Center for Peace and Democracy (CPD)

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Open Letter to Former President of the TNG: Abdi Kasim Salad Hassan

I am pleased to be writing to you with all the well wishes of Eid to you, your family, and our nation of Somalia. I have studied your conduct and position during the nation’s early years in its civil war, and your tenure as president. I commend you for not having gone out of your way to practice the old African Traditions of vengeance on the Transitional Federal Government, whose members -- or at least some of them – may have been very vocal and public about your Presidency.

Your restraint shows integrity and command of diplomacy. You are a true statesmanship and I appreciate it sincerely. However, Mr. President, I am, to the same degree, disappointed you stopped short of winning it all by publicly campaigning on behalf of the TFG, while in pursuit of re-instating Law and Order in the Capital city of the nation.

I am convinced that it took all of Somalis -- including its politicians as well as its public, both at home and the Diaspora folks who financed the civil war’s worst period -- to have dismantled the capital of the nation to its current status, and as such, I am convinced the only way it can be resuscitated is by all Somalis working together from all fronts. No one individual or Transitional Government can rekindle all the lamps around Muqadisho alone, for the city to be back to its rightful place. And no leader can or should expect to govern like the days of the October 21, 1969 regime. The times are different and so are the citizens to be governed.

I am therefore asking Your Excellence to contribute to the re-establishment of the capital city of the nation; that you work with the Prime Minister of the TFG, Prof. Ali M. Gedi, and all the members of his Administration, FOR the sake of the nation and its citizens. I will remind you, Mr. President, that your children, grandchildren, and the generations to follow, will forever be appreciative of you and your contributions.

Former President of TNG Mr. Abdulqasim S. Hassan & the Current Somali PM Mr. Ali M. Gedi
Please note, the greatest of men have been those who did the unthinkable and broken all the man-made rules and regulations of diplomacy. For instance, President Abraham Lincoln of the United States stood to all the Southern Farmers in the United States and Freed Black slaves while declaring that all men are created equal, only for him to have lost his life in pursuit of freeing the innocent lives that were in-chains; and the late President of Egypt, Mr. Anwar Asadat, flew in the middle of a war to land on his opponent’s territory for the purpose of ending a war he knew cost his nation far too much, while Mr. Ghandi of India stood against all odds and resisted oppression and abuse with peaceful disobedience, which lead to the collapse of the Empire that was known as the United Kingdom around the world.

And following in Mr. Ghandi’s footsteps, Dr. Martin. L. King Jr. of the United States peacefully resisted Segregation in America and won the hearts and minds of America’s Southern citizens as well as its Northern Yankees, who gave their wealth and time to his cause which became America’s cause for the betterment of all of its citizens; and finally, the late Yitzak Rabbin of Israel crossed the borders of normal-day-politics of the Middle East and shook hands, despite all the threats against his life.

Today, Prime Minister Ariel Sharon of Israel is a living example of a man who possesses and practices so much courage and strength while in pursuit of his former foe, the later Prime Minister, Mr. Yitzak Rabbin, who departed as a guiding light of principal summoned in one character.

Now, Mr. President, the question to you is: Will you be Somalia’s man, equal in Statue to the World’s heroes in Mr. Rabbin, Mr. Ghandi, Dr. King Jr, Mr. Asadat,, and resign from your position of silence and stand alongside the Prime Minister, Prof. Ali M. Gedi, and his Administration, and help resuscitate Life into the capital of the nation? Or will you be behind the scenes, orchestrating elements of opposition to the President of the TFG, President Abdullahi Yusuf Ahmed, who may not have comforted you in your days as President of the TNG?

Could it be, Mr. President, that we -- including you and the current members of the TFG heads -- are all victims of our enemies because our enemies may have planted the seeds for us and in us so that Somalia stands stagnant, as a nation without men of courage and strength to see far into the future for the well-being of their nation, while sidelining their past and present differences?

I would be pleased if you would publicly address the nation and people, and accept the challenge before you --- to work with the Prime Minister, Prof. Ali M. Gedi--- and be a Former President who shines even in retirement as does the ONLY President in Somalia’s History, Former President Adan Cade, who stood aside for the sake of his nation, and REFUSED to take primitive positions when pursued even by the late Dictator.

