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Dialogue with Sheikh Hassan Dahir Aweys
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by Ali Osman
Saturday, June 06, 2009

 

The Ethiopian military has left Somalia, and the former president of Somalia Abdullahi Yusuf has retired in Yemen. The Somali parliament has been hugely expanded to include hundreds former Islamic Courts Union members. The current sitting president is the former Islamic Courts Union leader, a man you have recommended to be worthy of leading the Islamic Courts Union on its critical stages back in 2006. The Somali Prime Minister is an outsider with no known ties to Somalia since his father was assassinated decades ago. The Somali defense minister is a civilian scholar also known for his patriotism and love for his country and was not involved in anyway, the civil war that plagued the Somali republic.  The Somali constitution has been ratified ensuring that the country is ruled by Islamic Sharia law. The government militia is dominated by former Islamic Courts Union rank and file members.

 

Looking from the outside in, I assume, the Somali Islamists which you led since you left military service have won the Somali political jackpot literally by taking over all organs of government and making sure, Somali becomes Sunni Islamic state. Those who opposed the implementation of Sharia in Somalia watched helplessly on the sidelines as Somali parliamentarians and government ministers approved the Sharia motion unanimously thus becoming the law of the land by the signing of the President. 

 

Majority of the Somali people were expecting that the Somali Alliance for Re-liberation of Somalia based in Asmara would join hands with the government and resolve the two decade old civil war.

 

Obviously that did not happen as you’re returned after two years of absentia; many Somalis including me expected your endorsement of the government. However, you threw a bombshell that you will not cooperate with the government but rather work with Somali Al- Al-Shabab to dislodge and unseat the government. You did not offer any substantial evidence of why you were fighting with the government other than politically charged statements.

 

Sheikh Hassan many people who supported the resistance against Ethiopia including me came to the conclusion after your interview few weeks ago with Horn-Afrik Radio that you want to sit the chair of the president and that is why you are fighting. Here is my evidence, in that interview you have categorically stated that you would have accepted if the peace and Sharia offer where to came from the former president Abdullahi Yusuf but you would not accept from President Sharif, because as you have put it “he (Sharif) was one of us (implied here, President Sharif was not suppose to take the position without ARS approval). This comment is quite significant as it implied three things:

 

  1. Sheikh Aweys and Hisbul-Islam does not disagree with the government’s implementation of Sharia law in political, economic, and social matters such as inheritance, interest, and economic justice, as well as punishments for crimes such as theft, adultery, and drinking alcohol but his difference centers mainly on power.
  2. Sheikh Aweys and Hisbul-Islam believes the government and the leadership is Muslims where Al-Shabab does not.
  3. Sheikh Aweys believes that if he cooperates with Al-Shabab somehow he will be spared from their wrath and come out being a leader again.
  4. The Mogadishu population would accept your rationale that you are fighting Sheikh Sharif, Sheikh Janaqow, Sheikh Ibrahim Adow and others on the basis of Islam and they the government is warlords.

Sheikh Aweys, we all know as the Asmara based ARS leader you have some legitimate grievances against President Sharif but does that personal grievance entitle you to destroy so much and cause so much misery for so many people? Does weakening embryonic Islamic state which accepted the Sharia as basis of constitution and governing just to make your case an excuse people could accept? This government does seem to be authentic in its resolve to follow Sharia constitution and is willing to pursue the path of peace and reconciliation. Sheikh Hassan, we are asking you not work against the government but work with it and resolve any disagreements by dialogue and brotherhood. If you continue to take arms against the government as you already have done. You are causing a misery for the defenseless Somali populations to continue and you will cause the people to disillusion with Islam and Islamists.  You will prolong the lawlessness of Somalia and that will cause the already ageing people who knew the history of Somalia to die while the young generation knows nothing but war. It will make the enemy of Somali to prey easily on the next generation.

 

Please Sheikh Hassan put that gun down and head directly under the Tree where people are waiting your arrival for negotiation and peace. Do not become like deposed Prabhakaran of Tamil Tigers but accept peace and let that be your legacy, people of Somalia will thank you forever. 


Ali Osman
[email protected]