Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Reconciliation for Sool, Sanaag and Cayn stakeholders matters

Liban Ahmad
June 22, 2010


Sool, Sanaag and Cayn (SSC) of Somalia are three regions claimed by both Somaliland and Puntland administrations. Somaliland’s claim is based on shared colonial experience whereas that of Puntland is based on shared genealogy. In this paper, my aim is to contribute ideas towards creating an atmosphere in which people from SSC(1) ( i.e. Dhulbahante) can reconcile their differences so that their input in any administration can bear fruit. The starting of this paper is that unionists in SSC who were not traditional supporters of the former armed opposition group, Somali National Movement, outnumber by far their pro-Somaliland cousins. The challenge for SSC unionists is to clarify if, by supporting Somali unity, they want to persuade other SSC pro-Somalilanders with whom they do not share clan affiliation to give up on secession and or if their unionism reflects the views of SSC clansmen and clanswomen. 

The people of SSC are divided politically along the following four political camps:

2-Pro-Sool, Sanaag and Cayn leadership
3-Pro-Khusuusi (new council of elders)
In the following part, we will discuss the characteristics and political claims of each camp to help the reader understand the camps’ influence and source of support; the strength and weakness  in each camp’s argument will be explored.

Pro-Puntland camp

The pro-Puntland camp bases their reasoning on the role SSC traditional leaders had in setting up Puntland administration in 1998. No matter how Puntland administration failed to prevent or bring to an end the infighting within pro-Puntand SSC politicians and political appointees, support for the Puntland State of Somalia is unquestionable.


Pro-Puntland SSC camp’s argument is based on their aim to avoid blame-game. They look upon Puntland as a clan based entity and that clans and sub-clans and their traditional and political leaders have an obligation towards the people they represent to prevent political disputes from developing into political violence.


Pro-Puntland camp has not set up a conflict-prevention or conflict resolution example to inspire people’s confidence in their continued support for Puntland. SSC political appointees were not reined in by the traditional leaders who endorse their appointments. The new Puntland constitution reduces traditional leaders to the role of resolving clan and sub-clan conflicts and expect them to leave administrative tasks to the technocrats, although it is the traditional leaders who choose the members of Puntland House of Representatives, who inturn elect the president, vice president and the assembly speaker.

Pro-SSC Leadership

Pro-SSC leadership camp put their weight behind the new political leadership formed in Nairobi after some of the major traditional leaders of SSC held a conference in October 2009.


The pro—SSC leadership camp has merits because of Puntland’s resistance to change given the traditional   and political leaders’ failure to avert the 2002 Puntland war and the political struggle that caused some one-time pro-Puntland people to switch sides and join Somaliland administration by facilitating the capture of Las Anod by Somaliland forces in 2007. They regard the Puntland political experiment as a failed partnership, and think people of SSC have paid a price for uncritical support for successive Puntland leaders. SSC leadership supporters are increasing.


Pro-SSC leadership camp does not take into account political realities such as divided loyalty in SSC constituencies. It has not so far developed coherent set of policies about how it can woo supporters from other camps.

Pro-Khusuusi camp

The Khusuusi, named after the council of advisers of the Dervishes led by Sayid Mohamed Abdulle Hassan (1900-1920), was set to be  the collective decision making traditional leadership of SSC made up of  Garaads(2), the outcome of a meeting held in Buuro-wadal plains in Sool region in February 2010.  Garaads who attended the Buuro-wadal summit are divided on the support the Khusuusi gives Puntland.


The Khusuusi is an all-Garaad council. Their relevance reflects the extent to which SSC people have become disillusioned with SSC politicians in both Puntland and Somaliland.


The Khusuusi lacks political clarity about the role and the political future of SSC people. Is their role a duplication of SSC leadership the traditional leaders helped to come into existence in 2009? Will they be free from pressures from would-be politicians and political appointees seeking the imprimatur of the Khusuusi  to  join a given administration? This lack of clarity may affect how SSC people, Puntland and Somaliland administrations view their role. The Khusuusi’s influence is  in decline. They seem to be complimenting  the work of the SSC leadership. Pro-Puntland and Pro-Somaliland politicians can cooperate on undermining the Khusuusi.

