[dehai-news] (The Media Line, NY) New Somali President Not Welcomed by Opposition Groups

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From: Biniam Tekle (biniamt@dehai.org)
Date: Mon Feb 02 2009 - 08:37:58 EST

    *New Somali President Not Welcomed by Opposition Groups* *Written by The
Media Line Staff
Published Monday, February 02, 2009* The new Somali president, Sheikh
Sharif Sheikh Ahmad, is facing a cold welcome from rival Islamic groups, the
Somali-based Shabelle news agency reports.

Ahmad led the Supreme Council of Islamic Courts (SCIC) to a successful
military coup in Somalia in 2006. A year later his Islamic regime was ousted
from power by Ethiopian troops who came to the aid of the fragile Somali

In mid-2008 Ahmad joined the United Nations-backed reconciliation talks in
neighboring Djibouti. The talks were held between the interim federal
government of Somalia and Ahmad's Djibouti-based faction of the Alliance for
the Re-liberation of Somalia (ARS).

Following Ahmad's election as president by the new Somali parliament, the
Eritrea-based ARS faction, which opposed the talks, refused to accept his

Furthermore, the Islamic administration in the Somali port city Kismayu,
which was recently conquered from the interim federal government forces,
also announced its rejection of Ahmad's appointment.

Ahmad "used to declare Jihad against the enemy, but now he joined the
federal government although nothing has changed. Therefore we will not
welcome this move, and the Jihad will continue," said Abdiqani Muhammad
Yousuf, deputy chairman of the Islamic administration in Kismayu.

Meanwhile, the newly elected president has made a U-turn on his views from
2006, telling an Egyptian paper that he saw the United States as a "positive
influence for peace" in Somalia.

"One can say that the U.S. position toward Somalia has become honest," Ahmad
told the Egyptian paper *A-Shurouq*.

Following Ahmad's appointment, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said on
Sunday that the U.N. was ready to support the new Somali government in its
efforts toward national reconciliation and the establishment of effective

"The U.N. will provide strong logistical support for the African Union's
peacekeeping force, and help develop a Somali security force," Ban said in a
statement issued by his spokesperson.

Somalia has been without a functioning government since 1991. In the past
few months, and especially since the Ethiopian withdrawal from the country
last month, Islamic rebels have re-conquered most of Somalia's central and
southern regions, including parts of the capital, Mogadishu.

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