Alliance for the Re-liberation of Somalia

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Alliance for the Re-liberation of Somalia, ARS
Participant in Somali Civil War
Flag of the Islamic Courts Union.svg
Active September 2007-January 2009
Ideology Militant Islam, Sunni Islamism, Somali nationalism
Groups Mainly Hawiya
Leaders Sheikh Sharif Ahmed
Hassan Dahir Aweys
Headquarters Asmara (Sep 2007-Jan 2009)
Djibouti (June 2008-Jan 2009)
Area of
operations
Southern and Central Somalia
Originated as Islamic Courts Union
Became Somalia TFG
Hizbul Islam
Allies TFG, AMISOM
Opponents al-Shabaab, Ras Kamboni Brigades, JABISO, Foreign Mujahedeen

The Alliance for the Re-liberation of Somalia (ARS) is an Islamist organization based in the Horn of Africa. It was created in September 2007, when members of the Islamic Courts Union and Somali opposition leaders met in Asmara, the capital of Eritrea, and united to oppose Somalia's Transitional Federal Government (TFG) and the latter's Ethiopian allies. The group was active until January 2009, when ARS members were formally incorporated into the TFG parliament following a peace agreement.

Profile[edit]

The ARS was formed in 2007 after roughly 400 delegates, including former Islamic Courts Union Shura chairman Sheikh Hassan Dahir Aweys, ICU Executive chairman Sharif Sheikh Ahmad, former TFG Speaker of Parliament Sharif Hassan Sheikh Aden, and the former TFG Deputy Prime Minister Hussein Mohamed Farrah, approved a constitution and central committee. It aimed to remove the Ethiopian-backed government through either negotiation or force.

The Alliance had a 191-member Central Committee chaired by Sharif Hassan Sheikh Aden, and a 10 member Executive Committee chaired by Sharif Sheikh Ahmad. Former ICU leader Sheikh Hassan Dahir Aweys explicitly stated he did not hold any formal position in the Alliance. Islamists held 45% of the seats, ex-MPs 25%, and the rest of the organization's seats were held by representatives of the diaspora and civil society.[1]

In May 2008, the Alliance suffered internal splits and in-fighting between its more radical and moderate Islamist members over holding peace talks with the official Somalian government.[2]

The Djibouti peace agreement[edit]

Between May 31 and June 9, 2008, representatives of Somalia's Transitional Federal Government and the Alliance for the Re-liberation of Somalia participated in a peace conference in Djibouti mediated by the United Nations Special Envoy to Somalia, Ahmedou Ould-Abdallah. The conference ended with the announcement on June 9, 2008 that they had signed an 11-point peace agreement paving the way for "the cessation of all armed confrontation" across Somalia. The peace agreement called for a 90-day ceasefire and set a withdrawal timetable for the Ethiopian troops protecting the TFG. According to the agreement, the two sides agreed to terminate "all acts of armed confrontation" and to "request the United Nations...to authorize and deploy an international stabilization force from countries that are friends of Somalia" excluding the neighboring countries. The peace pact also called for the withdrawal of Ethiopian troops present in Somalia within a period of 120 days of the signing of this agreement. Both Somali Prime Minister Nur Hassan Hussein and ARS Chairman Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmad welcomed the peace agreement as an "historic opportunity" to end Somalia's long conflict. However, ICU leader Sheikh Hassan Dahir Aweys rejected the agreement, arguing that "no one authorized" the ARS delegates to participate at the Djibouti conference.[3]

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