THE LONG GRAIN OF PAIN IN SOMALIA

Wednesday, 02.11.2011 Nairobi, Kenya  Category: Media    15 comments

 
The Cover of the bookThe long grain of pain in Somalia

Executive summary on the Somalia conflict:  
These are basically my views and my contribution towards peace in Somalia. This paper is an extract from my book which will be published next March 2012 “The long grain of pain in Somalia These views can work as a blue print for alternative mechanisms of peace for Somalia. The boots on the ground are welcome and can hasten peace avenues for Somalia. I fully support military action on Al-Shabaab by Kenya and other forces engaged to wipe out the menace of terrorism in our region. Quick military operations can bring about a peaceful end of any sharp conflict like that of Al- Shabaab in Somalia.


It is evident that in short terms military action provides solutions by stopping further blood bath, but could work negatively in long terms if no meaningful exit strategy is found on Somalia. The gains of such an operation like the one of Kenya must be harnessed well to avoid breeding a new form of violence and fresh multiple conflicts in Somalia. Somalia is caught between a rock and hard place because all solutions brought or imposed by outside agencies have ended up breeding more confusion than solutions to this nation.  That is why there is need for coherent exit strategy.


That aside, our research shows that the pitfalls of Somalia are partly caused by the USA double standards on the conflict in Somalia and also due to the Somalis themselves failing to say and know what they really want in life. What do Somali people want? Do they want peace? If it is peace how do they achieve that peace?  Why does the leadership of TFG (the President of Somalia) waffle on the   help given by Uganda, Kenya, and Burundi and by other nations that are fighting Al- Shabaab?   


I have written this paper to raise awareness of the need for long lasting peaceful avenues in Somalia.  I support military option as one means of bring to the end of the conflict but there must be alternative mechanisms that finds the root causes of the conflict in Somalia. My heart goes out to my fellow nationals of UPDF from Uganda who bears the brunt of Al- Shabaab on a daily basis while defending Africa and Somalia in particular. Kenyan brothers have taken a right direction to expeditiously eliminate the cancer that has enslaved our region for 20 years. These nations must all the time remember that the problems of Somalia were created or instigated by the wrong USA foreign policy that left the crisis for Africa to solve.  Therefore African nations should not rely much on USA advice on Somalia.
My support for Kenya’s hot pursuit of Al- Shabaab into Somalia and Uganda, and Burundi government’s decision to send troops into Somalia is premised on the basis that at the end a long lasting peace will be got – AMISOM’s tour in Somalia is the sign of patriotism and African nationalism that most African countries should embrace. I still maintain that if AU had surged troop numbers to 40, 0000 as proposed by President Museveni of Uganda in Somalia, the Al-Shabaab would have been dealt a big blow.  But Africa and (AU) always fail themselves in most of the conflicts that traverse our continent Africa. The case of Somalia and now Libya. African countries promise Heaven in terms troops and fail to deliver when it comes to action in the case of Somalia...That is why I have insisted on a successful exit strategy on Somalia. 


Kenya government has done one noble thing to enter Somalia and should not reverse their military operation until its territory is secure from attacks that might cripple its economy at the coastal region. Kenya has our full support and should not listen to a weak President of (TFG) Somalia who might not know the west from the east of his country. The history of the weak Presidency of Sharif Ahmed Sharif is clear and it is again the USA that intervened to confuse what Ethiopia had so far achieved.


Kenya should not fall in the trap in which Ethiopia fell, where advice of USA became an obstacle to a fruitful conclusion of the war in Somalia.  The USA always comes in too late and does too little. I have researched on USA machinations on Somalia and I have clear evidence that they would arm twist the current operation by Kenya.  Others that are fighting Al- Shabaab like Uganda have seen this double standard that has made them pay heavily in human costs. African Union (AU) has done its best but the problem comes from the USA and UN which have delayed to enforce a no- fly zone and a complete blockade of ports of Mogadishu and Kismayo.   


The economic activities around these ports have financially helped the terrorists to sustain their fight in Somalia. I have written on the no-fly zone but USA has brought in its own conspiracy theories on the matter that have killed the Horn of Africa. There is a sense of paranoia conspiracy on Somalia, where USA says the responsibility is not ours but theirs. They have acted unwillingly on Somalia and I believe this time they will help us to stop “The  long grain of pain in  Somalia” That is why I have written this background paper to  the conflict of Somalia and set  out proposals for future peaceful avenues after the boots on the ground have done their best.  I commend this paper to the world for scrutiny.


Africa World Media Ltd is convinced and believes that Somalia is a catastrophe of a country and we should help it. It is a country where God comes and weeps but shades no tears. Talking up confrontation is what the men of violence like Al- shabaab want.  But Al- Shabaab needs to be tamed by the current operations in Somalia. For peace to return to Somalia the civilized  must find the  root causes like illegal  international commercial fishing , which renders the Somali youths jobless  around their waters. These are grievances that our research has found on the ground and should be addressed after the military operations are over. The lack of what to do by the big numbers of youths has led to them joining Al- Shabaab and we should bring in “MINDS TO HEART ECONOMIC STRATEGIES TO SOLVE THE SOMALIA CRISIS ONCE AND FOR ALL”.


