JAMA MOHAMED GHALIB
Wednesday, November 21, 2007
There are very few opposition members of the rubber-stamping Ethiopian parliament (MPs), which its last general elections (2005) were conspicuously rigged despite these yet being the model of that country's electoral process. Those MPs courageously raised a number of far-reaching government abuses. These included a recently reported wave of the often muted sort of mass arrests by Zenawi's Tigray-led
totalitarian regime, especially in the Oromai region (s). And also about the widely reported ongoing genocide and humanitarian crises in the Ogaden, the Somali region that is still under Ethiopian colonialism, by the independent international media and also by Humanitarian Organizations. The Ogaden is not the only still remaining colonial bastion in the African continent, but also by an African colonizer in the twenty-first century.
Furthermore, the MPs also raised the question of the Ethiopian occupation forces in Somalia and demanded their pull out.
In countering those accusations on the Oromai situation, Zenawi in a naked blackmail accused the MPs of fomenting unrest and even threatened that there were cases under investigation against them. It is rather easy in Ethiopia for the authorities to frame charges against its opponents, real or imagined, that on conviction may carry heavy penalties. No wonder, Zenawi's response is the very typical self-defence into which dictators often seek refuge.
Regarding Somalia, Zenawi rather ridiculously claimed to have created there a peaceful condition. The irony of this absurd claim is undoubtedly an euphemism of Zenawi's pleasure at the destruction of Somalia. He added that the international community was supportive of the position he took vis-à-vis Somalia and he is quasi-right, since he has the support of the lone superpower that dominates the United Nations and by extension rules the world. This reality is further underscored by the fact that no member state of the international
community has so far distanced itself from Zenawi's claim and what it stands for (the invasion, occupation, war crimes, destruction, internally displaced people (IDP) of which according to registered
figures alone by the UN Humanitarian Office has reached 750,000) etc. Even so and despite the apparent western governments' policies of marginalizing the ongoing humanitarian crises and the plight of the Somali people by even muting the war crimes, the Somali people are quite confident of ultimate victory in liberating their country whatever the odds and hurdles ahead.
Zenawi's proxy forces of the United States Bush administration have not only turned the Somali capital city, Mogadishu, into a ruined ghost of mass graves despite his claims of having created there a peaceful condition, but they have also made human life miserable. They continuously loot the people's properties; daily kill people of mainly non-combatant innocent civilians in their scores by barbarically and indiscriminately firing their heavy lethal weapons at random in built-up areas. They do these in order to inflict collective punishments whenever they come under attack by the Mujahideen (self-sacrificing fighters) of the national resistance to the illegal
occupation. The Ethiopians thus destroy countless number of homes, killing so many inmates of the homes so destroyed, many of them in their sleep at night that have already displaced about nearly a million people made homeless who live miserably squatting under the trees in the outskirts of the city.
Taking the cue from his U.S. protectors, Zenawi again ridicules himself by describing the Mujahideen of the national resistance and whoever does not turn the other cheek as terrorists. In rejecting the opposition demand to pull out Ethiopian troops from Somalia, Zenawi said doing that would among other things make Ethiopia lose face. Should he not know that his forces in Somalia have had already caused
a great harm to Ethiopia's image and that sending them there proved to be counter-productive? These forces have not even pacified the Somali capital alone, much less the whole country, because their mere presence in Somalia is itself a great deal of insecurity despite Zenawi's claim to the contrary. Secondly, they have always massacred
the civilian population without inflicting much real damage to the Mujahideen and that alienated the overwhelming majority of the population from the Trojan horse authorities, thus causing a great deal of political damage to the always unpopular of the so-called TFG incumbents. And thirdly, the Ethiopian forces have gained notoriety for being looters and robbers as has been confirmed by independent investigators like the Human Rights Watch and several other international observers.
However, Zenawi also has another good reason for not wanting to withdraw his forces from Somalia anytime soon. He has been lying to the Ethiopian people by minimizing his casualties and only releasing a three digit-figure, while thousands of them have been killed there. But he cannot continue telling lies once the troops return home and families miss their beloved ones home-coming.
