Garowe, May 26, 2019
I receive multiple long distance phone calls, text messages and emails almost on daily basis from friends and colleagues living overseas within the Somali diaspora around the world. To sum up the contents of these messages, their overall inquiries boil down to the above question: “Will Somalia rise up again?” How would you answer that question? Think a bit about it.
Personally, I have found out a genuine way to answer it. How? Well, ask them critical questions. What are they?
In your own opinion, is Somalia better off today than what she was ten years ago?
Does Somalia have a recognized government engaged with the world community today?
Is Somalia an active member state again in all major international and regional bodies as a sovereign nation?
Does Somalia talk about elections and building public institutions these days?
Is Somalia fighting back against extremism and wanton violence?
Is federal system agreed upon already, at least, half done?
Now, you guessed my method and approach to ask close-ended questions.
What about if you ask them open-ended questions. How?
What is your own take on Somalia’s situation today?
How would you, yourself, describe the performance of the Farmaajo-Khayre Government?
What would you like to know about Somalia?
How would you evaluate the general public opinion of Somalis living in your part of the world?
Now, I think, you can figure out the big difference between the two methods of questioning.
The first method is a critical approach to an organized fact-finding and quicker way to cause the inquirer to think critically and ask you intelligent questions too.
The 2nd method is to solicit for information and personal opinion of your interlocutor.
So, decide upfront which method of informing your colleagues you will use for a mutually satisfactory exchange of information.
Both methods are useful, depending on what you want out of these communications.
What I don’t want you to do is to lecture your friends and colleagues about your own take or opinion on things in Somalia. Be open-minded and listen to any concerns and misperceptions people have on many things. You will not be able to correct misinformation and biases if you don’t listen, acknowledge concerns first, paraphrase their opinions to let know them that you understood them, and try to answer to a reciprocally listening and attentive person on the other side of the world or infront of you across the table- a pleasure session to conclude.
May resignation speech in full. Take a listen:
Take a read here more.
(Image credit: CNN)
Take a read:
(Image credit: Africa Confidential)
Garowe, May 21, 2019
Diplomatic relations between states are reciprocal. Those relationships could be passive and cold. They could be warm and cordial. They could be friendly and brotherly. They could be strained, contraversial and frictious as they are happening now between Somalia and Kenya.
These relationships are based on mutual interests for the good of respective citizens. Sometimes, the leaders of one party may happen to be short-sighted and take unilateral hostile actions as Kenyans are doing now on the basis of emotions, leaders’ echo and wrong perceptions on the work and motives of other party. The other is compelled to retaliate promptly and make things even worse.
We would therefore advise the leaders of the Federal Government of Somalia to exercise restraints and weigh reciprocal retaliation in the interests of Somali people, refugees in Kenya, large Somali expatriates and business community in Kenya, Kenya’s AMISOM participation, employees of Kenyan origin in Somalia.
In our opinion, breaking diplomatic relations with Kenya is not advisable at this stage yet. There would be reciprocal retaliation, though, equal to the actions Kenyan Authorities have taken against Somalia’s interests, “nothing more and nothing less”
In the meantime, the Somali Government, Somali international partners and diplomatic community accredited to Somalia must plan alternative business and diplomatic hubs now. Uganda, Ethiopia and Djibouti are possible venues to do business with the IC, whenever it is necessary to do so out of Somalia, but preferably conduct nation’s business inside Somalia.
Galkayo, May 20, 2019
Mudugh & Security Council. Take a listen.
Garowe May 17, 2019
You may not be aware of the fact the name, Somalia, didn’t exist in the sense of a united central entity as a country, but as ethnic group among East African peoples before 18-19th century European colonial powers of Italy, Great Britain, France, Portugal, and Turkish Ottoman Empire from Egypt. Most historically known self-governing entities in Southern and Northeastern parts of what is presently known as “Somalia” didn’t have the notion of Somalia as a country. Colonial Italy led the way in the creation of the concept of Somalia as a country for its own colonial objectives and administrative-political expediency for a united colony.
These powerful nomads in the Northeastern, Northwestern and Central parts of “Somalia” had had no sense of a country beyond their grazing localities and water wells. The Southernmost agriculturalists of Bantu extraction had had no specific identities other than they were remnants of perished local slave-owning sultanates and chieftains with occasional visits, rule or influence from Arabs looking for slaves and fortune in East Africa, usually coming from the sea and Zanzibar.
The concept of Greater Somalia didn’t exist before Somali Youth League (SYL) political campaigns for independence from as recently as the year of 1943. Even the notion and the term of “Greater Somalia” (Somaliweyn) was conceived and coined by former British Foreign Secretary, Bevin, before Britain abandoned the initiative and had decided to transfer the Somali territory known as the ” Haud and Reserve Area” to Ethiopia in 1954. At the time, Ethiopia was demanding from Britain to agreeing swallowing Hargeisa and Zeila as part of Haud and Reserve Area as well.
The struggle waged by the Head of the Darwish Movement of Sayyid Mohamed Abdulle Hassan against British Colonial Administration and Emperial Ethiopia was a mixture of Islamic extremism, nationalisn and bad approach to self-government blind-sighted by fight for local control over grazing Somali nomads. The British wanted cheap meat for its military garrison in Aden, South Yemen. The Sayyid wanted loyal clans for supply of fighting men for religio-nationalistic wars. He also wanted to model after Sheikh Ahmed Gurey in his attempt to conquer Abbysinia. Darwish Movement was in-transition to statehood. It never had a chance to succeed. Bad approach to self-government was the root cause of its failure.
Enter the era of independence in 1960 from colonial administrations of Italy and Britain. The colonial masters had left a country in-transition to statehood. They left behind a Somali political elite of their design with very limited preparation, education and skills to run a modern government and poor state with no infrastructure or institutions to talk about. Despite all these, Somalis did well in the first few years after securing the national independence with fledgling democratic culture and successful presidential, parliament and municipal elections that was the envy of black Africa at time. The native political and business elite, who had little training by colonial powers, were in-transition themselves to learn the art of government and statecraft. Yesterday’s nomads poured into over-crowded urban cities, specially Mogadishu and Hargeisa, with no social and labor skills. They too were in-transition to become, as least, normal citizens of a new country called the Somali Republic. The new Somali Government was now in-transition to become as viable as any government on earth.
The Government of the Somali Republic didn’t survive long as it had suffered from military coup of 1969 led by General Mohamed Siyad Barre. That Military Government lasted in office for twenty-one years long in-transition to multi-party democratic elections and people’s self-rule. It never fulfilled the promise to transition to democracy.
The Ogaden war of 1977 -78, rebellion against the dictatorship, people’s uprising and vicious Civil War that followed had cut short the long military reign of the General and his Client-Military Administration.
The world came to learn the phrase “Failed State” of Somalia, total collapse of public institutions and breakdown of law and order. Upheaval, uprooting of people, mass displacement of residents from cities and towns followed in-transition to peace and normalcy.
National Reconciliation Conferences had finally produced “Transitional Governments” from the year of 2000. These Somalia’s transitional governments are, however, still in-transition to multi-party democratic self-government – back to square one in-transition.
The Federal Regional State governments are too in-transition to full-fledged federal states, some of them are still needed to satisfy the basic requirements of the Transitional Federal Constitution for their legal formation and very existence. The entire country and its state institutions are in-transition, some of the goals and objectives of which will not happen in my life. But, as long as things are in-transition, there are always opportunities to move Somalia forward. Be hopeful.
Hussen says auditor general report only looked at period of time before they started addressing issues https://globalnews.ca/video/5250088/hussen-says-auditor-general-report-only-looked-at-period-of-time-before-they-started-addressing-issues
Despite the President’s continuous travels and repeated tours in some parts of the country, while intentionally avoiding some, including those regions considered as his political power-base, and he is highly visible at receptions at Villa Garowe with Somalia’s International Partners, President Gas is politically isolated within a short time into his mandate as he has lost touch with reality in both Puntland and larger Somalia.
This self-imposed political isolation and complacency take place due to the following mistakes of his making:
1. The President chose to surround himself at State House with young novices as his key advisers, who neither have the political skills, education, nor the experience of working in any parts of Somalia, not to mention about having slightest field works in Puntland State of Somalia.
2. The President is incapable of gauging the mood and feeling of ordinary man and women towards his leadership performance in terms of the economy, public order and personal safety.
3. State employees, including security forces are not paid months after months, often triggering off threatening periodical mutiny of forces, ensuing dangerous security situation, and creating an atmosphere of growing popular deep discontents. The President does not treat this precarious situation as a national emergency and priority number one for the very survival and unity of Puntland.
4. The President feels that he knows what is he doing better than anybody else-a superficial Ivory Tower Attitude devoid of any real and on-the-ground political context and smart understanding of current dismal economic and geo-political situation of Puntland.
5. The President clearly enjoys hosting high-level delegations, who continually jet in and out of Puntland with no benefits to deliver to the State, even a small budgetary support for the security sector engaged daily with extremists and militants-the very forces that enabled the so-called “international Partners” to have trouble-free discussions with Puntland authorities inside the country to show-case their engagements with Somalia, and thus diffuse the concerns of their generous Donor countries. Rather than demanding reciprocity and playing ball, the President is enticed with diplomatic niceties, empty, and meaningless receptions in his Office. It is disturbing to see even junior NGOs officers being to driven to the State House rather letting them mind their own business with government departments concerned. One critical fact Abdiweli has to learn about these international organizations is that they are not accountable to anyone. As they are faceless, their promises and statements to their interlocutors mean nothing as they would never honour or deliver on their promises- a black hole Puntland fell into recently. The President often gets busy himself with departmental tasks and mandates- an award tendency to a one-man show exercises.
6. Under the fledgling leadership of President Abdiweli Hassan Ali (Gas), Puntland State has abandoned the on-going Somali National Debate on the re-institution and re-construction of the Somali Republic along the Vision the State of Puntland has been fighting for nearly two decades.
7. Worse of all, it seems that President Gas has no a vague idea of the Mission and Founding Objectives of Puntland State of Somalia. Probably, in his Ivory Tower vanity, he did not bother to browse that Historic Document even briefly. Let us Paraphrase some highlights of these Guiding Principles for his benefit:
1. After many trials and failures of the National Reconciliation Conferences, it became obvious that Somalia could not be re-instated and re-constructed from the “Top-down”. It must be re-instated from “Bottom-up” by the formation of “Building Blocks” (Federal States) producing legitimate and representative leadership to discuss the future governance of Somalia.
2. Puntland State of Somalia is founded with a vision to create an orderly, peaceful and democratic society with the marriage of traditional societal leadership with a modern and efficient administration of statecraft capable of delivering public services, working towards economic self-sufficiency and safe-guarding the security and unity of the State. Puntland State of Somalia is an integral part of Somalia, and would not entertain unilateral secession or independence as an option. Governance system and public institutions would continue to evolve and grow leading to further democratization process, population census, population disarmament, and building strong, credible and lasting public institutions.
3. Puntland State was committed to taking the leadership role required to help credible and representative community leaders from various parts of Somalia engage in constructive dialogue in building constituent regions to form regional states on free will and voluntary basis. The people of Western Galgaduud Region of Central Somalia were invited and had free option to join Puntland State whenever they were ready. In this regard, Puntland would spear-head a National Reconciliation Process leading to the resolution of the legacy of the Civil War, deepening peace and restoring public trust again in a shared government and institutions.
4. Puntland State of Somalia would promote peace and good neighbourliness among the peoples of East Africa, and with Somali neighbour states, in particular.
