By Ali Gelle
Thursday, December 20, 2007
We, the Somali people in the Horn of Africa may belong to different countries, but despite our territorial separateness we still share our common Somali identity, culture, religion and solidarity. The dream of Somali unity may not have been achieved but at least two former parts, Italian and British Somaliland, have united after their independence to become the Somali Republic and were subsequently followed by Djibouti. Even if Djibouti did not join the union given its ethnic mixture, yet it is no less Somali in every other sense.
While Djibouti has been building on it’s gains-economically, socially and politically- Somalia on the other hand has been sinking deeper and deeper into the quagmire. The contrasting fortunes of the two countries are the result of the differing qualities of the leaders each country had over these years. Somalia’s mortally bleeding wounds were inflicted not only by the late President Mohamed Siyad Barre but by all those after him who were aspiring to occupy his post or pursuing their own selfish interests as warlords.
In all Somalia’s times of need, Djibouti has spared no effort to come to its aid, culminating in the organisation of the Carta reconciliation conference and the establishment of the Transitional National Government (TNG) under President Abdul Qassim Salaad Hassan. Much to the dismay of Somalis everywhere, other than warlords and the enemies of Somalia, the government of Abdul Qassim has turnout to be, for all practical purposes, no more than one existing in name until its end.
Despite the obvious disappointment with the failure of the TNG to live up to its expectations, yet Djibouti, under your wise leadership, far from giving up on Somalia has instead redoubled its efforts to help it. Above all, it had played a pivotal role in the various conferences and meetings on Somalia, always striving to ensure that Somalia’s unity was paramount by fending off the nefarious designs of some neighbouring member countries in IGAD. Unfortunately, and despite these noble efforts, the government and leaders cobbled together in Kenya were mirroring the interest of Ethiopia and not Somalia. The present Transitional Federal Government (TFG) under President Abdullahi Yusuf is not only as impotent and powerless as its TNG predecessor but is even worse given that it is totally under the thumb of Ethiopia.
Somalia is being torn apart by the unholy alliance between Ethiopia and the United States of America. While the interest of Ethiopia is to thwart the emergence of a strong national government in Somalia for the foreseeable future and to fragment its parts into competing Bantustans under its hegemony, for the United States it is the global war on terror and its pursuit of few Al Qa’ida suspects allegedly being harboured in Somalia. Ethiopia’s invasion of Somalia was prompted not by any credible threats to its security from the Union of Islamic Courts (UIC) as it claimed, but the need to prop up its puppet TFG and above all by the prodding it had from the USA to conduct the “war on terror” in Somalia on its behalf for which the USA provided diplomatic, military and financial backing to Ethiopia enabling it to launch its invasion and sustain its occupation of Somalia. It is a measure of the total disregard of the USA for Somali lives and suffering that it would countenance the massacre of thousands of Somalis by Ethiopia and the displacement of nearly a million Mogadishu residents- all this for the sake of tracking one or two Al Qa’ida suspects. Quite clearly, Somali lives and suffering simply count for nothing in the eyes of theUSA
As if its support for Ethiopia was not sufficient animosity towards Somalia, the USA has now ratcheted its disregard towards our country by considering its break-up. The USA Pentagon is now openly advocating USA recognition of Somaliland as quid pro quo for the use of the port of Berbera as a base for USA forces in the region. If the US were to embark on the request of the Pentagon, it would be a blatant contempt for the stance of the UN which still supports the sovereignty, unity and territorial integrity of Somalia.
Any such action on the part of the USA will unleash a war in the North of Somalia between those who support the secession of Somaliland and those who are against it. And a future, more nationalist Somali government, when it emerges, would do all in its power, including the use of force, to maintain the unity of the country. The USA would only be extending the conflagration raging in Southern Somalia to the hitherto peaceful North thereby bringing more miseries on the long-suffering Somali people everywhere. Such hostility towards the Somalis would only serve to fan the already pervasive anti USA feeling in the country and would come as boon for the Islamists. Once again, the USA would be making another blunder in Somalia in which it will only reap the opposite of what it had in mind. The USA would do well to change direction and instead work for a united Somalia, having a federal democratic government that would take office from this current discredited TFG.
Your support for Somalia could not have been more pressing given what is being hatched against our country. Djibouti may be a small country but it has considerable clout as a member of the UN, the League of Arab States, the African Union, IGAD and the Organisation of the Islamic Conference. But more importantly, Djibouti has close ties with the USA and is hosting a USA military base in its territory. We hope Djibouti would use its undoubted influence on the USA government and dissuade it from dismembering Somalia. We trust your Excellency would once again come to our help for you are not only the President of Djibouti but the father of the Somali people, wherever they are not free or have no government worth the name.
Please accept, your Excellency, the assurances of my highest considerations
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