Wednesday, October 20, 2010

A postscript to the Selection of the new Prime Minister

PM Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed
Voltaire once said “The history of human opinion is scarcely anything, more than the history of human error.” In my last op-ed posting about president Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed’s selection of his Prime Minister (PM), Mr. Mohamed  A. Mohamed (Farmaco) (WardheerNews, October 13, 2010) , I made an unintentional error about one of the candidate’s background, Hussein Khalif Jama.  I regret to have written that Mr. Jama has a “thin resume.”    
Contrary to my original opinion, Mr. Hussein has an impressive and strong professional resume that includes 20 years of experience with the Islamic Development Bank, where he is currently a senior manager, coupled with a strong educational background, including some course work in development administration at the premier institution of John F. Kennedy School of Government. The oversight on my part was due to a mix up of names, to which I take a full responsibility.
This postscript affords me a timely opportunity to comment briefly on the new Prime Minister’s paper trail that has surfaced so far, which is harshly criticized by at least one right wing American commentator.
In “Somalia's New Prime Minister: Not Quite What the Doctor Ordered,” and op-ed piece in World Defense Review and Family Security Matters , Peter Pham, a  conservative crusader within the American foreign policy community and a lobbyist for Somaliland, assaults the new Prime Minister’s June 2009 thesis.  Alas, Mr. Pham’s values and priorities as presented in this treatise could not have been farther from those of the Somali people.  His unwarranted attack on those who work or made career in the public sector, is Sara Palinsque that it is laughable. His maligning of people like Mr. Mohamed, otherwise a successful case in light of his attainment of the often after-sought so-called American dream, or the belittling of those who make career out of teaching public institutions, is also all the more elitist.  Mr. Pham, a Vietnamese American, and an up starter in African Studies Area, comes across as someone who is completely out of synch with how Somalis view life and social contract. 


Consider this criticism against Mohamed and Mr. Pham’s appraisal of the Ethio-Somali war on the Ogaden region of 1977:

“Also jaundiced is Farmajo's view of the Cold War. In contrast to the "opportunism [that was] a fixture of American foreign policy," Siyad Barre's pact with the Soviet Union was, according to him, "a prestigious treaty of friendship" which enabled "the ambition of a greater, stronger Somalia [to] come to fruition when Siad Barre invaded Ethiopia to liberate the ethnic-Somali Ogaden region in 1977.”  Unbeknown to him, that is a view widely held by most Somalis, schooled or not.

Mr. Pham’s reincarnation of the defunct theory of the so-called Mareehan-Dhulbahante-Ogaden (MOD) constellation, originally coined by a pseudonym who wrote under Mohammed Hassan in a 1978-79 article on the Horn of Africa Journal, and later on publicized by I. M. Lewis, who in his later years of life seems to have lost his keen eye on Somalia’s clan segmentation dynamics, is again an indication of Mr. Pham’s extent to which he is out there to get Mr. Mohamed at any cost. 

With the sole purpose of unearthing any dirt where there is none, Mr. Pham nit-picks Mr. Mohamed’s phrases and parses words with malice. He goes at length and tries to take advantage of the elastic meaning of terms like “genocide,” “ethnic cleansing,” and “persecution,” which Mr. Mohamed uses in his thesis.

Fully aware of the volatility and utility of clan and how much impact it can have on inter group dynamism, Mr. Pham writes the following at length:

“The aspiring academic had difficulty keeping his clan biases in check. While he had not a word to say about the Siyad Barre regime's genocidal repression of the Isaq and other clans, he dedicates several pages in his thesis to lamenting the "revenge and ethnic cleansing against the innocent Darood clan family" which came in the wake of the dictator's fall. In particular he seems to have a bone to pick with the Hawiye clan-family which, in his view, "lacked discipline and a sense of purpose" and whose leaders "were confused as to what their priorities should be." In fact, he asserts "one thing that they did not care so much about was protecting the weak and vulnerable people of the capital." (With opinions like these, one wonders what kind of welcome Farmajo expects from the Mogadishu's well-armed Hawiye clansmen if his nomination is approved and he ever moves into the prime ministerial suite in the city's besieged Villa Somalia presidential compound.)”

Guaranteed that any time someone, academics or otherwise, uses “genocide,” or “ethnic cleansing,” controversy is a given due to the sweeping impacts and severity associated with them.  Remember President Bush’s use of the phrase “genocide,” when referring to the conflict in Darfur, and all the uproar it created – some saying the conflict does not reach the threshold of “genocide,” while others insisted otherwise.  In hindsight, Mr. Mohamed would have been better off not to have used some phrases that are highly controversial in post conflict societies,  notwithstanding that these phrases are better communicated to the general audience by those trained in the legal field.  Often than not, these terminologies are better understood by the general population when one can back them up, in addition to their legalistic meaning, with specialized data to justify each situation at hand.  It was not the most prudent use of the terminologies at the time of submitting his thesis. 
However, Mr. Mohamed stands guilty both morally and intellectually by referring to the killings of innocent Somalis in northern Somalia (“Somaliland”) by the Barre regime as “being caught in the cross fire.”  Contrary to Mr. Mohamed’s characterization, this conflict and its aftermath effect was much more than a case of people “being caught in the cross fire.” The preponderance of evidence and the targeted attacks against civilians that have been so far presented through various mediums including eye witnesses or international documentation make this case more than people “being caught in cross fire.” One can easily attribute this to intellectual laziness and, therefore, makes it a high toll to read too much into it.
Although neither a critic nor a comprehensive appraiser  of the PM’s thesis, I would like to address one more area that may interest readers about the PM’s thesis and – that is his analysis pertaining to major clans and how the elites of these groups have monopolized the country’s political space before and after Barre, this is what the new PM wrote:   

