The powerful Supreme Islamic Courts of Somalia (SICS) has reiterated fierce opposition to the deployment of African troops in the Horn of Africa country a few hours after the move was authorized by the UN Security Council and welcomed by the powerless interim government.
"Somalia does not need international forces but assistance to help the Somali people settle the current crisis peacefully," Sheikh Sharif Ahmed, the head of the executive arm of SICS, told Al-Jazeera news channel Thursday, December 7.
The Security Council unanimously authorized late Wednesday, December 6, east African peacekeepers.
The resolution, proposed by the United States, also allows easing up the 1992 arms embargo.
The council said the planned mission should exclude troops from "states that border Somalia," specifically ruling out contributions from Ethiopia and Kenya.
The African Union has already endorsed the proposed 8,000-strong force to be comprised of troops from the seven-nation east African regional Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD).
IGAD is deeply divided over the proposed force, with Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda and the Somali government in favor while Eritrea and Djibouti have sided with the SICS and Sudan has dropped earlier support.
Sheikh Ahmed said the SICS would fight any foreign troops deployed in the country, even under the UN umbrella.
"If foreign troops come there would be battles," he told the Doha-based broadcaster.
"By the grace of Allah, you will be defeated," Sheikh Ahmed said addressing himself to the would-be forces.
The SICS seized Mogadishu from US-backed warlords in June and have since expanded their territory to control much of southern and central Somalia.
Sheikh Ahmed dismissed the UN motion as an "American retaliation under the cover of the world body."
He said the US was seeking another chance to interfere in his country after its 1993 withdrawal.
Washington has shied away from direct involvement in Somalia since its humiliating exit following a catastrophic intervention in the country left 18 American soldiers killed.
The SICS leader urged the international community to respect the will of the Somali people, who have been enjoying rare days of peace since the SICS rose to power.
"How could the UN Security Council fail to refer to foreign troops currently stationed in Somalia," fumed Sheikh Ahmed.
The SICS accuses powerful neighbor Ethiopia of sending thousands of troops to protect the interim government of President Abdullahi Yusuf.
Although Addis Ababa denies, a recent confidential UN report confirmed that 6,000 to 8,000 Ethiopians and 2,000 Eritrean troops were operating inside Somalia.
Many fear the Somali stand-off could erupt into a regional war, sucking in Ethiopia and its rival Eritrea.
The weak interim government on Thursday called for the immediate deployment of the regional peacekeepers authorized by the UN Security Council, reported Agence France Presse (AFP).
"We call for the deployment of the African peace mission as soon as possible to enable the government to function well and help the Somali people," said Information Minister Ali Jama.
"We need an urgent deployment, as the resolution said, in order to help Somalia," he told AFP from the government seat of Baidoa, the only town held by the internationally backed but largely powerless transitional administration.
"We hope that the resolution will be implemented to the letter because it is very important and crucial to the people of Somalia."
Somalia has lacked an effective government since the 1991 ouster of Mohamed Siad Siad Barre and the transitional government has failed to exert control across the east African nation of about 10 million people.Güncelleme Tarihi: 20 Eylül 2018, 18:16