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Somaliland and ICU war inevitable or wishful thinking of reactionaries?

By Abdulkadir J. Dualeh

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An inevitable war between the ICU and Somaliland is a fantastic tale dramatically weaved together by analysts who seem to be good fictional writers than informed sources.   The theory that the ICU is encircled by enemies massing in the north, south and west are, at best,  ill-informed and ,at worst, a deliberate scheme to incite apprehension and distrust.. 

It is unlikely any outside force will be able to militarily challenge the preeminence of the religious forces in the south for the short term.  Demography, rather than geography is the critical element in the outcome of events in the south and whether ICU continuous to succeed or not.  The south has never been more united under one leadership.  The former followers of Aideed and Ali Mahdi are now under one umbrella. The overwhelming majority of the Southern populace seem to be on their side as evidenced by the sequential bloodless capturing of one town after another. 

The ICU can only die if it commits suicide by alienating its supporters and the Somaliland public.  If all the foreign forces are assembled to dislodge it from the south, it could not be done. The phantom forces of Puntland and their Ethiopian masters could not even secure for Abdillahi Yusuf the Baidabo airport. 

Somaliland can present a formidable adversary to the ICU if the two are tricked into fighting one another.  The second biggest city in the former Somalia has at least a million inhabitants.  The large cache of arms left behind by the North-east garrison of the former regime is available and displayed in every anniversary.  Said Barre’s hordes of  merceneries, armed to the teeth, and supplies with all the state resources have failed to subjugate Somlilanders.   

The Ethiopian factor is exaggerated.  The threat from Ethiopia would be significant if a substantial portion of the Somali society decides to do Ethiopia’s bidding – an unlikely scenario unless the ICU overreaches and interprets their success as mandate to attack Somaliland.   

Meles lives in glass house and cannot afford to throw stones. The shabbily treated Amharas, Eritreans and Oromos are itching to bounce on him if he foolishly embarks in an adventure in to Somalia.   The whole rotten structure he put together through bribery and shared spoils will collapse under his feet if he does that.   

Ethiopia can defeat a government with a system and an identifiable army.   ICU’s army is the public and armies cannot defeat a public.  If Ethiopian forces, for example, reached Mogadishu, they will have to fight a well-equipped insurgency of a million people street by street.  They will be ambushed from every window of a ruined city.  The casualties for the Ethiopian army will be catastrophic.  The supply and reinforcements to their army will be harassed and ambushed by partisans enroute the long road to Mogadishu.  Even if the city falls, the war will continue in the countryside.  This is how the Russians people defeated Napoleon’s grand arm’e in 1812.  Mele’s army consisting of drafted farmers will mutiny and will not be a match for a highly motivated Somalis fighting in their land and defending their country.   

The ICU has won the battle of Southern Somalia with little resistance.  The defeated adversaries were the TFG and the Mogadishu warlords.  These were easy opponents because the TFG was a corrupt shell of a government with no real constituents.  It existed only in the imaginations of some shortsighted IGAD ministers, minds of the Ethiopian intelligence services, and in press releases.  They never had any real constituents on the ground.  It members were politicians who were rejected by their constituents.  This explains their lack of effectiveness despite all the money collected from over seas.  The ICU defeated them by simply ignoring them.   

The Mogadishu warlords were also a weak adversary.  These were mafia bosses who owed their power to intimidation of unarmed public. It only required a police work on the part of the ICU to arrest or chase the bosses.  Having lost their supporters in Mogadishu to the ICU, the bosses cannot by themselves present a threat from a distance. 

ICU succeeded because they filled a void – a lack of security and too much corruption.   

The biggest issue facing the ICU is the issue of governance. If they intend to live out the true meaning of their creed that governance is through the Shura process with a deliberative body of representatives, and if they spell out an iron clad mechanics of how they that can lead to a decentralized system of government with separation of powers, they can consolidate their power in Southern Somalia and build a bright future.     

If the ICU leadership insists on a narrow and metaphysical definition of the shura principle, they will lose the public support.  

Warmongers and masters of misrepresentation are beating the drums of an inevitable war between Somaliland and the ICU.  This is neither inevitable nor imminent.  It will only occur if the ICU alienates the people of Somaliland. 

The principles advocated by the public in Somaliland are not incompatible with the Shura principle of separation of powers and deliberative body. The Shura principle is intended to prevent rash judgments and a centralized power.  The public of Somaliland goes along with the current political organization because it prevents tyranny.  The overriding and most important sentiment of Somlilanders is abhorrence of tyranny.   

The ICU has defeated the forces of darkness and desolation.  If the ICU is equally committed to good government, as Somaliland is, they have nothing to fear from Somaliland.   

The people of Somaliland have rejected monetary inducement from the Arab states, they have withstood pressure and intimidation of many subversives, they have withstood  economic sanctions of their only export product (sheep) by the Saudis,  all of these because they value their liberty more than any other worldly benefit.   

Let us not allow propagandist create a wedge between Somaliland and the ICU. 

Abdulkadir J. Dualeh
E-mail: [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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