Crossfire War – TEHRAN WATCH – Northeast Africa Theatre: Tehran – Mogadishu – Riyadh/Baidoa – Addis Ababa – Washington; Union of Islamic Courts in Somalia Impose Jihad Tax to Finance Holy War Against Ethiopia and Transitional Government in Baidoa
Night Watch: MOGADISHU – The Union of Islamic Courts (UIC), that took over most of Somalia nearly six months ago, is about to become less popular. One of the court officials Sheik Nur Tukuda stated they have begun to institute a “Jihad Tax” in order to finance their war effort against Ethiopian military advisors to the Somalian Transitional Government still based in Baidoa. AKI reports the tax is being imposed on goat, cow and camel traders. Goat traders will be charged a tax of 5,000 Somali shillings (7 US cents), cow traders 10,000 (14 cents) and for camel traders 20,000 (1.05 US dollars). The first area to pay the tax has been the Karan district north of the capital Mogadishu. [AKI]
It was not yet announced how much businesses will be charged, but there already has been a network of business men who have been working with the UIC, an alliance of imams who have established the Islamic Sharia courts administrating the areas of Somalia under their control. What will also decrease their public support is that the courts have closed cinemas and banned the playing of football (soccer) games. There was quite a controversy earlier this year when the new Islamic regime finally allowed people to watch the World Cup games. Though Iran’s government is their model even Tehran has not banned sports or films.
If restrictions become more draconian then the UIC may not last that long since the world now takes more seriously any imposition of a strict Islamic regime since they can easily attract more financing from Tehran-Riyadh and not for the purposes of the new government’s domestic policy, but as another base to arm another extreme Islamic government that has the potential of controlling more resources provided it can defeat any regional opposition. Despite the moderate facade the House of Saud maintains they and other “moderate governments” want the Jihad to be at least moderately successful in removing the West’s influence in the affairs of West Asia (Middle East). Nor would they mind if Islamic governments in other regions become the most powerful.
Addis Ababa has denied accusations from Mogadishu that Ethiopia has positioned thousands of troops along the disputed border, which was the area of heavy combat during the war the two nations had 30 years ago. That war revolved around a border – boundary dispute which has never really ended. Both governments were able to obtain military support from governments beyond the region. Addis Ababa does admit that it has several hundred military advisors working with the Transitional Government in Baidoa. Baidoa is less than 150 miles northwest of Mogadishu and less than 100 miles from the Ethiopian border.
The Transitional Government has been imposing its own tax for several months. I suspect that whichever government taxes less will be the most popular. I assume cinemas and sports are still legal in Baidoa.