Based on the narrative above and serious issues raised therein, how does the “scoreboard” of Dr Gas look like? If you live in Puntland State, or closely follow its “state of the union” today, you have every reason to worry about where the country is heading to. Besides the economic calamities besetting the people of Puntland, there is strong lack of political leadership and direction. President Abdiweli Hassan Ali (Gas) is now in a political trap designed by the President Hassan Sheikh Mohamoud’s faction in Mogadishu, to politically isolate Puntland, on the one hand, and destabilize it in the Central Somalia front, while welcoming and approaching Somaliland encouragingly, on the other hand. That is on the top of the political Puntland headache on threats to its unity and Sool and Sanaag issue.
It takes leadership to acknowledge one’s mistakes, ask for advice, and listen to the concerns of one’s own constituency attentively. Would he?
Ismail H. Warsame
The stateless situation of Somalia, rise of extremist religious extremism of Wahabi Sect, sea-piracy, enormous porous borders, historical territorial disputes and conflicts, greedy Somali traders willing to sell anything and everything Somalia has to the highest bidder, destruction of Somali fauna, strategic oil/mineral interests in the country, among other things, made Somalia uniquely attractive to intelligence community. Ethiopia, Djibouti, and Kenya became permanent centres for operation of these foreign spies on Somalia. These countries provide convenient centres of interdiction for apprehended terrorist suspects from Somalia. Many Somalis and non-Somalis were targeted for elimination when convenient. Former Somali military officers and Professionals in other fields were eliminated in mysterious circumstances. No national institutions existed to investigate the murders and horrendous crimes against the stateless people of Somalia. It was like hunting them for sports or game in eliminating any body important for the future rise of Somalia as a state.
While these heinous crimes were being perpetrated against them , the Somalis were busy in under-cutting each other in what everybody commonly call “clan-rivalry” and warlordism, dismissing these daily crimes as the work of their respective rivals, and embracing for new wave for revenge in a vicious circle that pushes Somalia into further abyss and mayhem.
Sometime after 9/11, and following the establishment of the Islamic Courts Union (ICU) in Mogadishu. The USA government renewed its security interests in Somalia. USA security agents were keen in finding the connection between Al-Qaeda and these Courts. USA resources, however, were limited in Mogadishu. At the time, the only available intelligence infrastructure they could rely on was their global surveillance programs of monitoring internet and telephone communications. They found out connection existed between elements of the ICU and foreign extremist organizations, including Al-Qaeda. But, they needed human intelligence on the ground in Mogadishu. They had to seek help from Djibouti, Kenyan and Ethiopian governments, and Somalis in their Diaspora communities, to establish monitoring and operational network in Somalia.
In the process of setting up espionage centres and other intelligence gathering channels throughout Somalia, they sent a delegation to Puntland State to discuss ways of cooperation against the real and perceived common enemy of Al-Qaeda. In one of a series of meetings with Puntland officials, the US side asked for Puntland help in linking them with those Mogadishu warlords Puntland thought they could be effective against the Islamic Courts Union. State officials inquired those US officials about which warlords they were working with so far. They told Puntland officials that they were not happy with the effectiveness of the likes of Osman Ali Caato and Mohamed Qanyare Afrax. “What about Muuse Suudi Yalaxow?”, asked one official of the Puntland side? “Oh! No! This guy doesn’t pick up his home phone for three months in a row. American cannot work with such a man!? “What about Mohamed Dheere?”, asked another official? “The guy in Jowhar?; yes, we could try that one?”, concluded, the US Intelligence Officer. Mohamed Dheere soon found himself airlifted from Jowhar to Wilson Airport in Nairobi, Kenya.
A few weeks after these meetings in Bosaso, Puntland State of Somalia, Mogadishu Warlords announced the creation of The Alliance for the Restoration of Peace and Counter-Terrorism. US dollars, in suit-cases, exchanged hands in Dayniille Air-strip in Mogadishu, under the command of Mohamed Qanyare Afrax. The hunt for Al-Qaeda and foreign persons starts in earnest in Mogadishu. Warlords competed in the new game of hunting people for unaccountable US dollars. Any light-skinned person of seemingly Arab origin was vulnerable and a possible target for warlord’s grab. Residents of Mogadishu broke down into ICU and Warlords camps-a polarisation that transcended beyond the traditional clan rivalry into an ideological rift of national and religious connotations. Ethiopia stepped up its war of proxy, this time acting for Americans as well, with the provision and offer of access facilities for US counter-terrorism forces in Godey and elsewhere in its country. Djibouti became centre for US covert operations, including interdiction of foreign elements captured in Somalia, and drone attacks against targets in Somalia. Kenya established itself as the coordination centre for covert operations in Somalia, business and financial hub, and modern resort of get-away for Western intelligence and counter-terrorism agents.
A huge spy network of Ethiopia and Western countries took deep roots in Somalia. They now use highly trained personnel of Somali origin from the Diaspora, on the top of well-placed locals. Don’t get surprised if you find spies posing as camel herders in Somalia’s countryside today.
FAQASH, LOOMA-OOYAAN AND LAHAYSTAYAAL
It was in April 2000 when I changed planes at Egal International Airport in Hargeisa on my way to Bosaso, Puntland. It was just on the eve of Arta Conference (May 2, 2000). I came from London, UK, via Djibouti, on a visit to my family. As I was the Chief of Staff of Puntland Presidency at the time and relations between Somaliland and Puntland were not that great, I was not at ease in the Transit Hall of the Hargeisa Airport and quite relieved when they finally called for boarding of the propeller plane to Bosaso, after having spent two hours in the Hall. Earlier, on deciding to transit through Hargeisa, I correctly assumed that no one would recognize me in Hargeisa. I also calculated that if someone would know me there, he or she would be from the Somali National Movement (SNM), who would respect the historical comaraderie that existed between the Somali Salvation Democratic Front (SSDF) and SNM. While waiting for my flight in the Transit Hall, I received a large bundle of Somaliland currency in exchange for US dollars to buy a few things. Seeing me exchange money, a number of seemingly Airport Staff individually approached me for a Shaxaad (free money). When I tried to share my newly acquired Somaliland Shillings with them, each one said that this was not real money. They wanted dollars instead, saying “war ninyahow dhabcaalsanidaa ma Majeertayn baa tahay”? (Are you Majeertayn, how come you are that mean?)
On-board I happened to be in the same two-seat row with a well-to-do businessman from Hargeisa on his way to Dubai via Bosaso. I call him Dahir (not his real name) for privacy and security reasons. Dahir was a joyful and talkative guy. After a brief mutual introduction in which I volunteered neither the title nor the description of my real job, he suddenly asks me: “War nimankii Dhulbahante iiga warran”? (Tell me about the Dhulbahante folks in Puntland?).
“Ii jilci su’aasha”? (I didn’t quite understand the question), I responded. “War ninyohow nimankii saanu u raaligelineynay ayey naga wada carareen. Meelaha bulshadu isugu timaado, mid anaga ah oo is-ilaawey uun baa oranaya “War Faqashtii”, durbana markuu hareerihiissa eego raggii iyo dumarkii “Faqashka ayaa jooga. Markaa ayaa ninwalba raaligelintooda ku waashaa: War ina-adheerow idinka idiin majeedin! (Translation: People hailing from Dhulbahante find themselves uncomfortable to live among us (Issaks) as they are often called Faqash or belong to Faqash. That is one of the reasons they left us).
The word “Faqash” is one of the key code names for massive human rights violations in the Northwest Regions of Somalia (now Somaliland). The Code has been used by the Somali National Movement in identification for Darood clan cleansing in these regions following the collapse of the Somali Central Government. Originally, the word is used by Northerners to indicate the Somali Soldiers conscripted from Inter-riverine communities (Bantu farmers) of Somalia. Literarily it describes the way and sound of walk these soldiers make as they march through the streets of Northern cities and countryside.
Other code names for gross human rights violations including massacres, rape, expulsion, destructions of properties, dispossessions, clan cleansing are: Mujaahidiin, Looma-ooyaan, Lahaystayaal, Kacaan-diid, Haraadi, Dib-u-socod, Daba-dhilif.
In the repressive Regime of Siyad Barre, Kacaan-diid (Anti-revolutionary), Dib-u-socod (Reactionary), Daba-dhilif
(Foreign agent) and Haraadi (Remnants of Civilian Governments before Siyad Barre’s Coup) applies solely to Majeertayn sub-clan of Darood. It was huge project of the Military Regime to purge from prominent positions of Government and marginalize them from Somali body politic, accompanied by huge propaganda to unite the rest of the Somali clan system against the Majeertayn. Once someone is labelled with one of these code names, they lose all rights of citizenship and are subject to any kind of harassment and abuses by anyone and could lose everything including wife. Many Somalis, including educated class of different clans bought and embraced Siyad Barre’s brain-wash. Today any individual political ambition of Majeertayn has to face and fight this legacy of Siyad Barre’s propaganda machine.
What was the main Siyad Barre’s objective for initiating and implementing such huge political enterprise against a single Somali sub-sub-clan?
Siyad Barre, from the onset of his Military Coup, understood quite well that the Majeertayns have the numbers, territory, economic and manpower resources, history of self-government and great traditional governance and mechanisms for societal conflict resolution and potential for quality political leadership and therefore constitute a threat to his absolute rule. He had to start his war against them from Day One of his Regime.
Mujaadidiin (fighter, struggler in Arabic) were used by SNM and USC (United Somali Congress) for their respective militia. It was more popularly used by General Wing of USC. As the Central Government fell and Siyad Barre expelled from Mogadishu in January 26, 1991, law and order broke down, anarchy, looting, killing of Daroods reigned, the Mujaahidiin turned into Mooryaan, then further into Al-Shabab during the short reign of United Islamic Courts in Mogadishu and now they split between Government soldiers and Al-Shabab militia. Today when they talk of Mujaahidiin they mean the Mooryaan that rampaged, pillaged, robbed and killed massively in Mogadishu, Gaalkacayo, Kismayo, Brava, Merka, Baydhada and other towns in South and South-Central. To them the Mooryaans (bandits) are pioneers of victory over Darood. Many of these Mooryaans suffer from post-war trauma and require long-term rehabilitation and therefore not fit to be soldiers anymore. In Mooryaan speak, their military ranks starts from how many people each had killed so far: tobanle (ten persons killer), labaatanle (twenty persons killer, kontonle (fifty persons killer) and so on. They are sick and serial killers. The whole central, south-central are infested with these mad and sick beasts, specially in Mogadishu.
Looma-ooyaan (No one sheds tears for them) is a code name for unprotected non-Hawie person, who for whatever miracle transpired still remained alive in Mogadishu. Whatever happens to such individuals, there is no one to claim them and nobody would shed tears over the fate and misfortune of such human beings. Forget about retaliation and clan revenge resulting from abuse of these unlucky beings. I guess the cold-blooded murder of Hon. Singer and Superstar Saado Ali Warsame and Hon. General Xayd becomes increasingly difficult to handle under the codename of Looma-ooyaan.
Lahaystayaal (hostages) is another key code name for minorities considered outside the Somali clan system such as the Reer Hamar, Bravani etc, who had been possessed and abused by the Mooryaans. They can get freedom through extortion and high ransom payment with their daughters and wives already taken away.
I am sure there are many other codenames for targeting people for barbaric abuses, condoned by political personalities, who until today refuses to acknowledge the horrendous abuses of lives during the past twenty odd years. And until that happens, all other efforts are exercises in futility. Consequently, this denial of heinous crimes committed in the name of clan against other clans in the Somali Civil War, would threaten the survival of Somalia as a country. That would be the biggest tragedy of all in waiting. Let us pray!
