Over the course of only a few months in 2006, the Islamic Courts Union (ICU) defeated the clan-based faction leaders in Mogadishu and conquered most parts of South-Central Somalia, an achievement unprecedented since the fall of the Somali state in 1991.
The ICU’s rapid expansion met with little resistance and the local populations generally received their forces with enthusiasm. Drawing on unique empirical material, Michael Skjelderup and colleagues discuss why and how the ICU alliance expanded in Somalia’s southernmost province Lower Jubba.
While ICU’s initial success in Mogadishu was due to a combination of several factors as discussed in existing literature, this paper contents that its wider expansion in Lower Jubba was largely caused by ICU’s ability to utilize local dynamics, structured along clan lines. While the ICU was initially welcomed by the local population in Lower Jubba, its Islamist-inspired politics were soon heavily challenged throughout the province.
Read the article in the Journal of Eastern African Studies:
Militant Islamism and local clan dynamics in Somalia: the expansion of the Islamic Courts Union in Lower Jubba province by Michael Skjelderup, Mukhtar Ainashe & Ahmed Mohamed Abdulle