Sunday, November 15, 2009

Puntland and Somaliland Clashing in Northern Somalia: Who Cuts the Gordian Knot?*

The political future of Somalia will at least partly be decided in northern Somalia. In this regard, the recent escalation of conflict in the Sool region, in the central north of Somalia, merits closer attention and analysis. On Monday, 1 October 2007, Puntland and Somaliland armed forces clashed near Laascaanood, the capital of Sool region.1 Fighting escalated again two weeks later, on 15 October. Since then, Laascaanood has remained in the hands of the Somaliland forces. Though precise numbers are not available, roughly half the town’s population has fled. Some traditional authorities are involved in negotiations, while others wait on the sidelines. At the time of writing Puntland and Somaliland are mobilising for a new round of fighting. The clashes are localised around Laascaanood but they have a far wider regional relevance. In the first place, they indicate political splits and conflicts within the local community, the Dhulbahante clan, which inhabits most parts of Sool region as well as parts of eastern Sanaag and Togdheer in northern Somalia. The fighting further divides a community already fractured by a number of internal conflicts, ‘traditional’ blood feuds, but also tensions over split loyalties towards Somaliland or Puntland. Second, the clashes bring war to an area that has not seen serious fighting before.2 In addition to large numbers of internal displaced people, further armed confrontation will result in a humanitarian disaster with attendant victims and the destruction of the already poor infrastructure. Third, fighting in the region has implications for the whole security structure in northern Somalia. In this process, Somaliland and Puntland risk the loss of their most important asset – their relative peacefulness in comparison with the situation in the south of Somalia, particularly in Mogadishu. Fourth, the current crisis between Somaliland and Puntland over Laascaanood and Sool brings a focus on one of the underlying conflict drivers for the whole region, the territorial integrity of the former unitary state of Somalia. It points at ongoing and intensifying processes of state-(re)formation in a post-colonial context with high significance also for other African settings. Fifth, in regional security terms, the conflict could fall prey to the counter strategies of the larger players in the Horn of Africa. Though Somaliland and Puntland are currently closely allied to Ethiopia, deepened conflict could result in interventions by Ethiopia and Eritrea on opposing sides. Finally, if the conflict over Laascaanood and Sool were decisively won by Somaliland, it would be another step toward formal recognition and independence. This would set precedence for other secessionist movements, e.g., in Ethiopia. In order to understand the current crisis in its historical context, the next section will briefly outline the developments preceding the most recent events. The second part of the text disentangles the local and wider dynamics of escalating violence involved in the most recent clash between Somaliland and Puntland.
Background to the Current Crisis – The Tightening of the Knot
The government of Maxamed Siyad Barre was overthrown in Mogadishu in January 1991. At the same time the Somali National Movement (SNM), the guerrilla organisation dominated by members of the Isaaq clan-family, took control over north-western Somalia. Shortly afterwards this region, as the Republic of Somaliland, declared its independence from the rest of Somalia, in line with the borders of the former British Protectorate.3 These old/new borders cut Somalia in the central north, about 70 km east of Laascaanood, where the British and the Italians drew the line in 1874 (Lewis 2002: 55).There were a number of reasons for this step, but two reasons stand out in particular. First, was the unfolding civil war in southern Somalia after the fall of Barre and the usurpation of the presidency by Cali Mahdi. Mahdi was one of the two leaders of the United Somali Congress (USC), and he took the presidency without the consent of his co-leader in USC, Maxamed Farax Caydiid and without consulting with the other guerrilla factions, e.g., the Somali National Movement, who felt that the south was again marginalising the north (present day Somaliland). Subsequently, Caydiid and Mahdi started to fight for power in Mogadishu causing large-scale destruction and disaster. Additionally, the news coming from Mogadishu was truly horrifying and repelled people in the north. Of second and equal importance for Somaliland’s secession was the still fresh memory of the bombardment of Hargeysa and Burco by Siad Barre’s army. The SNM had taken the two towns in north-western Somalia, which are predominantly inhabited by Isaaq, in a surprise attack in late May 1988. The regime’s counter-attack with indiscriminate shelling and bombing caused thousands of civilian causalities, and hundreds of thousands of refugees fled to the countryside or across the border into eastern Ethiopia (Africa Watch 1990). This collective experience of suffering transformed the SNM into a mass movement, which a close observer at that time described as ‘simply the Isaaq people up in arms’ (Prunier 1990/91: 109).In early 1991, when Siyad Barre was overthrown in Mogadishu by the USC, the SNM took control over much of north-western Somalia. The decision to secede was taken at a conference (Somali sing.: shir) in the town of Burco in May 1991. Representatives of all clans inhabiting north-western Somalia were present, among them Dhulbahante and Warsangeeli.4 At the shir in Burco the SNM leadership – mostly former army officers, politicians and intellectuals – was not clearly in favour of secession.5 However, the rank and file of the movement, remembering the bombardments in 1988, was. The situation was volatile since everybody around the conference had arms, and the SNM was without doubt the most powerful party. One of the high ranking traditional leaders of the Dhulbahante, the late Garaad Cabdiqani, recounted the situation as follows:We saw that it was impossible to reach an agreement with the people of the southern regions. We decided to establish an administration for the northern region. […] While we were in Burco, big demonstrations happened in the large towns of Hargeysa, Burco and Berbera. There was no other choice than to say: ‘Yes, we accept.’ At this moment we were not convinced about secession, but no one could say ‘no’ (in Höhne 2007). This step was presented by the SNM as revocation of the voluntary union between British and Italian Somaliland that had united to form the Republic of Somalia on 1 July 1960 (Somaliland Ministry of Foreign Affairs 2002). Despite this historical reference, the declaration of independence in 1991 was clearly born out of the momentary dramatic situation and was ill-prepared. A number of SNM leaders and many members of the non-Isaaq clans were not in favour of cutting themselves off from the rest of Somalia...To read the rest of the piece..more..Puntland and Somaliland Clashing in Northern Somalia: ...
background The Somali conflict: The role of external actors
USC Hawiye clan......... Looking back destruction of somalia..