I can assure you Mr. President, Somalia’s Most Beloved and Respected President will always be regarded by generations to come as a man of character and wisdom, who cared for his nation; he had the human strength to realize the country and the people whom he is one of deserved a leader equal to him in character and wisdom; and that is why he refused to return to politics while the likes of the abundant were in pursuit (or in possession) of the highest office of the nation. Somalia’s history will ALWAYS hold him HIGH IN SPIRIT and be KIND to him.
Now Mr. President, since the title of the “Most Beloved and Respected President” has already been claimed, will you take the NEXT NATIONAL TITLE --- such titles being bestowed upon one by the Will and Admiration of the public (for instance, Somalis, regardless of Tribe, hold President Adan Cade in High Spirit) --- and be wise enough to resist the minuscule politics of the few and build your image for the better days to come? If not, what will you leave for Somalia and the generations to come for some 20plus years in Somali politics?

I can assure you Mr. President, unless you win the hearts and minds of the people --- and of course the BEST TIME being when it is least expected from the unexpected from, and may I add most Somalis doubt you will stand to such a call by one of your nation’s citizens --- Somalia’s history will hardly remember Your Presidency with delight. After all, it is considered a failed Presidency in all aspects, regardless of the circumstances. Remember, you won’t be around in 50years to explain to such future generations why the TNG failed.

Please, don’t be consumed by the perceptions of the moment but of the future since the Future is Endless compared to the Current Seconds on the Clock.

You have already gained much for not having gone out publicly in opposition of the TFG, in response to those who were very vocal about your presidency. Now, no victory could be sweeter for you, I think, than the President who in fact worked with his foes for the betterment of the Somali nation. And your former opponents could lose no more ground to you in the eyes of the public than they would with you working with them for the sake of the nation, while denying them any ground to accuse you of working behind the scenes to derail TFG.

Arte Moalin III
The opinions contained in this article are solely those of the writer, and in no way, form or shape represent the editorial opinions of "the Center for Peace and Democracy in Somalia (CPD)"

Somalia Appeals for Global Help in Fighting Terrorism

Kevin J. Kelley, Special CorrespondentNew York
Somalia's United Nations representatives and the UN's special envoy for Somalia urgently appealed last week for international action on a growing threat to security throughout East Africa and the Horn.
"The Somali problem is no longer a Somali problem," said Idd Beddel Mohamed, Somalia's deputy UN ambassador.
Speaking at a UN headquarters news conference on November 8, the country's ambassador, Elmi Ahmed Duale, added, "There is now more urgency than before.
"The diplomats spoke days after a failed assassination attempt on Somalia Prime Minister Ali Mohamed Gedi and a pirate attack on a cruise liner in the Indian Ocean near Somalia's coast.
Francois Lonseny Fall, the special UN envoy for Somalia, underscored the need for action in remarks to the Security Council on November 9. Lonseny Fall said he told a closed meeting of the Council that "extremist groups were growing not only in Mogadishu (the capital) but in the rest of the territory.
"When you have a failed state like Somalia," Lonseny Fall continued, "when there's no authority, it gives opportunity to all the terrorist groups to grow. It happened in Afghanistan and the same thing can happen in Somalia. "The security of the entire region may be imperilled, he added.
The Security Council did unanimously adopt a resolution on November 9 condemning the attempted assassination of Somalia's prime minister and expressing "serious concern" over the spate of pirate attacks off Somalia's coast. The 15-member Council further condemned "the increased inflow of weapons into Somalia and the continuous violations of the United Nations arms embargo.
"Many observers say, however, that such rhetorical denunciations on the part of the international community are insufficient and ineffective. They note that UN member-states have taken no action to strengthen the Somalia arms embargo that has been in force for 13 years but is routinely violated.
A recent report by the UN's embargo monitoring group found that the number of major weapons transactions involving Somalia had increased by 350 per cent in the first eight months of 2005 in comparison with the same period last year. The monitors identified Yemen and Ethiopia as the source of some of the illicit arms shipments and also pointed to a third country that was not named in the report but that UN officials have identified as Eritrea.
The four-person, Kenya-based monitoring group which includes a Kenyan (Harjit Singh Kelley), an American, a Belgian and a Colombian had its mandate extended last week for another year.
Somalia's UN representatives are specifically seeking greater help from the African Union in establishing a coastal police force to combat piracy. Somalia itself lacks the resources to enforce the rule of law within its boundaries, said Deputy Ambassador Mohamed.
The Somalis and the special UN envoy also acknowledged the peacemaking efforts undertaken by the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), a seven-member grouping of East African states. Some Somali police officers are now being trained in Kenya and Uganda, which are both members of Igad, and UN officials say they intend to expand this initiative into Somalia itself.
A reporter attending a UN press briefing by special envoy Lonseny Fall asked whether Igad could indeed be considered helpful to Somalia when two of its members Ethiopia and Eritrea are arming various warlord factions in Somalia in violation of the UN embargo.
Lonseny Fall reiterated his praise for IGAD, noting that the group had initiated and facilitated the Somalia peace process. The Security Council had to find solutions to the problem of arms embargo violations, the envoy added.
Source: The East African
The opinions contained in this article are solely those of the writer, and in no way, form or shape represent the editorial opinions of "the Center for Peace and Democracy in Somalia (CPD)"