Pro-Somaliland camp

Pro-Somaliland camp is made up of politicians and militia leaders, some of whom once supported Puntland.  Their influence grew after Somaliland forces had captured Las Anod in 2007.


Pro-Somaliland camp’s political and military visibility is based on the support it gets from Somaliland. SSC people in areas under Somaliland coexist peacefully. Pro-SSC Somaliland forces are more disciplined than Puntland forces so far.  People complain about the system not those they indentify as locals working with Somaliland if things go wrong.


Somaliland appointed and empowered politicians and political appointees are known for their anti-SSC traditional leadership stance. The pro-Somaliland politicians and militia leaders ignored calls for reconciliation for SSC constituencies from the chairman of Somaliland’s House of Elders (Guurti) in 2008. They have no support base in their communities; they think any talks with pro-union SSC people will undercut their influence in Somaliland.

Key issues

The four groups outlined above are key stake-holders in Dhulbahante-inhabited areas of Sool, Sanaag and Cayn regions. Except for the pro-Somaliland SSC camp, the other three camps regard Somaliland forces in Dhulbahante-inhabited parts of Sool, Sanaag and Cayn as occupation forces. Las Anod, the administrative capital of Sool region was ruled by Puntland until October 2007 when it fell. SSC people differ on the status of Las Anod and the circumstances that led Somaliland to take it over from the Puntland administration.

Before Las Anod fell, Somaliland forces were based at Adhi-Caddeeye, about 30 KM from Las Anod. Somaliland forces were deployed in Yagoori and Adhi Caddeeye after SSC pro-Somaliland politicians and traditional leaders lobbied for bringing Somaliland troops in the two districts(3) The “anti-occupation camp ” calls Las Anod magaalada la haysto (the occupied town). Adhi Caddeeye and Yagoori were under Somaliland before the fall of Las Anod. Why these two places were not called occupied ‘districts’?

Before Las Anod was captured by Somaliland forces, a group of pro-Somaliland SSC militias  set up a base at Waqdari gully near Las Anod.  Garaad Jaamac Garaad Cali intervened to persuade the militias to leave the area. His intervention was not successful but it remains an example of conflict prevention initiative by a traditional leader. However, the task was too complex for one young, traditional leader who had been a Garaad  for only one year.

Conflict prevention approach

The SSC traditional leaders have got to take on themselves the responsibility to solve the political and environmental problems that made Sool, Sanaag and Cayn potential flashpoints of conflict between Puntland and Somaliland administrations. In the past the role of Garaads was intertwined with the role of politicians. The absence of clear role in the context of new challenges caused by state collapse helped the SSC politicians exploit and misuse their positions in Puntland and Somaliland. This is why Sool, Sanaag and Cayn areas inhabited by the unionist constituencies had failed to benefit from reconstruction and development initiatives donor countries the United Nations earmarked for Sool, Sanaag and Cayn. Since December 2007, Somaliland has been the main channel through development aid is sent for Sool, Sanaag and Cayn. Before that year, it is not known who handled development aid earmarked for SSC regions and on which projects it has been spent since the international community started supporting local administrations.
Somaliland administration  has not made consultations about development assistance with SSC people nor has it made clear how it asks donor countries for development aid  for Sool, Sanaag and Cayn regions,  and how it distributes the resources.  This is why pro-Somaliland SSC politicians and militias alienated their people. The same situation prevailed in Las Anod under Puntland (2002-2007) but being part of an administration that was formed on the basis of kinship (tolnimo) has not made SSC traditional leaders and politicians aware of regional  development challenges and opportunities. There is something dangerously paternalistic about clan affiliation in local politics because people put misplaced trust in it.

