Saturday, January 8, 2011

DualTrack or Multi-tribal Track? America’s endless missteps in Somalia:

update on U.S.’s Dual-Track Policy:
Since the ill-fated Operation Restore Hope ended in debacle in 1993, America’s involvement in Somalia entered into a deep recession from which it did not emerge for a decade and half. Following the killings of 18 US rangers by Somali militia, the Americans, whose initial mandate was humanitarian rather than peace-making, perceived the Somalis as ungrateful and undeserving of their support and decided to leave. And they did that abruptly. An American diplomat, referring to their withdrawal from Somalia in 1993-4 was reported as saying “we decided to leave the warring Somali clans to finish each other off and they certainly did that”. In retrospect, however, the US decision abandon Somalia, after spending billions of dollars and losing some of its finest soldiers, was a historic strategic and diplomatic misstep. During this recession of interest in Somalia, the US refused to play any role in Somali affairs or support the outcome of a number of reconciliation conferences sponsored by the UN, including the one held in Djibouti in 2000.

The US reviewed its policy of disengagement following the terrorist attacks of September 11 and those at the American Embassies in Nairobi and Tanzania in 1998, allegedly carried out by Somali based terrorist elements.  For a long time, the intelligence community warned that, due to the political anarchy, poverty and its proximity to the jihadist producing Middle East, Somalia is fast becoming a breeding ground for Al-Qaeda allied terrorist groups. In this context, the US re-engaged in Somali politics belatedly and found it lot more complicated and lot more dangerous than Aidid’s Somalia from whose marginalized and very weak militia the Americans inexplicably ran away.

Although the US decided to pay closer attention to political events in Somalia, their renewed interest there was informed by Bush’s “war on terror” policy that avoided dealing with the deeper questions of conflict resolution, development and governance, and focused primarily on targeting terrorist groups, a strange move given the correlation between terrorism and anarchy. Elements of this policy included supporting Ethiopian incursions into Somalia in the hope that the Ethiopians will be able to keep the jihadist genie in the Somali bottle or defeat it altogether. It also included hunting and killing terrorist group leaders whenever possible and monitoring the general situation. The US also offered limited support to the Kenyan sponsored reconciliation conference which resulted in the formation of a Transitional Federal Government. Bush’s hit and run policy has failed to achieve its objectives of containing the spread of jihadist groups and capturing or killing leading terrorist figures. In fact, it has the opposite effect.

The Obama administration, which promised a departure from Bush’s unilateralist band-aid policy in Somalia, has surprised everyone by announcing a new approach it termed as “Dual Track Policy”. Frustrated by the inability of Somalia’s Transitional Federal Government to restore security in the country or contain the spread of Islamist groups, the US appears to have given up on the idea of supporting Somali government as a means to combat terrorism and restore stability in that region. In essence, the new policy aims at bypassing the ineffective infighting paralyzed TFG and encourages to establish direct diplomatic contact with other Somali “entities” such as regional states and anti-Al-Shabab religious groups. It is presented as a pragmatic approach that takes into consideration the realities on the ground in Somalia. However, the new policy raises more questions than it answers.

If implemented as proposed, the so called dual track policy will give the Somali conflict a fresh start, a re-run of the tribal wars that have been going on in Somalia for the last two decades, this time with jihadists in the mix. One only needs to look at the history of Somali conflict to place the new policy in proper context and assess its potential impact. The two relatively stable regional states, Puntland and Somaliland, which stand to benefit most from the new policy, have something in common. Both of them were established by tribal rebel groups which were instrumental in destroying the last central government of Somalia.

In the case of Somaliland, the current president, Ahmed Mohamed Silanyo, was the founder of the Ethiopia backed Somali National Movement (SNM), an armed opposition group that waged war against the Somali government for years until it finally succeeded to overthrow it with the help of other groups. Somaliland is often heaped praise by the international community for maintaining peace, law and order in their part of Somalia and even holding democratic elections, however rudimentary. That may be true and credit must be given where it is due.  However, when Somaliland is placed in the greater context of Somali conflict, it becomes clear that it played a major role in creating the Somali conflict in first place and it continues to play a huge role in sustaining the Somali civil strife because of its claims of secession as well as its refusal to get involved in the peace process. In the eyes of other Somalis, Somaliland is a single clan state, attempting to dictate its wishes to other clans in Somaliland. Other clans in Somaliland such as the Gedobursi, Dulbahante and Warsangeli are vehemently opposed to Somaliland’s secession for the fact that this is not a viable project, unless the UK returns to colonize it, and for fear that they may become permanent political underdogs in Somaliland. When one digs a little deeper, therefore, one realizes that the elephant in the house of Somali conflict is Somaliland. The perception that Somaliland has nothing to do with the war in Somalia is a complete misunderstanding of the conflict there.  

