Islamic Courts Union

The Islamic Courts Union (ICU; Somali: Midowga Maxkamadaha Islaamiga; Arabic: اتحاد المحاكم الإسلامية‎ Ittihād al-mahākim al-islāmiyya) was a group of Sharia courts that united themselves to form a rival administration to the Transitional Federal Government (TFG) of Somalia, with Sharif Sheikh Ahmed as their head. They were also known as the Joint Islamic Courts, Union of Islamic Courts (UIC), Supreme Islamic Courts Council (SICC) or the Supreme Council of Islamic Courts (SCIC). Western media often refer to the group as Somali Islamists.

Until the end of 2006, they controlled most of southern Somalia and the vast majority of its population, including most major cities such as Jowhar, Kismayo, Beledweyne, and the capital Mogadishu. The ICU was supported by warlord Yusuf "Indho Ade" Mohamed Siad who ruled Lower Shabelle but later became defense chief of the ICU, who aided in the defeat of the Mogadishu warlords. Only the Northern regions (Puntland, Somaliland), and the furthest interior regions of the south were outside their control. In December 2006, the ICU lost much territory after defeats at the battles of Baidoa, Bandiradley, and Beledweyne, retreating to the capital, Mogadishu. On December 28 they abandoned Mogadishu, leaving the city in chaos while they moved south towards Kismayo, which allowed the TFG and Ethiopian troops to take over the city. After a stand at the Battle of Jilib, the ICU abandoned the city of Kismayo on January 1, 2007. Stripped of almost all their territory, it was speculated the ICU would pursue guerrilla-style warfare against the government.

Instead, hardline Islamists broke ranks from the ICU and formed other militant groups, such as Al-Shabaab and Hizbul Islam, to continue the war against the government.

The less-militant members of the ICU went into exile in Eritrea and Djibouti, where they formed the Alliance for the Re-Liberation of Somalia in September 2007. In the two years following the ICU's ouster from Mogadishu, the hardline Islamist groups concentrated their power in the south and west of Somalia, taking ground from both the TFG and ICU.

By January 2009, a reconciliation and powersharing deal was brokered between the Transitional Federal Government (TFG) and the Djibouti contingent from the former Islamic Courts Union which resulted in the expansion of the Parliament and the election of Sheik Sharif Ahmed, former leader of the ICU, as President of the Transitional Federal Government.

Read more about Islamic Courts UnionSocial Policies, Greater Somalia

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Islamic Courts Union - Greater Somalia
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Disarmament In Somalia - Recent Efforts - 2006 Islamic Courts Union
... In 2006, the Islamic Courts Union (ICU) attempted to disarm the secular warlords—a contentious issue which led to the Second Battle of Mogadishu ... and their caches of arms, and the rapid rise of the Islamic Courts Union ... market, and impounding or appropriating technicals for use solely by the Islamic Courts forces We were skeptical, but everyone we have spoken to since– doctors, teachers, journalists, shopkeepers ...
Etymology Of War On Terrorism - U.S. and NATO-led Military Operations - Operation Enduring Freedom - Operation Enduring Freedom – Horn of Africa
... by Osama bin Laden urged Somalis to build an Islamic state in the country and warned western governments that the al-Qaeda network would fight against them if they intervened there ... Beginning in mid-2006, the Islamic Courts Union (ICU), an Islamist faction campaigning on a restoration of "law and order" through Sharia law, had rapidly taken control of much ... Jendayi Frazer claimed al-Qaeda cell operatives were controlling the Islamic Courts Union, a claim denied by the ICU ...
Sharif Sheikh Ahmed - Islamic Courts Union
... the ICU and was elected to head a small local sub-clan court in Jowhar ... By 2004, Sheikh Ahmed had become one of the leading figures in the Mogadishu Islamic Courts ... to bring about a rapprochement between the Islamic Courts Union and the Somali Transitional Federal Government (TFG) ...
Ayr (clan) - Prominent Figures
... of al-Shabaab, the youth movement of the Islamic Courts Union Sheikh Hassan Dahir Aweys, head of the 90-member shura council of the Islamic Courts Union, Leader Hizbul Islam ...

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