WHY DON’T (YOU) ETHIOPIA AND LIBYA UNITE?
Central Authorities in Somalia finally lose its last stronghold of Mogadishu and collapse irreversibly in January 26, 1991. Mogadishu falls into the hands of General Caydiid and hotelier Cali Mahdi as leaders and militia commanders of exclusively Hawie-dominated USC-Ethiopia and USC-Mogadishu/Rome. Like any other city-state of the so-called “Third World” countries, Mogadishu becomes the “real Somalia” in the eyes of the international community, particularly those involved in Somali issues. The diplomatic world deals with only those, who hold power in the Capital City. Somalia’s “International Partners” express awe and shock at image and exploits of savagery of Caydiid and Cali Mahdi. World press branded them the “Most Powerful Warlords” in Somalia. They continue to dominate the headlines of the international press on Somalia for nearly a decade. Hawie clan come out to be perceived as the biggest, and therefore, the most powerful force to reckon with in Somalia’s clan-dominated politics. Some non-Hawie sub-clans in deep-South-Central Somalia joined the Caydiid-Cali Mahdi bang-wagon to become “second-rated” Hawie clan members. Gosha or Jarer-Weyn or Bantu Somalis opt to call themselves “Kamasle Hawie” (The big-nosed Hawies). Other Somali clans become minor stake-holders or irrelevant in the new Somalia’s high-stakes clan power joking and rivalry. With the connivance and blessing of Caydiid and Cali Mahdi, a tolerable leeway of acceptance, as secondary stake-holders, is accorded to Issak sub-clans in the North-West as Hawie’s incentive for “Anti-Darood alliance”. Darood was deemed “irrelevant minority and descendents of Arab immigrants.” The Marehans of post-Barre Somalia nearly lost self-confidence as part of Darood clan system, as Hawies come into prominence for the first time. The creation of Jubba Valley Alliance with Cayr sub-clan of Haber-Gedir is one of the symptoms of Marehan’s clan-politics schizophrenia in the illusion of new Somalia’s reality in Mogadishu.
As opportunistic and dishonest politicians deceive the people of North-West Regions of Somalia with their imagination of fantasy and fear-mongering of Southern domination, the people of the South-Central have been equally misled into accepting an inferiority-complex on the falsehoods of suffering from centuries of Majertinian slavery. The biggest problem facing any Somali politician hailing from Hargeisa and Mogadishu now is how to un-program or undo the false and dangerous indoctrination of their clan power-bases. Any rational and acceptable politician in Hargheisa and Mogadishu now fights against this “Been Fakatay (an accepted lie), as the Somalis say. In the case of Mogadishu, these historical falsehoods are the main reasons for holding the entire country hostage and render it stateless for two decades, not understanding that by maintaining the status quo, Somalia, slowly, but surely, is dis-integrating. Some in Hargeisa see such a scenario in Somalia as the best opportunity for Somaliland’s Gooni-usu-Taag campaign.
As the dust of clan-cleansing finally settled in the North-West Regions (Somaliland), President Mohamed Ibrahim Egal, taking over from Abdirahman Tour, faces new challenges of local clan politics. The powerful alliance of Gar-Xajis effectively hinders the leadership and mandate of his new administration in Hargheisa. He takes bold steps to bring them “down to their knees”, according to the contents of a personal letter he sent to his Haber-Awal business community in Djibouti at the time, to claim and boast off victory (I loaned the only copy of that letter to the Former Vice-President of Puntland State, Mohamed Abdi Hashi, and couldn’t get it back from him; he wants to keep it to satisfy his anti-Issak bias on the top of Majertainne bashing). Amid the chaos and anarchy in South and South-Central Somalia, Somaliland unilaterally embraces secession in wishful thinking that it can survive alone after the disintegration of the Somali Republic. They ignore even the recent history of Hargheisa and Zeyla almost got lost as part of the “Haud” and once Somalia disappears, “Somaliland” will be the easiest land and sea-outlet assets to be claimed fast and swallowed irretrievably (Recall Ras Makonen-Haile-Selesse insistence in British-Abyssinian negotiations on Hargheisa and Zeyla being part of the Haud under Ethiopian sovereignty in the 1880s). Perhaps, some in Hargeisa want this to happen rather than to entertain themselves with the annoying music of Somali-weyn, and in this way, offer their children’s children the opportunity (or condemnation) to struggle for freedom once again. Tragically, the Somaliland’s attempt to secede from Somalia stifles, if not eliminate, its world-famous heritage of inventiveness in literature (hal-abuur suugaaneed). This can thrive again within the fold of Somalia with the freedom of people’s imagination again in a wider competition and market for renaissance and renewal of arts and poetry among their brethren. Sadly, the current political atmosphere of Somaliland’s “Gooni-usu-Taag (secession/independence) produces no more Hadraawis and Gaariyes. The opportunity for supply and demand is negligible there. It is “Dawladda Qolka iyo barsadda” (“one bedroom State), as Somalis popularly describe Somaliland, in terms of geographical size and business opportunities.
The Ogadens are torn apart between ONLF, Ethiopian occupation, and Kenyan political marginalisation, amid their disarray, following the disintegration of MOD (Marehan-Ogaden-Dhulbahante) Coalition Government, while the Majertaines suffer from Siyad Barre’s ” Kacaan-diid” (anti-revolutionary) and “power-hungry bunch” profiling syndrome. Many suffer from paranoia, as a result, regarding debate on leadership in any field of human endeavour, where-ever they have to deal and interact with other Somali clan members, and habitually, they opt for low-profile and let go existence in Somalia and within the Diaspora. Fortunately, the Late President of Somalia, Abdullahi Yusuf, proves every one wrong and leads the way to re-kindle their imagination on possibilities and potentialities. Hence, you see the types of Caddes, Farooles, and Abdiwelis, running for office.
In Somalia’s neighbourhood, Djibouti attempts to replace Somalia in international arena, keen to seize all it can chew and swallow from the spoils of the Somali State, after suffering for a long time from the shadows of “Big Brother” Somalia (Siyad Barre’s towering image, in particular), and its junior membership of the Arab League. On the other hand, Ethiopia and Kenya see new opportunities for the scramble of the Somalia, and a good chance to deal with the “The problem Child of Africa,” effectively this time.
In the “Restore Hope”, President’s Bush Sr campaign, the international community collectively tries to re-instate Somalia only once. They couldn’t. They, thus, finally decide to leave it to its own device, as they found out that every body there is “he is own Sultan” and cannot be re-civilized as “they are still tribal savages” Richard Burton described in his First Footsteps in East Africa over two hundred years ago.
The world community, however, faces a new problem: Somalia becomes a danger not only to itself alone, but to international peace and security as defined by the UN. The international community eventually decides to manage the country disintegration peacefully by containing its threat of terrorism within its borders. Powerful nations use proxies to remote control this troublesome and difficult people in the Horn of Africa. To-day, I don’t think any keen observer of Somalia’s tragedy can fail to identify the elaborate levels and multitude of “security, developmental and humanitarian projects” put in place to insure the country’s quiet disappearance from the geo-political map.
By ismail H. Warsame