The current conflict in Las-Anod, the Sool regional capital, is also hatched by the machinations of the Tigray-led Ethiopian regime as part of its agenda for the overall destabilization of Somalia. That part of the agenda is to be implemented by the two puppet entities of Puntland and Somaliland against the interests of the instability-weary Somali populace. Reliable information retrieved from some internet messages own that both sides to the conflict have recently obtained arms from their remote control masters, the Tigray, to do the latter's bidding and fight internecine war between them! The crux of the reality lies in Ethiopian regime's aversion to peace and stability in Somalia as a
whole, not even between their most preferred puppets, Abdullahi Yusuf and Ali Mohamed Geedi. The recent impasse between the two is a vivid example of the Ethiopian designs towards Somalia. The immediate significance of the Las-Anod conflict in relation to the
Mogadishu/Baidoa scenario is that the Tigray are deadly against any clear-cut winner in his own right in that current futile power struggle only for Ethiopian tutelage. In this vein, as Abdullahi appeared to be gaining the upper hand, part of the Tigray strategy is to engage Puntland, Abdullahi's back yard, into a new quagmire of its immediate concern in order to prevent it from sending re-enforcements to Abdullahi or even to compel the latter to redeploy some of his forces and return them to their original base in Puntland. Likewise, the spokesman for Somaliland in a recent BBC interview, perhaps unwittingly, disclosed that they had contacted the Ethiopians about the Las-Anod episode. The logical conclusion to be drawn from such subservience of contacting the Ethiopians about purely an internal Somali affair and its coincidence with the climax of that conflict was to get instructions and the green-light for Somalialnd's attack on Las-Anod, which the latter were easily persuaded to obey.
Although both sides are being spearheaded by local rival groups there have been claims and counter claims of legitimacy by the two sides vying for the control of Las-Anod. For argument sake, and not now considering legality based on the 1960 Somali reunion of the two former territories that would otherwise override all these claims, nonetheless, both these claims are shrouded with irrelevancies and inaccuracies. First, the Somaliland's claim is corollary of their secessionist theory. I wrote a few papers and a bit of other works on this same subject since 2003 and always foresaw the spectre of such a conflict. However, their claim is solely based on Somaliland's history
and the former British rule over that territory. The legal status of that territory was based on treaties of protection that the British government had entered into with Somali elders during 1884-86.
Las-Anod is the epicentre of the Dolbahante homeland who had never signed those treaties of protection. The British occupied the Dolbahante territory by just extending its authority only after the defeat of Mohamed Abdille Hassan's rebellion in the 1920s. The subsequent association of the Dolbahante within the British Somaliland Protectorate administration was only by default and mutual de facto expediency, but without any legally binding agreement or other formalities. The signatories of those treaties of protection would be
the only legal inheritors of Somaliland's independence from Britain in 1960 to which the Dolbhante had neither been a party nor a signatory.
That reality was underscored by the precondition that the British government had attached to the granting of Somaliland independence to be fulfilled before the independence date, 26 June 1960; that it be endorsed by the Somali elders who had been the British counter-parts to the treaties of protection. The Somaliland ministers had to fulfill this precondition before that date lest it would otherwise invalidate the independence. However, the Dolbahante participated and played an important role in Somaliland's independence process. Nevertheless, this process was non-controversial and was also a transitory process to the then immediately forthcoming reunion with the south, the other component of the Somali Republic, that had been previously agreed between the Somali leaders of the two former territories (see Dr. Paolo Contini's book: The Somali Republic- an Experiment in Legal Integration, 1969). If otherwise, however, the Dolbahante would have
had other options and the new State of Somaliland could not have out rightly inherited the Dolbahante territory without the consent of the
concerned party, the Dolbahante people. The Somaliland's present claim
of Dolbahante territory is, therefore, untenable.
