Monday, November 29, 2010

Going to Mogadishu

Dawn at Nairobi's international airport. A solitary giraffe outside the perimeter fence. Herds of foreign tourists heading on safari, draped in khaki and cameras.
At Gate 4, a noticeably sombre atmosphere - perhaps 60 Somalis preparing to board a scheduled flight for Mogadishu. One man recognises me and cameraman Phil Davies from a previous trip we made about seven years ago. He used to be a journalist but not now.

Andrew Harding wearing a flak jacket in Mogadishu
Camera? Check. Tripod? Check. Flak jacket? Check.
"Too dangerous," he says with a frown, then mimes the action of a saw, amputating his arm. He lives in an area of the Somali capital controlled by the Islamist militia, al-Shabab. "They lash people there. Every day - for the smallest thing."
He's now working for a foreign aid organisation - still a risky choice. "Al-Shabab call us the hands of the infidel. Their eyes are on us all the time." For a while he sent his seven-year-old daughter to a Koranic school in the city, in order to "try to fit in", but took her out when she came home saying she'd been taught how to "use a pistol... The world must understand what al-Shabab are. How dangerous they are."
We fly north-east for an hour and a half. First over flat, seemingly empty scrubland, then over a messy quilt of fields.
There's another old acquaintance on the flight, a senior western diplomat I've met in other conflict zones who has years of experience in - and apparent patience with - Somalia. He's coming here with, he says, a tough message for the Transitional Federal Government - the unelected, heavily western-backed, besieged administration that clings on to power in a chunk of Mogadishu, defended by some 8,000 African Union troops.
The TFG stands accused of wasting the last two years bickering among themselves and failing either to bring change to the area they control or to broaden their political base by reaching out to the feuding clans and groups across the country. The TFG's mandate expires next August and the international community wants a broader coalition assembled to take over, otherwise it may abandon the TFG altogether.
There's a growing consensus that the "top-down" approach to state building isn't working in Somalia, and it may be time to shift focus to the handful of local administrations that are actually making some headway. The northern region of Somaliland is a prime example.
As we come in to land, the plane swings out over the Indian Ocean, hopefully out of range of al-Shabab's guns, before landing on the beach front. Mogadishu airport sits in a sliver of coastal territory controlled by Ugandan troops. It's the second time I've been here in under a fortnight - the last trip was prompted by the release of the Chandlers, the British couple held by pirates.
This time, we're "embedded" with Amison, the African Union peacekeeping force. Curiously, after a period of little, or negative, international media coverage, they've taken the trouble to hire - via the UN - some British PR consultants to help arrange our visit.
Amisom, with their heavy armour and Ugandan soldiers, offer some serious protection from the snipers, the mortars, the roadside bombs and the kidnappers. But their forces are also the principle targets of al-Shabab right now - and because of incidents like this, none too popular with some civilians either. Would we be safer with one of the clan-based militia groups in the city? Probably not. The word on the street here is that al-Shabab are offering $1.5m (£1m) for a foreign/white hostage. There are no easy options in Somalia.
Speaking of options - the BBC has just unveiled the results of a new opinion poll conducted in Mogadishu. In a place as dangerous as this, the circumstances of the process may well be as revealing as the actual results.
Crossing the frontlines here, pollsters braved gunfire from rival militias to visit most of the city. In areas controlled by al-Shabab, it was considered too dangerous to ask people directly, what they thought of the group, instead they spoke of "the opposition."
The poll reveals a resilient population - overwhelmingly optimistic about eventual peace, but worried about the short term.

  • View of Mogadishu from the destroyed parliament building
    Mogadishu has been left in ruins by two decades of conflict
    Ninety two percent of households say they're are unable to meet their basic needs.
  • More than half feel the world has forgotten Somalia.
  • As for al Shabab - the opposition - a full 71% of respondents see them as a force for bad.
  • Seventy-two percent are unwilling to see them in power.
  • Just over half of all respondents believe African Union peacekeepers now controlling roughly half the city can end years of conflict in Somalia.
  • Fifty-seven percent of the randomly selected households live in makeshift camps under plastic or iron sheeting.
  • Forty-one percent are illiterate.
  • In a country with nothing resembling a social safety net - only 27% of those interviewed consider themselves unemployed.
  • And one percent, retired.
  • bbc

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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

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