Ehiopia Defeated
by Abdishakur Jowhar M.D
Thursday, January 22, 2009

The Ethiopians came bristling with the hardware of modern warfare. They came looking like Rambo with black stripes painted on black faces. They came brimming with pride, arrogance and the foolishness of man. They let lose their goons on the populace and harvested death and destruction. They emptied the Capital City of its people and made it the exclusive domain of rapid dogs, occupying armies and the barely human dogs-of-war. They watched with glee as Somalis engaged in their national sport of ethnic cleansing one sub-clan at a time and their number one hired help parked himself in Villa Somalia and took on the grizzly task with the enthusiasm of Rwanda's Interahamwe. And in the meantime the Ethiopian occupation force began to wash its soiled feet in the salty water of the Indian Ocean, to satisfy its centuries worth of longing and hoping and scheming for an access to the seas. Mogadishu once rehabilitated by the short lived moderate Islamic Courts became the new killing fields of Africa-the unfortunate.

Defeated Ethiopian Troops leaving Mogadishu
Oh time! Two short years, full of glory and sacrifice. And the Ethiopians find them self exhausted, broke, demoralized, dragging their dead, leaving, claiming "success" and well, in short defeated. Defeated by al- Shabaab - the spear head of the Resistance. Zenawi, we may ask, who is laughing now? Who is cocky now? Victory to the people! Glory be to be Allah (SWT). Yes to Al-shabaab; I who have been most vehemently opposed to them, find myself no choice but to rejoice with Shebaab today for they have conclusively demonstrated to the Somali people that their tripartite mortal enemy could be defeated:

Mortal Enemy No. 1 Social Disorder: Shebaab has introduced to the Somali culture an advanced professional revolutionary organization that was able to withstand Ethiopian boots and American drones. They have been hunted down from the sky and on the ground, their leadership were decimated in targeted, computer-assisted, drone executed assassinations. They were subjected to the most powerful psy-ops (Psychological Operations) known to man. But their organization withstood the deadly test of war, deception and sabotage. Like the mythical hydra they grew a new head every time one was chopped off, and new limbs just as soon as they were blown off. They adapted, evolved and their organization grew stronger with every blow. In the process Shebaab squeezed order and discipline out of the traditional disorder and chaos of Somali society.
Mortal Enemy No. 3: Qaat. No state can exist where 70% of the adult male population are intoxicated 70% of the time. Unlike all other Somali leaders, who are beholden to the drug barons that thrive in the chaos and lawlessness, the Shebaab has faced this enemy with courage and determination. Shebaab prohibited and defeated Qaat and Qaat Dealers wherever they took power. Their victory in war is in a part the fruit of this prohibition. For their fighters are clear in the head in the battlefield and they have the strength and the time to wage war (Qaat sessions take upto 8 hours of every day to consume and its intoxicating impact lasts another 8 hours, this leaves only few hours of clarity and strength in the day for the Qaat User). In places where the Shebaab govern there is a healthy population that can actually work and feed itself and leaders who are not intoxicated on the job.Shebaab defeated Qaat.

I have purposefully excluded Ethiopia from the list of Somali enemies. Ethiopia, we must learn, will be a good friend and a better neighbor to Somalis when Somalis defeat their 3 primary enemies. Peace with Ethiopia and Kenya and Djibouti and Somaliland is a necessary precondition for peace inside Somalia. Shebaab sees all of these neighbors as enemies. A rigid, non compromising militant ideology, married to a gun toting disciplined youth, and the taste of victory on the battleground had a blinding effect on this heroic organization of the people. And Shebab, most unfortunately, is on the verge of classifying every Somali who disagrees with them as an apostate and turncoat counter revolutionary who must be either stoned or mangled to death with a dull knife. They have embarked on the strange business of manufacturing "enemies" of the revolution. They have escalated their ideological zest, their internationalist Jehadi rhetoric and their strange predilection to graveyard deconstruction, setting the dead and the iving against themselves. The Shebaab movement is teetering towards snatching defeat from the jaws of victory. Why can't anything good last in Somali soil?

And so the many armed factions in Somalia are re-arming and regrouping. International and regional interests hell bent on ensuring the defeat of trans-national Jihadi militancy are openly engaged. There is action and counter action. In this devil's cooking pot, a toxic brew of two opposing forces is cooking slowly but surely. Each force will claim exclusive rights to Islam and Islamic interpretation. Fatwas of apostasy will be exchanged in the first volleys. All around there is the bitter smell of Fitna (Islamic Civil War). A new episode of Somalia's permanent war- "the Islamic Wars" is on the horizon. The end result is more likely to be a stalemate, a situation where Shabaab is not defeated but contained and where the unfortunate people of Somalia remain hostages and victims to all the enemies and all the friends of Shebaab.

There is a vanishingly precious window of hope. Hope that the defeat of Zenawi can still be translated to a victory of the Somali people and of Shebaab. Shabaab and only Shebaab can save this victory for Somalis by abandoning the claim to exclusivity in the knowledge and interpretation of Islam, by choosing the chance of peaceful proselytizing over that of armed and forceful conversion of the population, by abandoning all connections to internationalist Jihad, by helping merge the armed factions to a cohesive national force, by joining a consensus on leadership where compromise replaces confrontation. In Short Shebaab could save the victory by becoming the spear heard of the nation for peace just as they were the spear head of the nation in war. And the movement will earn a rightful place in the hearts and minds of the nation. Only Shebaab can make this choice for the nation for they are the only non-tribal, armed, discipined and war tested force in the Somali war theatre. All others are tribal or quasi tribal forces, nomadic, tansient, leadersless, untested and ephemral. But the window is rapidly closing and this hope is likely to remain a wishful dream in the nightmare of my people.