And secondly, now the other side of the coin, Puntland's claim is based on irredentism of Harti kinship, a blood relationship of the Dolbahante with other groups in that territory. However, the Puntland's claim of the whole of the Sool region is questionable. The legal basis for the administrative divisions of the Somali Republic is that existed at the time of the collapse of the last legally recognized Somali State in January 1991. Otherwise, everybody covets what is own best desired. Therefore, according to that last legal framework, western/north-western boundary of Sool is to the sea, at about 75 km east of Berbera and the Gulf of Aden washing its shores. That boundary line is about a distance of more than 325 km from the Las-Anod town (exclusive of the territorial waters of nautical miles).
About more than 200 km of this area is traditional inhabited by non-Harti groups of the Issaaq, mainly Habr-Je'lo. Puntland also claims the whole of the Bohodle district in the Togdheer region. Since it was detached from Las-Anod, Bohodle saw two parliamentary elections during the civilian rule era. On both occasions the contest for its two seats produced the same result of one-to-one between the Dolbahante and the Habr-Je'lo.
Since the collapse of central authority in Somalia for the last more than a decade and a half, legality and the laws of the land have practically become obsolete. In most cases, every community or coalitions of communities have been eking out their own existential living conditions. Many other communities have become a prey of an external enemy. At present the whole of Somalia has become engulfed by enemy designs. The office holders of Somali territorial chunks be they in Mogadishu/Baidoa, Puntland or Somaliland, are all of them
fulfilling Ethiopian demands to the disservice of the Somali people. All of them handed over Somalis to the Ethiopian authorities without any legal formalities. Such formalities should have been governed by
extradition treaties that have never existed between Ethiopia and Somalia. The former does not need that, because her Somali puppets would always do her bidding. International laws prohibit extraditing people on political grounds, even when there are extradition agreements. Even so, the puppets in Mogadishu/Baidoa have allowed hundreds of Somali nationals to be transferred into Ethiopian hands whose fate is unknown. Likewise, Somaliland authorities have recently delivered a group of Somalis from the ONLF to Ethiopian custody. The ONLF struggles for self-determination and therefore their status is political in nature. International law prohibits persons like the ONLF members to be handed over to their adversary even if they were Abyssinians. No doubt these Somali puppets have committed serious crimes against the Somali people and they will sooner or later pay the price in this and/or the world after for their base deeds.
The Somali puppets compete for Ethiopian favours, every one of them wanting to become the most favoured puppet. They all of them look to Ethiopia to remain in their positions. Even some new political aspirants are known to seek Ethiopian support to become somebody in Somalia instead of appealing to the Somali people. Even worse than these puppets are those who are now in solidarity with either Abdullahi Yusuf or Ali Mohamed Geedi on clan affiliations. During the so-called Somali conference at Eldoret/Mbagathiin 2002-3 Abdullahi Yusuf once suddenly returned to Puntland and reportedly killed there several hundred people of his opponents. Likewise, Ali Mohamed Geedi, Mohamed-Dheere, Salad Ali Jeelle, Gacma-Dheere and others among the Hawiye are directly responsible for the current upheavals and human
disaster in Mogadishu of destruction, human massacre and the internally displaced of 750,000 people (IDP), according to the latest
registered figures released by the UN humanitarian office. The overwhelming majority of these victims are Hawiye. What good then may I ask, do these Ethiopian stooges stand for Darod or Hawiye interests,
leaving aside Somalia and the Somali people, to deserve such solidarities? In the present case of Las-Anod, the collective decision of the truly genuine representatives of the Dolbahante people should be accepted by
all sides as the overriding validity and that the collectivity of such decision making ought to be by consensus and their local customs.
Although I have not been to that area for the last sixteen years or for that matter since during the civil war, nevertheless, I have met or been in contact and interacted with many Dolbahante intellectuals and other leading personalities over the years and up to the present time. The overwhelming opinions of the Dolbahante mainstream are committed to the restoration of central authority of the Somali Republic. Any accommodation with either of the above two entities is only a temporary existentialism.
JAMA MOHAMED GHALIB
VICE CHAIRMAN OF (ARS)
E-mail: [email protected]