Military pressure and more boots on the ground are much supported but we must find a long lasting solution for Somalia. Many international NGOs in the world have made Somalia their “eating and breeding” location for their existence in the Metros of Europe. This must come to an end through a comprehensive international peace conference on Somalia. Europe initiated a contact group on Libya which I rejected because they failed to empower the one on Somalia. The one on Somalia UNPOS was less effective and less in UN ending feuds with (TFG) President Sharif.  


Africa World Media Ltd suggests that a larger and effective international contact group on Somalia be formed so as to deliver long lasting peace and free and fair election that could stabilize Somalia. The current initiatives of the UN and the efforts of AU have been overtaken by the magnitude in which the conflict has spun to a different level. Front line states like (Kenya) have now been sucked into the war and that needs higher responsibility and higher degree of oversight.


The UN must now take full responsibility of the situation and should not allow Somalia ever again to go without an effective government that knows the west from the east. UN must support those countries that have troops in Somalia to maintain their security while fighting Jihadists in Somalia. The situation inside Kenya which is now targeted by Al- Shabaab needs careful handling and the government of Kenya needs that hand from UN Security Council.


 The actions of Somali Al- Shabaab are now threat to international and regional peace. The Security Council under Chapter VII Articles 39, 40 of the UN Charter should invoke Article 16 of the Rome Statute of 1998 and suspend all other matters that UN Security Council has jurisdiction on and that could turn into a security threat on Kenya or those matters that could frustrate the prosecution of a regional threat of Al- Shabaab that is a threat to international and regional peace. The ICC investigations in Kenya could divert the attention of the government in handling the Somalia Al- Shabaab threat and should be shelved for 12 months to allow the country to concentrate on the flushing out Al- Shabaab. The current fragile political dispensation in Kenya cannot sustain ICC investigations in Kenya situation, constitutional implementation, and preparation of 2012 elections, catering for Somali refugees, internal security, international security in the Indian Ocean threatened by piracy, and above all fighting Al- Shabaab! The state of Kenya could break and create a resultant conflict of its own.


Africa World Media Ltd knows that “If we had peace institutions in preparedness of conflicts in Africa we would have saved many countries in Africa from going to war. Somalia's descent into chaotic lawlessness did not occur overnight and could have long been predicted. Though the Somalis are ethnically homogeneous, their plight under and after colonial rule bore testimony to the capriciousness of colonial boundaries. The Somali found themselves in five jurisdictions: British Somaliland Italian Somaliland, Ethiopia (in the Ogaden), Kenya, Eritrea and Djibouti.”   The question of Somalia is like the question of Kurdistan in Europe and Africa has to grapple with it for many years to come.


This paper therefore looks at the historical perspective, background to the crisis and how best the civilized world can help the people of Somalia to achieve peace after the boots have done their job. I dedicate this contribution to those troops and those innocent people who have been killed in the conflict in Somalia.  These are my views and time will only exonerate me so that history does not judge me harshly on Somali conflict. I present my suggestions and proposals to the world for scrutiny

Dr. David Nyekorach – Matsanga  

 

PART I

  • HISTORICAL BACKGROUND TO THE CONFLICT IN SOMALIA.

The Somalia crisis did not occur overnight and could have long been predicted. Though the Somalis are ethnically homogeneous, their plight under and after colonial rule bore testimony to the capriciousness of colonial boundaries. The Somali found themselves in five jurisdictions: British Somaliland, Italian Somaliland, Ethiopia (in the Ogaden), Kenya, and Djibouti.


Independence 1960.
The nation of Somalia was formed and granted independence in July 1960 when the British protectorate and the Italian trust were joined and the rest of the Somali people were abandoned in Ethiopia, Djibouti, and Kenya. The politics of Somalia is defined by the state of civil war which, since 1991, has divided the country into various warring entities and autonomist and secessionist regions.
Departure of Islamic Union Courts (ICU):
At the beginning of 2007 Somalia was consolidating under the Transitional Federal Government (TFG), which  had recently completed a military campaign against the Islamic Court Union (ICU). The TFG was supported by the United Nations and AU. It was governed out of an administrative capital in Baidoa. In the last days of 2006, forces of the transitional government supported by Ethiopian forces ousted the ICU from Mogadishu. Peace keeping forces from the African Union namely Uganda and Burundi support the transitional government in its bid to control the country.


