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Thursday, July 7, 2011

Veils come off in Somali - Paradise for Women

By Eva Krafczyk Jul 7, 2011, 2:06 GMT

Hargeisa, Somalia - Fatimah Ibrahim has dedicated herself to women's rights in her Somali homeland. The head of a non-governmental organization in Hargeisa, capital of the breakaway republic of Somaliland, she champions better educational opportunities for girls and women and improvements in their legal status.

But not only that.

'Women also have the right to look good and be pampered a little, don't they?' Ibrahim asks with a mischievous smile.

The women's rights activist has become a businesswoman on the side by opening a beauty salon.

'Janno Dumar' ('Paradise for Women') is written on the wall enclosing the salon grounds, which are totally off limits to men. All of the employees and customers are women. This is the only way the small spa-like enclave can hold its own in the Muslim country, where foreign women must also wear a veil and headscarf in public.

Somalia does not immediately suggest itself as a spa destination. While Somaliland is by and large peaceful, Ibrahim's salon would be shut down immediately and accused of being Westernized and un-Islamic in south-west Somalia, where radical Islamic groups control the countryside. In Somaliland, too, the lives of many women are anything but intact.

'There's domestic violence but it's not reported to the police,' Ibrahim says. 'And if a married woman goes to the police after being raped, she's seen as an adulteress, not a victim, and hauled before court.'

Once the women are by themselves in the salon, the veils come off. They sip tea and coffee, nibble on sweets and giggle.

Leila, 25, flops into a comfortable, upholstered chair with her legs apart. She would never dare to sit that way in a cafe in the presence of her father or one of her brothers. But she remains wary even behind the walls of the 'Paradise for Women,' declining to give her last name or allow herself to be photographed.

'It's a good thing there's a place like this for us women,' Leila says after leafing through several fashion magazines. Although she could never wear the clothes pictured on their pages on the streets of Hargeisa, she enjoys imagining how she would look in them.

'The men have their cafes and rounds of khat,' she notes, referring to a popular narcotic plant whose leaves are chewed. 'Usually all that women can do is to get together with girlfriends in private homes. Here we've got our little domain.'

Leila's girlfriend Hamida, soon to be a bride, is shown clothes in the salon's showroom for her big day. She wants as much glitter, ruffles and candy colours as possible. Some of the necklines are quite revealing and would likely be seen only by the female wedding guests and groom.

Hamida needs to book her beauty treatment in time, too, because the wedding would be preceded by many hours of massaging, plucking, hairdressing, putting on makeup and, of course, applying henna dye.

'One has to plan on an entire day at least,' asserts Emem, a make-up artist.

Malika does not have that much time to spare. She allows herself two hours of relaxation, though, and has her hands, feet and forearms painted with intricate henna patterns. The scent of incense hangs in the air. Malika lays on a chair, eyes half-closed, while the make-up artist applies a thick paste of henna from a tube and places a fan closer for faster drying.

'No, I'm not going to a wedding or a party,' Malika says. 'Today I'm simply indulging myself. I've got enough obligations to my husband and family.'

EU Commissioner Andris Piebalgs announces more support for stability and regional cooperation


The FINANCIAL -- Brussels, 06 July 2011 - During a visit to Somaliland, the EU Commissioner for Development, Andris Piebalgs, announced today that the European Union is considering to provide around additional €175 million in EU support to Somalia, including to Somaliland.

In his speech before the Somaliland Parliament, Mr Piebalgs said: “The European Union welcomes the contribution that Somaliland is making to peace and good governance in the region. It is an encouraging example of peace, democracy and stability. This is why we will invest additional development funds as security and the socio-political conditions favour sustainable development.”

Additional EU support in Somaliland will focus on areas to foster economic development, education and governance.

During his visit, Commissioner Piebalgs met President Silanyo and delivered a speech to the House of Representatives in Hargeisa. Commissioner Piebalgs underlined that Somaliland is an example of stability and democracy which will hopefully encourage others to promote broader political dialogue, development and integration. He stressed that Somaliland has a role to play in economic integration and development in the Horn of Africa region.

Mr Piebalgs encouraged Somaliland to stay engaged in international efforts to curb piracy, and commended the efforts of the Somaliland coastguard, police and judiciary.

The EU Development Commissioner discussed the political, social and economic situation of Somaliland during a meeting with members of civil society and the business community. He commended the constructive role played by the Somaliland Diaspora and reiterated the importance of the European Union’s engagement with Non-State Actors - including civil society and the private sector - in its development efforts.

Commissioner Piebalgs concluded his visit to Somaliland with a tour of Berbera Port and a livestock quarantine facility, where he also met the principal and students of the EU-supported Sheikh Technical Veterinary School.

