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|How Do Somalis See Fall Of Baghdad?|
MOGADISHU, April 11, 2003 (Middle-east online) - A decade after a US military foray in Somalia ended in bloody embarrassment, residents of the lawless Horn of Africa country saw Wednesday's fall of Baghdad as an act of American colonialism.
"It is bad that Iraq is now an American colony," said Ali Yahya Ahmed, a tailor at Mogadishu's Bakara market.
Ahmed said that it was very deplorable that the Iraqi heroes were overrun by invading, well-armed American forces.
A bitter Sheikh Mohamud, a prominent religious leader, urged the Iraqis to continue fighting Americans until they leave their country, saying, "Iraqis are Arabs, Muslims and have nothing in common with Americans."
Somalia is a predominantly Sunni Muslim nation, like the regime of President Saddam Hussein in Iraq.
The US army fought in the streets of Mogadishu against armed militiamen of the late General Mohamed Farah Aidid in 1993, when the Americans lost 18 Task Force rangers on October 3 the same year.
The Americans and other international forces were part of peacekeepers in the UN Operations Somalia (UNOSOM), which arrived in Mogadishu on December 1992 to protect international food aid to Somalia's hungry population and to help end bloody fighting between rival clans following the overthrow of dictator Mohamed Siad Barre in January 1991.
Asha Mohamud, a shop owner in north Mogadishu's Sinai market, said, "Saddam Hussein may have been bad to his people, but the Americans would not be better than him."
"How can a foreigner decide on your fate? The Americans should leave Iraq within two or three months, otherwise the country will be under occupation like in Palestine," she added.
Only two people among a crowd at one Mogadishu neighborhood supported the US attack on Iraq, but they were immediately accused of being bad, non-Muslim elements supporting the American aggression.
"Maybe they don't watch Arabic TVs to see how many civilians are being killed daily," a crowd shouted at the two supporters of the war, with some saying the two "deserved to be killed for supporting the war in Iraq."
Koranic schoolteacher Ahmed Haji Abdullahi said Sunni Muslims in Iraq would be rounded up and detained.
Other parts of Somalia also did not welcome news of the capture of Baghdad.
Most people interviewed in the breakaway northwest republic of Somaliland capital, Hargeisa, said that although they hated Saddam Hussein, they would never change their minds to accept "imperial takeover of Iraq by the Americans."
"If America stands for peace and security in the Arab world, they should first support UN Security Council Resolution 242, which calls for an end to Israeli occupation of Palestine," said Ahmed Idris, a driver who worked for many years in Saudi Arabia.
"America is giving more attention to Iraqi oil than its people," he charged.
Farmer Ahmed Yakub Ibrahim branded the war "illegal" because it was not supported by the United Nations.
"America is winning a war which is not endorsed by most people in the world," said the farmer.
"After the war is over, the Iraqis should reconcile and forget the past bad history and give the Americans a chance if they are serious to help the Iraqis," he said.
"Maybe they can build Iraq to get the trust of the Islamic world, but you can't trust America as they serve the interest of Israel," he added.