The Somali scene is witnessing a serious escalation; like its fast ascension to rule, the Union of Islamic Courts (UIC) collapsed within a few hours, leaving the Somali arena teeming and surging with many new incidents, including a new occupation by the Ethiopian forces while the only loser is the Somali people.
Therefore, Ikhwanweb holds this interview with Mr. Abd Al-Rahman Ma’lam Abdullah (Badew), the Vice-Chairman of Harakat Al-Islah (Reform Movement) in Somalia and the chairman of Al-Islah Committee for Reconciliation (Muslim Brotherhood) to understand the real situations there and the Muslim Brotherhood’s attitude towards them.
Ikhwanweb:- What is the movement’s attitude towards the current incidents?; will it have a role in resisting the Ethiopian forces?
Abd Al-Rahman Ma’lam: in the name of Allah; prayer and peace be on the Master of Messengers, his family and companions.
First: I offer my thanks to our brothers- the staff of Ikhwanweb- for their great concern in the issues of the Islamic Nation, particularly those of the Somali people who are considered a part of this nation which is currently facing many successive crises.
On the Day of Arafa, the Day of Sacrifice, in 1427, corresponding to Dec. 30, 2006, the Ethiopian forces accompanied by units of Somali Army affiliated to the interim government, entered the Somali capital, Mogadishu; one day earlier, the UIC forces withdrew suddenly and unexpectedly from Mogadishu; this serious event took place as a direct result of the complete failure of all reconciliation efforts, leading to the eruption of battles in all fronts; the UIC forces were defeated by the Ethiopian army and the interim government, after a week of bloody confrontations between both parties; the defeat of the UIC wasn expected because the military force of both sides wasn’t the same.
Al-Islah Movement called for sparing the bloodshed between the interim government and the UIC, supported the efforts of the national reconciliation and rejected seeking a foreign intervention in Somalia, on the basis of its Islamic principles and its moderate understanding and permanent policy of closing ranks among all sides of the Somali body on sound foundations; Al-Islah’s attitude towards last year’s successive incidents and developments was clear: we were against war and confrontation, with reconciliation and sitting to the negotiation table to hold dialogue and consultations and solving all problems through peaceful means without using force and violence to achieve political gains whatever the circumstances are.
Ikhwanweb: - What is your evaluation to the short period in which the UIC assumed power?
Abd Al-Rahman Ma’lam: The period wasn’t enough to evaluate the UIC because it was less than a year and because the overall view did not become clear for the observer.
However, the UIC has its achievements and its failures;
As for its achievements, they are the following:
-Defeating the warlords and disarming the militias in a very short period which raised the eye brows of observers.
-Providing security in the UIC-controlled regions.
-Opening Mogadishu port and the international airport.
As for its failures:
-Not presenting a clear political program and applicable stages to fill the vacuum.
-Not forming administrative councils in the capital to run its affairs and carries out the necessary services for the society.
Ikhwanweb:- What is your view to get out of the current crisis and solve the problem of security and stability in Somalia?
Abd Al-Rahman Ma’lam:- Since the Somali country collapsed in 1991 till today, Al-Islah Movement has had its targets aims and constants on which it has built its graded attitudes and policies; the national reconciliation among Somali sides was the center from which the movement’s initiatives and attitudes were starting, out of our conviction that all the current disputes and problems must be solved through negotiations and dialogue; this is due to the fact that, after 16 years of continuous wars and unjust deadly conflicts, we reaped nothing but regret, loss of money and lives, and destruction of what our ancestors built with hard work throughout ages; without a full and real reconciliation that leads to tolerance, forgiveness and self-denial, the Somalis can not rebuild or defend their homeland again; according to our principles, we call on our people in Somalia to close ranks and to immediately seek a reconciliation; this is the only way to salvation, because the current events created a new unprecedented situation in Somalia history that requires practical steps and a serious thinking from all sections of society. As for the security, it is tied to the political harmony and the success of the reconciliation and negotiations among the Somali national powers; only at this time, the weapon becomes in safe hands, the hands of the police and the national army; and people will feel security at that time and will find a material and spiritual stability amid atmospheres of mutual confidence; fear and tyranny will vanish while peace, justice and freedom come back; only at that time, the stage of construction and cooperation starts to end the tragic scenes that led us to the dark tunnel and the social and economic misery and disintegration of the Somali country.
Ikhwanweb: - Do you support that UN forces stay in Somalia?
Abd Al-Rahman Ma’lam:- The Somali society lived for some two decades a state of violent chaos and an unprecedented lawlessness; these conditions created an environment which can easily explode for the following reasons:
-There millions of weapons with the militias, individuals and tribes.
-There is a society that has become familiar with using weapons for any reason.
-There are generations of young who have been brought up amid chaos and lawlessness and need a rehabilitation.
-There is a lack of trust among tribes and citizens because of wars and social injustices.
For these reasons and others, the interim government can’t- alone and with personal efforts- control security and disarm the militias.
Due to the fact that the Ethiopian troop withdrawal from the Somali territories is a popular and international demand and is, at the same time, necessary for the stability of Somalia and the region, and due to the fact that the interim government can not provide security in current stage, UN forces must be sent to Somalia to offer aid to Somali government, a necessity no an option.
Ikhwanweb:- What is your evaluation to the role of Arab League and Arab countries in the current crisis?
Abd Al-Rahman Ma’lam:- The Arab League had an active role after the UIC emerged and tried to bring closer the viewpoints between the UIC and the government and it contributed to arranging meetings between both sides in Khartoum; however, those efforts faced a complete failure because the attitudes of the Somali sides were inflexible; in addition to this, a number of Arab countries tried to improve situations and spare the country the consequences of a possible destructive war; UIC officials visited a number of Arab countries, topped by Sudan, Egypt, Yemen, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Djibouti; it is widely believed in the Somali arenas that the Arab countries were very keen to help the reconciliation between both sides succeed; some countries tried to persuade the UIC of sitting with the Ethiopian government to avoid any possible confrontation; although all Arab initiatives failed, but the Arab countries that tried to solve the Somali conflict exerted great efforts; as for their failure in this stage, it is attributed to two reasons:
1-The absence of the Arab effective role in the political and economic perspectives in the Somali arenas since the collapse of the Somali state; their role was never a leading one, but it was marginalized.
2-There was no unified Arab strategy towards the Somali issue; so, the Arab role in solving the Somali problem does not differ so much from the Arab role in the Arab troubled regions; however, we hope that the Arab efforts continue in Somalia.
Ikhwanweb:- What is the message that you want to send to the international organizations and civil society institutions?
Abd Al-Rahman Ma’lam:- We want to tell the world that the war-torn Somali people is part of this world and it is facing sharp crises nowadays, including political disputes, serious economic collapse and natural catastrophes that threaten millions of lives of its people; the world should deal with this issue more seriously, because solving its problems is a humane service on the one hand and a service to the security of region on the other hand; also, giving blind eyes to its agonies and leaving it to face its fate may lead to disastrous consequences that may have a negative impact on all the African Horn.
As for the Arab world, we tell it that Somalia is considered, with its strategic position, an economic and security belt for the south of the Arab World; its destruction is a strategic loss that can not be restored; we hope that the Arab peoples support their brothers to ease their ordeal; do not fail them under any circumstances.