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IdentifierCreatedClassificationOrigin
07DOHA709 2007-07-05 14:39:00 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Doha
Cable title:  

SOMALIS MEET IN QATAR, REJECT RECONCILIATION

Tags:   PREL PTER MOPS XF AL QA 
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1. (C) Summary. A local NGO affiliated with Islamic
hard-liners hosted Somali activists in Doha for a conference
June 7-8 2007. Sheikh Sharif of the Islamic Courts movement
and Sharif Hassan, former parliamentary speaker,
participated. The event was paid for through a hard-line
Sunni organization called the Global Anti-Agression Campaign.
Conferees were united in their opposition to the Ethiopian
presence in Somalia and to the national reconciliation
conference planned for July 15. The Somalis reportedly
departed Doha after the conference. End Summary.



2. (C) Dr. Abdurrahman bin Omair al-Nuaimi, director of the
Arab Center for Studies and Research, told P/E Chief July 3
that his organization had hosted approximately 15 Somalis for
a conference June 7-8 entitled "Foreign Interventions and the
Future of the African Horn." The Somali group included former
Islamic Courts leader Sheikh Sharif and former parliamentary
speaker Sherif Hassan, as well as representatives from civil
society organizations based in the United States, Canada, the
UK, Sweden, France, and other countries. Al-Nuaimi reported
that the Somali visitors had stayed in the Millenium Hotel in
Doha for the period of the conference. Expenses were covered
by the Global Anti-Agression Campaign, a hard-line Sunni
grouping (Refs B, C). After the conference, all the
participants departed Doha, according to al-Nuaimi. Sheikh
Sharif reportedly traveled to Asmara.



3. (C) Al-Nuaimi explained that the Somalis included both
members the Courts movement and secularists. All were united
on the point of opposition to the presence of Ethiopian
troops in Somalia. Al-Nuaimi claimed he had talked to the
Somalis about traveling to the July 15 reconciliation
conference but they refused to consider the idea.



4. (U) According to a local press report dated June 8, a
session June 7 focusing on the Ethiopian "occupation" was
moderated by Farah Moallem Mohamed. Jama Mohamed Ghalib and
Mohamed Ahmed Nour (President of the Committee of Somalis
Abroad) spoke in this session. The second session dealt with
"ethnic clensing in Mogadishu"; Mohamed Nour, Omar Hashi, and
Mohamed Mohamed Ghandi were named as speakers. A entitled "A
Political Program for Saving Somalia," moderated by Abdulla
Hussein Kahiya and with Mohamed al-Amin Mohamed al-Hadi,
Mohamed Abdulla, and Zakaria Haji Mohamoud as speakers, was
on the schedule for June 8. The press report stated that the
conference had 30 participants, all of whom were considered
in opposition to "the current regime in Mogadishu." The most
prominent organizations represented were the Council of the
Islamic Courts, led by Sheikh Sharif, and the "Free
Parliamentary Faction," led by Yousef Hassan Adam, and the
Committee of Somalis Abroad based in Canada, and civil
society organizations from inside Somalia.



5. (C) In his meeting with P/E Chief, Al-Nuaimi claimed that
the vast majority of Somalis in Somalia also oppose the
Ethiopian troops and that the U.S. had made a mistake in
backing them. "The U.S. should have encouraged the CIC," he
said, when it demonstrated that it could restore some measure
of security and order to the landscape.



6. (C) P/E Chief spoke with Somali Ambassador to Qatar,
Sharif Mohamed Omar, July 2. Though not in touch with the
Somali opposition, he was not aware of any prominent figures
taking up residence in Qatar. Neither has Post seen any signs
of Sheikh Sharif or others lingering in Doha after the June
conference. (Note. Emboffs will remain alert to the
activities in Doha of important Somali political figures.)



--------------------------


Comment


--------------------------





6. (C) While there was no direct government support for the
June conference, it had the tacit blessing of the GOQ.
Al-Nuaimi is closely watched because of his hard-line
tendencies, and the fact visas were obtained and funding
secured through the Global Anti-Agression Campaign indicates
a green light. In addition, Sheikh Sharif met the Amir in
Doha during Ramadan in October 2006, and a foreign ministry
official expressed sympathy with the CIC movement duing a
meeting with P/E Chief because it had, he said, briefly
provided stability to the country. The Qataris have a recent
history of seeking mediation roles in regional conflicts

DOHA 00000709 002 OF 002


(Palestine, Lebanon), usually on the side of the groups the
U.S. opposes (Hamas, Hizballah).



--------------------------


Bio Note


--------------------------





7. (C) Abdurrahman bin Omair al-Nuaimi is a political
activist currently training Qataris for involvement in
election campaigns expected in 2008. He is a Islamist
hard-liner who was jailed by the Amir in approximately 2000
for criticism of his wife's public role. (Al-Nuaimi is
critical of women taking up public leadership positions.) He
served as local organizer for the hard-line Sunni "Global
Anti-Agresssion Campaign" organizing conference in Doha in
2005 (http://qawim.net).
UNTERMEYER