Prospects for Sustained Peace in the Federal Republic of Somalia

Since the division of the Somalia, at the Berlin Conference (1884-1885) as a result of the resolution of the conflict opposing imperial Africa conquering powers, the struggle for or against the Somalia has always been international, roughly opposing unidentified camps

Like people everywhere, Somalis want security and comfort, but the great majority of Somalis face daily hunger, homelessness, violence and starvation. Yet these suffering people are entrepreneurial and full of creative energy. They would be perfectly able to build their own security and comfort if only allowed to do it within a stable framework. In most Somalia’s regions, however, it is legal to start a business without a license, and getting start a business usually involves bribery or good connections with the warlords.

The real freedom Somalis need is not just shows of democratic reform but real institutional reforms: safety rights and the rule of law, allowing them to produce and trade freely, to save and to prosper, free of overbearing warlords and NGO’s corruption. The real trade "justice" they need is safely free trade with each other, within their countries and with each other's countries, free of compulsory-purchase marketing boards, of customs barriers and of preferential licenses.

THE ROOT OF THE CRISIS

The capacities of the national leadership at independence were not sufficient to start tackling correctly the problems of the country in the World divided by Cold War, given the country’s strategic position. In fact, very soon the leadership that fought for independence and had some sense of its significance was replaced as a presumed solution to the crisis of independence. The resulting troubled Somalis history made it difficult to develop those necessary capacities. Western dependency mentality, on the part of would-be-leaders, has increased than decreased: each time the country faces a problem the call is made for outside help. To the extent that Western direct involvement tends to be a problem, basic problems remain unresolved.

The impression given by the nature of help which comes is that the Somalia is seen as “a sick person that must be kept alive in an intensive care unit, but not allowed to be totally cured.” There has been no real vision to guide the transformation of a conquered and colonized territory, freed with precipitation, into a self-reliant Nation, responding positively to the basic interests of the Somalis majority of people. The Somalis people have, thus, had no confidence in the existed post-colonial institutions and their actors. The latter have failed to develop mutual trust with each other, and each actor, in the main, has had no self-confidence. And while occupying a strategic position, the country’s public consciousness has never reached the level required by that position.