 British Somaliland:
Africa World Media Ltd researched and found that,  during the war against the ICU, the autonomous states of  Puntland and Galmudug had closely aligned themselves with the TFG and the supporting Ethiopian forces, while other former administrations such as Southwestern Somalia, Hiraanland and the Juba Valley Alliance fully integrated themselves with the TFG.Somalia became a united independent state on 1 July 1960 upon the merger of British Somaliland, which had become independent from the British five days earlier on 26 June 1960 and Italian Somaliland, which became independent from the Italian-administered United Nations trusteeship on 1 July to form the Somali Republic. The territory that was once British Somaliland is the area that now forms Somaliland.


Collapse of Somalia:
Africa world Media Ltd has facts that, in the wake of the collapse of the Somali Government in 1991, factions organized around military leaders took control of Somalia, a form of government referred to as warlordism. The resulting chaos and loss of life provided the context for the international intervention led by the United Nations and the United States in 1991. Because of local resistance to external interference, culminating in the first Battle of Mogadishu, UN operations in Somalia were curtailed, and then finally withdrawn in 1995.


Major General Siad Barre overthrown 1991:
Somalia had a central functioning government following the United Somali Congress (USC) ouster of Major General Mohamed Siad Barre on January 27, 1991. The political situation of the Somali Civil War has been marked by chaos, interclan fighting, random banditry, internecine warfare between proto-governments and resistance to the state. The breakaway states such as Somaliland and Puntland put together functional regional governance. In the rest of the country there are a wide range of semi-functional governments and anarchic conditions under various warlords. Now militants from Middle East-and Asia have joined the Somali war and have transferred their resources and manpower to the mainland Africa.


TNG Recognized in 2000
In 2000, the international community recognized the Transitional National Government, originally headed by Abdulkassim Salat Hassan, as the government for the entire country. The government was not able to enter the capital because of the violence (see Fall of Mogadishu).On October 14, 2004 Somali members of parliament elected a former warlord Abdullahi Yusuf Ahmed, previously president of Puntland, to be the next president. He appointed a cabinet led by Prime Minister Ali Mohamed Ghedi. Because of the situation in Mogadishu, the election was held in a sports centre in Nairobi, Kenya. Yusuf was elected transitional President by Somalia's transitional parliament.
He won 189 of the 275 votes from members of parliament. The session of Parliament was also held in neighbouring Kenya. His government was recognized by most western nations as legitimate, although his actual authority was still limited.


Clan based political parties:
Many other small political organizations exist, some clan-based, others seeking a Somalia free from clan-based politics (such as the United Somali Front). Many of them came into existence since the new President was chosen. On June 5, 2006, the Islamic Courts Union (ICU) defeated the Alliance for the Restoration of Peace and Counter-Terrorism (ARPCT) in the Second Battle of Mogadishu, bringing the ICU to power in the capital. The ICU took control of much of southern Somalia, with the goal of resorting law and order and instituting Islamic sharia law.


Peace talks between TFG and ICU:
The peace talks between the ICU and the TFG did not lead to reconciliation or settlement. In September 2006, a proposal by the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD) and the African Union to introduce an 8,000 strong peacekeeping force into Somalia was rejected by the ICU. Islamist leaders and they threatened to turn the country into a graveyard for foreign solders should peacekeepers be introduced. This where my country Uganda in line with IGAD and African Union proposals took the first step to send troops to Somalia.


Until 2007 ICU operated a government in Mogadishu:
Until the start of 2007 the Islamic Courts Union operated a government in Mogadishu, after consolidating power from factions of warlords that previously shared control. The ICU leaders were Sheikh Sharif Ahmed current President, Head of the executive committee, and Sheikh Hassan Dahir Aweys, head of Shura now turned into Al- Shabaab Militia) The USA accused  Aweys and other ICU leaders of links with terrorism but agreed to work for ICU .


Degree of peace brought by ICU:
The Islamic Courts Union (ICU) brought a degree of law and order to Somalia for the first time since the central government collapsed in 1991. It included the implementation of Sharia Islamic law. But they were driven out of Somalia in early 2007 by a joint Ethiopian-American offensive.Thousands of Ethiopian troops poured across the border, backed up by American air strikes and American intelligence. The Islamic Courts Union (ICU) then went underground

PART 2

  • PREVIOUS FAILED PEACE TALKS AND REASIONS FOR THEIR FAILURE:

 Africa world Media Ltd knows that since 1991, there have been fourteen efforts at national reconciliation; to date, none has been successful. But our proposals have different approach and there could give hope for Somalia. Somalia is favored by religion and culture which could be the rallying points for peace. Various groupings of Somali factions have sought to control the national territory (or portions thereof) and have fought small wars with one another.


In the northwest, there is the secessionist region of Somaliland with its capital in Hargeisa that declared its independence in 1991. This Isaaq-dominated governing zone is not recognized by any major international organization or country, although it has remained more stable and certainly more peaceful than the rest of Somalia, neighboring Puntland notwithstanding.


