Alliance for the Restoration of Peace and Counter-Terrorism (ARPCT)

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The Alliance for the Restoration of Peace and Counter-Terrorism (ARPCT) was a short-lived coalition of secular Somali warlords that was alleged to have received covert U.S. backing.

The alleged meeting in Jowhar

In late February 2006, a report by Agence France Presse gave rare specific details about alleged contacts between the United States and the ARPCT:

"A group of powerful warlords controlling the Somali capital on Tuesday held secret talks with US agents in a provincial town in a bid to fight terrorism in the Horn of Africa nation, witnesses said. The talks between the warlords, who recently formed the Alliance for the Restoration of Peace and Counter-Terrorism (ARPCT), and the US agents were held in Jowhar, 90 kilometres (55 miles) north of the capital Mogadishu. 'The meeting was convened to discuss the future of peace in Somalia and the best ways of kicking out foreign extremists and their hosts from Somalia,' an ARPCT member, who insisted on anonymity, told AFP. They said the delegates arrived in Jowhar, the seat of Somali transitional government, in two planes -- one carrying the warlords and the other carrying the US agents." [1]

The April 2006 Associated Press report

Another report that gave rare specifics about US-ARPCT contacts was by the AP's Chris Tomlinson in April 2006:[2]

"The United States is backing a new coalition of Somali militants fighting Islamic extremists for control of the lawless nation's capital, a U.S. official said, as both sides prepared for a battle that could explode in widespread violence... A U.S. official, speaking to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the press, said prominent al-Qaida leaders with large cash bounties on their heads are under the protection of the extremist leaders in Mogadishu. He did not name them, but eight men wanted in the embassy bombings are on the FBI most wanted list. The same official, who monitors the situation in Somalia, also repeated the long-standing U.S. policy of working with anyone who is ready to cooperate in the fight against al-Qaida, adding that U.S. officials had made contact with a wide range of Somalis. He declined to say what kind of support the U.S. was supplying.
"...Somalis with connections to the alliance have said that U.S. officials have frequently visited Mohamed Dhere, a governor in the new administration, and other alliance leaders. Aweys said he believes they are CIA agents who have financed the alliance's sudden increase in cash, a rumor widely accepted among Somalis. The CIA declined to comment on any matter concerning Somalia."

June 2006: the Islamic Courts defeat the ARPCT

By mid-June 2006, it was all over. The Islamic Courts militia defeated the ARPCT in Mogadishu, and two of the Alliance's warlords reportedly sought the protection of the United States military.[3][4] According to Agence France Presse:

"A US military vessel yesterday picked up two defeated Somali warlords from Mogadishu, while a third defected to the Islamic Courts militia now in control of the capital, officials said. Musa Sudi Yalahwo and Bashir Raghe Shirar, who were under the protection of their clan in northern Mogadishu’s Karan districts, took a boat to an approaching US military vessel on the coast, while Omar Mohamed Finnish joined the Union of Islamic Courts, they said. “Yalahwo and Shirar took a boat and were picked up by the US ship. No one knows where they are heading but they said they will be back,” a bodyguard of the warlords said and several residents confirmed." [5]

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