Today from Hiiraan Online:  _
The greatest impediment to Puntland’s progress

by Abdikadir N. Salah
Saturday, December 26, 2009

"Every nation in every region now has a decision to make. Either you are with us, or you are with the terrorists" (George W. Bush).

Ever since former U.S. President Bush declared war on terror, a new political trend has taken a shape in the Horn of Africa. Political foes started to flip the terrorist card in order to subdue their arch enemies. There is no gainsaying that Melez Zanawi's oppressive regime saw the utility of the terrorist card and maximized it to usurp power, indefinitely. His regime accuses all opposition groups with legitimate grievances as terrorist organizations, thereby seeking help from the Western Allies (USA, NATO). Similarly, Somali warlords, opportunists, and pseudo politicians invoke this political card and indict anyone whom they perceive as a threat to their narrow political agenda and alleged corruption schemes. Among these antagonists who carry out heinous crimes against other tribes while ostensibly appearing as an American ally is the head of Puntland Intelligence Service, Osman Diano, a man who is infamous for smearing terrorist allegations against his critics and traditional adversaries.
 Background Context
After the debacle of the September 11, U.S. foreign policy objectives spearheaded by the Pentagon was keen to develop a relationship with the only two functioning sub-states in Somalia:  Puntland and Somaliland. Puntland Intelligence Service was created in 2001 and it markets itself as a counter terrorist organization that was first established with the good intention to protect and serve the people of Puntland. Nevertheless, PIS has fallen into the hands of a dynasty. Hence, instead of serving the people of Puntland, it became a catalyst to further subjugate the very same citizens it is assumed to protect. With over half the state budget and other foreign assistance package, PIS has evolved on to become the most powerful institution in Puntland.
A report that was released by the Crisis Group Africa in 2009 states "The makeup of the new police and army was predominantly   Majerten, to be precise from the subclans of Mohamoud Saleban (sub-clans). This apparent imbalance planted the seeds of the political problems that over- took the administration." Many regional  analyst, predict if the U.S. Government does not consider a policy change to attend to popular grievances against the PIS's structure and leadership, which are accused of clan bias, nepotism, extortion, and extensive torture, it could spark a new inter-clan bloodshed.
Human Rights Violations
 Crisis Group Africa also reports "The arrests and renditions further eroded public support for the regime, which became increasingly dependent on the PIS for survival."
Just several weeks ago, PIS allegedly charged two young men for supporting ONLF without any proof or attestation. After few days in their cells, both prisoners were reported dead. Several human rights activists are accusing PIS of basic human rights violations. The head of PIS is notorious for torturing and repatriating refugees and political asylums from the Ogaden region of Ethiopia. The UN Convention against Torture, in Sub article (l and 2) of Article 3,  clearly states that: "No State Party shall expel, return or extradite a person to another State where there are substantial grounds for believing that he would be in danger of being subjected to torture."

Meanwhile, PIS is playing a key role in fuelling an inter clan war fare between the Dubais sub-clan of Warsangeli and Usman Mohamud subclan of Mejirteen, the predominant clan in PIS's composition. Unlike the Ogaden refugees, PIS is waging war against a formidable force in the region. The Dubaiss sub clan resides in the city of Bosaso and its surrounding areas such as Laag, Hamur, Galgala, El-Dahir, and Marajo of Bari region. On Dec 22, PIS has launched an unexpected attack which resulted in the torture, arbitrary arrests, and looting of innocent people in the towns of El-Dahir and Laag, seriously wounding a mother in the process. On Dec 23, the chief of  Dubaiss sub-clan of Warsangeli spoke against the false allegation perpetrated by Osman Diano, in which he asserted that there are terrorist cells in all of Warsangeli dominated cities in Puntland. On Dec 24, Abdi Dawar Gurhan, an innocent man from Galgala was gunned down at Netco center in Bosaaso by unidentified, veiled men.  The Chief Gerad cautioned the international community that this type of aggression could escalate an inter-clan bloodshed. He also warned the international community not to be deceived by the hidden agenda of the PIS whose composition, structure and leadership are exclusively made up of one clan with the sole purpose to dominate other clans in the region.
When President Abdirahman Mohamed (Faroole) first came to the office in Puntland, he promised to reform the economic and security sectors of the state. Conversely, he failed to get in the affairs of PIS, for the reason that they are a separate entity under the false pretext of Puntland State. Their main donors are westerners who lack the competency to understand the convoluted political atmosphere in Somalia. Nowadays,  the term "terrorism" became a mechanism to withdraw western tax payers' money in order to pursue personal/tribal goals. People of Puntland should stand up against these tyrannical leaders who could lead us into a period of devastation and mistrust. It is time for President Abdirahman to take full control of his administration or succumb to a new re-invigorated inter-clan warfare.

Abdikadir N. Salah
[email protected]

1.      Somalia: The Trouble with Puntland. (2009, August 12). International Crisis Group. 6, 10.
2.       Ahmed, Abdi-Aziz. (Dec  23, 2009). Beelaha Sanaag/Haylaan iyo Galbeedka Bari oo ka hadashay falkii CeelDaahir. Dhahar Online. Retrieved Dec 24, 2009, from http://www.dhahar.com/article.php?articleid=8663
3.       Isseh Ali.  (Dec 24, 2009). DHAGAYSO---Shir jaraa’id. Dhahar Online.  Retrieved Dec 25, 2009, from http://www.dhahar.com/article.php?articleid=8666