Blaming either Puntland or Somaliland is not the way to address the development participation deficit. Puntland and Somaliland are impersonal entities–administrations in which SSC people have representatives and decision makers. To pin the blame on administrations—Puntland and Somaliland in this case— is to help politicians and traditional leaders avoid responsibility for not ensuring their constituencies’ development needs and  rights are addressed properly and transparently.

In 1998 traditional leaders of SSC had a role in setting up Puntland administration; politicians took a back seat during consultations because they did not have the influence to persuade people to sign up to a new administration that would challenge Somaliland seen by many in SSC people as clan-based as Puntland administration is(4).  Although SSC traditional leaders’ input into the setting up Puntland administration is widely acknowledged, their trouble- shooting skills were confined to sorting out inter and intra clan differences in urban and rural settings but were pushed to the political scene by convening meetings and conferences such as Boocame   I and II conferences (1991 and 2007), Nairobi SSC Conference ( 2009) and Buuro-wadal (2010). Their visible and pro-active political role was afforded by the failure of politicians to avert bickering that usually have adverse impact on peaceful co-existence of SSC people. Laying emphasis on the following shared interests can be a springboard for preventing  conflicts caused by SSC politicians:
  • To co-exist peacefully with each other and with other neighbouring clans
  • To create an atmosphere in which all SSC political camps can have dialogue
  • To be part of an administration that does not accentuate political differences of SSC people
  • To be part of an administration that value and empower the traditional leaders of the SSC
  • To respect representation rights of sub-clans  in a given administration
  • To have an impartial committee to which political  dispute  are referred for adjudication
  • To put in place a rule that does bar traditional leaders  from supportingt  political appointees and politicians who exploit  their positions
  • To agree on a set of criteria used by the traditional  elders when endorsing a political appointee or a politician in any administration
  • To involve religious leaders in regional development consultations
  • To ensure that the tax collected  locally are used for social services
  • To set up civil society organisations and non-governmental organisations
  • To promote the role of women in community development
  • To set local up  print and broadcast media outlets 
  • To encourage SSC Diaspora to invest in SSC regions
  • To encourage  local business to set up business associations
The traditional leadership of Sool, Sanaag, Cayn people is the only institution that can use its leverage to solve political and social problems facing  people in Sool, Sanaag and Cayn region by starting the process of reconciling political groups who support opposing political structures. Somaliland and Puntland administrations can have everything to gain from refraining from attempts to undermine the traditional leadership of SSC. The two administrations have got to check in the excesses of politicians and political appointees whose actions turn out to be liabilities for both administrations.

By Liban Ahmad
(1) Other Somali clans live in Sool, Sanaag and Cayn as well. In this paper emphasis is placed on the fragmented traditional and political leadership of the Dhulbahante clan without whose united stand either Puntland or Somaliland cannot make a territorial claim  on Sool, Sanaag and Cayn.
(2)Garaad is a generic name of the Dhulbahante, Geri, Bartire and Warsangeli traditional leader.
(3) It is what makes the occupation thesis implausible particularly when the same traditional leaders who supported the deployment of Somaliland troops now oppose their presence.
(4) Somaliland is promoted by Somalilanders as a polity for clans who live in what was known as British Somaliland but the first president of Somaliland was the late Abdirahman Ahmed Ali, former chairman of Somali National Movement, (now-defunct) one of the armed opposition groups against Siyad Barre regime. The SNM was an armed opposition group for the Isaaq clan just as Somali Salvation Democratic Front and United Somali congress were armed opposition groups for Majeerteen and Hawiye clans, respectively. The SNM constitution was in favour of unity. Secession was declared without changing the SNM constitution or putting forward the secession case for consultation with people who live in northern Somalia.

Liban Axmed

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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

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Sultan Kenadid
Sultanate of Obbia

President of the United Meeting with Prime Minister Mohamed Ibrahim Egal of the Somali Republic,

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Seyyid Muhammad Abdille Hassan

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Sultan Mohamud Ali Shire
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Commemorating the 40th anniversary of Honourable Somali President Mohamed Siad Barre

Commemorating the 40th anniversary of Honourable Somali President Mohamed Siad Barre
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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,

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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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