Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Somalia's Islamic Courts offer way out

The violence on the streets of Mogadishu looks like a return to the hellish anarchy of the 1990s, but in that darkness is a reason to hope.

Even as former prime ministers and ministers met with senior Somali intellectuals and activists to plan on regaining control of the country from the invading Ethiopian army, the Islamic Courts Union's former foreign secretary Ibrahim Addou indicated in an interview that the Courts were no longer seeking to put themselves back into power. This dramatic step could potentially offer a way out of a horrendous and brutal conflict which Pope Benedict was compelled to highlight in his Easter message.

"The leadership of the Islamic Courts Union is intact, and a number of them are in Somalia battling Ethiopian occupation forces," said Prof. Addou, who was also the Courts' Chief Negotiator. "But our goal is not to reconstitute ourselves as a government. Somalia is under occupation and needs a broad-based movement in which all contending forces committed to regaining our sovereignty should work together."

More on this discussion with Salim Lone here.