Blessing Eid to all.
Ismail H. Warsame
Read this article here:
Read here what is the root problem of Somalia and how to fix it:
By Ismail H. Warsame
“Ultimately it is the Somalis who can solve their own problems” is the desperate and repeated expression often used by the external diplomatic and political actors of Somalia when something didn’t work out as planned, or planned intentionally to fail, after all. This is another way to concede defeat and shift the blame of failure onto the Somalis themselves. It is also a successful ploy by these foreign actors to justify the continuation of their respective tax-payers’ money contributions to find the elusive solution to the dangerous Somali stateless chaos, rightly acknowledging that Somalia is not only a security threat to itself, but also to the outside world. Their bottom-line strategy on Somalia is to contain, at least, this security menace within Somalia. Such an approach to Somalia’s long-running predicament have been creating a thriving industry that continuously produces good paying jobs and resort-like living luxury existence in Nairobi, Addis Ababa, Djibouti and Uganda for expatriates on Somalia’s supposedly dangerous job assignments.
As a man who worked in the field, a witness to most recent events in Somalia, I found quite astonishing that nobody is getting or reading rightly the Somalia’s current root causes of the problem, apart from the legacy of the Military Dictatorship that led to the failure of the National Government. Everybody, including researchers and experts on Somalia is busy with in looking at symptoms of the problem: warlords, the Union of Islamic Courts, Al-Shabab, corruption, piracy …etc. Nobody had ever thought that the instruments and institutions that helped sustain livelihood of the Somali masses in a uniquely failed and stateless situation for such a long time are the same ones that perpetuate the status quo and prevent, at any cost, the creation of a viable institution of governance, especially in Mogadishu.
It is important to note here that one would not see any scholarly references attached to this short article as I was there, in person, to re-tell my own take of developments and events that made the most recent history of Somalia.
It was towards the end of 1996 when I met, for first time, with Mohamed Abdi Habeeb (Mohamed Dheere), the Late Former warlord and former Mayor of Mogadishu of the Transitional Federal Government of Somalia, in Ghion Hotel in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. At the time, he was not a warlord, but a future one for Middle Shabelle Region (Jowhar). He was a member of then the National Salvation Council (SNC), an impressive organization of Somali Warlords sponsored by Ethiopia under the initiative of Late Somali President Abdullahi Yusuf Ahmed in a congress held in the city of Sodere, about 120 Kms to the Southeast of Addis Ababa and within the Oromo Regional state. I was a member of Somali Diaspora in Canada, having spent at that time one and half years in England and mostly in Dubai after I left Canada in 1995. While in Dubai, I was invited by the SNC Co-Chairmen to help in the documentation and office work of the Council in Ethiopia. As the warlord organization was seriously planning and set to hold a congress in Bosaso, the commercial city of Northern eastern Regions in 1997, to announce the election of a new Somali Central Government, one perhaps to be led by Ali Mahdi Mohamed as President and Abdullahi Yusuf as Prime Minister, I was eager to learn more about the political, security and economic events in Southern Somalia and Mogadishu, in particular.
In my conversation with him, Mohamed Dheere was a surprise to me. Although he had no academic credentials to speak of, I found him shrewd, highly intelligent and amazingly knowledgeable about the nature of Mogadishu conflicts at the time. He exposed and gave me his take and analysis of what he termed: “The Mog Forces”. Basically, he informed me that the real and invincible force in Mogadishu are not the warlords in the name of Aidid, Ali Mahdi and others, but a handful of business tycoons in Northern and Southern Mogadishu. The warlords are used and bankrolled by these business titans to prevent any local, regional or national governance in Mogadishu or Somalia. These business giants of ill-gotten riches following the collapse of the Somali State run huge enterprises of telecommunications, money transfer (Hawaala), makeshift seaports, huge warehouses of foreign aid (think of WFP) and its distribution outlets, public transport chains, hotels, import and export businesses, security and protection escorts… etc, all tax-free. They created their own huge army of militia. They constituted the real power that no other institutions can challenge them, foreign or local. Add to this, the proliferation of the so-called civil societies under the watchful eyes of these business predators as their clever and invisible channel of communication with the external diplomatic, political and humanitarian organizations, primarily working as double agents within the misery of Somalia at cost of Somalia’s national sovereignty. Warlord alliances like USC/SNA and USC/SSA, SNF, SPM and others continued to operate to add to the Southern chaos for divide and rule purposes along sub-clan allegiance. That was the gist of Mohamed Dheere’s assessment of Mogadishu situation nearly twenty years ago.
Having understood and fully aware of what was happening in Mogadishu and Southern Somalia, in general, the establishment of Puntland took first steps to contain and isolate such business and NGO forces becoming too powerful. Militia organizations of SSDF, USP and SNDU were outlawed and banned for good. Traditional leadership was allowed to drive the governance process and a government based on the consent of its stakeholders was instituted. While the Somaliland Administration of the Late President Mohamed Haji Ibrahim Egal had an ideological difference with the Somali National Movement (SNM) to politically marginalize it, SNM former members were active and still are behind the scene in Somaliland body politic. They are known as the “Calan Cas” (Red Flag) Group because of their leftist political orientation. In the case of Puntland, former militia organizations are things of the past, and while Puntland lacks behind Somaliland in terms of democratization and multi-party system because of latter’s concerted attempt to attract international recognition and more international aid rather than a result of inherent good governance, there are areas in which Puntland is a way ahead of Somaliland like fair distribution of resources, standard of living of residents, gap between the rich and poor, and even residents’ self-confidence in better future, welcoming and creation of safe heavens and income opportunities for Somali IDPs, regional cooperation and good neighbourliness despite Somaliland unwarranted provocations in Sool and Ayn Regions, and struggle for the re-institution of Somalia’s Central State for the benefit of all, including Somaliland, and in the best interests of all peoples of East Africa and world peace and security, in general.
It may sound very sad indeed to suggest and recommend now that, given a genuine commitment to fix Somalia, the international community needs to completely re-think Somalia by targeting those forces that prevent Somalia to stand on its feet again and rise up as a less dangerous member of world community. Unfortunately, the only way feasible at moment is to restart resolving Somalia’s problem afresh by identifying the culprits for the failure at local and international levels. Trial and errors approaches on the failed state for the past two decades had become the Sarah Palin ‘ s “bridge to nowhere” in Alaska.
In conclusion, the international community is either ignorant or reluctant to learn one important lesson from former colonial powers of Somalia. When dealing with law and order and governance issues in a given city or region in Somalia, you cannot have a Governor in the same city he/she hails from. Because of the local sub-clan rivalry and conflict, a local governor will be a part of the problem, not its solution. Such a Governor will not have the benefit for playing fair arbitration as he/she is perceived locally to belong to and serve the interests of one of the clan antagonists. A Somali President from Southern Somalia suffers the same perception and fate in Mogadishu. Hence, you also have an additional clan and family conflicts in Mogadishu, on the top of the powerful “Mog Forces”.
Although I heard about it and reminded myself, on several occasions, to have a look at it, I, finally, had the opportunity to read Mohamud Jama Ghalib’s book, The Cost of Dictatorship, 1995 Edition. While I commend the author’s efforts to record his own experience with the extremely repressive regime he served loyally for such a long time, and although I am, perhaps, a bit sympathetic to his inclination to the Somali unity, I found the author’s account in the book full of historical distortions, perhaps with intended omissions of facts and extreme partiality towards forces that led to the removal of Siyad Barre Military Dictatorship.
When I read Ghalib’s book I suddenly remembered one incident involving the author during the Somali National Reconciliation Conference in Imbagati, Kenya, 2002-2004. For whatever reasons he avoided Hargheisa even when it fell to the forces of Somali National Movement (SNM) he claims that he was the key man in Mogadishu at
The point here is that General Ghalib can claim for himself any past societal status or role rightly or wrongly he so desires to be remembered of, but he cannot be allowed to distort modern history as we are all witnesses as well, and perhaps more informed than him with regards to the Somali movements established to fight against Barre Regime.
Let me set the record straight. The movements of SNM and USC the esteemed General glorifies are nothing, but the work done by the Somali Salvation Democratic Front (SSDF) in its historical efforts to mobilize Somali masses against the Military Junta in Mogadishu. When some political leaders of prominently Issaks led by Mr Duqsi and Mr Jumcale, came to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, and met with then leaders of the Somali Salvation Front (SSF), a successor of Somali Democratic Action Front (SODAF) in 1981, it was agreed to form a united front against the Regime. There was no SNM at that time. It was decided that Issaks had to organize themselves, either to join SSF individually and in groups, or to form their own movement with an intention to join forces later. The formation of SNM was announced in London, UK, in 1982 after SSF became SSDF with its merge with the Somali Communist Party led by Abdirahman Aid, himself hailing from Sool and Togdheer regions of Somalia, and Somali Workers’ Party led by Said Jama, hailing from North-western Somalia.
SSDF sent a high level delegation composing of Mr. Jama Rabile God (after he defected to SSDF) and Abdirahman Sugule Xaabsey to SNM leadership in London for unification talks. An SNM delegation led by the organization’s Secretary-General, Mr. Duqsi, came to meet with SSDF leadership in Addis Ababa for unity talks. The talks continue for several weeks and ended in stalemate. The main reason for the failure of talks was the position of SNM leaders that if they were to join with SSDF, they might not secure the support of Issak masses as they were mostly bent to fighting against what they called Southern domination. It was agreed that SSDF, rich with Qadafi money and huge and generous supply of modern arms, would bankroll SNM and arm its forces for the next two years, or until SNM could secure enough support from its own constituencies while the unity talks would continue in the foreseeable future. SSDF shared its broadcasting Radio Studio, Radio Kulmis and changed the name to Radio Halgan, the United Voice of the Somali Opposition. That cooperation continued through Sheikh Yusuf Madar/Issak/Habar-Awal until the SNM leadership of Col. Kosaar/Issak/Habar-Younis, who was assassinated, perhaps by Siyad Agents, in a Mustahiil (off Hiraan Region) SNM Military camp.
Ahmed Mohamed Silaanyo/Issak/Habar-Jeclo/Adan Madoobe was elected as Kosaar’s successor. SSDF leadership ran into trouble with Mengistu Haile-Mariam. Then, SSDF leader, Col Abdullahi Yusuf was arrested by Mengistu because of serious political differences involving opposing national interests. There was a temporary lull in the activities of SSDF. Then, SSDF broke into two factions.
Mohamud Jama Ghalib ignores the fact that USC was a splinter group of SSDF following the arrest of its leader in Ethiopia. The second and most influential figure in USC leadership after General Aideed was the Late Mohamed Farah Jimcaale/Harbar-Gedir/Saad, a once Deputy Chairman of SSDF until General Aideed forced his way to remove Hussein Ali Shido/Harbar-Gedir/Suleiman with the support of Jimcaale at a militia camp at border. When General Aideed came to Ethiopia, in his initial attempt to remove Hussein Shido from USC leadership, he was received by Mengistu. In that audience, Aideed requested for the release of Abdullahi Yusuf. Mengistu warned him not to try that again.
The trouble I have with Mr. Ghalib’s accounts is that he could know better, having a formal police and intelligence training, unless his intention is to distort facts, deny others of their historical role and glorify the works of yesterday’s political stooges of the hated regime. One should not stay with and serve a dictatorship for twenty-odd years, always in-waiting for an appointment to high office and higher promotion within the regime while claiming to be a staunch supporter of the opposition. You cannot be a Police General and a member of the civil society at same time!