Autonomous states:
Puntland in the northeast also remains autonomous but still supports the Transitional Government and, unlike Somaliland, still considers itself a part of the Somali Republic. Abdullahi Yusuf Ahmed, Puntland’s original president, ruled until mid-2001. In November 2001, a convention of elders, in a process disputed by Yusuf, selected Col. Jama Ali Jama to succeed him. Forces loyal to Yusuf, who had retreated to Galkayo, attacked Garowe in November, resulting in a de facto division of Puntland. As many as 30 other factions vie for some degree of authority in the country.


Efforts at mediation of the Somali internal dispute have been undertaken by many regional states. In the mid-1990s, Ethiopia played host to several Somali peace conferences and initiated talks at the Ethiopian city of Sodere, which led to some degree of agreement between competing factions. The Governments of Egypt, Yemen, Kenya, and Italy also have attempted to bring the Somali factions together.


In 1997, the Organization of African Unity (OAU) now called (AU) and the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) gave Ethiopia the mandate to pursue Somali reconciliation. In 2000, Djibouti hosted a major reconciliation conference (the 13th such effort), which in August resulted in creation of the Transitional National Government, with a 3-year mandate to pursue national reconciliation. In early 2002, Kenya organized a further reconciliation effort
In 2006 there emerged the Islamic Courts Union, supported by local businessmen who wanted to reclaim the country from factions of warlords, which effectively ruled it. Sharia Islamic law was briefly enforced in areas controlled by the Islamic Courts Union. They steadily widened the area they controlled and stopped just short of Baidoa, where the transitional government with support by Ethiopia managed to check their advance. Subsequent fighting resulted in the complete oust of the ICU. It must be noted that all these efforts are imposed rather than people oriented in Somalia.


Outside solutions cannot solve the Somalia crisis:  
The absence of a functioning central government in Somalia since 1991 allowed outside forces to become more influential by supporting various groups and persons in Somalia. Djibouti, Eritrea, and Arab states have supported the Transitional Federal Government but, following the emergence of the Islamic Courts Union, and the intercession of its regional rival, Ethiopia, Eritrea switched support and became a supporter of Al- Shabaab.
Africa World Media Ltd  has evidence that Ethiopia  provided political support to Somaliland and for a time assisted a group of southern warlords organized as the Somalia Reconciliation and Restoration Council (SRRC), which opposed the TFG. The warlords were also supported by the United States and some countries in EU. Ethiopia and the United States strongly opposed the Islamic Courts Union and both now support the nascent federal government... Ethiopian forces were located throughout southern and central Somalia, including the capital Mogadishu.


Puntland question and its effects on Somalia:
Since the end of the war with the ICU, Puntland has been under enormous economic and political pressures due to renewed feuding with Somaliland, internal turmoil over the proceeds and land use rights of natural resource exploration especially in non-Majerteen territories in Sool and Sanaag, and support for the TFG in the south. This culminated in the breakaway of Puntland-administered Sanaag into a new state, Maakhir. It remains to be seen if Puntland will disintegrate further. In January 2009, the former chairman of the Islamic Courts Union movement, Sheikh Sharif Ahmed, was elected president of Somalia in the second round of balloting held in the capital of neighboring Djibouti. Sharif received 293 of the 421 votes cast.


How Al- Shabaab has grown:
In late February, 2009, fighting between Islamists & AU peacekeepers resulted in 69 dead. Hassan Dahir Aweys, who lead the Islamic Courts along with Sharif Ahmed returned to Somalia from Eritrea in spring 2009 still opposing the TFG. Intensive fighting resumed in Somalia in May 2009, where Al-Shabaab forces along with their allies, Hizbul Islam have fought the coalition government composed of Islamic Courts Union fighters still loyal to Sharif plus the various clan militias in Mogadishu, surrounding areas of Hiiraan, Galgaduud, and the Shabelle .  AU Peacekeepers remain in Mogadishu guarding the port, Villa Somalia, and the airport.


PART 3

  • FRACTIOUS TRANSITIONAL FEDERAL GOVERNMENT

 Africa World  Media Ltd, understands that the Transitional Federal Parliament of the Republic of Somalia is an interim Parliament of Somalia formed in neighbouring Kenya in 2004.The Transitional Federal Parliament had 275 members, with each of Somalia's four major clans getting 61 seats in the parliament, while an alliance of minority clans was awarded 31 seats.


Women rights in Somalia politics:
The Charter also dictates that at least 12% of the Parliament shall be women the composition was changed as part of the meeting to elect a new president in late January 2009; the size of the parliament was doubled to include 200 representatives from the Islamist opposition and 75 reprentatives of citizens' groups and Diaspora representatives.
One of the formal de jure powers vested in the Parliament according to the Transitional Federal Charter (Article 5) was the governance and administration of Mogadishu as the capital city. However, in actuality this power de facto lies in the hands of particular warlords, many of whom are also members of parliament. De facto the state is in anomie with only loose governmental structures.


On February 26, 2006 the parliament first met inside Somalia, in the city of Baidoa, 260 kilometers northwest of Mogadishu. 210 lawmakers of the 275-member parliament met in a grain warehouse temporarily converted into a meeting hall. For this reason the Transitional Federal Government was also sometimes referred to as simply the "Baidoa Government".


