Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Framing the Debate: IGAD's Detrimental influence in

By Faisal A. Roble

about 114 Somalis residing in the Diaspora (including this author) sent a letter to the Somali public and to several international players in the Somalia affairs, including the United Nations General Secretary, Ban Ki-Moon, Ambassador Augustine Mahiga and US Undersecretary for Africa, Mr. Johnnie Carson. The letter urged all sides to reject the unilateral mandate to extend the Transitional Federal Parliament (TFP) term for three more years 1. The letter specifically underscored the troubling role the Inter Governmental Authority for Development (IGAD) has been playing in the Somalia affairs 2. IGAD’s overreaching hand in the political and social life of Somalia is at best troubling and at worst perpetuating by design the status quo.
The unilateral extension of the TFP mandate, as matter of fact, had originated not from the corridors of the Somali hallways, but from the first session of IGAD’s January 30, 2011 session, under the Chairmanship of Prime Minster Meles Zenawi of Ethiopia.  After that meeting, IGAD issued the following action regarding the Somali parliament:  “That the Transitional period ends on August 20, 2011 and the Assembly reached a consensus on the urgent need to extend the term of the current Transitional Federal Parliament.”
Following IGAD resolution (Jan. 30, 2011), on February 3, 2011, the TFP leadership hastily drafted a motion (to extend its life for three more years) for which it selfishly and voted with overwhelming majority.  This decision coupled with other events that had unfolded in Mogadishu precipitated President Sheikh Sharif’s visit (along with some of his cabinet members) to Addis Ababa to get more clarification of the nature of the TFP mandate extension.
However, reports coming from Addis Ababa unambiguously expressed the discord between the Somali side and the IGAD leadership; President Ahmed reportedly walked out of the IGAD meeting room twice.  Reliable sources reported that the president reacted with raw emotions to the unruly role IGAD is playing in the affairs of Somalia.  In particular, he was angered by IGAD’s insistence that his government must go and IGAD would not grantee similar extension to his administration.
It is at this vortex of events that one needs to assess whether IGAD‘s hand in the affairs of Somalia is detrimentally overreaching?
The IGADD grouping was established in 1984 (Somalia, Sudan, Ethiopia, Djibouti, Kenya, and Uganda with the help of United Nations offices) mainly in reaction to the highly publicized famine, which devastated Northern Ethiopia.  The overall objective of the grouping of the Horn of Africa nations at the time of its founding was to manage the infamous East African recurrent drought.  The headquarters for these six nations was purposefully selected to be Djibouti, the smallest and least threatening city state in the region.
In the vision statement of IGADD, which is mainly to mange drought and disaster, plus the promotion of economic integration of the member states, there was nothing that expressed or authorized this body to fashion the political direction of any member state, let alone take prominent role in how each parliament or their respective national institutions be managed.

However, with Ethiopia’s ascendency to political and military prominence since the mid 1990s, the vision was expanded to include security and political integration as a long term goal.  Ethiopia, owing to its recently acquired status as a populous landlocked country, worked hard through the AU and IGAD to utilize said vision statements for its dominance of the political space of the region. It is plausible to argue that Ethiopia under Meles Zenawi has been usurping IGAD authority in order to freely interfere in the affairs of its traditional rival nation - Somalia. As a matter of fact, Ethiopia invoked this part of the vision statement (security) when it invaded Somalia in whose aftermath thousands, perhaps hundreds of thousands, of civilians were killed 3.

Two geopolitical factors, one regional and another global, seem to have helped Ethiopia become the most influential IGAD member in the affairs of Somalia.  First, the global factor is the Afro-Arab rivalry in the Horn of Africa, which until recently was rolled out at the level of the AU.  In the Afro-Arab conflict, Ethiopia presents itself as the Christian Island in the Horn of Africa.  Egypt, on the other hand, owing to its national security that is centered on the Nile River, presents itself to the Muslim residents of the region as the god father and the alternative power to Ethiopian leadership.  Ethiopian won the war, thanks to massive support from the West 4.
According to Cliff Cliffe (2005), in recent years “the Christian right wing constituency in the US was influential in lobbying the Bush Administration to crusade against Islam in the Horn,” the result of which allowed Ethiopia to pursue an unbridled interference in the affairs of Somalia with impunity. This effort on the part of the right wing comes on the heels of the writings of one of America’s most influential academic; Samuel Huntington, in his book “Clashes of Civilizations,” 1996, particularly celebrated the horizontal conflict between Christian Ethiopian and Muslim Somalia 5. His recommendations are exactly what IGAD is doing in Somalia: to use Western friendly cultures, read Ethiopia, to keep check on regional entities that are inherently “anti-Western civilization.” 

With Western countries teaming up with Ethiopia on: (a) breaking up Sudan (into South  North), and (b) arming and financially rewarding Ethiopia to suppress Islamic revivalism in the Somali peninsula, Ethiopia had effectively won the battle and assumed the leadership to oversees the Horn of Africa region for now.

Secondly, having the AU parliament headquarters located in Addis Ababa gives the Ethiopian authority significant advantage to unduly influence Somalia 6. Today, anyone in the political theater of Somalia (from Aydid and Mohamed Dheere, to the Yusuf Gedi and Nur Cade regime, to the present leadership) must first receive Ethiopia’s blessing before assuming the top leadership.  The leadership of the sitting parliament in Somalia, for example, is closely associated with the geopolitical strategy of Ethiopia.
In the Ethiopian culture, there is a feudal concept called “Dajidnad 7.” It is a tool with which the emperor used to measure levels of loyalty and obedience of his followers.  Intricate and emotionally taxing system where the emperor used to assemble his subjects and let them stay for ours in the cold, “Dajidinad” is a mechanism by which the emperor used to see who reports quickly and expeditiously without complaining about the burden of his orders.  The recent political culture of Somalis reporting to Addis Ababa the moment they are given some level of office responsibility is akin to that feudal concept of “Dajidand” now exercised by Mr. Zenawi against his Somali surrogates.   All Somali heads of State and prime Ministers since Somalia’s state failed had done this culture of being tributary political entity to the Ethiopian leader and continue to do so.
A distant factor that gave Ethiopia more influence in the affairs of Somalia is the deterioration of the Eritrean state. With Eretria becoming a quasi rogue state in the eyes of the rest of Africa and the global community, Ethiopia has become more influential, particularly with respect to its relationship with Djibouti and Somalia.   Since the mid 1990s, beginning with the border conflict between Ethiopia and Eretria, both states used Somalia’s conflict as a proxy cause with Ethiopia having the upper hand.
The only time Ethiopia lost influence in the Somalia affairs since the fall of Siyad Barre is the short period when the Islamic courts ruled most of Southern Somalia.  Whether those forces will once again resurface to resist Ethiopia’s undue interference in Somalia’s affairs depends on how closely IGAD’s activity in Somalia mirrors Ethiopian-centered agenda.

Faisal A. Roble
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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
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Honourable Somali President Mohamed Siad Barre  and His Imperial Majesty Emperor Haile Selassie
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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

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Dr. Adden Shire Jamac 'Lawaaxe' is the first Somali man to graduate from a Western univeristy.

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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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