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SOMALIA: BETWEEN A FOOLISH FRIEND AND A CUNNING FOE

By Idris Ahmed Osman
Saturday, December 01, 2007

 

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This nation (Ummah) can never be defeated in a direct confrontation, howsoever the magnitude of digital weaponry and warfare technology used by its enemy. Throughout the course of history, this has been proven right. It is a nation given to staunchly resisting any attempts of humiliating defeat succumbing it to a debased attitude. A nation of gallants and heroes committed to standing firm against the face of any daring intruder. Strongly rejecting and fiercely fighting back any blows from its apparent enemy with stronger devastating deadly blow.
Unfortunately, sadly, miserably, its enemy has identified, understood and subsequently employed its weakest point as a strategic technique to crumble it to pieces. Solid concrete in a phase, liquid or even gaseous state in another, in its former state it is very stable and able to bulldoze and smash any force on its way, in the latter state it can be dissipated or even blown to disappear in thin air by the faintest draught or thrust of air. Just as the molecules of solid matters are resolutely intact, compact, likewise is unity strength; the liquid or gaseous molecules are loose resembling disunity.

 

One of the two weakest points are divide and rule, instigating hostility against each other using the clan factor, in other words, I against my brother. The other point of weakness is given to our ability to recognize and identify an apparent enemy only, unable to do so about a disguised cunning foe. Elaborating on our current status between a foolish friend and a cunning foe, it seems a clandestine conspiracy underway which favours Somalia to stay stagnant without government, its people scattered in the Diaspora, neither basic infrastructure nor ordinary peaceful life. I am adamant to upgrade my hypothetical assumption to established fact in view of the ever deteriorating situation and growing number of daily exodus from the country.


 

Somalia is neither diamond and gold-laden Sierra Leone where British troops enjoyed cleansing it from the armed oppositionist elements, west side boys, nor is it the world’s richest oil reserve Iraq whereby the death of few US and UK troops would be worth it. On request from General Al Bashir of Sudan, the Chinese and Pakistani peacekeepers may join Darfur peacekeeping, because the latter is a promising oil rich region and China is main business partner with Sudan. In a world where return of investment is the main concern, the prospect of gambling with potential oil discovery and drilling in some areas in Somalia is bleak and meagre. First and foremost, security is what matters most to most investors, the only investment the US and the West can allocate Somalia is preventing it becoming a breeding ground of any possible threat to its strategic fields of investment else in the region or worldwide. Where shedding crocodile’s tears is common in a mischievous world like the one we live in this epoch.

 

It is most certain that Somalia is currently facing part of a regional strategic challenge. Yet, it is not an illusion in a utopia with bamboozling metaphysical characteristics. Its physical dimensions unfold into a global horizon within the context of, what is termed as, war on terror. It is a momentum that is being concocted and mobilized, on the largest scale ever in history, to combat or at least engage and contain an inevitable worldwide phenomenon, the emergence of Islam as another threat after the collapse of the Soviet Union. Given the magnitude and range of diplomatic, political and hush-funding in destabilizing, fragmenting and disharmonizing between warlords and politicians representing clans, how this global phenomenon narrowed down to clan-based national rivalry in Somalia is not itself a mystery. Neither is it an inconspicuous conundrum to figure out how certain individuals exploited the situation for their own clan-destine conspiracy, whereby the sole victim is the country and the helpless, innocent people. 

 

Alishu Ryu of VOA in Nairobi reported in the beginning of this year: “For the past month, Ethiopian troops, particularly in Mogadishu, have come under near-daily attacks by Somalis who view Ethiopia as a traditional enemy to resist at all costs. But neighbouring and western countries say they are worried that remnants of the Islamic Courts Union and their supporters could stage a comeback without a robust military to defend the transitional government. http://www.voanews.com/english/archive/2007-01/2007-01-30- voa50.cfm?CFID=151069223&CFTOKEN=43645099  Since then I constantly kept asking myself where the worries of the west and neighbouring countries were, in the seventeen years of daily bloodshed and chaos in which the law of the jungle prevailed in the streets of Mogadishu. During this period, the marauder murderers and thugs filled doomsday fear across it. We can not accept small scale, miniature of the same oil-driven Iraqi invasion scenario, with pretext to remove Saddam and bring back democracy, reinstated in Somalia; who is then to give heed to William Minter’s “Don't replay Iraq in Horn of Africa” in Africa Focus ?!.  http://www.africafocus.org/editor/som0701_projo.php