In the Cost of the Dictatorship, Ghalib has no slightest fairness or guts to mention about the role of the first organized opposition to the Regime, The SSDF. Read and see his tendency towards not mentioning even once the name of its Leader, Abdullahi Yusuf Ahmed, while he glories the names and noble contributions of his colleagues, including himself, in the Regime of Siyad Barre. He is easily exposed, however, when he ignores the fact regarding the SNM that an organization does not fight for liberation and independence while at same time installing yesterday’s political stooges and security agents of the dictatorship as its new leaders. It makes no sense.
I, therefore, strongly believe that there are many distortions and twisting of facts in the Ghalib’s book, The Cost of Dictatorship. Some stories recounted in the book must be re-examined and verified as its author seems emotionally partial, accompanied with a motive, I suspect, to deny his role and responsibilities in the gross misconduct of Somalia’s affairs, horrendous abuses of power and human rights violations during the period the author served not his country, but Siyad Barre’s Junta for many years.
Having said that, I am, however, a bit inclined to agree with General Ghalib’s overall assessment of the extent and the irreversible damages Issak intellectuals had done to undermine the existence and vital national interests of Somalia’s state in their blind fight against Siyad Barre Regime or the “Southern domination”. In that regard, I recall one painful expression or rather a question relayed to me in a conversation in Nairobi, Kenya, a few years ago, with Mr Mohamud Jama “Sifir”, a long time employee of the UN about the extra efforts of these intellectuals have been exerting in destroying Somalia as we knew it: “Who will ever dig Somalia out of the deep hole of our own making?” Sifir told me that the question was raised by one of his colleagues as they assessed the tremendous damages done not only to Siyad Barre Regime, but to Somalia to a much greater extent, during their anti-regime campaigns in foreign and Western capitals within the international community. No wonder Somalia becomes too difficult to fix.
Xog Culus ama Su’aallo Muhiim ah oo la iska weydiinayo doorasho sax ah ee ka dhacda Puntland 2014:
1. Maxaa ka dhab ah in Madaxweyne Faroole damacsanyahay in uu saaxibadiisa siyaasadeed iyo shaqaale ku magacawdo Gudiga Khilaafaadka sida Cali Barre Jaamac Gibin (Gobolka Mudugh, Wakiilkiissa Nairobi), Maxamed Xassan Barre (Shibiralaaye, Gobolka Karkar), Barkhat Cali Saalax (Gobolka Bari), Cali Yusuf Cali Xosh ama mid kaloo la mid ah (Gobolka Nugaal, Aaran Jaan), iyo in la raad-goobayo wakiillo Sool iyo Sanaag matala ee Maamulka haatan jooga ku xaglinaya)?
2. Maxaa Musharaxxiinta kale uga gaabsanayaan ama uga hadliwaayaan Gudiga Amniga ee Madaxweyne Farrole iskii u magacawday xilliga doorasha?
3. Tuhun ama cadayn ma jirtaa in gaargaar bani-aadamnimo ee haatan socda maamulku u isticmaalayo ujeedooyin iyo hawlo siyaasadeed?
4. . Maxaa Degellada ama website-yada Soomaalidu intooda badani uga gaabsnayaan arrimaha kor ku xusan si loo sugo doorasho sax oo ka dhacda Puntland?
Su’aallaha iyo qaar kaloo badan ayaa haatan waxgaradka Puntland isweydiinayaan, kana digayaan.
SECRETARY-GENERAL APPOINTS FATIHA SEROUR OF ALGERIA AS DEPUTY SPECIAL REPRESENTATIVE IN SOMALIA
In her most recent position as Regional Director for Europe, North Africa and the Middle East at the United Nations Office for Project Services from 2010-2012, she led national and international teams to implement projects for the United Nations system, international financial institutions, governments and other partners in world aid.
Dr. Serour holds a Ph.D. in Development Strategies for Africa from the University of Aberdeen, United Kingdom, and a Master of Arts in International Relations from the University of Lille, France. She is fluent in English, French and Arabic.
Puntland State of Somalia is one of the few achievements I happen to be proud of. Other Puntlanders, stakeholders and supporters in Somalia and beyond, within the Diaspora and external players today can pause for moment to imagine their social, political status and relationships with Somalia without the existence of Puntland State. While people always give the visible leader the credit for it, I had the chance to know full well that there were a few of us that made the difference in initiating its creation and playing the critical role in making it a functioning reality that changed the political landscape of Somalia for ever. This is my moral authority and basis on which I pen this short article.
Once again, Puntland State is at cross-roads and it was unfortunate that the democratization process failed abysmally. That was a great setback for the people of Puntland. Nevertheless, the State is relatively safe and has high hopes for a better future. But, to survive and progress, Puntland requires an urgent political change that the current administration cannot deliver. Faroole is a spent force and is running out of ideas, on the top of his poor domestic policies. He becomes a divisive figure and liability for Puntland despite his foreign contacts drama and superficial Diaspora perception that he is the man who can challenge the ill-advised and naïve Damul Jadid Clique in Mogadishu. To refresh up the memory of the readers of this article, Faroole was against the foundation of PuntlandState from the onset to consist of Sool, Sanaag Bari (now Haylaan), Nuguaal, Bari, Mudugh and the District of Buuhoodle (now Cayn). He was among the proponents of creating only Northeastern Regional Administration ( not even a regional state) composed of only Mudugh, Nugaal and Bari ( Karkar Region was part of Bari then). He fled to Australia in early July 1998 before the creation of Puntland State and in the last days of the Puntland Constitutional Conference to found the State when he and his colleagues failed resoundingly in their attempt to exclude Sool, Sanaag and Buuhoodle in the process. He came back later to Somalia in early 2000s to oppose Puntland State every step of the way. For a long time he was frequenting anti-Puntland conferences and lobbies in Djbouti, Mogadishu and elsewhere. As he left the Conference, I vividly recall his departing words, on the mike, to the Late Islaan Mohamed Islaan Muse, then the Chairperson of the Constitutional congress and I quote, “Shirku waa afduubanyahay”, unquote ( The Congress is being held hostage). Following Puntland State constitutional crisis involving Supreme Court President, Yusuf Haji Nur, Jama Ali Jama and Late Abdullahi Yusuf, and as gesture for Puntland internal reconciliation, I personally persuaded the later to include Faroole in the New Puntland Cabinet as a counter-weight to the defection of Hassan Abshir Farah, then the Puntland Interior Minister, to Arta’s produced TNG of President AbdulQasim Salad Hassan. Despite his background, he was appointed Puntland Finance Minister. He became President of Puntland State due to the unpopularity of then the incumbent Puntland President, General Mohamud Hersi Muse (Boqor), bribery, intimidation of non-Majertaine MPs in Garowe and absence of capable Presidential candidates on the scene at the time. This can happen again if Puntland communities do not do their due diligence in searching and finding better alternative candidates.
The People of Puntland State are now ready for change. To effectively take part in that on-going political need and imperative for change, Traditional Elders, business community, intellectuals and any person at grass-root level has to help in selecting truly representative and worthy members of Puntland State Parliament. People who hail from Khatumo areas have the moral obligations and legitimacy too as founders of Puntland State to help in the current efforts for political change. All Puntlanders have every right and owe to their country to select and promote capable and honest patriots as presidential candidates on merit: personal integrity, character, leadership talent, experience and vision. They have to do their due diligence to get it right this time around, and peacefully. We must insure that if such a candidate wins the election, he/she must not use Puntland State as stepping stone or leverage for a national position in the Federal Government of Somalia, but willing instead to concentrate and focus on the unity, peace and socio-economic development of Puntland as his/her priority No. 1.
I know a good number of Presidential candidates have put their names forward. My assessment is that while many of the declared candidates have something to contribute, they don’t pass the test of leadership requirements needed in Puntland at this crucial moment. Puntland State deeply suffers from political stagnation, has serious governance and security problems. The country is politically polarized and unity is at stake. Economy has collapsed because of lack of sound fiscal management and absence of competition in a free market, leaders’ destructive interference in the market, nepotism and cronyism of the administration. No one among the known Presidential candidates can meet the challenges now Puntland faces.
Current political perception within Puntland Diaspora and supporters of Puntland is that there are two front runners among these candidates: They claim to be Abdiweli Hassan Ali (Gas) and incumbent President, Abdirahman Mohamed Mohamud (Faroole). I take an exception to this artificial and cosmetic assessment of reality in Puntland. My take on them is based on my Puntland experience and reading of the prevailing political situation at home now.
Let me call a spade a spade. Dr Abdiweli’s chance in that race is extremely limited. I also suspect that Dr. Abdiweli (Gas) has other personal national goals and ambitions and Puntland is not his priority. Based on his short political life as Prime Minister of Somalia, he did little or nothing for Puntland interests, although I acknowledge that he had had a bad working relationship with Faroole that made doing business with Puntland difficult. In fact, tampering of the Provisional Federal Constitution was done under Abdiweli’s watch. He and his team ( including his right-hand Constitutional Minister, Abdi Hosh) failed to deposit the constitutional version agreed upon in Garowe I and Garowe II to Congress delegates that provisionally approved the Federal Constitution. Instead, a print-out of completely another version was distributed to the 800 Congress Delegates, including the Traditional leaders that gathered and finally approved it in Mogadishu. That was a long time before President Hassan Sh. Mohamud got elected. To sum it up, the Road Map Dr Abdiweli seems to be proud of today is faulty and had done considerable damage to Somalia’s future governance as it was detrimental to Puntland vital national interest: Federalism as safeguard against Central Dictatorship and return to a One-City Republic Status. In terms of team work and selection of aides and political advisors, he is considered the worst Prime Minister that the successive Somali Transitional Governments had ever had.
The Roadmap received help and new boost from the most unexpected source: Jubaland, a non-existent entity during the Roadmap process. The appearance of JubalandState (which, of course, PuntlandState has been working tirelessly for throughout its existence) saved the day to re-enforce the Puntland State Vision on future governance system for Somalia. This de facto establishment of Jubaland Administration, in turn, led to the overwhelming acceptance of federalism by the international community as the only viable option for Somalia’s governance. Abdiweli also did nothing to contribute to the noble cause of creating JubalandState. He was not even visible during those tough political and military fights for Jubaland. One may recall that he was a tourist and traveling guest among the Puntland Diaspora in every corner of the world on a mission without an objective beyond his personal interests. Therefore, Puntland does need a man with that profile. It is too risky to take a chance!
I strongly believe that Puntland State communities have yet to produce the right Presidential Candidates to choose and elect from, and that is a heavy responsibility for all concerned. Let us debate on it and get this done. Take a note that time is of the essence in this regard.
The obvious contradictions in the rushed agreement between Jubbaland and Federal Government of Somalia show that the talks have actually collapsed, and heads of the international community there and Ethiopian Leaders could not face the failure for their own sake. The stakes were even higher for them than the negotiating parties. They had to bring a lot of pressure to bear on the parties to save face by producing a signed paper and a photo opportunity for the occasion.The result is a confusing document which creates more problems and itself a source of future conflicts and everlasting tension in the region for all concerned. One thing is sure. Jubaland constitution and the conference that produced it were not acknowledged, consistent with FGS earlier position, but they had to swallow the fact that they won’t have their way unless they face the reality on the ground in Jubba and negotiate with Ahmed Madobe as the de facto Head of the three regions. That is the only plausible outcome of Addis Talks. It is one step forward and two steps back, in my opinion.http://allafrica.com/stories/201308290096.html
allAfrica.com: Somalia: Jubaland Gains Recognition After Intense Bilateral Talks in Ethiopia
Puntland State of Somalia suspends its planned and ill-prepared multi-party elections, following local political violence where scores of people lost their lives and many others got hurt. The ruling political elite, who initially half-heartedly embraced the idea of pluralism on “My way or the highway” approach by using the instruments of political coercion, intimidation of public servants and use of public resources in a desperate attempt to stay in power or extend their term in power, has to fall back on the State’s political founding formula of sub-clan power-sharing through traditional selection process of members of Parliament along sub-clan lines, a scenario appropriate then at height of the Somalia’s Civil War, but no longer valid after nearly two decades of local self-government, a political stagnation and paralysis of vicious circle that Puntland State is unable to grow out of it.
