The stateless situation of Somalia, rise of extremist religious extremism of Wahabi Sect, sea-piracy, enormous porous borders, historical territorial disputes and conflicts, greedy Somali traders willing to sell anything and everything Somalia has to the highest bidder, destruction of Somali fauna, strategic oil/mineral interests in the country, among other things, made Somalia uniquely attractive to intelligence community. Ethiopia, Djibouti, and Kenya became permanent centres for operation of these foreign spies on Somalia. These countries provide convenient centres of interdiction for apprehended terrorist suspects from Somalia. Many Somalis and non-Somalis were targeted for elimination when convenient. Former Somali military officers and Professionals in other fields were eliminated in mysterious circumstances. No national institutions existed to investigate the murders and horrendous crimes against the stateless people of Somalia. It was like hunting them for sports or game in eliminating any body important for the future rise of Somalia as a state.
While these heinous crimes were being perpetrated against them , the Somalis were busy in under-cutting each other in what everybody commonly call “clan-rivalry” and warlordism, dismissing these daily crimes as the work of their respective rivals, and embracing for new wave for revenge in a vicious circle that pushes Somalia into further abyss and mayhem.
Sometime after 9/11, and following the establishment of the Islamic Courts Union (ICU) in Mogadishu. The USA government renewed its security interests in Somalia. USA security agents were keen in finding the connection between Al-Qaeda and these Courts. USA resources, however, were limited in Mogadishu. At the time, the only available intelligence infrastructure they could rely on was their global surveillance programs of monitoring internet and telephone communications. They found out connection existed between elements of the ICU and foreign extremist organizations, including Al-Qaeda. But, they needed human intelligence on the ground in Mogadishu. They had to seek help from Djibouti, Kenyan and Ethiopian governments, and Somalis in their Diaspora communities, to establish monitoring and operational network in Somalia.
In the process of setting up espionage centres and other intelligence gathering channels throughout Somalia, they sent a delegation to Puntland State to discuss ways of cooperation against the real and perceived common enemy of Al-Qaeda. In one of a series of meetings with Puntland officials, the US side asked for Puntland help in linking them with those Mogadishu warlords Puntland thought they could be effective against the Islamic Courts Union. State officials inquired those US officials about which warlords they were working with so far. They told Puntland officials that they were not happy with the effectiveness of the likes of Osman Ali Caato and Mohamed Qanyare Afrax. “What about Muuse Suudi Yalaxow?”, asked one official of the Puntland side? “Oh! No! This guy doesn’t pick up his home phone for three months in a row. American cannot work with such a man!? “What about Mohamed Dheere?”, asked another official? “The guy in Jowhar?; yes, we could try that one?”, concluded, the US Intelligence Officer. Mohamed Dheere soon found himself airlifted from Jowhar to Wilson Airport in Nairobi, Kenya.
A few weeks after these meetings in Bosaso, Puntland State of Somalia, Mogadishu Warlords announced the creation of The Alliance for the Restoration of Peace and Counter-Terrorism. US dollars, in suit-cases, exchanged hands in Dayniille Air-strip in Mogadishu, under the command of Mohamed Qanyare Afrax. The hunt for Al-Qaeda and foreign persons starts in earnest in Mogadishu. Warlords competed in the new game of hunting people for unaccountable US dollars. Any light-skinned person of seemingly Arab origin was vulnerable and a possible target for warlord’s grab. Residents of Mogadishu broke down into ICU and Warlords camps-a polarisation that transcended beyond the traditional clan rivalry into an ideological rift of national and religious connotations. Ethiopia stepped up its war of proxy, this time acting for Americans as well, with the provision and offer of access facilities for US counter-terrorism forces in Godey and elsewhere in its country. Djibouti became centre for US covert operations, including interdiction of foreign elements captured in Somalia, and drone attacks against targets in Somalia. Kenya established itself as the coordination centre for covert operations in Somalia, business and financial hub, and modern resort of get-away for Western intelligence and counter-terrorism agents.
A huge spy network of Ethiopia and Western countries took deep roots in Somalia. They now use highly trained personnel of Somali origin from the Diaspora, on the top of well-placed locals. Don’t get surprised if you find spies posing as camel herders in Somalia’s countryside today.