Crucial problems have not been mastered. The country, so large, has not been even physically sufficiently integrated. Surrounded by 3 bordering countries, the country’s well understood national interest can only be articulated with some consideration of its relation to those of the neighboring countries. 2 out of the 3 countries have had or are still undergoing political instability—which, due to the decomposition of our State, has been slipping over the Republic of Somalia, making it easier for external interventions into the country. The international dimension of the country has not been mastered. The nature of the post-colonial State, as a colonial legacy, i.e., a State created through conquest and non-responsive to the basic needs of the conquered peoples, has not been practiced and transformed to make it responsive to the needs of all Somalis. The economy, dominated by a problematic of destruction and extraction of natural resources whose hungry markets are outside of the country, entertains violent civil war and famine. This makes it unresponsive to the basic needs of impoverished masses of people. The centuries’ history of the Somali’s internal capital investment and wealth has been a complete and total failure in terms of human and socioeconomic conditions of the Somali society. In the absence of a true middle class and a patriotic political class, it is difficult to achieve and sustain the necessary structural break from the existing political economic structure. This break, if accomplished, would allow both foreign investors and Somali society conceptualize, define and articulate their respective interests, requirements and needs as equal stakeholders in mutual beneficial partnership based relationships. The primary sources of conflict, in the Somalia, are political and socioeconomic structural problems. They have national, regional and global dimensions.

The protracted crisis has always had concrete symptomatic forms of expression in each situation. Presently, we are facing principally a major political crisis, whose symptoms are as follows:
  • A) An absence of legitimate political institutions serving openly all the Somalis and responding positively to their basic needs and aspirations and in which they have confidence and trust;
  • B) An absence of a democratically rooted constitutionalism, since the 1969 coup d’Etat, constitution-making has been devoted to underwrite and justify dictatorial powers;
  • C) An absence of a relatively independent, self-reliant and truly patriotic national political leadership mobilizing the population to keep at bay interventionist forces and tendencies;
  • D) An insufficient national consciousness among the people;
  • E) A de facto balkanization of the country;
  • F) A continuous warlord militarization of the secessionism administrative structure; being closer to or having recourse to arms as a way of getting to or keeping power is seen as a good thing and warlords seen as heroes awarded with the title of ‘leader’/Minister;
  • G) An absence, especially within the structures and institutions of leadership, of political ethics ( public morality, respect for the republic, active opposition to corruption and other negative values, the will to truth, active pursuit of a healthy intertribal conviviality, ultimate concern for human life, respect for political adversaries or dissidents, etc.).

The debasing of Somali intellectuals, devoting their intellectual work to the celebration of faction leaders, to spreading fear in the population or in gravitating around mediocrity; with the lapsing of the political model of ‘liberation movements’ and the crisis of faction form, the existing numerous factions (close to 40 well known) function as NGO’s almost the same way as civil society NGO’s with no clear vision or organized people mobilization; even after the end of the Cold War and the overthrow of military ruler’, a transition to democratic rule has been indefinite—the country giving the impression of having embarked on a self-destructive course and a real possibility of partition.

SOME CONFLICT RESOLUTION PROBLEMS IN DEALING WITH THE SOMALIS CRISIS

IGAD sponsored search for peace in the Republic of Somalia-- leading to the Nairobi Reconciliation Conference, its Cease-Fire Accord-- and the long lasting Inter-Somalis political negotiations—leading to the Global and Inclusive Accord-- have singled out the end of the anarchy, peace, the re-unification of the country and a transition towards a new political dispensation as their targets. The complexity of the problem, the shaky determination of the Somali Warlords and its relative financial and material poverty allowed the international community to take over the active “sponsorship” of the overall process. This long and frustrating process of inter-Somalis negotiations eventually led to the Global and Inclusive Accord, one year ago has being implemented. Due to the nature of the Somali “political class” and the mediation methodology, some real dialogue over the Somali crisis did not took pllace. Negotiations were subordinated to the imperatives of power sharing—between the major Somali tribes (you must get a State post or chair or …die)! The mediation team was composed of representatives of the UN (the UNSG’s Special Envoy), IGAD members, AU, EU, and the Arab Union. The delegates chose the Federal system and has been selected 275 MPs who elected the president of the TFG.

TRANSITION TO DEMOCRACY AS A SOLUTION TO THE CONFLICT.