The Parliament as the legislative branch formed the executive branch, known as the Transitional Federal Government (TFG) of the Republic of Somalia (Dowalada Federaalka Ku Mel parka ah eel Jamhuuriyada Soomaaliya) by electing Abdullahi Yusuf Ahmed as president of Somalia in 2004. He appointed a cabinet, headed by Prime Minister Ali Mohammed Ghedi.


The Transitional Federal Parliament (TFP), Transitional Federal Government (TFG), and the Transitional Federal Charter (TFC) collectively comprise the Transitional Federal Institutions (TFI) of the new Somali government. The TFG is the successor to the Transitional National Government (TNG) of 20002004.


The emergence of Alliance for re-liberation of Somalia:

On 27 November 2008 the government and the rebelling Alliance for the Re-liberation of Somalia agreed to expand the parliament to double its current size, with 200 seats reserved for the Islamist opposition and 75 for civil society groups. The newly expanded parliament will then elect a new president, who will then propose a new PM to form a new government including the Islamist opposition.


PART 4

  • EFFECTS OF CLANS AND PASTORAL DEMOCRACY IN SOMALIA

Pastoral democracy is an obstacle to peace:
Africa world Media Ltd believes that "the 4.5 formula" was developed at the last peace conference in Nairobi in the early 2000s. It gives equal quotas for representation in government to the four major clans, and a half-point to the fifth, the cluster of minority clans. The four "major" clans are the Hawiye, Rahanweyn, Dir and Darod.
The "minor" fifth clan, called "the fifth", includes, but is not limited to, other ethnically Somali clans such as Midgan, Tumal, and Yibir, and other non-ethnically Somali people, such as Eyle, Bantu (Jareerweyne), Reer Hamar Reer Awxasan, Bravanese and other Benadiri people, and Bajuni. The transitional Somali parliament has 275 representatives. Thus each major clan has 61 seats and the minor clans have 31 seats to share among themselves. This formula has been widely condemned as being unfair and ineffective by both the intellectual and religious Somali communities that have created further violence.


After the swift fall of Somalia's Islamic Courts Union (ICU) in December 2006, the capital city of Mogadishu slid back into the familiar, 19-year-old state of violence and lawlessness. The ICU, an alliance of clan-based Sharia courts run by clergy, took control from the transitional government and held much of Somalia's central and southern territories until its recent defeat by Ethiopian-backed forces.


Even as the invading Ethiopian forces prepared to withdraw, faced with a resentful civilian nationalistic population and increasing attacks by 'unknown' gunmen, the U.S.-backed transitional government was not any closer to gaining public acceptance or control than it was when its forces were defeated by Islamic militias in June 2006. The interim government's task was made doubly difficult by intermittent U.S. air strikes and the hunting of Al-Qaeda suspects in tandem with local warlords and Ethiopian forces, which reinforced the Somali people's antipathy toward the United States and its Somali protégés. Plans for an African Union peacekeeping force, to be taken over eventually by the UN, are faltering as most regional countries remain reluctant to send their soldiers to a country reeling from 20 years of civil war.


PART 5.

  1. FAILURES AND LACK OF ALTERNATIVE MECHANISMS TO PEACE

Failure of USA to decide on what to do on Somalia:
Africa World Media Ltd knows that, much of Somalia's woes are the result of U.S. policy myopia since the end of the Cold War. Though the disastrous 1992 "humanitarian" intervention resulted in a formal posture of disengagement from the internecine Somali conflict, Washington did not make any secret of its preference for those warlords who oppose the Islamic movement.
 Africa world Media Ltd, are aware that opposition to Somalia's Islamic movements was the defining factor in the shifting of local, regional, and international allegiances in the 1990s. For instance, the same warlords who had run off the U.S. forces after the famous "Black Hawk Down" episode in 1993 later became America's favorites in 1995, when Al-Ittehad's militia unsuccessfully launched an offensive to take over Mogadishu after occupying some marginal areas.


Africa World Media Ltd,  have facts that,  former President  George W. Bush’s  administration policy on Somalia , too, was consistently dictated by an exaggerated fear of al-Qaeda's  imaginary strength in Somalia, leading it to equate the indigenous Somali Islamic courts with the global network of terrorism. That Somalia is the only African country in which virtually all the population is Muslim and no central authority has existed since 1991 contributes to an overzealous military approach to tackling the perceived al-Qaeda threat. Understandably then, the  U.S. -sponsored victory over the Islamic courts had induced a sense of triumph in the former president  Bush administration, leading to a direct intervention and a more active diplomatic role.


The world knows that Washington followed Ethiopia's military work with aerial bombings and strengthening the sea cordon around the Somali coast. In early January, Assistant Secretary of State Jendayi Frazer toured the region to rally regional powers to discuss the way ahead. "There may be-for the first time, in a long time-a slim cause for hope in this long-suffering country," opined a policy paper from the American Enterprise Institute, a neoconservative-affiliated think tank and one of the more influential sources of policy input that the Bush administration pays heed to ("Ethiopia Versus the Islamists," January 8, 2007).


