Over the weekend, a long overdue cease-fire agreement was signed in Djibouti by representatives of the ‘Transitional Federal Government’, Ethiopia, and some of the opposition groups. I say ‘some’ because Al-Shabab did not participate, the most important group fighting on the ground. So the effect of the cease-fire is hardly comprehensive until all the elements from the Union of Islamic Courts agree to the truce. It is the first time the TFG and its head warlord Abdillahi Yusuf agreed to have Ethiopian troops leave the country before any further cooperation. Despite the breakthrough agreement, the wording of the document is so vague that there is no deadline for Ethiopian troops to leave the country because the agreement only calls for a ‘timeframe’ of 120 days for Ethiopia to pull out its troop, provided that the African Union troops are in place before Ethiopia fully withdraws, but in the meantime Ethiopian troops will only ‘leave’ certain locations around the country, including Mogadisho.
Of course Al-Shabab does not accept any presence of foreign troops, most of all Ethiopian, whether inside the cities or otherwise. Now the question has to be asked: is this the agreement that leads to peace for Somalis? I doubt it. But could it possibly, maybe, perhaps start the process of reconciliation and unity government as the truce calls for? I would like to think so. However, let us not forget that there are people, very important people, who would do anything to prevent Somalia from getting stability: these people include warlords, war profiteers, regional foes (who need Somalia to stay as it is), and of course qabilists (clan-mongers).
Another question that needs some pondering is why did the TFG/Ethiopia have agreed to this cease-fire now? Could it be that they’re also watching the elections in the U.S. with Obama favoring to cut support for these gangsters in the Horn if he wins? Or has Meles Zenawi realized he can’t win against an insurgency (how did Eritria work out, by the way) determined to cut his knees in Somalia? Perhaps that might be the case. Or it could just be another shrewd move on the part of Abdillahi Yusuf to buy out some of the “moderates” (i.e. warlords like Hussein Aideed and self-centered clan leaders) with plenty of cold, hard cash because his mandate to rape Somalia and rob the international donor’s money, will run out within 10 months? Unless I see otherwise, I’m inclined to believe it’s the latter because as long as Abdillahi Ahmed Yusuf and his fellow warlords both in the TFG and in the opposition, are the automatic default representatives of Somalia in the international community’s eyes, nothing will change in Somalia. I suggest it’s time all the warlords in Somalia are arrested and prosecuted for starter.