Sunday, January 23, 2011

The Clock is Ticking in Somalia

In Somalia, the clock is ticking toward the end of The Transitional Federal Government (TFG) of Prime Minister Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo.  The TFG's tenure will expire in seven months, and the prospect of an extension is bleak.

Farmajo's administration fills the most unstable government in the world.  Oftentimes, its occupants last no longer than two years.  The TFG is not elected by the people, and its members are often selectively appointed to fulfill unattainable goals: completion of the reconciliation process, restoring government institutions, holding a national election, etc.  More often than not, the prime minister flouts these goals, whereupon he is excised by a no-confidence vote or a pressured resignation.

Prime Minister Farmajo has assumed an office of ill repute.  He replaced Omar Abdirashid Sharmarke, who resigned because of political rifts between him and President Sheikh Sharif, not to mention widespread allegations of uncooperativeness, administrative opacity, and pointed ignorance to insurgent activity in government-controlled areas of Somalia.  In fact, Villa Somalia is surrounded to this day, with only an 8,000-strong AMISOM force keeping it safe.

Now it's Farmajo's turn to face the burdens of public scrutiny and a cannibalizing parliament entity.  Halfway to his first hundred days, the PM has his work cut out for him.

Nomination and cabinet selection

PM Farmajo was nominated on October 14, 2010 and endorsed by the parliament two months later.  He formed his cabinet, mainly comprising educated diaspora Somalis, without the benefit of time on his side.

Considering the massive size of parliament, Farmajo's clique of eighteen ministers appeared small and efficient.  But there are problems even here: several cabinet members have been accused of having close relations with Ashabab, the insurgent group.  Moreover, some major Somali clans have mounted opposition to the Farmajo government, alleging that they were not consulted during the cabinet nominations.  The leader of semi-autonomous Puntland in Somalia, Abdiraman Farole, told the BBC that "we have witnessed many looted properties, but we have not known yet ministerial positions looted[.] ... [T]hese ministers do not represent us[.]"  Furthermore, the majority of the Farmajo cabinet have spent an average of 25 years of their lives outside Somalia -- a problematic situation, since the "technocrat" image they've consequently developed may not sync with the Somali milieu.

In general, no one expected the Farmajo cabinet to prevail in a parliamentary ratification vote.  Yet it happened -- though many believe that the "approval" came after thousands of dollars were distributed to bribe-plagued TFG parliament members.

United insurgency
Recently, the leaders of Alshabab and Hisbal Islam assembled in Kismayo to show their solidarity.  The merger has been jointly announced by the heads of Alshabab and the Hisbal Islam Leader, Sheikh Aweys.  Together, the two strongest Islamist organizations will form a united front, controlling more than two-thirds of Somalia.  Indeed, since Mr. Farmajo came to power, not much has changed on the ground.  The only force preventing a complete takeover from the extremists has been the AMISOM, who, when attacked, fire indiscriminately and shell the civilian-populated areas of Mogadishu -- an infuriating act of violence against innocents.  This has resulted in civilian sympathizers demanding AMISOM's withdrawal.  Yet the weak government has once again appealed to the African Union and the United Nations to expand the AMISOM's strength from eight to twelve thousand.  The government has thus ignored the inhabitants of Mogadishu, hence the insurgents' growing resiliency and public support.  The more the government relies on AMISOM, the larger and more organized the insurgents become.

Ceremonial presidency
It has been argued that the TFG's powers -- in particular, the president's and the PM's -- are inseparable.  However, the Somali constitution has clear definitions and an unequivocal separation of powers.  According to the TFG charter, "[t]here shall be a President of the Somali Republic, who shall be The Head of State, commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces ... and Symbol of National Unity. ... The President shall appoint and dismiss the Prime Minister and/or dismiss the government if it fails to obtain the required vote of confidence from Parliament[.]"

Evidently, the TFG's incessant problems have nothing to do with the separation of powers, but rather with President Sharif's lack of experience and competence as a leader.  President Sharif has no known political résumé beyond his days with the Islamic Courts Union in 2006.  This was a campaign in which a confederation of Islamist groups engaged a fierce and successful battle against the warlords in Mogadishu.  At that time, President Sharif was a despised leader under Sheikh Dahir Aweys, then the ICU ruling shura (committee) supreme chairman.  Sheikh Sharif's agreement to negotiate with the old TFG in Djibouti angered Aweys, which resulted in a split between the two leaders.  Meanwhile, Sheikh Sharif relied on external advisers since he could not make his own decisions.

Sharif functions more as a foreign affairs minister than as a head of state -- he spends a lot of time traveling to Middle Eastern and neighboring states instead of dealing with the problems at home.  For that reason, self-interested Sharif advisers sought someone who will follow his leadership style, and Omar Sharmarke did not fit that profile.  Prime Minister Farmajo has been chosen over many experienced, more agile candidates because of his "follower" attitude.  President Sharif wanted just such a PM, but in reality, there is nothing for Farmajo to follow.  So the prime minister is cornered -- President Sharif cannot lead, and he will not let the PM lead.  This stalemate cannot be overcome unless Sharif is replaced with better leader.

TFG mandate expires August 2011
The current Sharif government was formulated in Djibouti in January 2009.  President Abdullahi Yusuf resigned December 2008 after a long, bloody war in which he was accused of authorizing Ethiopians to invade Somalia.  At that time, many people held the notion that the short-lived Islamic Courts Union would have ended the mayhem in Mogadishu had the Ethiopian Army not invaded Somalia and swept Islamist forces out of the country.  Many believed that it was indeed a missed opportunity and that this led the U.S and others to take a different political course -- that is, installing Sheikh Sharif, a "moderate," as the next TFG president.  Under the Djibouti agreements, the two sides -- the previous TFG parliament and a new Sharif parliament -- merged to form the current Sharif-led Transitional Government.