The multi-party experiment, or they call it, Democratization Process, was meant to fail as it was hastily ill-prepared for an already pre-determined election outcome in favor of the ruling group, thus creating the seeds of political confrontations and violent reactions to the government political maneuvering. Fragile, poorly-prepared and ill-equipped new political parties and the masses rightly noticed that there could be no fair play in the process as they also saw and predicted the danger of destabilization and threats to peace in Puntland.
The local Parliament, another institution always bent on self-preservation rather than deliberating on and legislating genuine bills to move the country forward, has to quickly endorse political clannism in an Annex to the constitution. For the Puntland Parliament, it is business as usual as its members see the institution as permanent job for retirement without ever worrying about the obligations of public accountability, a dangerous source of political corruption and bad governance leading to facilitation of poor executive leadership in the State.
Some elements among the so-called opposition are yesterday’s men whose capabilities, ideas and visions are even far below than that now in power in the State. They have been already tested when they had had their once in a life-time accidental opportunity and a shot at positions of leadership. One would wonder if those are still able to marshal at least animal instincts to search for a new generation of leadership and talents to take over next and lead the country. They are better advised to go quietly and retire for the good of their people, family and country.
The time-tested traditional leadership of the various regions of Puntland now seems in disarray as the old generation gets aged and senile or passed away. The new generation of the traditional leaders are either inexperienced, pushed aside by or accommodated by the regime for its own agenda. The loss of Las Anod in Sool Region, the passing away of Islaan Mohamed Islaan Muse, Boqor Mohamud, Beldaaje Haji Farah, Garad Abdiqani Garad Jama and Ugaas Yassin is the greatest loss of PuntlandState since its foundation in August 1998 and the main causes of poor and unaccountable governance in the country. PuntlandState of Somalia was originally founded on the principle of over-whelming grass-root support led by the traditional leadership with the skills and art of modern statecraft equipped with all the three branches of government independent of each other with all checks and balance of power in place. Puntland State had had in its history incidents where a sitting President was removed by the Supreme Court, a Vice President impeached by Parliament and Ministers brought before Parliament for accountability and on Question Period on a Vote of Confidence. Unfortunately, that is no longer applicable to Puntland State of today. They got a serious governance problem. There is a lack of able, mature, wise men and women of vision, integrity and selfless commitment to efficient management of public affairs.
The Role of International and Donor Community
The International Donor Community acts in a wishy-washy fashion in Puntland Governance and Democratization Process. They tend to persuade their client leaders in the State for their poor Ad Hoc assessed positions on the agenda without a plan (B) to fall upon amid changing fluid situations. They have to re-assert the fact that there is no true democracy without the principle of one man (woman) one vote. There will be resistance to that principle by people who endured lawlessness for so long and there will be price to be paid by implementing it. By nature, people resist and ridicule anything new. If they are genuine in helping Puntland, in particular, and Somalia, in general, they have to be bold enough to push the Democratization Process forward and support the State contain the political violence that surely would occur. This should not be a trial and error exercise on their part. They must deliver for the sake of contributing to world peace and security at least.
The Way Forward
For Puntland State of Somalia, staying permanently in a vicious circle and political stagnation is not an option. Keeping multi-party democracy hostage to sub-clan patronage system for ever is not the solution to the current Puntland governance problems. Using public institutions and resources by the ruling elite for their own interests and advantage is to go alla Somalia Style of Siyad Barre. That would definitely lead to a total ruin of Puntland again.
What is required now in Puntland is a genuine debate about not only to avoid political destabilization, but ways and means of how to lift Puntland out of its chronic political paralysis and bring it out of the woods on the road to good governance based on:
The wishes and aspirations of its people demonstrated through fairly prepared elections.
- The equitable distribution and fair management of public resources
- Free market economy with no place for cronyism and despotism
- Political pluralism in a plane field to compete without violence and political intimidation, a fair game to produce quality result and sound popular leaders and talented statesmen.
To achieve the above, Puntland state of Somalia has to renew itself by addressing its fatal problem of intellectual bankruptcy. There is no shortage of learned Puntlanders. They are all over the world and inside Puntland. There is a total brain-freeze though among these talented intellectuals. Their problem: they only see the bigger picture of Somalia, ignoring Puntland altogether. By the way, this is the problem of successive Puntland leaders as well-never concentrating on Puntland development as the first historic and founding pillar of Federal Somalia, for someone’s perspective, one of the first Mandates of the creation of Puntland State.
The way forward for Puntland State of Somalia is not easy, but is worth doing it for the sake of present and future generations. Doing it is a great honor to those who sacrificed a lot in the foundation of State, in the first place, in order to re-instate and achieve a united, strong and prosperous Federal Republic of Somalia owned by free people of Somalia.
Re: Banning Khat
As a Chairman of London Somali Youth Forum I would like to take the opportunity to encourage the Home Secretary, Theresa May to continue with her plans to ban Khat in the United Kingdom. Over the past five years as a youth activists and a Local Government civil servant, I have witnessed the direct and unintended consequences of Khat use in the United Kingdom.
In a recent article, Professor David Nutt, chair of the Independent Scientific Commitee on Drugs has commented on the banning of Khat and has accepted the relative harms associated with Khat use, following investigation from expert advisors.
Although I respect the views of scientist, I would like to bring their attention to the fact that any drug that is associated with low/high level of harm has devastating consequence for our Somali community and youths. It may be low level harm to the scientist, however, the community, welfare departments, health agencies and the third sector have to pick up the pieces and respond to impacts of Khat use on family life, economy and wellbeing of our citizens.
I would like to encourage the Home Secretary and the Coalition Government not to bow down to any pressure from, what Cyril Connolly (renown reformist) once called The Enemies of Promise. For our community, youths and Somali Professionals, this is issue is fight against outdated cultural ideology, ignorance, poverty of aspirations, a struggle to unlock the potential opportunities of over community so that they can take their rightful position in our economy as citizens.
I make my conclusion from our direct involvement and experience with our communities/youths and we feel the Coalition Government should continue with its plans to ban Khat on the following grounds:
Impact on family life:
It is widely accepted that the issue of Khat has indirectly caused family breakdowns in Somali families and this historical lack of stable home coupled with absence fathers (leadership) means that a young Somali youth growing up in London is becoming ever harder, forcing a majority to turn to khat use as a tool for escapism, inevitability impacting on their life chances to compete and progress in life. As a Forum, we genuinely subscribe to the aims and notion or policies of Every Child Matters. As a result, we would fully support a ban on the use and availability of Khat, which is destroying the life chances of our children, cementing their place in a life of misery and wasted human capital for generations.
I would like to take the opportunity to underline the impact Khat use is having on Somali youths in London. It is arguable that the issue was just isolated to older Somali men who regularly chewed the substance. However, that trend has now changed where young Somali now form a growing and alarming number of Khat users, affecting their prospects, health and stability at home. As a youth activist and a strong campaigner for the progress of our youths, I find it astonishing that the issue is now trickling down to our first/second generation Somali youths, some languishing in mental health institutions and others wasted on the wilderness of benefit dependency with no aspiration for progress. As I pass through outside Khat stations in around London, and I speak to young people, I am witnessing the collective deteriation of our youths, which will ultimately result in a lost generation.
Community Integration/cohesion and Economic Empowerment
As we strive to promote tolerance, integration and progress for our youths, we, as a Forum, feel the issue of Khat availability and use is hampering our efforts to work for a common good so that our youths that have been affected by the issue take appropriate steps to be part of our society as productive citizens. However, previous subsequent delays, debates and lack of political will to tackle this issue effectively mean our work is even harder. The issue further defeats the objectives of recent Government Welfare Reforms. For example, the Work Programme from Department for Work and Pensions require people on benefits to make serious steps and efforts in finding work and employment training. However, the experience I have seen show that the readily availability of khat is having the opposite effect on the success of such programmes because the intended target group are not in a position to wake up for such employment training/work due to the heavy use of Khat the nights before.
In many ways, I sense this is an already transformative Coalition Government that is bold and I would like to inform the Government that Somali youths, community/mothers and professionals are fully behind such ban, because this about unlocking their potential as citizens, removing barriers to progress. The Community and the Nation expects.
Mohamed Ibrahim: Chair of London Somali Youth Forum
T: 0207 2842373
Fadeexad soo Wajahdey Madaxweyne Xasan sheikh ka dib markuu isu ekeysiiyey Madaxweyne Maamul goboleed
Madaxweynaha Dowlada Federaalka Soomaaliya Xasan Sheikh Maxamuud ayaa la cadeeyey in Fadeexadii ugu xumeyd ay soo foodsaartey ka dib markii Safarkiisa Japan u kaxaystey koox ay isku heyb yihiin, kuwasoo muujiyey In Madaxweyne xasan Sheikh uusan Qaranka Soomaaliya ku matalaynj shirka ka socda Japan.
Warar aan ka helney Nairobi ayaa sheegaya in beesha Caalmka ee aadka ugu dhexjirta Siyaasada soomaaliya ay aad uga xumaadeen habdhaqanka Madaxweynaha, Beesha Caalamka ayaa iyago qayb wayn ka ahaa dib u heshiisiintii, hirgalintii Road mapka, waxayna si hoose ula socdeen siyaasada Soomaaliya.
Dhinaca kale Beesha Caalamku waxay Rajowayn kamuujinayeen Dowlada federaalka soomaaliya maadaama ay iyagu Dhaqaalaha ku baxa Madaxda Federaalka iyo Amisom ay iyagu bixiyaan.
Fadeexadaan Cusub ka dhacdey Japan ayaa muujineysa in Madaxweynuhu uu siyaasadiisa ku ekeysiiyey Hal Qabiil iyo siyaasad xambaarsan hab beeleed, tasoo muujineysa in Madaxweynuhu u fakarayo inuu yahay Madaxweynaha Maamul goboleedka Jowharland.
sida aan Warka ku heyno Xafiisyada laga maamulo dhaqaalaha ku baxa Soomaaliya ee beesha Calamku ku leeyihiin Nairobi iyo safaradaha Wadamada daneeya arimaha Soomaaliya waxaa aad loo hadal Hayaa Fadeexadaan oo tan iyo shalay saxaafaduhu Wax ka qorayeen.
Hoos ka akhriso Wafdiga Madaxweynaha u raacay Japan.
1-Xuseen Iidoow Murursade – HAG, Agaasime ku-xigeenka madaxtooyada.
2-Ibraahim Baana – Abgaal -HAG Protocol of the presient.
3-Eng. Yariisoow – HAG, Information
4-Xaayoow Gacal – Murursade – HAG Wasiirul Dawle Foreign Affair.
5-Kamaal – Abgaal – HAG.
6-Sheekh Ciise – Abgaal – HAG
7- Abudalahi Afrah – Abagaal
8-Caynte – HAG.
ADDIS ABABA, 24th of May 2013
The IGAD Heads of State and Government held its 22nd extraordinary summit in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia on 24th of May 2013, under the Chairmanship of H.E Mr. Hailemariam Desalegn, the Prime Minister of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia and current Chairperson of the IGAD Assembly to discuss the political situation in the Federal Republic of Somalia.
