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Somalia News Overview - The TFG intensified its war against Al-Shabaab; Abu Mansour Al Amriki was killed in Mogadishu fighting; the Somali government urged neighboring countries to secure their borders; attacks against Al-Shabaab started in Lower Juba; Al-Shabaab downplayed government gains; the UN Advisor to Somalia warned about Al-Shabaab terror risks to east Africa; and a Somaliland intelligence officer was assassinated.
Somalia Report: Although the emerging news that Al-Shabaab is on the run from the multi-directional attacks from TFG, AMISOM, Ethiopia and ASWJ, it is imperative to understand the nature of insurgencies and the adaptiveness of Islamist groups. For example, Al-Shabaab survived the major offensive by Ethiopian troops in Somalia between 2006-2009 demonstrating Al Shabaab’s resilience. After the withdrawal of Ethiopian troops, Al-Shabaab reorganized its fighters and seized almost all of Southern Somalia. Al-Shabaab might on the run, but can only be eliminated by holding onto recaptured territories by staying on the offense.
Voice of America – The United Nations Advisor to the Somalia conflict, Mustapha Ali, warned that terrorism and a prolonged Somali crisis posed a credible threat to Kenya and the Horn of Africa. UN Advisor, Mr. Ali stated, “It is very clear that al-Shabab poses a great risk to Kenya, Uganda, Burundi, Tanzania and Ethiopia, particularly Uganda and Burundi, those countries that have sent forces to the African Union Peacekeeping forces in Mogadishu.”
Shabelle – The transitional government of Somalia urged neighboring East African nations to secure their porous borders with Somalia. With the intensified multi-front war and military gains against Al-Shabaab, the Minister of Sports and Labor, Abdullahi Hidig, reminded neighboring nations to prevent Al-Shabaab militias from sneaking into African nations.
Mareeg – Deputy Chairman of Al-Shabaab forces in Lower Shabelle, Abdikani Abu Yahya, claimed that the transitional federal government failed in its intensified war against Al-Shabaab. Speaking at graduation of military training for hundreds of Al-Shabaab fighters, Abu Yahya said, “You young soldiers would have the upper hand than Ethiopians and AMISOM and its followers, they are failed.”
Markacadey – Heavy shelling was reported at Dhoobley District of Lower Juba region of Southern Somalia. Militia loyal to Ahmed Madobe, a former Hizbul Islam leader waged a fighting against the Al-Shabaab from the Kenyan border area of Lower Juba. It is also reported that Al-Shabaab placed a curfew under Dhoobley District (in Somali language).
Somaliland Press – The Somaliland Central Intelligence Unit (CID) Commander Mohamud Mohamed Hirsi, was assassinated and his deputy was wounded by unknown gunmen in Las Anod town of the disputed region of Sool. It is suspected that the Sool, Sanaag and Cayn (SSC) militia are behind the assassinations.
The Long War Journal – Al-Shabaab Commander and American citizen, Omar Hammami knows as Abu Mansour Al Amriki, is believed to have been killed in the stepped up Mogadishu fighting. In an AP interview, Somali Defense minister proclaimed the killing of Abu Mansour Al Amriki based on unconfirmed intelligence reports. Al Amriki is a native of Alabama and converted to Islam and eventually joined the Islamist movement of Al-Shabaab in Somalia.
Relief Web – With the intensifying drought and war in Mogadishu, the World Food Program (WFP) stepped up its food distribution programs to serve additional half a million people in Mogadishu City. WFP Somalia Country Director, Stefano Porretti said, "WFP and its partners are doing all we can to feed the hungry – especially women and children - who have been forced from their homes by a combination of drought and conflict. They are caught in the middle, squeezed on all sides, and need our support."
TODAY’S SPOTLIGHT ARTICLE
"Somalia: The 'International Community' and the T.F.G. do a Mirror Dance"
By Dr. Michael Weinstein
On February 3, Somalia’s Transitional federal Parliament (T.F.P) voted 421-11-3 to extend its term in office for three extra years after the expiration of its mandate in August, 2011. The T.F.P.’s action was taken against the explicit wishes of Western “donor”-powers and with the encouragement of the regional Horn of Africa organization the Inter-governmental Authority on Development (I.G.A.D.). Since then, the major actors with a stake in Somalia’s political future have been attempting either to change the balance of power among them created by the T.F.P.’s decision – if they were disadvantaged by it – or to make the fait accompli stick – if the decision gave them an advantage.
The losers were the international coalition of “donor”-powers (the United States and the European Union), which had wanted Somalia’s current transitional period to end in August and a new, more effective, transitional process (controlled by them) established. The winners were I.G.A.D., dominated on the “transition” issue by Ethiopia, and the T.F.P. Somalia’s Transitional Federal Government (T.F.G.), led by President Sh. Sharif Sh. Ahmad and his ally Prime minister Mohamed Farmajo, was left in the middle; I.G.A.D. had not given its blessing to the government’s extension, only to the parliament’s; yet parliament might decide to retain the present government. The United Nations, which is the conduit for and manager of military, diplomatic, and financial contributions from the “donor”-powers, was deprived of initiative, because the “donor”-powers, without which the U.N. cannot act, had not made up their minds on how to pursue their interests in light of the T.F.P.’s decision.