“For instance, in the Northern colony of British Somaliland, the Isaaq tribe was awarded virtually all of the best jobs for its collaboration with the imperialists. In the South, the Italian colony found similar willingness in two loyal tribes: the Majeerteen of the Darood clan and the Mudulod, sub-clan of the Hawiye. These two southern tribes helped the Italians without reservation. In return, Italian and British colonies enabled these clans to claim some superiority over the other clans in terms of wealth, scholarship for their children in London and Rome, and future government influence in the post-decolonial era. Naturally, when the Somali government was formed, most parliamentary seats went to those tribes that had been loyal to the colonial rulers, as they were seen as best suited to stability. Somalia’s first president, Adan Abdulle Osman, is a prime example. He was a former civil servant under the Italians as a member of the Mudulod, Hawiye sub-clan. On the other hand, his prime minister, Italian-educated Abdirashid Ali Sharmarke, came from the other favorite tribe, the Majeerteen of the Darood clan. This arrangement did not change until the election of 1968, when the Somali parliament elected Abdirashid Ali Sharmarke as the second president of the country. He selected as his prime minister English-educated Mohamad Ibrahim Egal from the Isaaq clan of the former British Somaliland.” P.55

Again, I see no major problem in terms of the content of what the PM wrote, except that it comes short of theoretical foundation.  At numerous occasions and articles, I have similarly argued and joined him company with the PM in the following: 

Elites from the three dominant regional groupings have so far dominated the shaping of the Somalia question. According to Donald Horiwitz, the origins of the domination of the Somali society by these three regional groupings are found in the colonial administrations of that country. Whereas elites in Somaliland and South Central regional groupings disproportionately benefited in the form of trade, education and social benefits associated with urbanization of their regions, which served as the administrative centers for colonial rulers (Hargaisa in Somaliland and Mogadishu in South Central), Puntland elites seized the military power of the country that guaranteed them national prominence in the affairs of the country (See Faisal Roble, Horn of Africa, Volume XXV, 2007, “Local and Global Norms: Challenges to “Somaliland’s” unilateral Secession”).
These three groupings and their elites secured and cemented their political influence at the turn of the twentieth century, mainly by collaborating with colonial rulers (Italy and Great Britain) and earning client status, as stipulated in Lord Lugard's colonial theory of ruling natives through their traditional leaders of the more powerful clans. Hence, in arming these groupings and better educating their children, these grouping were placed in a more advantageous position at the departure of colonial rulers; indeed colonial powers handed to them state power and the largesse associated with it.
As the PM argued, the unequal access to Somalia’s political space is a legitimate point of scholarship, and indeed a mainstream argumentation for which we shall not fault him.  On the contrary, we must credit him for his erudite and daring attitude to tackle the festering clan and clan inequality in the Somali society.   
Moreover, despite his last minute capitulation, his original out of the guts criticism against the 4.5 formula on which Somali elites agreed in power-sharing would have been a plus towards his independence and personal integrity.  He could have been the first PM who unabatedly assaulted the racist concept of 4.5 formula.  In close reading the 4.5 formula is a sinister way to legitimize what both the PM and many well meaning Somalis have openly criticized.  But his capitulation somehow contradicts his treatise in his thesis that the unequal access of Somalia’s political power and its manipulation by the so-called major groups has and would lead the nation into a disastrous result.   In short, the new PM has both strengths and weaknesses and as such must be closely scrutinized by those of us who are outside the system.
Faisal Roble
E-Mail:fabroble@aol.com  

Faisal Roble serve as political analysts Terror Free Somalia Foundation

1 comment:

Unknown said...

This individual Mr.Pam has been at pains to promote the secessionist agenda of our brethern in the north.However, he is trying to comment on situation(Somali affairs) he knows very little about, save the propoganda passed on to him by his employers. Let us recognise that he is another MERCENARY, nothing more or less and treat him as such. He tried to choose and pick from the thesis of this newly appointed prime minister. My position on this transitional government is known.Hoever, it is up to the Somalis to decide their future but not a ill-paid mercenary.I think he is hurting their cause more than he is helping.Unfortunately, many of our mis-guided brothers seem not to get it.
Mr.Pham aka phag on Farmaajo and suddenly all you could see, think about or imagine is Somaliland cash dollars in action.How mindless!
Farmajo will be taking this fake dotor to court for defamationa dn damages.

The fake doctor has to prove that it was cronyism that got Farmajo to his diplomatic post.

The fake doctor has to prove that post secondary education was required to get a job with Somali Embassy in D.C.

The fake phag doctor has a lot of explanantion to do in court.

This time he crossed path with American citizen and therefore American courts will settle it.

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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