The Assembly was attended by H. E. Yoweri Kaguta Museveni, President of the Republic of Uganda; H.E. Ismail Omar Guelleh, President of the Republic of Djibouti; H.E. Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, President of the Federal Republic of Somalia; H. E. Uhuru Kenyatta, President of the Republic of Kenya. The Summit was also attended by H.E. Mr. Erastus Mwencha, Deputy Chairperson of the African Union Commission, H.E Ambassador Hussein Elamin Elfadil, Ambassador of Sudan and permanent reprehensive to IGAD, H.E. Nicholas Westcostt , Director General for Africa , European Union, and H.E.Amb. Renzo Mario Rosso the Ambassador of Italy to Ethiopia and Permanent Representative to the AU and IGAD in his capacity as the Co-Chair of the IGAD Partners Forum (IPF).
The Assembly was preceded by the 48th Extra-ordinary Session of IGAD Council of Ministers held on 24th of May 2013, in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. As a follow up to its decision on 3rd May 2013 of its 21st extra-ordinary session, the Summit received a briefing from the chairperson of the IGAD Council of Ministers H.E Dr. Tedros Adhanom, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, and also a report from H.EAmb(Eng.)Mahboub M. Maalim, Executive Secretary of IGAD on the high level fact finding and confidence building mission delegated by the Summit to Mogadishu and Kismayo in the Federal Republic of Somalia.
The Summit deliberated on the report and the overall political and security situation in Somalia,
In this regard,
After listening to the briefing by H.E Dr. Tedros Adhanom,Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, on the Council consultation in its 48th Extraordinary session and Further considering the report from H.E Amb(Eng.)Mahboub M. Maalim, Executive Secretary of IGAD on the fact finding and confidence building mission to Mogadishu and Kismayo ,
Having taken Note of the findings of the mission and the recommendations made and further considering the various views observed by the Somali Federal Government as well as major stakeholders in Mogadishu and Kismayo;
Recalling the previous decisions of the IGAD Assembly of Heads of State and Government and the Council of Ministers on Somalia;
Considering the major political and security priorities of the Federal Government of Somalia, and the efforts for peace and stability within the framework of the provisional constitution;
1. Commends the successful fact finding and confidence building mission led by H.E Amb.(Eng.)Mahboub M. Maalim;
2. Endorses and adopts the report of the fact finding and confidence building mission to Mogadishu and Kismayo;
3. Notes with Satisfaction the agreement of all stakeholders to respect the provisional constitution, to accept the government leadership, to conduct the process in an all inclusive manner, the need for IGAD’s
supportive role and conduct the process in a way that helps the fight against Al-Shabaab;
4. Urges that the Federal Government of Somalia should timely convene and lead reconciliation conference with the support of IGAD while consulting key stakeholders in the Juba Regions with a view to chart out a roadmap on the establishment of interim administration and formation of a permanent regional administration in accordance with the Provisional Constitution with IGAD playing a supporting role;
5. Noted with concern the situation in Kismayo and appeals for calm and
restrain by all parties as such actions may threaten peace and stability mainly the fight against Al-shabab;
6. Calls upon all parties in Mogadishu and Kismayo to uphold the tenets of the five principles enumerated in the communiqué of the 21st Extra- Ordinary Summit ;
7. Re-iterates its previous call for the Federal Government of Somalia to as soon as possible integrate the various militia forces into a unified national command of Somali National Army;
8. Stresses the need for enhanced engagement by the international community and the AU in improving the operational capacity and coordination of AMISOM and Somali National Forces in view of supporting the on-going operations for peace and greater stability;
9. Reaffirmed the strong commitment of IGAD countries to assist the peace building and the reconstruction process in Somalia;
10.Recognises the important role to be played by the Somali refugees in the reconstruction of Somalia , and calls on international community to support the initiative by the governments of Somalia and Kenya
and UNHCR to convene an international conference on repatriation of Somali refugees to be held later this year;
11. Directs the Chairperson of the Council of Ministers and IGAD Secretariat to make the necessary arrangements to ensure continuous consultation and dialogue in Somalia;
12.Expresses appreciation to international partners and Organizations that are currently providing financial, material and technical assistance to the Federal Government of Somalia and appeals for increase in the
level of support;
13.Underscored the efforts made by the Ethiopian Prime Minister H.E Mr. Hailemariam Desalegn, in his capacity as IGAD Chair, in facilitating member countries efforts for the regional peace and security;
14.Directs the IGAD Secretariat to transmit these decisions to the African Union Commission and the United Nations Security Council;
15.Congratulates the AU on the occasion of the celebration of the 50th anniversary and its accomplishments; 16.Expresses its appreciation to the Government and the people of Ethiopia for hosting this Extra-ordinary Summit and for shouldering the heavy responsibility of hosting the 50th Anniversary of the AU;
17. Decides to remain seized of this matter.
Issued this 24th of May 2013 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
Sources: World Media
A few days before the “Somalia Conference 2013” held in London on May 7, a foreign journalist friend of mine sent me an e-mail asking what my thoughts were regarding the upcoming conference hosted by Prime Minister David Cameron. I replied: “My heart’s belief in miracles outweighed my mind’s interest in the pursuit of objective analysis.”
I am as optimistic as I was then, but hardly quixotic.
While the conference’s Final Communique outlines specific acknowledgements and directives that could have various effects on various actors, the most important messages were asserted in the implicit, or by way of omission.
The communique acknowledges improved conditions such as security sector, drastic reduction in the number of pirate attacks, receding famine, and the large number of the diaspora returning home. Likewise, it acknowledges challenges such as al-Shabaab’s hit-and-run campaign of terror and the fact that the provisional constitution is an incomplete document that fails to address some of the most serious issues of contention.
On the political front, the communique welcomes the Federal Government’s plans “to resolve outstanding constitutional issues, including the sharing of power, resources and revenues between the Federal Government and the regions.” It continues to state, “We welcomed the dialogue on the future structure of Somalia that has begun between the Federal Government and the regions. We welcomed progress on forming regional administrations and looked forward to the completion of that process. We encouraged the regions to work closely with the Federal Government to form a cohesive national polity consistent with the provisional constitution.”
The message seems clear; however, there is one thing missing — the term “federal state.” Though the concept is prominently established in the constitution, oddly it is replaced with terms such as “regions” and “regional administrations” in the communique. Throughout the communique the term is sidestepped seven times.
Was this the result of collective amnesia, or was it a deliberate action articulated in a carefully crafted language? If I were a betting person, I’d go with the latter.
As a newly rebranded coalition mandated by a new resolution, the international community has a new plan and initiative that will most likely to be much different than the discredited version outsourced to the hegemon of the Horn- Ethiopia. Hegemons tend to grant themselves the right to roam around freely and randomly exploit any ventures they deem expedient to their perceived unilateral self-interest.
Despite the fact the U.S. dual-track policy still has a de facto presence on the ground, this new language seems to have been injected to indicate rejection of the prevalent domestic clan-centric political order. Who can ignore the stubborn fact that, in current day Somalia, “federalism” means nothing other than legalized clan domination? The Alfa Clan, or the most armed, mainly gets the lion’s share and subjugates others while crying wolf.
The writing is on the wall: Somalis must renegotiate the form of government and indeed governance in a way that decentralizes power, leaves space to accommodate Somaliland, and brings the nation back together. The international community has been receiving earful of grievances from various clans, such as those from Sol, Sanaag, Ein and Awdal who inhabit Somaliland and say they are facing existentialist threat from the current arrangement, and, as such, are invoking their rights to stay in the union.
However mortifying this may be to some actors, reason should prevail. Staying the old course is a recipe for renewed civil war and perpetual instability. Somalia is too war-weary and too important to let it drift back into chaos again.
Contrary to the common perception, Somalia is perhaps the most important political theatre in the 21stcentury as it is where geopolitics, geoeconomic and georeligious dynamics intersect and interplay. And it is where two old empires (British and Turkish) are positioning themselves for global influence. Meanwhile, the curtains are slowly opening to unveil the covert rivalry of civilizations, instead of the clichéd “clash.”
According to Jamal Osman of U.K. Channel 4, “Western nations are uneasy about the rapid growth of Turkish influence in Somalia, and the UK government’s initiative is seen as part of the West’s agenda to counter it.”
Whether or not this latest high profile conference would prove “a pivotal moment for Somalia” would depend on two particular factors. First, it depends on how soon the Somali leadership comes to understand that without reconciliation, improved security, public services and development cannot be sustained. Second, it would depend on how key international partners avoid the political temptation of zero-sum gains.
Competition of civilizations can be healthy so long as the key actors cooperate, collaborate and negotiate ways that would not take away from each other and the others. However, it’s no secret that the difference between pre-Erdogan (Turkish Prime Minister) and post-Erdogan visit of Somalia is day and night, and that Turkey has been quite humble about the life-changing provisions it has made available for the Somali people and nation.
At the end of the day, what tips the scale and wins the hearts and minds of people are the tangible direct services provided to them at their most dire moment. Everything else is considered a costly symbolism. “There are two kinds of people, those who do the work and those who take the credit;” said the late Indira Gandhi. “Try to be in the first group; there is less competition there,” she added. This, of course, is even more pertinent to the Somali government.
While improvement of security apparatus, finance system and rule of law are indeed issues of high priority, the federal government would have to provide substantive public services far beyond Mogadishu. More importantly, the government must strategically balance the ways, means and ends at its discretion to achieve its objective of secure, reconciled and cohesively functioning Somalia. That is what Somalis yearn for, and that is what the international community wishes to assist Somalia with.
To think strategically is to recognize “what time is it.” What works today might not work tomorrow; and what is available today might not be available tomorrow.
Source: Foreign Policy Association
Heads of State and Governments, Excellencies, Ambassadors, Special Representatives, Honored Guests – the Prime Minister and I welcome you to the second Somalia Conference in London.
Mr. Prime Minister, I wholeheartedly thank you and your government for your personal engagement in shaping our future and for your support in hosting this Conference. I particularly congratulate you for re-opening your Embassy on our soil in Mogadishu after more than two decades absence.
People may ask why Somalia matters at this time but there is a huge amount at stake right now: the future of our country, the security of the region and the wider world, and the removal of the piracy stranglehold on the Gulf of Aden.
I know you all understand this and I fully appreciate the political capital being invested to support Somalia.
Since the last meeting held here in London more than one year ago, more has been achieved than anyone would ever have imagined. In just one year the cornerstones of a new Somalia have been successfully and peacefully laid.
The political transition has ended and I stand here as the elected President of a sovereign nation, with an elected Speaker leading a new Parliament representative of all the regions and all communities and with a legitimate and effective government delivering our Six Pillar Policy Framework – the foundation of a new beginning. Progress has defied the skeptics. Somalia has rejoined the world community.
Under my leadership, we offer the world a legitimate partner you can trust, hard at work to deliver an integrated national security plan; economic reform and new financial management systems; rule of law and judicial reform; and an environment conducive to commercial growth. We are achieving real progress week by week, month by month. But challenges do remain.
Despite being militarily defeated, Al Shabaab have melted into society and begun a new phase of insurgency and a campaign of terror – an experience I know that Great Britain comprehends as well as any other. Our Constitution is only partially complete. Piracy must come to an end. Millions of Somalis still live in desperate conditions as refugees in neighbouring countries or as internally displaced persons in their own country. And we lack developed government institutions, schools, hospitals, roads, sanitation and other basic services.
As you will hear over the coming hours, however, we come to London to share with you our detailed plans to address these challenges.
