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Somalia Today

By AbdulRehman Hassan


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Let me first pay tribute to the President, the Prime Minister, few outstanding government ministers like Salad Ali Jeelle and Ismail Hurre Buubaa, and the lean, mean, exceptionally brave forces of the TFG (Transitional Federal Government) and their commanders. I would also like to thank the Ethiopian government for its unrivaled support in this do-or-die historic mission. Congratulations to you all!


Courts arrogantly defied the government plea for normalcy and calm. They vehemently rejected the constitution and took the matter into their hands. They practiced the rule of the jungle, even though they claimed practicing the rule of law – The Islamic Sharia. The government has people's mandate to govern. The two years-long process that produced the TFG wasn't perfect, but given the circumstances, it was the best available at the time. Courts didn't have people's consent whatsoever. They ruled illegally. The issue is not the way they did rule. They may have ruled brilliantly, which I am afraid is the case, but what does it matter if they come into being through coup d'état?


Courts expelled the warlords out of Mogadishu and its surroundings, and that was a courageous step towards the right direction. Their effort was praised by the people. Even the government stood up for their support by further humiliating the runaway warlords. They were all fired from their cabinet posts. That was good gesture from the side of the government, but day after day, the Courts grew arrogance and stubbornness. In retrospective, many people are realizing that, the Courts leaders were using the Islamic Sharea as a pretext to grab the power from the hands of the elected government. At their retreat from Mogadishu, they distributed most of their heavy arsenal to the thugs and street gangs in order to create lawlessness in the capital. That wasn't cool. Sincerely righteous people would never act like that.    


Of the Khartoum reconciliation meeting, the President, the Prime Minster, and the Speaker of the House all attended to meet with them, but the Courts leaders entirely snubbed them. Soon, things changed from disarming Mogadishu to declaration of war against the TFG, Punland and Somaliland states, Ethiopia, and sometimes Kenya appearing in the list. Students as young as intermediate level were reportedly sent to the battle-front in massive numbers and unfortunately met their demise at the outskirts of Baydoa. With heavy casualties suffered, with the Ethiopian troops unquestionably now in the Somali soil and with the Somali religious scholars now labeled as a violent blood hungry vine piers, Mr. Aways and his diehard followers vanished into the jungle of East Africa. This was great scandal and gigantic loss.


Before the Courts became one of the major players in the Somalia conflict, few Mogadishu based warlords scavenged the dead and the living alike. Their goal was to bury dignity, honor, and nationhood all together. In that, they could profit on people's misery, exploiting them to their teeth. These classless, worthless, dirty hogs deserve death by hanging.


With the first phase of the war now dwindling, and the second phase just starting, people's emotions couldn't be running higher. A new hope mixed with old fears is the dominant. Aside from the thousand other obstacles including lack of funds, lack of societal discipline, and lack of resources in the country, the major hurdles faced by this government were the Mogadishu based warlords and the Courts. Courts had bad approach, but partially good intentions. Warlords had evil intentions, evil tactics, and are devils themselves.


For this government to work, it has to shift its combat to the warlords immediately. Negotiating with them produces no fruits. Their limitless immorality has to be contained. Their confinement will strengthen people's confidence on the government.


The government seems to be losing a precious momentum. If nothing else is missing, it lacks style and dynamics. In a time like this, offering stick may be more rewarding than offering carrots. The smiling civilian faces of the Prime Minister, the Minister of interior, and few others presented to the public is work that is ahead of its schedule. It should have been the military wing that is more visible and more in control. The Prime Minister and his cabinet ministers should have been lined up behind Salad Ali Jeelle and his camp till the weapons are fully collected and the city is ready for business as usual dialogue. I am ten thousand miles away from the capital and there might be so many good things going on without the knowledge of the public, but my hunch is that Mr. Jeelle is doing great job, but Mr. Aidid's picture perfect photo appearances are more of a liability than being an asset to his mission. The Courts didn't win the street by begging or being nice the trouble makers. They gave real deadlines and acted with sincerity and muscle.     


The three months presidential marshal decree was poorly announced. Most of the people do not even aware of the fact that the country is in marshal period. But it came on the right time and was certainly one step forward. It must end on time, and before the parliament convenes its mundane sessions. Based on its current pace, I doubt if this government will get its house in order within this hands free period.  


I understand why the President, the PM, and the minister of interior are appointing the new governors for various different states, but I would love to know when these appointees will be replaced with duly elected candidates. I also like to know the number of states the TFG has in mind. Four states? Five states? More? I am not expecting well detailed chart at this transitional period, but some sort of outlook for the future.  


Overall, things look great, but it will all depend on the effectiveness of the men in control and how quickly they move.


AbdulRehman Hassan

E-mail: [email protected]

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