The Corner

The Appeal of Security

I’ve no idea how reliable a source (it’s the U.N.) this is, but, if it’s accurate, this report sounds a lot like the sort of (initial) report we saw in parts of Afghanistan after the Taliban supplanted the warlords:

 

There is a palpable air of euphoria and optimism in Mogadishu, the capital of Somalia, following last week’s takeover of the city by the Islamic courts from an alliance of warlords, local sources said. City residents have welcomed the change, saying they feel more secure than they have in the past 16 years. “It is like an enormous weight we have been carrying for 16 years has been lifted,” said Marian, a resident in the north of the city, who requested her last name not be used. “We have been suffering under them [warlords] for 16 years. This is a welcome change.” Islamic leaders in Mogadishu claimed victory over a group of rival politicians on 5 June and pledged to restore security in the capital, where bloody clashes between the two sides have claimed hundreds of lives and displaced thousands of people. Some residents believe the Islamic leaders were already making good on their promises. “It was impossible to walk with any amount of money or property without being attacked” before the defeat of the warlords, said businessman Ali Muhammad. “There is a lot less insecurity today [Tuesday] than a week ago.” Muhammad, who lives in the southwestern district of Medina, said that before the takeover, passenger vehicles coming into the city centre from his district had to pass through a dozen checkpoints, where they had to pay extortion to militia. “Today, we saw only one – and they were checking for weapons, not asking for money….Halimo Abdi, who lives near the livestock market, one of the most dangerous neighbourhoods in Mogadishu, said there has been a marked difference in security. “To go to the market, you had to dodge armed gangs who robbed people on their way to the market,” she said. “Now we have a peaceful environment. We even dare to walk at night, something I have not done in 16 years.

If the Islamists can offer the security (or at least a decent facsimile of security) that no-one else can, it’s very difficult not to believe that they will be in charge for quite some time…

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