Wednesday, July 14, 2010

How Somalia slowly disintegrated into small pieces of troubled nations

One of the most enigmatic countries in the world is what used to be the Republic of Somalia, a country that is not a state.

Its disintegration allows pirates and warlords to thrive in the midst of chaos given its strategic location as the southern gateway between the Red Sea and the Indian Ocean.Somalia attracts attention because of a myth that all the people in it are homogeneously Somali. Within the myth are hidden realities that became pronounced with the disintegration of the Somali state.In the late 19th Century and early 20th Century, being Somali became distinct. This was in connection with two developments relating to the scramble for Africa. The growing presence of the Italians, French, and English coupled with Ethiopia’s ability to ward off the Europeans, especially after defeating the Italians at Adowa in 1896, led to various treaties partitioning the Horn of Africa. The territories were then labelled Italian, French, or British “Somaliland” and thereby helped to promote a sense of Somali identity associated with the land taken by Europeans.

Somali united

This sense of Somali identity was solidified by the rise of Sayyid Mohammed Abdullah Hassan, a religious leader in British Somaliland, who advanced a sense of anti-foreign Somali unity. Worried that the Somali were losing clan identities and Islamic faith to Europeans and Christians, in 1899 Hassan called for a Somali jihad, appealed for Somali unity, declared anyone who defied his call to be a kaffir, (unbeliever) and recruited an army of Dervishes, or religious soldiers, to fight foreigners. The British declared him a “Mad Mullah” and defeated his “state” only after World War I in 1920.The idea of Somali unity planted by Hassan was revived and expanded by the Italians and the British. Except for Djibouti, the English controlled the entire Horn of Africa, after expelling the Italians from Ethiopia in 1941, and therefore could think of rearranging the map to their preferences. In 1946, British Foreign Secretary Ernest Bevin proposed creating a “Greater Somalia” that would include Italian Somaliland, British Somaliland, and the Ogaden and the Haud regions of Ethiopia; Ethiopia rejected the idea. Due to Cold War exigencies, Italy was allowed to regain its colony as a United Nations trustee over Somalia for 10 years, to prepare it for independence.

The youth factor

Preparation for independence enabled the Somali Youth League to flourish. The British had initially encouraged the formation as the Somali Youth Club in 1943 which metamorphosed into Somali Youth League and then systematically embraced Bevin’s Greater Somalia idea. In 1960, Britain released its “Somaliland” to unite with Italian Somaliland and create one country under the Somali Youth League.
The new rulers then attempted to expand the Greater Somaliland idea and adopted an elastic concept of state. Going beyond Bevin’s plan, they tried to incorporate French Somaliland and parts of Kenya, in addition to parts of Ethiopia. They adopted a five star flag to symbolise the dream of Somali territorial elasticity that would take parts of Kenya, Ethiopia, and Djibouti. Their demand for rearrangement of colonial boundaries became a unifying ideology that helped to create, instil, and perpetuate a sense of Somali homogeneity. All the “Somali” thus were to become part of an elastic state, not confined to Italian and British Somaliland. That is why, in promoting a sense of homogeneity, the Somali are often placed in groups of clans that often ignore other peoples.

Competing experiences

Thus, the new state needed to cover up glaring differences arising out of competing pre-colonial and colonial experiences. It required creation of “enemies” around whom the Somali could rally, and the concept of Greater Somalia in an elastic state served the purpose. That way, differences were temporarily submerged.

Although successive Somali governments tried to apply the notion of greater Somalia, to cover up internal divisions, they ultimately failed. This then explains the collapse of the 1960 Somali state. The symbol of that Somali contradiction between dreams of external grandeur and internal weakness was Mohammed Siad Barre who grabbed power in 1969. Pushing Pan-Somalism, he authorised the creation of the Somali alphabet in 1972. He declared himself a Marxist in order to obtain Soviet assistance and then tried to “liberate” the Ogaden in 1977 and ultimately failed. This marked the death of his grandeur dream.
The failure made Siad Barre turn inward in terms of repression and he destroyed the very sense of Somali unity he had tried to promote by invading Ogaden. This gave rise to various militants opposing his regime, who forgot talks of Somalia unity, and stressed being Isaaq, Doorod, Hawiye, the Dir, the Digil and the Rahanwiin. Each tried to declare independence or autonomy with those in former British Somaliland, like the Isaaq, particularly miffed in their belief that they had been cheated at independence. The notion of Somali homogeneity was undermined as Somalia fragmented into warring entities. By the time of Barre’s ouster in 1991, the idea of Somali homogeneity had been undermined, Somalia was fragmenting into warring pieces that wanted autonomy or independence.

Geo-strategic value

Few of the Somali factions, if any, are willing or able to reinstate a viable Somali state, partly because it is not in their perceived interests. The Federal Transitional Government in Mogadishu is ineffective and at the mercy of various vigilante groups. The former British Somaliland has mothered Somaliland, often at loggerheads with each other over boundaries even as they offer a safe haven to pirates in a belief that piracy safeguards Somali interests against fish thieves and waste mongers.A fragmented Somali also has geo-strategic value to international actors. There are tuna pirates from other continents who, free to take all the fish they can along the Somali coast, without being questioned, do not want stability. Next are the toxic waste mongers who need dumping places, where no respectable authority can raise questions, for such things as nuclear waste. Close to them are criminal syndicates laundering money and drugs without being checked.
Terror and anti-terror organs also use the area for experiments and testing of strategies before applying them in more organised zones. All these international entities would not want to see stability in Somalia.
In1960, the then new government attempted to create a sense of Somali homogeneity. This was by expanding the concept of greater Somalia. This collided directly with other states, such as Ethiopia and Kenya, which rejected territorial elasticity. The failure of the Greater Somalia ideology removed the mask of homogeneity. This led to the collapse of the Somali state. Somalia remains a country and not a state, a conundrum.

-The Writer is a Professor of History and International Relations, United States International
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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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