We are rebuilding our armed forces. We are restructuring and developing our police force. We are reforming our justice sector. And we are revolutionizing our public finance management systems. We are driving Somalia from emergency to recovery; and from recovery to development and reconstruction.
Ultimately, however, it will be a Somali owned solution that will fix Somalia, but no country has ever recovered from such social and economic collapse without the help of the world. And so in partnership with our endeavors, we respectfully ask for your total and unflinching commitment, partnership and support. We hope that you will agree how you can support the implementation of our plans and put an end to our dependence on the international community.
The Federal Government of Somalia has now laid down the foundations for a new public finance management mechanism, which we believe will give enable our donors to agree funding arrangements with the confidence that funds will reach their intended recipient.
The progress that has been made in Somalia over the past three years would not have been possible without the courageous support of IGAD, the African Union and our brothers and sisters in AMISOM and the ultimate sacrifice paid by many brave African soldiers. We owe to it their memory to ensure that we do not take one single step backwards.
The progress that has been made in Somalia over the past three years would also not have been possible without the committed support of the United Nations, the United States, the United Kingdom and the European Union. We owe it to the publics who contribute to these governments and institutions to see this process through to a successful conclusion.
We are also indebted to the kindness and generosity of countries like Turkey, Norway, the Arab League member states and other countries. Your assistance over the past few years has spread hope and belief among our people.
We welcome UNSOM, the new United Nations Mission in Somalia, and we are grateful for the consultation offered in agreeing both the mandate and the appointment of the SRSG. We congratulate His Excellency Mr. Nicholas Kay on his appointment as SRSG. We are looking forward receiving him and the new UN mission in Mogadishu. I wish to thank Ambassador Mahiga, the outgoing SRSG, for his relentless and determined efforts in leading the design of the roadmap and seeing the transition through. Our best wishes and tributes go to him. The people of Somalia are eternally grateful.
Winning the war in Somalia has been proved. Winning the peace in Somalia will take patience and great skill. We are at a critical junction. The time is now.
We have little time today and lots to achieve. All of us, especially those in the background who have worked so hard to make this conference happen, will want to depart with a real sense of progress.
I thank you all for coming, and for your dedicated support. Together we can make Somalia strong again. A tree standing tall in the African bush with deep roots binding it securely to its region and offering shade and protection to its people as they rebuild their lives.
By Jason Straziuso
NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) — The 2011 Somali famine killed an estimated 260,000 people, half of them age 5 and under, according to a new report to be published this week that more than doubles previous death toll estimates, officials told The Associated Press.
The aid community believes that tens of thousands of people died needlessly because the international community was slow to respond to early signs of approaching hunger in East Africa in late 2010 and early 2011.
Associated Press/Farah Abdi Warsameh, File – FILE – In this Monday, Aug. 15, 2011 file photo, children from southern Somalia hold their pots as they line up to receive cooked food in Mogadishu, Somalia
The toll was also exacerbated by extremist militants from al-Shabab who banned food aid deliveries to the areas of south-central Somalia that they controlled. Those same militants have also made the task of figuring out an accurate death toll extremely difficult.
A Western official briefed on the new report — the most authoritative to date — told AP that it says 260,000 people died, and that half the victims were 5 and under. Two other international officials briefed on the report confirmed that the toll was in the quarter-million range. All three insisted they not be identified because they were not authorized to share the report’s contents before it is officially released.
The report is being made public Thursday by FEWSNET, a famine early warning system funded by the U.S. government’s aid arm USAID, and by the Food Security and Nutrition Analysis Unit – Somalia, which is funded by the U.S. and Britain.
A previous estimate by the U.K. government said between 50,000 and 100,000 people died in the famine. The new report used research conducted by specialists experienced in estimating death tolls in emergencies and disasters. Those researchers relied on food and mortality data compiled by the Food Security and Nutrition Analysis Unit.
Because of the imprecise nature of the data available, the toll remains only an estimate.
When asked about the report, Somalia Health Minister Maryan Qasim Ahmed said she didn’t want to comment until she read it because of questions she had about the accuracy of the figures.
Sikander Khan, the head of UNICEF in Somalia, also said he needed to look at the report’s methodology before commenting specifically. But he said generally that the response to the famine was problematic because it depended on political dynamics. He said the international community needs to change the way it classifies famines.
“You lose children by the time people realize it’s met the established definition of famine,” he said.
Marthe Everard, the World Health Organization’s country director for Somalia, said she has not yet seen the report but would not be surprised by such a high death toll.
“The Somalis themselves were shocked about the number of women and children dying,” she said, adding later: “It should give us lessons learned, but what do we do with it? How do we correct it for next time?”
Much of the aid response came after pictures of weak and dying children were publicized by international media outlets around the time the U.N. declared a famine in July 2011.
“By then you are too late,” Everard said.
A report last year by the aid groups Oxfam and Save the Children found that rich donor nations waited until the crisis was in full swing before donating a substantial amount of money. The report also said aid agencies were slow to respond.
Quicker action wouldn’t have prevented the deaths in areas controlled by al-Shabab. The militant group prevented many men from leaving the famine-hit region and allowed no emergency food aid in.
Thousands of Somalis walked dozens or hundreds of miles to reach camps in Kenya and Ethiopia. Countless numbers of families lost children or elderly members along routes that became known as roads of death.
Sources: AP and WardheerNews.com
Somalia: Rumours Of Al-Shabaab’s Death Are Greatly Exaggerated
By Stig Hansen
April 25, 2013
Harakat Al Shabaab is an organisation that has, for many years, been misunderstood. This is perhaps most clearly illustrated by the frequent predictions concerning its fragmentation and imagined demise. These predictions first occurred in 2008 and have been repeated ever since. They overshadow a very important and, for Somalia, comparatively unique trait – namely its success in maintaining its unity relative to other Somali factions.
The second misunderstanding is the importance of the so-called ‘global-local divide’, where one part of the organisation is predicted to split of from Shabaab because of a supposed difference in focus. By using local sources, and studying interviews with the organisation’s leadership, a more complex picture emerges. This is a picture of an organisation influenced by clannism and with differences over strategy, its degree of centralization and implementation of Sharia, but also with a local focus, whose largest contribution to international radicalism is probably its foreign fighters, and NOT a will to strike at international targets.
The confusion was in many ways a product of stereotyping, both of Al Qaeda and of Shabaab itself, coupled with a lack of access to Somalia in order to carry out local interviews. Fortunately, I had the opportunity to visit Mogadishu continuously from 2006 until the present day – this greatly aided information gathering, but also created considerable irritation (on my part) over some of the external “desk top” analyses on Al-Shabaab.
Origins: Jihad and Justice
Shabaab itself was most probably formed in 2006, initiated by a Mogadishu based ‘old boys’ network made up of veterans from Afghanistan (and their supporters), also supported by Al Qaeda veterans, which at the time had little contact with regional Al Qaeda organisations. These veterans were formed by the so called “shadow wars” of Mogadishu between Western and Ethiopian intelligence, future Shabaab leaders, Al Qaeda veterans, warlords and clan militias – supposedly part of the “War on Terror,” but in reality a multifaceted conflict with many local dimensions.
Al-Shaabab’s initial success was driven by the perception that islamist control was preferable to the reign of the warlords – with all their crimes, random acts of violence and targeting of the civilian population. Shabaab, as a part of the wider Sharia court movement, managed to contribute to a more peaceful Mogadishu in 2006. This was the first lesson to be learned from Al-Shabaab’s success – if there is little protection offered to ordinary Somalis, through for example a non-paid predatory police, Shabaab will flourish – offering the harsh alternative of Sharia, which at-least give some resemblance of order, and of safety. A gender activist told the writer in 2007 that she preferred Shabaab to the government at the time, since the latter’s police were not paid, and plundered and raped – probably a true statement in this period. Indeed, Shabaab propaganda showed pictures of pillaging police in 2007 and 2008.
In 2007, Ethiopian use of heavy artillery, sometimes falling on civilians, helped the recruitment of a new, leaner and more radical Shabaab. This Shabaab drew attention to itself by speculative but low cost fighting techniques such as suicide bombings, but nevertheless avoided the larger battles that other parts of the opposition fought against the transitional government and the Ethiopians, saving its forces for later.
Fragmenting… as usual?
The first rumors of a split inside the Shabaab occurred in 2009, when Ethiopia withdrew from Somalia; Shabaab drastically expanded and took the then interim capital of Baidoa. The split was often said to have been between the previous spokesperson of Shabaab, Afghanistan veteran Muqtar Robow, and the leader of the organization, Muktar Abdirahman “Godane”. However, when I spoke to locals in Baidoa over the telephone at the time, they stressed the continued centralised nature of the movement, believing that for this reason it would survive. The analysts that predicted the collapse of the Shabaab also failed to notice that it was another Shabaab leader, Fuad Qalaf “Shongole”, who made the public critique of Robow, not Godane. And indeed Shabaab did not collapse.
Predictions of Shabaab’s split into factions led by Godane and Robow have continually resurfaced. Despite Shongole often making statements with a very local agenda, and Robow at times making statements on a very global agenda, and despite Shabaab’s clearly local modus operandi, abstaining from attacking international targets (the only exception being the Kampala attacks in 2010), the local-global division was repeatedly stated, with little evidence to show for it. By systematically exploring the speeches of the leaders, an alternative picture merges, a picture were the “local” is very important for the so-called globalist faction, while signals of a global interest are displayed by individuals supposedly close to Robow. For example, the initial adaptation of the very un-Somali suicide bombing technique by members of a sharia court militia close to Robow in 2006.
Shabaab’s other serious cleavages came to the fore following the Ramadan offensive in 2010, when Godane applied a very unusual strategy for Al Shabaab – namely large militia attacks over open territory. Most analysts, however, failed to understand the nature of these differences over tactics, and resistance towards Godane’s centralization attempts, often voiced by Shongole. The cleavage between Godane and Shongole, largely over Sharia implementation, was also totally neglected.
The fortunes of the Shabaab declined after the loss of the Ramadan offensive. It subsequently lost control of its territories in Mogadishu (including the important Bakara marked) and changed its strategy there to a guerilla based approach. Having lost Baidoa, and the important Southern port city of Kismayo, at the time of writing it is left in control of only a few smaller cities.
These defeats were, however, primarily as a result of African interventions (and not due to an internal disintegration of the Shabaab) – the Ugandan and Burundian AMISOM forces in Mogadishu and the (re)entry into the conflict by Ethiopia and Kenya in 2011/2012 respectively. The resilience of Al-Shabaab was almost unique in a Somali setting – despite taking a lot of losses, it managed to avoid direct confrontations between leaders in the open, save the critique of Omar Hamami (Abu Mansoor Al-Amriki), a rather peripheral figure in the Shabaab leadership, but admittedly quite prominent in their propaganda. The often predicted breakdown of Al-Shabaab simply did not take place. There where problems, but problems, as the last alleged showdown between Ibrahim Afghani and Godane demonstrated, never followed the supposed global-local divide, and, perhaps more importantly, never fragmented the organization – there were defections, but seldom from the top ranks.
More curiously, sources such as the diary of Fazul Muhamed, Al Qaeda’s leader in East Africa, as well as the papers from Abbotobad after the killing of Osama Bin laden, showed an Al Qaeda more inclined to mediate in the conflicts that plagued the Shabaab, and not always inclined to support the presumed “globalists” within the movement. Al Qaeda strategists also appeared worried about too harsh an implementation of sharia in Somalia, never pressing a more global agenda on the Shabaab, even being hesitant to the latter’s union with Al Qaeda.
