The 21st Century Phenomenon



As a result of the disintegration of Somalia since 1991 and the expansion of anarchy and chaos in Somalia, many of the Muslim tribes, mainly in the South, returned to the traditional Islamic judgment by their local Islamic Sheiks. 

 Over time, as it is with many other Islamic organizations all over the world, the Islamic courts began to offer other services such as education, health care and welfare. The Islamic courts also acted as local police forces, being paid by local businesses to reduce crime, and took on the responsibility for halting robberies, drug-dealing and, as well, stopping the showing of pornography. In many aspects of life the Islamic Courts began to act as an Islamic regime in its foundamental form.

From 1996, and more intensely after the 08/07/1998 attack on USA embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, activists and supporters of Al Qaeda began to operate or to find refuge in the tribal region of Somalia. They formed their Jihady groups affiliated to Al Qaeda,  such as the “Itihad al-Islamiya” (Islamic Union) led by Sheikh Dahir Aweys, or the “al-Shabab” (The Youth). Al Qaeda relatively rich, supported, naturally, groups which behaved in harmony with Islamic law – the Shariaa. There was a natural association between the system of Islamic courts and Al Qaeda affiliated groups.

In 1999 councils of Islamic courts, with the spiritual influence of Sheikh Ali Dheere, began to coordinate their activities: to exchange criminals from different clans and to integrate security forces to form their unified militia. Al Qaeda affiliated groups played a major role in training and organization. The group, under the practical leadership of Sheik Sharif Ahmed, began to assert its authority and in 04/1999 they took control of the main market in Mogadishu, which enabled the councils of Islamic courts to control a large portion of Somalia’s economy and to obtain their own steady source of income.

According to Ethiopian intelligence sources the councils of Islamic courts began to be supported in the early 2000 by Eritrean military advisers. 

After The 9/11 USA referred to Somalia as an Afghanistan style country with large ungoverned areas and a safe haven for Al Qaeda fugitives and activists. US began to support rival tribes from the North and the official un-functioning regime in order to contain and overcome the growing influence of the councils of Islamic courts.

In 06/2006 the councils of Islamic courts responded and took over all Mogadishu and about 80% of Somalia, chasing away the remains of the pro American regime and the warlords that extorted the local population.

 With the encouragement and support of USA, Ethiopia invaded Somalia on 12/08/2006. On 12/28/2006 the leadership of the councils of Islamic courts officially surrendered Mogadishu to Somali troops, backed by the Ethiopian army. A new civil war was started in Somalia between Ethiopian occupants and their supporters from the Somali Northern tribes on one side and the Islamic militants, led by the military wing of councils of Islamic courts – the “al-Shabab” militia, and Southern tribes in Somalia on the other.

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