Tuesday, February 1, 2011

IGAD Chief Interviewed on Humanitarian, Political Challenges

Djibouti — The Horn of Africa is facing huge humanitarian and political challenges, but according to Mahboub M. Maalim, executive secretary of the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD), the region is coping. He spoke to IRIN in Djibouti.

A severe drought is ravaging the region. What is IGAD doing to help member states mitigate humanitarian suffering?

Member states like to do drought management and response on their own. This time we are teaming up with the UN to have a UN-and-IGAD-led regional process. There is a new UN resident coordinator here, and we will take the central role in trying to have a regional outlook to the drought response mechanism.


With the just concluded referendum in Southern Sudan likely to lead to an independent new African state, what will this mean for the organization?

It means looking after an extra member. We hope that because of the work we have done on the Sudan peace process, the Southern Sudanese would-be government would recognize the importance of becoming part of the IGAD fraternity. Secondly, [it is important] to give capacity-building backing to the new government. This includes civil servants that could be seconded from member states, developing strategic plans for them, looking at infrastructure systems and sensitizing the international community to work with the new state.

What are your concerns about the post-referendum period? We have already seen hostilities in Abyei; are you confident that successful negotiations can be held on the key issues?

Successful negotiations will be held on key issues. President Hassan Omar Al Bashir has been very categorical and consistent; he respects preliminary results of the southern referendum. He [Bashir] wants to see this process through. I foresee no problems whatsoever if further negotiation [is] required to dispose of items remaining on the agenda.


Eritrea has suspended its membership of IGAD. What is the current state of play with the Eritrea-Djibouti and Eritrea-Ethiopia border issues?

Eritrea has renewed its membership of the African Union (AU) and posted an ambassador. An ambassador accredited to the AU is also accredited to all the regional economic communities. These, including IGAD, work under the umbrella of the AU. I see renewed hope that I could probably engage Eritrea through the new ambassador.

The Djibouti-Eritrea issue is being handled through the Qatari government. The Emir of Qatar has brought the two parties together [and] most probably it is going to end in a fruitful way.

There has not been any progress regarding the Ethiopia-Eritrea conflict. This [is a] fairly straightforward issue that requires the two principals to sit and discuss. Everybody is talking about what they think is the way forward, but the key is discussion. I call upon the Eritrean leadership to open a window of opportunity to discuss this.

Eritrea's position is that the boundary commission ruling was final and binding, and the sides agreed beforehand that they will abide by it, so there is nothing to discuss except to implement the ruling. Should Ethiopia first implement the ruling?

Ethiopia respects the ruling. But the parties must get together and say - yes this the ruling, how do we implement it? Even when a divorce has been granted, you go back to the house to agree what belongs to whom.


Is there a concern that next year's election could produce a repeat of the 2008 violence? How important is the ICC (International Criminal Court) process? If those mentioned evade ICC or local trial, what would be the repercussions for security?

We have made a lot of progress since 2008 [when the violence erupted]. However, I think the ICC issue in Kenya, where some very notable personalities have been mentioned and referred to pretrial chambers, if not handled carefully, could lead to panic and further misunderstanding between communities. These are senior leaders in their communities and not everybody accepts or believes their role as is being alleged.

Some of the names, many Kenyans believe, were basically thrown in. For example, the name of the head of public service, Ambassador Francis Muthaura. Around the time of the violence, I was a permanent secretary and I know the role that Ambassador Muthura played. The sudden appearance of his name has created suspicion that this is more political than judicial. If the ICC and the international community are really concerned about peace and stability in Africa, they must be careful how they use international jurisdiction, so we don't cause more harm than good.


A number of IGAD countries have been accused of interfering in Somalia. Does this interfere with peace efforts in Somalia and how does IGAD overcome such a conflict of interest?

There is a very thin line between contributing positively and interfering. When you are a person of good intention and working in the area of your mandate, it is very easy for detractors to say, "Look, you are interfering." We cannot talk about membership in IGAD and talk about interference by members of IGAD in the Somali affair.

If it was not for IGAD, the name of Somalia would have disappeared from the international radar by now. It is in the interest of Somalia and the Somali people that IGAD as an organization, and its member states, exist and follow up the issues. There is no interference by member states.

Are you saying that there is no conflict of interest between member states regarding Somalia?

Every member state has its own national interest. This happens in international and diplomatic discussions. However, this is not visible when we make decisions at the summit level. I have not heard of intrigues or skewed decisions that have been made for the Somali people as a result of a specific interest of another member state.

IGAD has been involved in efforts to find peace in Somalia since 2002, but seems to have taken a low profile lately. What is IGAD's role now?

I don't agree [because] IGAD is quite active. We have stepped up the international nature of the peace process in Somalia. That is why the UN Security Council has approved the scaling up of troops in Somalia and why there is high level UN representation in Nairobi. When you have many high level actors who have come as a result of your invitation, you work alongside them.

How would you rate the effectiveness of the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) and the mission's prospects for 2011?

Excellent. They work under a very difficult situation, where collaboration is not possible and the command structure between themselves and Somali government forces is not harmonized. But [it has] managed to keep its core mandate to protect and defend the TFG [Transitional Federal Government] and major installations.

Their mandate is limited. They have been deployed there on a peacekeeping mandate. We have recommended to the UN that it change the mandate to peace enforcement. Until that is allowed, we cannot talk about whether they can seize ground [from the opposition].

On the prospects for 2011, the transitional charter is ending in August. Everybody is concerned. There has been a lot of apportioning of blame within the transitional institutions [parliament and the executive]. They have not been best of friends. We think that has adversely affected the desired output.

What should the UN and the international community do to find a lasting solution to the Somalia crisis?

Listen to IGAD [because] member states are neighbours of Somalia. It is in the interest of IGAD members that there is a permanent settlement in Somalia. Therefore, they should listen to pronouncements of IGAD and give some weight to that. That has not been the case.

There are several pronouncements we have made that have not even found themselves on the agenda of the Security Council. I would like the international community to meet their pledges to Somalia. There is no point sitting in international conferences halls making a pledge which does not translate into assistance.

The UN groups who are holed up in Nairobi [should] decentralize and hold their officials accountable in terms of moneys being used, and be convinced that some of the resources are being translated into tangible deliverables on the ground. I would like the international community to compare the huge sums of money they are using to keep these ships on the high seas off Somalia in the name of fighting piracy, and the little money required to start on land [anti-] piracy programmes.

Somalia is affected by the drought. Given the fact that most of the country is under the control of the opposition Al-Shabab group, what can IGAD do to secure greater humanitarian access to the vulnerable communities?

The humanitarian issue in Somalia is a serious problem. Unfortunately, it is not number one on the agenda. What we find in the international headlines are the number of people killed, the bombs, booby traps and all the other issues with political dimensions.

It is unfortunate that a number of humanitarian agencies that have been doing good work, even before the drought, have been chased away and are not operational. IGAD would want to pursue this with Somali defence forces and AMISOM to see how the military capacity on the ground, including friendly forces like those from Ahlu Suna Wal Jama, can create a humanitarian corridor.

[ This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations ]
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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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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.

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