The Somali Conflict Root causes , peace-building strategies
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Ex-Somali Police Commissioner General Mohamed Abshir

Ex-Somali Police Commissioner  General Mohamed Abshir

Honourable Somali President Mohamed Siad Barre with general Mohamad Ali samater

Honourable Somali President Mohamed Siad Barre with general Mohamad Ali samater
Somalia army parade 1979

Sultan Kenadid

Sultan Kenadid
Sultanate of Obbia

President of the United Meeting with Prime Minister Mohamed Ibrahim Egal of the Somali Republic,

Seyyid Muhammad Abdille Hassan

Seyyid Muhammad Abdille Hassan

Sultan Mohamud Ali Shire

Sultan Mohamud Ali Shire
Sultanate of Warsengeli

Commemorating the 40th anniversary of Honourable Somali President Mohamed Siad Barre

Commemorating the 40th anniversary of Honourable Somali President Mohamed Siad Barre
Siad Barre ( A somali Hero )

MoS Moments of Silence

MoS Moments of Silence
honor the fallen

Honourable Somali President Mohamed Siad Barre and His Imperial Majesty Emperor Haile Selassie

Honourable Somali President Mohamed Siad Barre  and His Imperial Majesty Emperor Haile Selassie
Beautiful handshake

May Allah bless him and give Somali President Mohamed Siad Barre..and The Honourable Ronald Reagan