Evidently, the Americans' capture of Sheikh Sharif on the Somali-Kenyan border after the ICU defeat by the Ethiopians was the first step to create a "moderate" leadership within the Somali Islamist world.  According to U.S Embassy cables recently published by WikiLeaks, Sharif was interrogated in the U.S. embassy in Nairobi, where he took an oath to remain "moderate" in exchange for amnesty.  The Americans and their allies hoped that Sheekh Sharif would deliver a heavy blow to the insurgents by damaging their alliances and infiltrating Al-Shabab intelligence.

Unfortunately, after nearly two years, Sharif has not gained an inch of land from insurgents.  Furthermore, he has failed to apprehend even a single known al-Shabab/Hisbal leader, while insurgents have made huge advances and now encircle territories surrounding Villa Somalia, the presidential place.

U.S. dual-track policy and the international community

In June 2010, a group of TFG parliamentarians and government officials were invited to Washington, D.C. to report on the "state of the moderate" Sharif government.  The eight-member delegation stayed almost two weeks and had prearranged meetings with various congressmen.  To their disappointment, Somali parliamentarians and other TFG officials were subjected to heated interrogations harsh reprimands.

Later, Senators Feingold and Payne issued what they called the
Final U.S. House Resolution for Somalia, which conveyed new ideas supposedly based on the Somali delegation's input.   Members of the Somali delegation recommended that the U.S. reevaluate her policies towards Somalia; some suggested that the U.S. shift focus in Somalia in order to involve more clans, traditional leaders, parents, women, and youths in the decision-making process.  

But this was not to be.  A few months later, the U.S. Assistant Secretary for Africa Johnny Carson announced a modified strategy: a "dual track policy" aimed to engage on the one hand with Puntland and Somaliland (Somalia's relatively stable parts) and on the other hand with the TFG.  Of course, engagement with the latter would depend on the progress it made against al-Shabab's growing influence.  This announcement came during a difficult period for the TFG.

The international community, and the U.N. in particular, has not been serious enough to extend support to the weak TFG administration.  These international entities choose instead to focus on piracy: in June 2008 Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon authorized the navies of 22 nations to police Somalia's unguarded waters at a cost of more than $40 million per year.

On the other hand, the U.N. has a paltry presence inside Somalia itself.  The office of the U.N.'s undersecretary to Somalia (currently occupied by Augustine Mahiga) is operated from Nairobi, Kenya.  Likewise, the UNDP's limited operations go through networks of dishonest subcontractors.  Most NGOs also have their bases in Nairobi.  The EU, the Council of Arab Nations, and others have excused themselves from any close involvement, leaving Somalia at the mercy of the African Union and IGAD.  However, in a letter to Secretary Mahiga, PM Farmajo indicated his government's inability to attain security goals because of the expiring mandate of the TFG in August 2011.  He further reiterated the need for expansion of the UNISOM forces, as the creation of a functioning Somali Army requires a long-term commitment.

Issues of national interest and Memorandum of Understanding:

In his letter to Secretary Mahiga, PM Farmajo expressed his commitment to one unified Somalia, to the restoration of the rule of law, to rebuilding of national institutions, to fighting piracy, and to improving the private sector.  Unfortunately, he did not mention the protection of Somali waters.  Earlier, the PM was contacted by Somalitalk.com, the organization that investigated the Kenya-TFG Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) deal, a foiled annexation scheme to dispute Somalia's Continental Shelf.  The PM has not addressed Somalitalk's concerns.

In fact, the MOU was between the Sharmarke administration, acting on behalf of Sheikh Sharif, and the Kenyan government.  Its intent was to create an unwarranted dispute within the Somalia's waters.  Kenya, with the help of Norway, invested a lot of money to promote this hidden agenda, but the deal incensed Somalis everywhere, including in the Somali parliament.

As a result, the parliament voted unanimously against the MOU.  The U.N. Agency for Oceanic Affairs followed suit, acknowledging Somalia's Territorial Sea and Ports Statute, signed into law on 10 September 1972.  But Kenya has pursued other avenues to imperil Somalia's waters: Kenya's recent plea to the Commonwealth of Nations came out of her desire to substantiate her illegitimate claim to part of Somalia's unprotected wealth.  In fact, Kenya already occupies NFD (North Frontier Province) Somali territory, which was annexed to Kenya by the British before Somalia won independence.

So far, PM Farmajo has ignored this critical issue.  Many questions consequently come to mind: why he is not stepping in to defend Somalia's waters?  Why ponder on the pirate issues while Somalia's seas are under constant threat?  The Somali people are desperately awaiting Farmajo's response.

PM Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo has joined the TFG at a critical juncture.  The first half of his hundred days have elapsed with no considerable achievements, but he still has a slim chance of success. Tthe TFG was never a viable solution for Somalia; it was never anything more than an IGAD-prescribed life-support system.  The continuing fractures and splits in the corrupt Somali parliament make it clearer every day that Farmajo will need nothing short of a miracle to change course.  There is hope yet for the prime minister, but time is running out.
American Thinker
This article was originally published Terror Free Somalia Foundation

Better or worse: Prime Minister Farmajo first half of 100 days in office
Post a Comment

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

About Us

The Foundation is dedicated to networking like-minded Somalis opposed to the terrorist insurgency that is plaguing our beloved homeland and informing the international public at large about what is really happening throughout the Horn of Africa region.

Blog Archive

We Are Winning the War on Terrorism in Horn of Africa

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.

Terror Free Somalia Foundation