Somaliland: EU Commissioner Andris Piebalgs announces more support for stability and regional cooperation

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Update in Yousuf v. Samantar: Court Orders Questioning of Former Somali Defense Minister for Abuses

July 1st, 2011
Somaliland Human Rights Victim
On July 1, 2011, Magistrate Judge John F. Anderson ruled that Samantar must sit for a deposition and face three days of questioning from the plaintiffs.  General Samantar had asked the Court to postpone indefinitely the deposition, claiming that because of his alleged ill health, he should not be forced to answer questions about the human rights abuses that he ordered in Somaliland in the 1980s.  

The Court rejected his claim, however, ruling that unless he comes forward with specific evidence that requires cancellation of the deposition, then he will be forced to answer Plaintiffs' questions, beginning on July 19, 2011.

The court also authorized the plaintiffs to take depositions of third-party witnesses in Ethiopia.  Samantar had argued that Ethiopia would be a hostile location for the witnesses.  But the Court disagreed, concluding that Ethiopia is a viable locale. 

CJA and pro-bono co-counsel Akin Gump Strauss Hauer and Feld anticipate taking witness depositions in Ethiopia in August.

These rulings mean that the case against General Samantar is on track to go to trial before the end of the year.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Somalia: U.S. took fighters’ bodies after op

By Malkhadir M. Muhumed - The Associated Press
Posted : Friday Jul 1, 2011 11:09:33 EDT
NAIROBI, Kenya — U.S. military forces landed in Somalia to retrieve the bodies of dead or wounded militants after a U.S. drone strike targeted a group of insurgents, Somalia's defense minister said Friday.
The operation is at least the second time U.S. troops have landed in Somalia after a targeted strike, though no forces have been stationed there since shortly after the "Black Hawk Down" battle that left 18 Americans dead in 1993.
Defense Minister Abdulhakim Mohamoud Haji Faqi called on the U.S. to carry out more airstrikes against the al-Qaida-linked militants, though he admitted that Somali officials appear not to have been informed about the June 23 operation near the southern coastal town of Kismayo beforehand.

"But we are not complaining about that. Absolutely not. We welcome it," Faqi said. "We understand the U.S.'s need to quickly act on its intelligence on the ground. We urge the U.S. to continue its strikes against al-Shabab because if it keeps those strikes up, it will be easier for us to defeat al-Shabab."

U.S. officials have increased their warnings that the threat from Somalia's al-Shabab militant group is growing and that militants are developing stronger ties with the Yemen-based al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula.
Incoming Pentagon chief Leon Panetta told lawmakers last month that as the core al-Qaida leadership in Pakistan undergoes leadership changes, with the killing of Osama bin Laden, the U.S. needs to make sure that the group does not relocate to Somalia.

In 2009, U.S. helicopters swooped over a convoy carrying the al-Qaida fugitive Saleh Ali Saleh Nabhan, who was killed in the U.S. raid. Elite commandos rappelled to the ground and collected two bodies.
Faqi said the June 23 attack was carried out by a U.S. drone, and that after the attack U.S. forces picked up militants who were either killed or injured. Residents in Kismayo reported hearing helicopters hovering overhead the night of the operation.

"We have intelligence reports from our own sources that the U.S. Army picked up militants after the strike," Faqi said, declining to disclose them. He said that the Somalia government would release the militants' names when they're confirmed by DNA tests.

In late 2009 the U.S. deployed drone aircraft to the island nation of Seychelles. A U.S. official said then that the drones were primarily for anti-piracy efforts but that he couldn't rule out their use over Somalia.
Rashid Abdi, a Somali expert with the International Crisis Group, said if the drone strikes are conducted with "sensitivity" they would cripple al-Shabab without causing a public outcry over civilian deaths.

"Any increased foreign military involvement carries its own risks. However, short, sharp and surgical strikes to take out foreign jihadists or degrade al-Shabab may not be a bad thing," he said. "Due care must be taken to avoid civilian deaths."

The approximately 9,000 African Union forces in Somalia — led by troops from Uganda and Burundi — have gained ground in an offensive this year against al-Shabab fighters.

The Pentagon is sending nearly $45 million in military equipment to those two nations to help their troops in Mogadishu. The aid includes four small, shoulder-launched Raven drones, body armor, night-vision gear, communications and heavy construction equipment, generators and surveillance systems.

Lt. Col. Paddy Ankunda, spokesman for the AU peacekeepers, welcomed the U.S. assistance, saying it will help the force increase its surveillance abilities. "With the help of drones, we can locate insurgents in real time and deal with them decisively," he said.

He also urged the U.S. to increase its strikes against militants to destroy insurgents' command and control capabilities. "If you eliminate al-Shabab leadership, you are limiting their power to conduct successful military operations," Ankunda said.