In précis, during her speech at Jamestown Foundation, Alisha Ryu hit the nail on the head that Ethiopia’s advances towards Somalia were prematurely motivated by strategic interests. http://www.jamestown.org/events_details.php?event_id=27.  US foundations, by their own profile, fund research on various parts in the world as part of US’ own national security and foreign policy interests. It is to our naivety to believe their opinions on the Ethiopian invasion as sympathy to avoid further blood shed in Somalia. In fact, it is a tactical guide to avoid aggravating the armed operation to human catastrophe which might attract the international community attention before accomplishing the regional strategic mission. It is meant for Ethiopia to hit hard, fast and furious but carefully unnoticeable to finalise the operation and dominate it. Reporters and political analysts, researches and advisers of the US foreign policy are more anxious and concerned to combat potential terror flux or safe haven in the region than Somalia’s security and stability. Experts at these foundations are solemnly committed to place the political dimension and trend in the horn of Africa under magnifying glass, scrutinising any possible threat of Islamist movements, albeit peaceful, in the region. Hence advise the US policy-makers to finance both direct and indirect armed operations of the Ethiopian invasion type.

 

 No matter, how many innocents die in the operation? In Alishu’s report, one finds out that the gap of misunderstanding between the TFG and the ICU has been deliberately widened and subsequently invasion prompted for purpose. A very critical issue is that the Ethiopian occupation forces overwhelmed the TFG itself, in its overall dominion on matters of internal policy making. Under the war on terror operation, Ethiopia has reciprocal relationship with authorities both in the north and the south in rounding up and extraditing Ethiopia’s suspected oppositionists and combatants.

 

The Ethiopian campaign is being backed by the US and blessed by other western countries. The extent of thorough influence by Ethiopia in Somalia’s internal affairs clearly demonstrates and reflects on the personal weakness and greed of its so called leaders. In a hierarchy descending order, the US, on most top part, and the West are looking after its own interests in East Africa to prevent a vacuum whereby any Islamic pattern could get ground in Somalia. Not necessarily the least safe haven where Islamic militants could spawn and breed. It gets down to Ethiopia as second in rank; its role is more of pre-emptive strike on possible threats, putting a puppet government in power whereby it could remote control. When it all boils down to the TFG top players, it is just a piece of pie on the pan. The best witness is in ex-premier Gedi’s own words in the news on Aljazeera TV: “Also the government should acknowledge its shortcomings and errors”. The TFG’s greatest mistake was to have brought in Ethiopia which is being viewed as a natural arch-rival by Somalis. Ex-premier Gedi’s most recent statement offering to mediate reconciliation between the TFG and opposition forces is the best ever opportunity road map to peace. TFG and opposition forces to seize an opportunity of talks and negotiation; I would suggest that we forget and forgive our own differences and start focusing on the external challenges. The public opinion seems to be mature enough at this stage to support possible peace and reconciliation. Both the TFG and opposition forces should now look far beyond the mirage of their self-developed hostility. This campaign which is directly apparently spearheaded by Ethiopia and indirectly sponsored by the US is more dangerous than internal conflicts. Brothers in the same house may sometimes misunderstand, differ in opinion and even unscrupulously brawl, but it is shameful that one of them calls for external fighter to slaughter his brother and demolish their shared dwelling. There is still chance to be brave and act in real manhood, shrug off traditional ignorance of clan animosity and individual arrogance.

 

The TFG has come to know that even with the help of Ethiopia it can not play down the majority of the public either represented by the oppositionist forces or naturally dissent the presence of Ethiopia.  The oppositionist forces, besides, now know that being in exile and operating from abroad shall not render them an edge over the ground based TFG backed by Ethiopia. Eritrea is playing host to the oppositionist forces and previously attempted to fight proxy war against Ethiopia only for its own interests, regardless of the oppositionist forces’ success or failure in their struggle against Ethiopia and the TFG. Heads Eritrea would win, that is if the oppositionist forces got victory, tails it would never loose, if the oppositionist forces remained in their current status or perhaps even dispersed apart. In both cases, the losers are the TFG and the opposition forces, while both Eritrea and Ethiopia have definite target and are winners in both heads and tails.


 

Idris Ahmed Osman
E-mail: [email protected]



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