Puntland, another single clan entity, is also a whitewash of SSDF, the first Somali opposition group to take arms against the late President Mohamed Siad Barre’s military government. By forming a clan-based armed opposition group, the SSDF reversed the detribalizing policies of Siad Barre’s military regime and sowed the seeds of civil war and political discord in Somalia. SSDF was founded by Col. Abdullahi Yusuf Ahmed, former president of Somalia’s Transitional Federal Government who also served as the first president of Puntland. Mr. Ahmed recently acknowledged that he had made a mistake when he took arms against the Somali government and lamented his role in the disintegration of Somalia. Currently Puntland is also locked in an intra-clan conflict that threatens the very existence of the state and the heavy-handed approach of the leadership there made matters even worse.  

The dual track policy is also music to the ears of Al-Shabab and other affiliated jihadists who know that they will be able to easily spin this policy as a new balkanization of Somalia, a self-fulfilling prophesy of their grand conspiracy of the west against Somali people. Al-Shabab’s propaganda machine is already presenting the new policy as something they have already known would happen. These Jihadist groups have always tapped into the resentment and despair brought about by the emergence of tribal entities and secessionist fanatics. It is not difficult for them to portray these developments as the work of Somali enemies. Such a message strongly resonates with many Somalis, particularly those who do not identify themselves with clans in these regional states. The new dual track policy is going to help Al-shabab and their allies continue their unholy holy war, providing them with new propaganda ammunition to mobilize youth.

 The current dual track policy is reminiscent of another dual track US boondoggle in Somalia. In 2006, American diplomats in Nairobi, while publically declaring their support for the TFG of Somalia, handed cash-filled suite-cases to several anti-TFG Mogadishu warlords and asked them to flash out Islamist groups from the city. The rest is history. Few weeks later, one after the other, the warlords, vilified by the jihadist propaganda as enemy mercenaries and unable to withstand popular uprising against their secret deal with the CIA, handed over their weapons to Islamist groups and headed for Nairobi, with their newly won lottery money in their SUVs.  

 And now we have what is clearly a “tribal track” policy that encourages every Somali clan to establish their own administration so that it will be eligible to put their hands in the American candy jar to be distributed to these X lands. And to what end? How many US experts does it take to change a light-bulb in Somalia? Whoever is advising the US government on their Somali policy formulation, it appears to be listening to too many of them!. The new policy is potentially dangerous for the political stability of the Horn of Africa region, particularly Somalia’s neighboring countries; Ethiopia, Kenya and Djibouti. Creating multiple clan states simply adds to the political insanity there. In my opinion, the best track to addressing Somalia’s political quagmire and remove the terrorist menace is to support the TFG and the African Union’s peace-making approach.

Providing development aid to regional states and other peaceful areas is a long over-due step, however, this development assistance should be delivered in ways that strengthens the Transitional Federal government rather than making it irrelevant. Carrying out the dual track policy opens up the Pandora box of dealing with multiple clan “entities!” and sets the stage for an easy and quick Al-Shabab expansion. Somaliland and Puntland must work with the FTG and the international community to put the Somali puzzle pieces together. And doing so serves their own interests and ensures their own existence.

Mohamud Dere Hersi (Indheergarad) 
Indheergarad1@hotmail.com

 We welcome the submission of all articles for possible publication on Terror Free Somalia Foundation Send your comments and articles to terrorfreesomalia@gmail.com
Abdirahman Warsame is the Executive Director of the Terror Free Somalia Foundation.a national grassroots organization that opposes terrorism and supports democracy in Africa. regular contributor American Thinker . .Pajamas Media and .other American conservative organization

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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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