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For the Sake of Peace

By Abdinasir A. Mohamed


It is a truth universally acknowledged that strong man may win a gun battle, but not one for the hearts and minds of the masses in an unjust war. America may not have been on the winning side, this time, and that does not necessarily mean it can’t switch sides. For the sake of peace, the US president, with all the might and money in his disposal, can do something in Somalia with an incredible success. He should begin talks with the Islamic Courts Union in Mogadishu, unless he is allergic to anything associated with “Islamic” as his opponents in the Muslim world claim; which I tend to brush-off.


Forget about the pride, the anxiety of been on the wrong side of the war that changed control of the capital, Mogadishu, and the past bloody history of UNITAF/UNISOM in 2003. Somalis are forgiving if they see a genuine progress towards security, reconciliation and a reasonable, constructive effort towards building national government. The reasons behind people’s support for the ICU are the fact that they were the only ones who brought some semblance of security to Mogadishu. If the US government pressures the TFG to reach a comprehensive agreement with the ICU, there might be a real hope for political progress in Somalia, and US interests may be advanced.


When the US government rejected IGAD plan to request the UN Security Council to remove 14½ year old arms embargo a year ago, Somalis of all levels welcomed the move, and appreciate it as “the day America was on our side.” Indeed, a former Somali PM and a lecturer in one of Minnesota’s higher education schools – Dr. Ali Khalif Galaydh, was quoted as saying: “The day America was on our side (emphasized)” regarding the American rejection of a divisive IGAD troop deployment in early 2005. I am sure America is capable of doing more than that to contribute to Somali’s peace initiative.


The US government shall pressure IGAD member states to stay away from Somali’s affairs as it did to the neighbors of Iraq. Somalia is a country failed by its IGAD neighbors, the Arab League, the Muslim Organization, the AU, and even the UN, to some lesser degree. If George Bush rises to the challenges of Somali’s peace initiative, then the American image will improve not only in Somalia, but also in the wider Muslim and non-Muslim world, and Somalis will have a better chance of having a legitimate government.


This nation and its people are in need of a security through peaceful negotiations. It’s not time for foreign meddling disguising as “peace keepers.” There is no peace in Somalia to keep after all. This is “a moment” any able and wise person would act.  Conditions are right for fresh talks, and chances of success are higher than ever before.


 The lessons learned from Iraq, are that neighbors meddling in the affairs of the Iraqis, made the security situation difficult for the Americans to maintain, and the political progress slower. If this is not the case, America would have created a peaceful, prosperous and democratic Iraq long before now.


Somalia is in a similar situation. One needs not proof as truth speaks for itself. Here is an extract from a comment made by Kenya’s former president, Daniel Arab Moi, while Speaking at the American Defense University in Washington in 2003, that a “Prosperous and strong Somalia will be a threat to its neighbors” This was the very man who told the world that he was a “Neutral” mediator and a third party to the Somali conflict a year before he made the above comment about stable Somalia. This was the man the international community appointed and trusted to help Somalis build a democratic national government. Paradox as it is, but we, Somalis and some of the international community are aware of the fact that Somali’s neighbors, particularly Ethiopia, Kenya, and Yemen have all strategic and economic interests in Somalia for which they are prolonging the status-qua. Ethiopian troops, for instance, crossed the border to Somalia countless times. To this day, Ethiopia and Yemen openly send truck, plane and boat loads of weapons and ammunition in violation of the UNSC resolution 733 of 23 January 1992.


 Ethiopian troops coming to Somalia is a very sensitive issue and will be the beginning of a long bloody war. If they go ahead with their disguised troop deployment inside Somalia under any flag, it will not only kill any hope for a genuine reconciliation, but Somalia will further sink into a deep chaos with a possible humanitarian disaster as well. This will also create new nationalist groups, and may well become a magnet for international Jihads. God forbid, if this happens to be the case, then the bloodshed may not be confined inside Somali’s borders. It will neither be Somali’s national interest, nor that of anyone else.


The Transitional Federal Government was mainly hand picked by Ethiopia. This unelected institution was imposed on the Somali people by the Ethiopia led IGAD while the international community watched, funded, and turned a blind eye to the process, by which the TFG was formed. In clear contradiction to the very principals of the democracy, they advocate for, the international community endorsed the outcome as legitimate. What an irony! It is hard to understand how the US and the EU accepted to put Ethiopia and its partners in charge of Somalia. Isn’t this like “Putting the fox in charge of the chicken-house?”


The international community and the Americans in particular, should understand that the AU and IGAD are both incompetent. IGAD, and Ethiopia in particular, is completely muted about Darfur, Sudan. It is also allergic to anything said about the deteriorating situation in Ethiopia. The AU Peace Mission has neither succeeded to protect civilians from persecution, nor was it able to make any tangible progress, now that the UN has to takeover the peace keeping mission in Darfur. What is cynical about IGAD is the pity it feels for the Somalis and not for that Sudan’s Darfur.


 When the AU Security Council met in Addis-Ababa last week, and agreed to send what they called “IGAD-SOM” it was merely securing the front-line states’ political, economic and military interests while using international, chiefly American resources and credibility to be endorsed by the UN Security Council.


A better investment shall surely be a new approach by the US president to the whole Somali conflict, and have the concerned parties engage in a new peace initiative free from Ethiopia’s meddling. The American president should intervene and pressure Somali’s neighbors to “hands off Somali affairs.” If this happens, I believe Somalia will be a better partner of America, and the US president will be able to improve his nation’s image at least in Somalia. 


By Abdinasir A. Mohamed

London, UK.

[email protected]


The opinions contained in this article are solely those of the writer, and in no way, form or shape represent the editorial opinions of "Hiiraan Online"

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