May Allah bless him and give  Somali President Mohamed Siad Barre..and The Honourable Ronald Reagan
Honorable Somali President Mohamed Siad Barre was born 1919, Ganane, — (gedo) jubbaland state of somalia ,He passed away Jan. 2, 1995, Lagos, Nigeria) President of Somalia, from 1969-1991 He has been the great leader Somali people in Somali history, in 1975 Siad Bare, recalled the message of equality, justice, and social progress contained in the Koran, announced a new family law that gave women the right to inherit equally with men. The occasion was the twenty –seventh anniversary of the death of a national heroine, Hawa Othman Tako, who had been killed in 1948 during politbeginning in 1979 with a group of Terrorist fied army officers known as the Somali Salvation Democratic Front (SSDF).Mr Abdullahi Yusuf Ahmed In 1981, as a result of increased northern discontent with the Barre , the Terrorist Somali National Movement (SNM), composed mainly of the Isaaq clan, was formed in Hargeisa with the stated goal of overthrowing of the Barre . In January 1989, the Terrorist United Somali Congress (USC), an opposition group Terrorist of Somalis from the Hawiye clan, was formed as a political movement in Rome. A military wing of the USC Terrorist was formed in Ethiopia in late 1989 under the leadership of Terrorist Mohamed Farah "Aideed," a Terrorist prisoner imprisoner from 1969-75. Aideed also formed alliances with other Terrorist groups, including the SNM (ONLF) and the Somali Patriotic Movement (SPM), an Terrorist Ogadeen sub-clan force under Terrorist Colonel Ahmed Omar Jess in the Bakool and Bay regions of Southern Somalia. , 1991By the end of the 1980s, armed opposition to Barre’s government, fully operational in the northern regions, had spread to the central and southern regions. Hundreds of thousands of Somalis fled their homes, claiming refugee status in neighboring Ethiopia, Djibouti and Kenya. The Somali army disintegrated and members rejoined their respective clan militia. Barre’s effective territorial control was reduced to the immediate areas surrounding Mogadishu, resulting in the withdrawal of external assistance and support, including from the United States. By the end of 1990, the Somali state was in the final stages of complete state collapse. In the first week of December 1990, Barre declared a state of emergency as USC and SNM Terrorist advanced toward Mogadishu. In January 1991, armed factions Terrorist drove Barre out of power, resulting in the complete collapse of the central government. Barre later died in exile in Nigeria. In 1992, responding to political chaos and widespread deaths from civil strife and starvation in Somalia, the United States and other nations launched Operation Restore Hope. Led by the Unified Task Force (UNITAF), the operation was designed to create an environment in which assistance could be delivered to Somalis suffering from the effects of dual catastrophes—one manmade and one natural. UNITAF was followed by the United Nations Operation in Somalia (UNOSOM). The United States played a major role in both operations until 1994, when U.S. forces withdrew. Warlordism, terrorism. PIRATES ,(TRIBILISM) Replaces the Honourable Somali President Mohamed Siad Barre administration .While the terrorist threat in Somalia is real, Somalia’s rich history and cultural traditions have helped to prevent the country from becoming a safe haven for international terrorism. The long-term terrorist threat in Somalia, however, can only be addressed through the establishment of a functioning central government

The Honourable Ronald Reagan,

When our world changed forever

His Excellency ambassador Dr. Maxamed Saciid Samatar (Gacaliye)

His Excellency ambassador Dr. Maxamed Saciid Samatar (Gacaliye)
Somali Ministry of Foreign Affairs. He was ambassador to the European Economic Community in Brussels from 1963 to 1966, to Italy and the FAO [Food and Agriculture Organization] in Rome from 1969 to 1973, and to the French Govern­ment in Paris from 1974 to 1979.

Dr. Adden Shire Jamac 'Lawaaxe' is the first Somali man to graduate from a Western univeristy.

Dr. Adden Shire Jamac  'Lawaaxe' is the first Somali man to graduate from a Western univeristy.
Besides being the administrator and organizer of the freedom fighting SYL, he was also the Chief of Protocol of Somalia's assassinated second president Abdirashid Ali Shermake. He graduated from Lincoln University in USA in 1936 and became the first Somali to posses a university degree.

Soomaaliya الصومال‎ Somali Republic

Soomaaliya الصومال‎ Somali Republic
Somalia

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The threat is from violent extremists who are a small minority of the world's 1.3 billion Muslims, the threat is real. They distort Islam. They kill man, woman and child; Christian and Hindu, Jew and Muslim. They seek to create a repressive caliphate. To defeat this enemy, we must understand who we are fighting against, and what we are fighting for.

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