Similarly, a Janaury 2007 paper published by the hawkishly neoconservative Center for Security Policy lauds Ethiopia's unilateral invasion for "eliminating a terrorist threat" and urges the Bush administration that the country "must not again be permitted to become a terrorist haven" (Paul B. Henze, "Ethiopia and Somalia").
In political terms one knows that perhaps grasping the downward slide of current U.S. intervention in Iraq and Afghanistan, neo-conservative think tanks and experts-intent on opening new fronts for an already thinly stretched U.S. military-summarily reject parallels between those countries and Somalia. Somalia, the thinking goes, is not Iraq or Afghanistan, and an indigenous insurgency there is unlikely. In other words, the costs of U.S. military strikes and pursuit of al-Qaida will be less compared to the other two hot fronts in the war on terrorism.


PART 6.

  1. IMPORTANCE OF SOMALIA AND THE INDIAN OCEAN ROUTE.

This ideological policy input in Washington strikes a resonant chord with Somalia's neighbors, especially Ethiopia and Kenya, who are grappling with the fallout of the 19-year-old Somali conflict. With a coastline longer than any other African country's, running the Red Sea into the Indian Ocean, Somalia's strategic location places it at the center of regional geopolitics.


This central position is reinforced by the fact that the Somalis are a transnational ethnic group, with sizeable population in neighboring countries in the Horn of Africa. Somali refugees are also spread around the region, particularly in Kenya. More than 150,000 Somali refugees are living in Kenyan camps, and thousands more are scattered around that country.


The rise of the Islamic Courts Union in 2006 and the emerging possibility of a hostile, fundamentalist central government in Mogadishu caused regional tensions and spurred a competition for influence.
Moreover, the ideological coloring of the conflict is sharpened by the religious and tribal divides in Ethiopia, where the ruling clique belongs to a minority tribe. The government of Mele Zenawi has been consistently at odds with its Oromo and Ogaden population, the latter region being inhabited by Ethiopian-Somali Muslims and a bitter opponent of Ethiopian rule. Another significant factor in the U.S. decision to go after the ICU and kill whoever from al-Qaida may be in their refuge might have been the rhetorical pronouncements of support from Osama bin Laden and his deputy, Ayman al-Zawahiri.


The message from bin Laden welcomed last year's takeover of Mogadishu by the ICU; this year his deputy released an audiotape inciting jihad after the defeat of the Islamic militia. These messages reinforced America's fear of al-Qaida's Somalia link and helped to exaggerate the level of terrorism threat from Somalia's Islamic courts.


PART 7.

  1. WHAT CAUSES FAILURES ANDS DIVISONS IN PEACE CONFERENCES?

 Our research shows that, other than the above sources that might be informing U.S. policy-the neoconservative intelligentsia, Somali warlords, and Somalia's neighbors with a vested interest-there seems to be little independent input from the ground. It is generally ignored that clan affiliation in Somalia is stronger and more decisive than ideological agendas. There also seems to be a tendency to describe a single region of the country and portray it as Somalia.


What is generally referred to as Somalia these days is in fact the south-central region. In terms of political administration, the country is divided into three units: the two autonomous regions of Puntland and Somaliland, and south-central Somalia. The last region includes the historical capital city of Mogadishu, most of the strategically vital ports, and some of the more dominant clans. It is largely inhabited by sub-groups of the Hawiye clan, whose militias were also dominant in the ICU. Most of the top ICU leaders are from Hawiye sub-clans. It is the south-central region that fell into the hands of the Islamic militia; Puntland and Somaliland remained fiercely resistant to the ICU's expansion. This is a good starting point for alternative mechanisms that will bring warring parties and their supporters on table.


The influence of the Islamic Courts was mostly restricted to the Hawiye tribes and some sub-clans of the Darood, Isak, and Rahanweyn tribes. The transitional government, on the other hand, is led and dominated by the Darood clan. Only one Hawiye sub-clan, known as Sa'ad, rejected the ICU and fought against it. It is this sub-clan that is now in ascendancy once again. The most immediate and dangerous threat to the whole country is resumption of warfare along clan/sub-clan lines.


The weakness of the transitional government also means that local warlords are reassuming control of their respective areas and are back in business as usual. It would be simplistic, therefore, to approach the brewing conflict in the Horn of Africa solely from the perspective of America's post-9/11 war on terrorism.
There are many layers to the present chaos in the region. Religious radicalism is but one aspect of the turmoil that seems to engulf Somalia into protracted warfare. Ethnic, tribal, and religious rivalries within the many East African states have transformed into interstate conflicts, which are now spilling over far beyond the region, gaining an international dimension because of the tenuous al-Qaida connection.


PART 8.

