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Last Updated: Feb 11, 2014 - 5:11:05 AM
A Somali Perspective in Response to 'The World’s Duty to Somalia'

By Amb. Ahmed Abdi Hashi (Hashara)
Somali Ambassador to the UN (2001-2005)
Secretary for Foreign Affairs - ARS

The Washington Post recently carried an article by UN Special Envoy, Ahmedou W. Abdalla, titled " The World's Duty to Somalia". This title is way off the mark but more importantly provides us with some insight on the author’s misguided direction for Somalia. The international community is, admittedly, important but it cannot solve the Somali problem; it is primarily our problem and we Somalis can and must solve this problem by ourselves and without foreign interference. ALLAH (GOD) helps those who help themselves. The international community can play a supportive role only if it recognizes the futility of repeating failed initiatives of the past and imposing, through Special Envoys, a solution to the Somali conflict. Ahmedou Wald Abdalla, unfortunately, fails to appreciate this basic fact.

The claims made in this article are gross misrepresentations, distortions as well as unforgivable lack of understanding of the complexities of Somali politics and the realities on the ground.

Ahmedou W. Abdalla paints the picture that what is happening in Somalia in” not a civil war but a coup” by foreign fighters bent on overthrowing “the legitimate government” of Somalia and that the world must come to its rescue.

Abdalla fails to understand the difference between a revolt by the armed forces of a State against the government of the day and a national group with a mission to resurrect from the ashes of a civil war a Somali State. Abdalla should know better and look at his own backyard- Mauritania- where the armed forces recently staged a coup de-etat. In contrast, what happening now in Mogadishu and other parts of Southern Somalia is a national struggle against foreign invaders and their local agents and stooges. This constant reference to a coup in Somalia is an attempt to cover up the failure of the Djibouti coronation, mislead international public opinion and demean the gains on the ground of the Somali resistance movement.

In various statements as well as in this article, Ahmedou Abdalla tries to sell the fiction of the existence of a legitimate government in Somalia. The question that begs an answer is: which government are we talking about? And where is this government? This so-called government was formed in exile in Djibouti. Its “members” were handpicked by foreigners including Ethiopia, Kenya and Djibouti. Ahmedou W. Abdalla was omnipresent at all times, stage managing the circus. Can we really call a government that which hides behind the cocktails of AMISOM and Ethiopian troops; with virtually no constituents and territorial control and holed up in Villa; that which cannot protect itself let alone provide security and essential services for its own citizens and with literally no State institutions.

The 550 member “parliament” created in Djibouti with Ahmedou W. Abdalla’s blessing is in such disarray that it cannot convene for lack of a quorum. This “parliament” ceased to exist for all practical purposes. That is the government that Ahmedou W. Abdalla espouses. It surely is a figment in the imagination of its foreign sponsors.

A legitimate government in Somalia? Every government must derive its legitimacy from the popular support of the majority of its own people and not from foreign powers or individuals. Governments that have a popular mandate from their own people are legitimate; but those which are formed in foreign capitals with no mandate from their own people are illegitimate. The same must apply to Somalia. No government formed by Ethiopia, Djibouti, Kenya, without the support and consent of the Somali people and which requires foreign forces to keep it on life support can be considered legitimate.

The campaign by foreigners to confer legitimacy on this so-called government of Somalia is calculated to mislead the international community, misrepresent and distort the facts on the ground. At the end of the day, the UN and its Special Envoy must realize that any government created outside Somalia is not  and cannot be representative of the Somali people whether the UN recognizes it or not. 

The spectre of foreign fighters is raised as a red herring. A well orchestrated campaign is underway. We are told of Afghanis, Pakistanis, Eritreans and others. But the question that begs an answer is: where is the evidence to support these allegations? Time and again, we are told of the capture or killing of these foreigners; that they would be displayed publicly. The world waits. Finally, on one fine day in July 09, with a lot fanfare, an announcement is made: the body of an Afghani later Bangladeshi will be displayed for all. But the body that was displayed was none other than a young Somali lad who was shot in the head with a single bullet inside the Presidential Palace. Murder, collateral damage? Call it what you will, but there is no evidence to substantiate their claims and no credibility. And when there is no evidence, we must acquit.

The allegations of foreigners fighting along aside the Somali resistance are disingenuous and smack of a double standard. Yes, there are foreigners in Somalia fighting for one small Somali faction; the troops from Uganda and Burundi are evidently not Somalis. They are foreigners who in broad daylight shell Mogadishu, kill and maim innocent Somalis, who commit atrocities and other gross human rights violations.

The Ethiopian troops that cross into our border who kill, rape our women are foreigners fighting in a foreign country. These foreign troops support the faction that is holed up in Villa Somalia. And the UN and its Special Envoy bless these foreign fighters from Uganda, Burundi, Djibouti and Ethiopia who inflict untold miseries on the Somali people.

There are, however, ulterior motives behind these allegations; they are used as a cover and ruse for more foreign intervention led by Ethiopia which in turn will legitimize the permanent occupation of Somalia by Ethiopia and its regional allies. The recent calls by Ahmedou W. Abdalla to change the mandate of AMISOM into peace enforcement throw the light on this conspiracy. Similarly, Ahmedou W. Abdalla’s lobbying for lifting the ban imposed by paragraph 4 of UN Security Council Resolution 1725 (2006) “ on those States that border Somalia not to deploy troops in Somalia.” is another indication of this sinister design for our country.

The international community can play a constructive role in the search for durable and sustainable peace in Somalia. The international community must listen to the real voices of the Somali people and not to self-seeking individuals and hostile foreign powers with an agenda to dismember and destabilize Somalia.

Calls for an AMISOM peace enforcement role must be ignored. Previous attempts at such a role were an utter failure; the US intervention in the early 1900s and the subsequent Ethiopian invasion of Somalia were a disaster. The presence of AMISOM is like putting more fuel into a fire.

A new intervention will not bring peace to Somali but will only prolong the suffering of our people, undermine the very existence of our nation and will internationalize the Somali conflict.

Let the international community understand this fact: there can never be a foreign led military solution to the Somali conflict.

The alternative is to look straight in the mirror, disregard the rosy fictions of Ahmedou W. Abdalla, the ambitions of Ethiopia and other border States and encourage a truly Somali owned national dialogue without interference from outside. This is the only sensible way to peace in Somalia. 

To move in this direction, the international community can show some goodwill by taking a first important step and recognize that Ahmedou W. Abdalla has failed in Somalia. He has aligned himself with one small faction; his bias is manifest in his actions. He never tried to reach out in a serious manner to other Somali stakeholders; his reports are biased and is accountable only to himself. He behaves as if he was the King of Somalia. He is not a credible broker any more. He is an obstacle to peace in Somalia. It is time for him to go. He must be replaced in the interest of peace in Somalia.

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