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Last Updated: Feb 11, 2014 - 5:11:05 AM
IGAD is misleading the world on Somalia [Editorial]

GAROWE ONLINE EDITORIAL | President Sharif's speech in Addis Ababa and his begging for more foreign troops is a clear indication that no clan is in control of Mogadishu.

The Assembly of Heads of State of the Inter-governmental Authority on Development (IGAD), a regional bloc of several East African nations, concluded in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa this week with a declaration dominated by the conflict in Somalia. The Summit was attended by the Heads of State of: Ethiopia, Uganda, Sudan, Djibouti, Kenya, and the President of the Transitional Federal Government (TFG) of Somalia, Sheikh Sharif Ahmed.

Expectedly, the TFG leader used alarm words such as "Al Qaeda has taken over Somalia" to ring alarm bells in Washington and Brussels, as the international community grapples with the disastrous after-effects of the controversial Djibouti Agreement signed exclusively by representatives of the Hawiye clan – the clan that came to dominate Mogadishu after its militia savagely massacred and expelled fellow clans, especially the Darod, in 1991 as the Somali nation-state disintegrated. It is no wonder that Mogadishu has not seen peace ever since.

In 2008, a coalition of interests self-organized to take down the first president of the TFG – and the man who restored the presidential seat at Villa Somalia for the first time since Gen. Barre's departure in 1991. That distinction goes to none other than Abdullahi Yusuf Ahmed, who resigned respectfully in Dec. 2008 under surmounting international pressure. Those members of the TFG, including former Prime Minister Nur Hassan Hussein (Nur Adde), who worked very hard to get rid of Yusuf's leadership, used a notorious slogan to move international opinion: "Abdullahi Yusuf is the obstacle to peace in Somalia."

Why was Yusuf targeted so maliciously? There are many apparent reasons, but mainly the empty rhetoric of Somali nationalism under the pretext of opposing Ethiopian troops in Mogadishu. The Ethiopian army withdrew from Mogadishu with President Yusuf's departure and the Djibouti Agreement as a cover. What followed is the ascension to power (on paper) of President Sheikh Sharif and the consolidation of power (on the ground) by Al Shabaab extremists. If Yusuf was "the obstacle to peace," how does one explain the change of fortune for the TFG, which once controlled most regions in south-central Somalia? Further, who is today's obstacle to peace?

The IGAD declaration on July 5, 2010, states three highly controversial points:

Clause 3: Underlines that the conflict in Somalia is not a conflict among the Somalis but between the people of Somalia and international terrorist groups;

Clause 8: Decides to work with all parties including AMISOM and UN Security Council to raise 20,000 troops to be deployed throughout the country. In this regard, Summit embraces the need to mobilize Somali forces internally with possible intervention by neighboring countries including approach the East African Community and empower them with resources and equipment;

Clause 18: Affirms that the Djibouti process remains the sole basis for the Somalia peace and reconciliation and rejects the proliferation of initiatives inimical to the swift resolution fo the crisis in Somalia;

President Sharif's speech in Addis Ababa and his begging for more foreign troops is a clear indication that no clan is in control of Mogadishu. Those Hawiye politicians who travel to Nairobi with false information of Hawiye's imagined power in Mogadishu must face today's tough reality and the end of their fiction: Sheikh Sharif, crowned as the Hawiye president who could defeat Al Shabaab in Mogadishu, travels in a Ugandan tank every time he returns from yet-another foreign visit. These same politicians, during the run-up to the failed Djibouti Agreement, promised the world that a Hawiye president would bring peace and that Abdullahi Yusuf, the Darod president, was a "foreigner" from Puntland and he could not control Hawiye-dominated Mogadishu. As they say, a lie only has one foot to stand on and President Sharif's abject failures is a truth that is LOUDER than all the lies combined.

IGAD should not mislead the African Union and the United Nations with declarations that contain dangerous precedents for the future of Somalia. The conflict in Somalia is always a socio-political conflict among the Somalis. The international terrorist groups, such as Al Shabaab, emerged in recent years as a direct result of the Somali civil war. But for President Sharif, along with many Hawiye politicians, to accept such fabrications from IGAD serves the hidden agenda: an attempt to mislead the world that the Somali civil war has ended (indeed, an evil effort to deny the 1991 clan pogroms).

But such misleading language is necessary to justify yet another foreign intervention in Somalia, and the worrying reference to "possible intervention by neighboring countries" is another cover for Ethiopia and Kenya to intervene in Somalia under the pretext of fighting Al Shabaab. In the minds of evil-doers, the more the war looks like Somalis vs. Al Shabaab, the more the world will forget about the 1991 clan pogroms that led to the disintegration of the nation-state. Without addressing the 1991 clan pogroms, and the uprooting of an entire society (Darod) from Mogadishu, there can never be Somali nation-state.

Indeed, if the Djibouti Agreement was actually working as designed, there would be no need for 20,000 troops – it seems, after nearly six years, President Sharif stands today exactly where President Yusuf stood when he first addressed the African Union in Oct. 2004 to request 20,000 troops, only days after his election as TFG president.

In conclusion, two things will never work in Somalia: 1) the Djibouti Agreement, as representative of a single clan, will never work for Somalia as a nation and was a perfect cover for Ethiopian withdrawal, as the Bush years came to an end; 2) any military solution, 20,000 troops or not; Somalia needs a political settlement among Somalis, who must reorganize under a federal system.

Garowe Online Editorial
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