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After the Warlords Era: A Caution is Warranted

Hiiraan Online Editorial

The news of the embarrassing political and military defeat of the longtime thorny warlords of Mogadishu couldn’t have arrived at a better time, but as Mogadishu inhabitants and Islamic Courts (IC’s) collectively celebrate this milestone, a cautionary question poses itself: Are the IC’s aptly tooled to infuse life back to the Capital? Though it’s too early too predict, preliminary signals show that they face a remarkable local and global challenge in the days ahead.

The local challenge stems from the very high expectations set by Mogadishu residents who helped disgrace the warlords wholeheartedly. In return, they expect that IC’s provide them with what warlords have deprived from them for 16 painful years: the smell of peace and tranquility.

In addition, IC’s have to prove the cynics wrong. Almost immediately after they captured much of the capital, some experts predicted that they will turn their guns against each other, that the malicious tribal instincts will soon kick-in, and that the euphoria surrounding the victory will soon be short-lived.


The global challenge, which perhaps perils the IC’s more than the local one, is a self inflicted wound: their unnecessarily aggressive rhetoric that has been mired with un-pragmatic, anti Western, anti-Ethiopian and anti-Israeli provocations, all of which are perfect ingredients to touch off America’s ever-widening war on terror. We bet you, it’s the very last thing people of Mogadishu would want to see in their backyard after a decade and half of industrial level destruction.

With such challenges abound, Hiiraan Online Editorial Board can only offer few timely words of advice to the IC’s at this critical juncture, hoping that someone in their chain of command will seriously consider the following recommendations:

  1. Islamic Courts should immediately call for a broad-based Mogadishu Rehabilitation Initiative (MRI) to include all political, tribal, NGO’s, secular, religious and women’s entities, whose lack of it might sacrifice a much-needed peace plan. This goodwill gesture is imperative for the legitimization of the IC’s among Mogadishu diversified groups. Among other things, reutilization of the defunct International Air and Sea ports should be carefully examined in these consultations. Such initiative shouldn’t intend to unseat the existing TFG administration; rather, it should work with it closely.

  2. Militia loyal to the IC’s should expeditiously restore peace and systematically eliminate illegal roadblocks. They should also attempt to negotiate with business and other high profile individuals who aim to maintain their private armies and offer them security in lieu of nominal tax-like fees. IC’s should never engage in a forceful disarmament of respected businessmen and/or clan elders, thereby ensuing a renewed circle of violence.

  3. IC’s should create a supreme council of respected Islamic Jurists to oversee their often swift application of judicial proceedings. This Jurists should not be discriminated based on their school of thoughts and should be given a considerable oversight before any major punishment, such as capital punishment, is administered. IC’s should handle delicate issues such as hand amputation with ultra care and review.

  4. Islamic Courts should move quickly to tone down their unsophisticated jihadi rhetoric, including, among other things, their infamous Al-Jihad Newsletter they publish and, should replace it with peace-toned publications. In fact, IC’s should nominate a single spokesperson who is entrusted with the extremely pivotal public relations portfolio. This person(s) should make every effort to minimize the jihadi rhetoric. He/she should be a media savvy person who is knowledgeable enough to burnish the face of the IC’s. It’s within this context and capacity that IC’s should declare that they have no beyond-Mogadishu ambitions, let alone beyond-borders ambitions.

  5. Most importantly, the IC’s should extend their hand to the Baydhabo-confined TFG and attempt to workout differences and invite them to loaded Mogadishu (of course, minus the warlords). The IC’s should abandon its unrealistic calls for Islamic state in juxtaposition with the TFG.

  6. IC’s should invite international media to examine Mogadishu of any terrorist cells that might be secretly operating. This step is critical to the very survival of the IC’s if they fail to device a strategy to convince the international community of their stands on terrorism. Neither IC’s nor Mogadishu people will benefit from defending foreign or even home-grown terrorist cells.

  7. Finally, IC’s should come up with a follow-able timetable to disarm their own militia and adjoin them with any legitimate authority in Mogadishu. IC’s should never hope to morph into Hezbollah-like group who maintains political and military wing simultaneously.

Should the victorious IC’s fail to device a “now what next” strategy and continue with haphazard path, their euphoric stupor will be short-lived, paving the road from former Mogadishu cannibalisms to return shortly with even greater power. Most importantly, should IC’s ignore to silence their un-pragmatic jihadi rhetoric; Washington’s easily-evocable terror temper is surely instigated.

Hiiraan Online Editorial
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