be amplified to create a conflict of that magnitude. When i was there i got in contact with pipo who are key players in the conflict but featuring on both sides , i also met those on one side but with interests on the other. So i really failed to understand wether the cause of this conflict is based on any genuine causes.
    I WISH ALL PEOPLE OVER THERE A PEACEFUL RAMATHAN

  2. Presidence malanou says:

    If you are still in Mog Mr MM, You should have realised the visciuose circle of affairs down there by now. Since the start of Ramathan over 400 people have perished in the conflict in Mogadishu alone, not to mention Puntland. The system is still influenced and fanned by the Somalies angainst fellow Somalies on either side of the conflict. People have lost psych and sense of morals, loads of ammunition and foreign fighter find their way to somalia to the detrement of the poor suffering innocent locals and it doesnt seem to have any ending soon.
    That is the Gift of radicalism and psycopathy in the minds of selfish war mongers and profiters of illecite trades and manupulations , whose own family are in safety away from Somalia.
    RAMATHAN IN MOGADISHU.

  3. Umer says:

    I just wanted to say GREAT posts! It’s really sad to see what is happening in Mogadishu and Somalia. I hope you keep posting and letting us know what is happening there.

    I wonder why the African Union and the EU/US/UN now have so much interest in Somalia yet for the last decade no one cared a bit when warlords were running wild?

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