Even as the U.S. says it will increase its focus on al-Qaida and its affiliates, Faqi said al-Shabab fighters make an easier target than militants in Pakistan or Yemen, because Somalia has few mountainous areas that can serve as hideouts. He said he didn't believe militants in Somalia are as experienced as in other parts of the world.
Still, U.S. officials have said they believe that al-Shabab counts hundreds of foreign fighters — including veterans of the Iraq and Pakistan-Afghanistan conflicts — among its ranks. A Somali soldier last month killed Fazul Abdullah Mohammed, a top al-Qaida operative and the mastermind behind the 1998 bombings of U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania.

Somalia hasn't had a functioning government since 1991, a state of chaos that has allowed militancy and piracy to flourish. Faqi said the U.S. pays the bulk of the army’s salary, along with Italy, and that his government gets logistical and capacity building supports from America. He said his government is grateful but needs even more help with hospitals, communication equipment and vehicles.

Faqi said al-Shabab is in a "very, very difficult situation nowadays, financially, militarily and morally," and that any sustained aerial strikes would further weaken the militants, who control large swaths of the country's southern and central regions, including portions of the capital, Mogadishu, despite the success of the African Union offensive.

"There is mistrust among its top leaders, and between Somalis and foreigners. So I believe that new aerial strikes against its leaders will be another nail in the coffin of al-Shabab," he said.

Cusbitaalka Guud ee Hargeysa oo Falal Tuugo ah oo Bukaan Jiifka lagu Xadaa ka dhex Dilaaceen iyo Adeegyadiisa Caafimaad oo laga dayriyay.

Monday, July 4th, 2011 

Cusbitaalka Guud ee Caasimada Hargeysa ayay ka dhex dilaacday tuugo fool xun oo lagu xado Bukaan socodka halkaasi dabiibk Caafimaad ugu jira.

Tuugadan oo ay sababtay baylah dhinaca waardiyayaasha  Cusbitaalka ah, ayaa la sheegay inay fuliyaan Tuug isugu jira rag iyo Haween qaarkood Cusbitaalkasi caafimaad ugu jiraan, kuwaasoo dadka Bukaan jiifka ah ka qaata Lacagt iyo waxyaabaha kale ee muhiimka ah sida Bustayaasha iyo dharka cusub ee loo keeno.

Falalkan Tuugada ah ee Cusbitaalka Hargeysa ka dhex dilaacday oo Wargeyska Waaheen  ay u xaqiijiyeen qaar ka mid ah Hawl wadeenada Cusbitaalka, Waardiyayaasha habeenkii ilaaliya meheradaha cisbitaalka u dhaw   iyo dad  si joogto ah  ugu xidhan Cusbitaalka oo ka cudur daartay in Maagacooda la shaaciyo, waxa la sheegay in ilaa toban qof oo dumar iyo rag  isugu jira oo tuug ahi ay macbiisheen dadka Cusbitaalka ku jira, iyaga oo dhawr qof ka xaday Lacag iyo alaabooyin kale oo muhiim ah oo uu ku jiro Dahab laba todobaad ka hor lagaga xaday haweenay ku jirtay Cusbitaalka, gaar ahaan qaybta Dhalmada Haweenka.
Sidoo kale waxa la sheegay in todobaadkii ugu dambeeyay Nin Tuug ah iyo Gabadh ka mid ah dadka ku jira qaybta dhimirka ee Cusbitaalka lagu qabtay iyaga oo u dhacaya qaybta Caruurta ee Cusbitaalka, kuwaasoo si caadi ah ugu garaacay albaabka Caruurtii halkaasi ku jirtay, isla markaana isku dayay inay mid ka mid ah ka qaataan Bustayaal iyo lacag  yar oo maalintaasi caruurta Hay’adi siisay oo loo qaybiyay.

Dadkan Wargeyska Waaheen  uga waramay falalkan foosha xun ee Cisbitaalka ka dhex dilaacay ayaa sheegay in dadka hawshan ku lug leh ay qaarkood Cusbitaalka u hoydaan, isla markaan wakhti hore ay hawlo caafimaad ugu jireen, iyad oo tuugadoodani fursad ka heshay dayac iyo baylah dhinaca ilaalada Cusbitaalka ah, waxaanay intaasi ku  dareen in xataa waxyaabo kale oo  fool xun cusbitaalka lala soo galo.

Cusbitaalka guud ee Hargeysa oo ka mid ah Hay’ada uu sameeyay Isbedelkii Siyaasadeed ee Dalka ka dhacay sanadka ka hor, waxa ay sheegayaan dadka ku xidhani inay xaaladiisu marayso meeshii ugu xumayd, gaar ahaan adeegyadii Caafimaad iyo waliba Maamulkiisuba.
Waxaana taasi loo aanaynayaa Xukuumadda oo ka gaabisay daba galka Maamulkiisa iyo Dhakhaatiirtii ka hawl geli jirtay oo is dhintay ama qaarkood shaqadii ka fadhiisteen.