The transition, so far has succeeded in the Somalia. A new attempt has taken off, with the formation of the Transitional Federal Government. Will this transition succeed? Of course, the crisis of legitimacy has been at the center of the Somalis political crisis, not size of the country, tribalism or the mere presence of the ‘fabulous’ potential of natural resources. Transition to democracy aims at dealing precisely with the legitimacy question. Forces (domestic and external), opposed to democracy, have made democratic transition in the Somalia almost impossible

To assess the chances of success of this new attempt, two questions need to be addressed separately: what is ending and what is starting? Basic principles which guide the process of transition have been arrived at on the basis of a formal consensus between Somalis parties reached and sustained under foreign pressure.Allthough mistrust between Somalis actors still prevails. The profound pacification of the population at large, the presence of people political mobilization and the absence of political will on the part of some warlords to deal with crucial issues of the crisis make the people at large interested and politically powerful to exercise pressure for the transition to be non-conflict bound and successful.

So, what is ending? People want the war and balkanization to end as a way also of ending the State decomposition and collapsing. The reconstructed State is supposed to transform the conditions of existence of the protracted Somalis crisis. Foremost, it is supposed to organize credible, free and fair elections to lie to rest the problem of legitimacy. With the choosing of Federation System, the specter of the “strong man” or “providential man” politics seems to have diminished. Perhaps, such as a situation may end the secessionisms and balkanization phenomena. Even if there is no debate, and thus clarity, on what type of State is going to be reconstructed. The people want it to be the one responsive to their needs; this will need to be struggled for.

And what is starting? Federalism with Pluralism is creating a real possibility of debates on national issues. Political battles are likely to be conducted on the basis of ‘policy against policy’ (politique contre politique) and battles may be more focused on points of public consciousness.

With this, different forms of political organization of politics are likely. The question of what kind of relationship to power is possible for power to be openly serving the Somalis people is going to be raised and confronted more consciously. If institutions of democratic empowerment are allowed to function relatively independently, transition will be more focused on bringing about credible, free and fair elections.

These possibilities will be very much constrained by the everlasting weight of external forces opposed to the transformation of the structural socio-economic conditions of the Somalis crisis. The result of the now being planned IGADS leaders will be the test of the political will of the regional political leadership and the international community to opt for sustained regional peace, equity, representative democracy, social justice, mutual trust based pursuit of regional security and pro-people developmentalist regional cooperation. It is a big challenge; it requires stronger and more open and trustworthy types of political leaderships within each country and in the region.


By Jama A. ELMI PhD,
Toronto, ON CANADA
The opinions contained in this article are solely those of the writer, and in no way, form or shape represent the editorial opinions of "the Center for Peace and Democracy in Somalia (CPD)"

Mogadishu: Yet another wake-up call!

Somali Prime Minister Ali Mohamed Gedi has survived from a second assassination attempt in less than six months. This despicable act of terrorism is aimed at derailing the rebirth process of the Somali State, and indeed is yet another wake up call for the international community.

There is no doubt that Somalia has suffered from, unprecedented atrocities over the past fifteen years or so. But, this latest attempted assassination against a Somali leader is out of tradition and marks a new turn of the Somali conflict.

In normal circumstance, such act in a member state of the United Nations would have warranted not only a universal condemnation at every level, but also an immediate initiation of a joint criminal investigation. Forensic scientists, and other international experts would have been flown inn to Mogadishu to assist the government in identifying the perpetrators and, presumably, establishing possible involvement of international groups - if any.

Notwithstanding however, no foreseeable help from the international community is in the horizon mainly due to security concerns in Mogadishu.

Whilst, the questions of who’s behind these attacks? What kind of material has been used? Are every body’s guess, those who oppose to the peace process have indeed a lot to answer!

In the mean time, Somalia remains a scar on the face of the civilized world. It is widely recognized that ignoring to resolve the Somali issue over the past fifteen years, has provided an appropriate incubation time and conditions for, among other things, genocide against humanity, terrorism and indeed high seas piracy.

The latter along the Southern coast of Somalia is an unprecedented new chapter in the recent history. This has been best explained by a new report from the London based Environmental Justice Foundation in which an estimated number of 700 illegal fishing vessels are operating to deplete Somalia’s natural resources. The audacity and ferocity of the pirates, be they armed foreign looters or out of law Somalians, has reached new levels threatening even commercial shipping lines in the Indian Ocean. It is to the world's best interest to tackle the root problems head on instead. Clearly, this will require a joint action by the new Somali government, regional governments, the United States, International Maritime bodies, and UN agencies.

