Questioned about internal dynamics of the Hawiye clan, FM Youssouf observed that whereas in the past the Hawiye had engaged in a power struggle with other major Somali clans (like Abdullahi Yusuf's Darod), following their ouster from Mogadishu after Siad Barre's regime, there was now conflict within the Hawiye clan itself. The major factions within the Hawiye comprised three groups:
-- Hawiye from the most "anarchic" rural areas, who had never before lived in urban areas, but who looted cities, had a "kill or be killed" philosophy, and who now controlled Mogadishu;
-- the business community, who controlled the ports and Somalia's fishing fleet, and who fought against the warlords, with their own militia and bodyquards; and
-- farmers on previously state-controlled farms, who had continued for several years to export bananas internationally. Generally, Hawiye/Abgal hailed from Mogadishu, while Hawiye/Habr-Gedir came from Mogadishu's outskirts.
15.(C) These three groups, Youssouf continued, maintained a rough equilibrium for many years. U.S. intervention in 2006, during which the USG armed and equipped some warlords, interfered with the "semblance of harmony" that previously existed among these three groups. The Islamic Courts Union took advantage of the ensuing chaos in Mogadishu, which then led to Ethiopia's intervention.
16.(C) The "backbone" of Somali behavior and conflict remained clan-based, Youssouf said, as illustrated by the in-fighting among Somali subclans within the Hawiye. Youssouf noted that the Djiboutian military's training earlier this year of TFG recruits (ref C), aimed at fostering unit cohesion and Somali nationalism, as Djiboutian authorities recognized that, at the beginning, recruits formed cliques on the basis of sub-clans, and even feared attacks from members of the same clan if they were from different sub-clans.
17. (C) Questioned about possible international mediation support for internal Somali dialogue, such as the use of African mediators or negotiation support teams, FM Youssouf said they could assist, but cautioned that internal reconciliation could not be effected by external actors. Rather, such reconciliation depended first on identifying grievances, which was a task only Somalis themselves could lead. Genuine reconciliation would occur only when a Somali layman chose peace rather than conflict, a process independent of outside experts