An interim conclusion
The Globalist/localist division inside Shabaab has often been overstated, based on hear-say and seldom clearly proven, but it was a tempting narrative. In Somalia, the influence of this narrative has been damaging, as it failed to highlight other cleavages within the Shabaab, and the organisation’s real strengths and weaknesses.
The time has come to stop predicting a collapse of the Shabaab according to a globalist/localist fissure and to acknowledge the surprising show of unity within a predominantly Somali organization. For 9 years it has managed to transcend the centrifugal forces of clannism that has led almost every other organization in Somalia, including various governments, into fragmentation.
Shabaab has not been divided into a radical group that wants international action, and another group that just wants to reform Somalia – the two groups overlap, but with a mutual agreement that the focus should be on Somalia first, and after that on the region.
Shabaab’s relative success in bringing law and order in Somalia (admittedly of the harsh kind) should not be overlooked. Neither should its relative success in spreading jihad in Africa, by exporting ideology and training to Libyan, Sudanese, Nigerian, Kenyan, Tanzanian, and probably Ethiopian jihadist sympathizers, nor should the movement’s primary tactical focus, which is set on Somalia with an increasing interest in Kenya.
Stig Jarle Hansen is an Associate Professor in International Relations at the University of Life Sciences in Norway.
Source: African Argruments
The firm, Cobham plc – which specialises in defence and communications electronics, including satellites – manufactures antennas for armed Predator drones used to launch fearsome weapons on to targets.
The Mail on Sunday can reveal that the Government has approved a series of controversial export licences for the firm, showing that Ministers are officially sanctioning the controversial US drones war.
The unmanned Predator, armed with Hellfire missiles or guided bombs and with a top speed of 135mph, has been used to find and kill Al Qaeda leaders and terrorists in a series of covert missions in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Africa.
Human rights groups say that the drone attacks violate international law and kill civilians.
British companies supplying military equipment to other countries must seek approval for contracts from the Government. Last year another British company, GE Intelligent Platforms, pulled out of supplying the Predator programme following an outcry.
But according to a document seen by The Mail on Sunday, the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) granted Cobham 31 drone export licences between 2008 and 2012. Many of the parts covered by the licences will end up being used in drones, including the Predator and Reaper.
In its literature, Cobham boasts of its work with the Predator. It says: ‘Cobham’s communications antennas, radar components and sub-systems play important roles in modern UAVs [unmanned aerial vehicles], including the General Atomics Predator family of drones.’
Last night human rights group Reprieve called on the Government to review its policy on granting the licences. Reprieve lawyer Catherine Gilfelder said: ‘US drones hover over towns in non-war zones 24 hours a day, seven days a week, terrorising communities and indiscriminately killing, in violation of international law.
‘The manufacture of components for Predators on British soil further implicates this country in these gross human rights violations.
‘The Government, by condoning the export of these components, is demonstrating a complete lack of concern for those affected by drones and for the UK’s reputation. Export controls urgently need to be tightened in order to end our complicity in this unlawful programme.’
John Hemming MP, a Liberal Democrat member of the all-party committee on drones, said: ‘The UK needs to stop facing both ways on armed drones. They may be efficient and cost effective tools for extra-judicial executions, but they don’t deliver peace.’
And Rehman Chishti, Conservative MP for Gillingham and Rainham, said: ‘It has previously been alleged that the Government has supported the American drone programme through providing locational intelligence and both of these issues raise serious questions about whether the Government has acted in accordance with international law.’
Foreign Secretary William Hague has said that the UK supports the use of armed drones only in Afghanistan where the UN has authorised military action. But the US military also operates armed drones in Pakistan, Somalia and Yemen, where innocent civilians have been killed in attacks on suspected terrorists.
The Department for Business Innovation and Skills has refused to disclose details of licences on grounds of commercial confidentiality. A spokesman said that human rights issues were properly considered in all export licence decisions.
A spokesman for Cobham, which is based in Dorset, confirmed it supplied antennas ‘to numerous unmanned systems including the US Predator, specifically via our facility in Texas.’
Source: Daily Mail, Wardheernews.com
19 Apr 2013
The World Bank’s working definition of the Non-Governmental Organisations “The NGOs” is, “ private organizations that pursue activities to relieve suffering, promote the interests of the poor, protect the environment, provide basic social services or undertake community development.” But many people now ask whether the NGOs that work in Africa are progressively engaged in activities that are developmentally sustainable. And by the way, how democratic and accountable are the NGOs?
Here in Kenya, it looks as though most Kenyan middle class individuals, and their regional counterparts who live in Nairobi, have their own Non-Governmental Organizations or are partners in NGOs with others. Interestingly, Kenya’s capital, Nairobi, is the base for this huge, unregulated and unaccountable industry which, when looked at the surface, seems to have a supporting role for the local economy, human rights advocacy and governance programmes. Nairobi is the NGO’s capital in Africa.
I came to the conclusion, however, that the overwhelming majority of the NGOs do more harm than good to livelihoods and sustainable developments in Africa. Here is my charge sheet: NGOs artificially sustain a false economy whereby they push huge amounts of cash into the pockets of corrupted local African partners while taking most of the cash back to their private bank accounts in Europe and elsewhere. Yes, they do pay the salaries of a few people here and there who support their families. But that’s not my point. The NGOs actually work against home-grown developmental strategies in Africa. The NGO operatives don’t want the recycling of aid operations – which creates chronic dependency and corruption within the receiving societies – to end. For example, NGOs are not prepared to cede some power or train local people to take over in the future, and they don’t give the confidence necessary to carry out the work to local government personnel of the countries that they operate in. Africans have the experience and the expertise to own the operations of the NGOs, but actually the foreign bosses of the NGOs want to retain power in order to continue the dependency culture that they have created.
In Kenya, the number of the NGOs in Nairobi had surpassed the capacity of the Kenya government departments. If you stop at a traffic junction in downtown Nairobi for a moment, you’d have spotted every few seconds that passes an especially number-plated NGO’s 4X4, clearly marked on the side with the logo of the NGO that owns it or a partnership logo with a government department. This is true. And you may find out more if you ask anyone who lives in Nairobi. When a European colleague and I recently took the steps of a 1st floor coffee shop at Yaya centre in Nairobi, he whispered to my air and said, ‘this is where they cook Somalia.” He was referring to the mixture of Europeans and Africans in most of the tables we passed.
Leaving that Mall later that evening, we waited for our taxi for nearly an hour, because the car parking lot was full and the road leading to the centre was choking with traffic. I confirmed my colleague’s statement when I later met a couple of NGO reps at Yaya centre. It’s the same story in every other Western-style shopping centre throughout Nairobi. Perhaps, they do cook Somalia at Yaya and Congo at the Junction Mall! I have lived in Nairobi since October of last year, and I have seen more than my fair share of NGO’s actual activities in this region.
Sexual freedom, women’s rights, child soldiers, judicial reform, and what they call “good” or “better governance” are the areas they concentrate on most of their efforts, and these kinds of NGOs are plentiful here in Nairobi. However, you wonder how can they empower women or protect the rights of the child in Africa if they keep corrupting the very institutions that are meant to carry out the necessary support systems? Christian and Muslim NGOs are here too. But unlike conventional NGOs, the religious charities also compete relentlessly among themselves for the hearts and minds of Africa’s poor. Read the bible or the Koran and we will dig water wells for your community is their main policy objective. Religious-based NGOs, however, are far more active in helping alleviate the short and medium term needs of their target populations, building a match-box-sized school there or bringing few mattresses to a hospital in that village.
Much of the operations of WilsonAirport, Nairobi’s second airport, are NGO-related. Tens of light aircrafts take off from this airport for destinations across East and Central Africa every day. Daily flights depart for Kinshasa, Kisangani, Juba (South Sudan), Mogadishu, Kigali and Hargeisa, most of the time carrying a few NGO executives who fly twice a week from Wilson to sign yet other non-existent projects with local leaders of their destinations.
And it’s not only the local African populations that receive the brunt of NGO’s onslaught; ethical journalism is victim too. Upon arrival in the continent, NGOs reps and journalists link up much quicker than other professional expats because they depend on each other in the rough terrain of Africa. It makes business sense too, more corrupting business that is. NGOs are the first to find an African tragedy. Then, they call their journalist colleagues in on their phones, and upon arrival they provide with them handy 4X4s, complete with experienced driver and armed bodyguards. To return the favour, journalists beam to the Western prime time televisions with harrowing stories of death and destruction.
In fact, the journalists are encouraged to travel on the NGO’s chartered planes for free, and in return for the hospitality, the NGO executives ask the journalists to bring graphic pictures and exaggerated stories of the local situation back with them, ready for consumption in Western capitals for more donations.
The NGOs have unlimited powers here in Africa and they are unaccountable to any other authority. In Kenya, South Sudan and Uganda, for example, NGOs act as something more or less similar to coalition governments. But in Somalia and the Congo, they effectively run the whole country. African ministers are powerless against the NGOs and are scared of them for fear of being deprived of future funds. Or they may have already been corrupted by them so the NGOs have the upper hand all the time. I heard a firsthand account of a Somali minister begging an NGO executive from his hotel room for extra subsistence allowance while the plane taking him back to Mogadishu was being repaired.
NGO operatives often resist the calls for relocations closer to epic centres of their operations, like setting up shops in various towns across Somalia and the Congo. Earlier this year, the UN agencies have issued directives to partner organisations to relocate their staff to Somalia by May 2013. To my knowledge so far, none of them had done so. Almost all of the NGOs that have activities in Somalia, South Sudan and the Congo are based in Nairobi and do not wish, apart from periodical visits, to base themselves in the country of their operations. Simply, it’s not comfortable enough for them to live there. You’d have thought that the safety of their personnel is their main priority, but the stories I am discovering are doubtful and suggest otherwise.
Early last month while I was returning from Djibouti, I met a Norwegian aid worker at Addis AbabaAirport. We were both transiting at Addis on our way to Nairobi. I asked where he was coming from. ‘Hargeisa,” was his reply. The British government had earlier that week issued a warning of a credible terrorism-related activity in Somaliland. Without my prompting, he added, “Bloody UK Foreign Office, many people were leaving Hargeisa.” He told me that he and his family live in Nairobi, and that his children attend private schools there. I asked about the operations of his organisation in Somaliland. “On my part, nothing much really,” and he went on, “I just visit Hargeisa once in every three months, and Garoowe, twice a year, simply to check the boys and girls there.” There is no way to verify this story as people often misrepresent themselves in a volatile and dangerous region like the Horn of Africa.
If the NGOs are in Africa for anything other than transitional services, they should not be allowed to operate in this continent any longer. The NGO culture must come to an end in Africa and throughout the developing world. Where NGOs have become a substitute for governments for so long, it’s almost impossible to lay the foundations of a functioning state. Moreover, places like Somalia, the Congo and Afghanistan where NGOs have operated for decades now, they should set the example for any change in policy from donor states. How can we expect a Somali or an Afghan minister who begs for his subsistence allowance from an NGO to take on the Shabaab or the Taliban? Simply, it doesn’t make sense. Real power should be removed from the NGOs and transferred to the indigenous populations.
I suggest that a pilot programme somewhere in Africa – perhaps Somalia or Congo – should be put into action sooner rather than later.
In fact it’s time to overhaul the cartel-style aid industry in Africa and the developing world. It makes all the sense in the world to hand over the cash to the institutions it meant to be supporting and embed couple of auditors in them. It’s cheaper, highly effective and it will be in line with the local socio-economy in a sustainable manner. Donor states should seriously reconsider whether to funnel their tax payer’s money and other resources through unaccountable third parties.