  • THE AL-SHABAAB FACTOR AND HOW THEY OPERATE:

Al-Shabaab (Arabic: الشباب‎, “The Youth”), also known as Ash-Shabaab, Hizbul Shabaab (Arabic, “The Party of Youth”), and the Popular Resistance Movement in the Land of the Two Migrations (PRM) is a group of Somali Islamists, primarily acting in Somalia.


Africa World Media Ltd , knows and believes that the group developed in the wake of the loss of the Islamic Courts Union (ICU) at the hands of the Transitional Federal Government (TFG) and its backers, primarily the military of Ethiopia, in the War in Somalia (2006–present). The Islamic courts brought relative peace in Mogadishu.
An estimated 3,000 or so members of the ICU went underground to form an insurgency and armed cells across Mogadishu and elsewhere in Somalia, and continued  conducting attacks against the government and the allied Ethiopia and now AMISOM. There are some moderate Somalis who would push for alternative mechanisms if a peace conference is prepared.


The term Shabaab (“youth”) is common in the Islamic world for youth groups, and the current movement should not be confused with other similarly named organizations. The group was at least previously the hard-line militant youth movement within the ICU, and is today described as an extremist splinter group.  There are moderates in Al-shabaab who could be talked to so that they stop violence if alternative is given.


However, since the fall of the ICU it seems as though the distinction between the youth movement and the so called “successor organization” to the ICU, the PRM, has been blurred. The group was founded in 2004. It recruits jihadists to wage war against “enemies of Islam”. It’s designated as a Foreign Terrorist Organization by the United States Department of State. It’s also described as a terrorist organization by the Norwegian Police Security Service [4] and the Swedish Security Service. One of the group’s primary objectives is the establishment of the rule of Sharia in Somalia.


Their core comprised veterans who fought and defeated the secular Mogadishu warlords of the Alliance for the Restoration of Peace and Counter-Terrorism (ARPCT) at the Second Battle of Mogadishu. Their origins are not clearly known, but former members say Hizbul Shabaab was founded as early as 2004. Al- Shabaab also has various foreign fighters from around the world, according to an Islamic hardliner Sheikh Mukhtar Robow Abu Manssor. Before the losses sustained by the Islamic Courts Union in December 2006, estimates of their strength varied between 3,000 to 7,000 members. Training comprised a six-week basic course. A few were sent to advance training in Eritrea for guerrilla tactics and explosives. It has been alleged that some of the funding for Al-Shabbat’s activities comes from Somali pirates. An allegation denied by the International Maritime Organization in East Africa.

PART 9.

  1.  Alternative mechanisms for peace in Somalia (BENCHMARKS)
    • Somali people need to determine their own direction and create their own destiny in the world because outside imposed solutions have not worked in Somalia for over 20 years. What do Somalis want? Why do they fight? If we gave them a state of Somali and given the homogeneity, can it work?
    • Pastoral democracy is it the   source of all troubles of Somalia or is there alternative solution and type of democracy that could transcend the clan politics?
    •  We need to diversify to other pre-occupation like commercial fishing for export and allow the Somali people to control fishing rights around Indian Ocean so as to have employment to the youth who become pirates because of no work in Somalia.
    • Create economic activities by giving export incentives for meat and revive meat industry in Somalia. Somalia before the war was Africa’s biggest exporter of meat and other dairy and beef products in Africa. What has happened?  Why can’t the UN think of alternative views?
    • Create people based prosperity macro and micro activities other than prescribe international solutions based on aid and handout that end up in the hands of the few people. Heart to mind economic strategy could stop jihadists taking over Somalia.
    •  AU MUST engage Eritrea so as to solicit regional support on the peace initiatives from the moderate Al- Shabaab who want to talk. This option has not been fully utilized as Eritrea has been condemned instead of being contained into the hands of international policy. More efforts in bringing Eritrea to table for talks on Somalia.
    •  

 Africa world Media Ltd, believes that Washington's inordinate focus and disproportionate use of force to decimate a few al-Qaida suspects hinders, rather than facilitates, the way forward on Somalia. At a time when the interim government needed a forceful push to initiate a dialogue with all stakeholders and clan leaders, the United States has marginalized a legitimate political actor in the form of the ICU. Not only does the ICU have roots in a major clan and sympathizers in other clans, but the Islamic movement also wields considerable influence among the Somali Diaspora, whose financial and political backing will be critical to any process of rebuilding state structures and restoring normality.


Regardless of the composition of any future peacekeeping forces, and no matter how hard the United States keeps hitting so-called al-Qaida hideouts, the conflict in Somalia cannot be resolved unless all factions of the Somali people are engaged in a process to negotiate and agree upon a future political course. Violence, U.S. aerial strikes, and Ethiopia's land invasion have so far only bred more violence. Bringing peace about requires embarking on a more democratic path of reconciliation in a society undone and ripped apart by an interminable civil war.
The world must work out an alternative mechanism by calling an international conference where most of the identified Somali leaders including moderate fighters can attend in a secured location in countries that are far away from the territorial boundaries of Somalia. The neutral location will give chance to those Somalis in exile who ferment and finance these wars and those inside Somalia to travel and attend freely to discuss the firm way for Somalia.