In addition, despite repeated warnings that Somalia may become a breeding centre for terrorism, the civilized world has also chosen to turn a black eye on the issue.

The atrocities against humanity in Somalia has also not been dealt with. Today, a handful of warlords accused of genocide and mass killing freely fly in and out of the world capitals with the exception of the recent attempt by the Swedish authorities.

Above all, in spite of the hard preconditions, the world community has, so far, failed to genuinely support the outcome of the peace process sponsored by them. There are still – nonsense - arguments with regard to the relocation of the new government to Mogadishu. The current assassination attempt proves president Yusuf's point, that Mogadishu is a dangerous place and could not be secured without external help.

Clearly, Somalia does not need new envoys and fact-finding missions, but rather it needs building “accountable national institutions” - period. Failure to do so will most obviously have serious adverse effect on the regional stability and the world peace at large.

Dr. Abdishakur Abdulle, Ph.D.
Shakur5@hotmail.com
The opinions contained in this article are solely those of the writer, and in no way, form or shape represent the editorial opinions of "the Center for Peace and Democracy in Somalia (CPD)"

Pirates and jihadis shake up Somalia

Although it was only the attempt on a luxury cruise ship that made headlines, Somali pirates attacked five vessels last week, with shipping experts saying the operations were apparently directed from a mysterious "mother ship" prowling the busy Indian Ocean corridor.
Most vessels escaped, but one was commandeered, bringing to seven the number of vessels now being held captive along with their crews by pirates operating along Somalia's coastline, the International Maritime Bureau (IMB) said.
Rocket-propelled grenades and assault rifles were fired at the US-owned Seabourn Spirit, carrying 150 western tourists, by gunmen in two small speedboats, but the ship's captain managed to change course and speed away. Thousands of merchant ships carrying oil and other critical coommodities pass the Somali coast to the Cape of Good Hope every year. (IOL, Nov. 12).
Meanwhile, events within Somalia are largely overlooked by the world media. Heavy fighting apparently sparked by an Islamic militia's moves to close cinemas and video stores in Mogadishu killed at least seven people and wounded more than 12 over the past two days. Fights between gunmen loyal to Mogadishu's strict Islamic courts and local militia defending the densely populated Yaqshid district began on Nov. 12.

Gunfire could be heard from all over Mogadishu, home to 1 million of Somalia's 10 million people and scene of frequent street battles during 14 years of lawlessness.

"We have not opened the schools this morning, because of the shooting and heavy bullets which are falling down," said school teacher Abdullahi Hassan. The wounded reportedly included a child hit by a bullet in the chest.

In the 14th attempt to restore central government since 1991, Somalia's new President Abdullahi Yusuf returned from Kenya this year but has failed to establish authority. He has set up base in Jowhar outside Mogadishu due to insecurity in the capital. Rival warlords have effectively carved up the nation since ousting dictator Mohamed Siad Barre 14 years ago.

Political violence also continues. Khadar Osman Elmi, son of the second deputy speaker of the Somali parliament Osman Elmi Boqorre, was gunned down in south Mogadishu Nov. 12.
Speaker Elmi, who has just defected from a Mogadishu-based faction of the new government to the Jowhar group, told reporters he believed the killing was politically motivated.
One house recently attacked by the Islamic militia was used during a recent visit by Somali Prime Minister Mohamed Ali Gedi, who belongs to the Jowhar group of the divided transitional government. (Reuters, Nov. 13).
A court in Somalia's breakaway region of Somaliland has sentenced eight people to death for killing three foreign aid workers. Seven others were sentenced to life in prison for their role in the murder of two British aid workers in 2003 and a Kenyan in 2004. Somaliland, which is not internationally recognized, broke away from Somalia after it descended into chaos following the overthrow of Mohamed Siad Barre in 1991. (VOA, Nov. 14)

Source: World War 4 Report, Nov. 14, 2005
The opinions contained in this article are solely those of the writer, and in no way, form or shape represent the editorial opinions of "the Center for Peace and Democracy in Somalia (CPD)"