PART 10:
PROPOSALS AND WAY FORWARD FOR SOMALIA
:

  • AU, UN , to take the initiative in resolving the crisis, by:(a)  working closely with the member states and the international organizations that have special interest and expertise, including IGAD, the Arab League  and the African Union, as well as the Contact Group (the U.S., European Union, Italy, Sweden, UK, Tanzania and Norway) to formulate a peace proposal ; and(b)  Asking all stake holders in Somalia and outside Somalia  to have peace dockets as an option so that a two pronged approach is used in approaching some moderate Al- Shabaab  to relieve pressure on the Ugandan, Burundian and now Kenyan  troops in the south of the country and  Mogadishu.   In mediating efforts to reconcile the weak TFG and other moderate factions in Somalia including some moderate Al- Shabaab to form a government of national unity. This will map a strategy for exit of all foreign troops in Somalia. The danger of overstaying creates awkward nationalists sentiments that brings in more   jihadists on Somalia soil
  •  UN , EU and AU  to be prepared to create leverage in support of our efforts to produce a government of national unity by levying sanctions if necessary against spoilers especially well known Somalis living abroad   who work closely with Al- Shabaab and are bankrolling the militants.  An international watch list must be made known to all countries that have stakes in Somalia especially Britain and USA plus EU where they live.
  • AU, UN , EU  to empower the Somali people with economic knowledge like commercial fishing which can be depended on as an alternative occupation and use all the resources to enter dialogue with cash for peace basis as the case of Talban and Afghanistan.

We ask the UN, AU, and EU, to work on these proposals and look at avenues of finding a peaceful end to the conflict in Somalia. We are aware that past peace processes collapsed because of the factors we have mentioned in the document l but increasing military aid or military boots without alternative peace avenues will create an enclave of increased militarism. The military option will definitely wipe out terrorism but Somalia needs a strong government elected by the people of Somalia not that which relies on outside solutions. There must be a free and fair election after Al- Shabaab is gone to replace a fragile (TFG) that has lost salt in political terms. Alternatives that we have proposed can work as benchmarks and other formats can be brought on board once a foundation for discussing has been created.  This will help countries like Uganda, Burundi, Ethiopia and Kenya that have been sucked in the Somalia conflict fulfill their obligations of peace keeping and defend their territorial integrity. This will also remove the suspicions the Somalia President Sharif has over countries that have come to his rescue.

END

DATED:  NOVEMBER 2011 LONDON

 

REFERENCES:
1. "An Interim Agreement Gives Islamists an Edge in Somalia". PINR. 2006-09-07. http://www.pinr.com/report.php?ac=view_report&report_id=550&language_id=1. Retrieved on 2007-01-09.
2. "Somalia Stutters Towards Stability". Somaliland Times. 2006-09-05. http://www.somalilandtimes.net/sl/2005/242/22.shtml. Retrieved on 2007-01-09.
3. "Somali Interim Parliament Fires 31 Lawmakers". Voice of America. 2007-04-17. http://www.voanews.com/english/2007-04-17-voa50.cfm. Retrieved on 2007-04-17.
4."Background Note: Somalia". US Department of State. October 2006.http://www.state.gov/r/pa/ei/bgn/2863.htm#political. Retrieved on 2007-01-09.
5. The Signs Say Somaliland, but the World Says Somalia
6. UN in Action: Reforming Somaliland's Judiciary
7. Somalia: Urgent need for effective human rights protection under the new transitional government | Amnesty International
8. Somalia’s Transitional Government - Council on Foreign Relations
9. Somalia: Shell-Shocked: Civilians under Siege in Mogadishu: IX. Applying International Humanitarian Law to the Conflict in Somalia
10. www.chris-floyd.com/Articles/Articles/See_No_Evil%3A_
Somalia_Sinks_Into_the_Pit_as_the_World_Looks_Away/

11. Uganda News papers
12. AU documents on Somalia and the region.
13, Kenyan newspapers on war in Somalia
14. AMISOM reports and other AU defence reports.
15. Sky news reports and documentaries on Somalia.
16. UN resolutions on Somalia.

 

DAVID NYEKORACH- MATSANGA (PhD)
Chairman / CEO
AFRICAWORLD MEDIA LTD
AFRICA WORLD MEDIA (Kenya) LTD
www.africaworldmedia.com.  +44(0)7930901252

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About me

Name:David Nyekorach - Matsanga (PhD)
Work: Publisher, Owner, Chairman of Africa World Media Ltd Specialist: Political Science, African History, Governance, Democrary, Great Lakes Region, Conflict Resolution, Media Impact on Africa, International Management and Lobby work
Location: London, Surrey UK


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