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.
I’m not one to be accused of liking the The Economist, but I’m quite pleased to see a level of understanding about the geo-political conflict in Somalia this article manages to achieve, unlike most media outlets. For the very first time, I think, a representative of the ‘international community’ actually mentioned the need to put the warlords on trial for war crimes instead of giving them legitimacy and support to fix the chaos they’ve been perpetuating for the past 18 years.
What the world seems to have convinced itself is the theory that Warlords are politicians. Look at the mess Somalia has been in for the past 18 years – Abdillahi Ahmed Yusuf, Mohamed Qanyare, Musa Suudi Yalahow, Usman Ali Aato, etc. These are the people who are the main cause of Somalia’s misery. These are the same people that the U.N./U.S. were spending millions of dollars and human lives to capture in the 1991-1994 Operation Hope. Instead of the UN prosecuting these warlords for killing many U.N. soldiers and personnel, they’ve recognized them as the representative of the Somali people. Remember the images of U.S. rangers’ corpses being dragged through the streets of ‘Disho? The same warlords who were behind those killings were getting cold, hard cash from the C.I.A in suite cases in 2006 during the fighting between the Union of Islamic Courts and Mogadisho warlords. Warlords lose, Somalia gets a semblance of law and order, warlords flee to neighboring countries (some are even arrested for war crimes in Kenya – but you know how the story ends), and Somalis start to feel hope for the future. Then it all comes down crashing through internal mismanagement of the Union of Islamic Courts, but mostly from external forces’ willingness to make sure Somalia does not get what it deserves: the U.S., the United Nations, and Meles Zenawi of Ethiopia collude to re-empower the despised warlords once again to give Somalis more hell.
It’s ironic that the United States is willing to prosecute a 15-year old fighting alongside his Taliban-father for injuring a single Marine, but is more than happy to not only prosecute the killers of 18 U.S. Rangers in 1993 in Mogadisho, but actually reward them handsomely with U.S. taxpayers’ dollars. They call that an ”oversight’ of sorts.
The Economist is the first international publication to call Abdillahi Yusuf “Warlord President” and also put the Transitional Federal Government in quotation. I think we’re moving in the right direction finally, no?
via Spreading piracy highlights Somalias failure | The worlds most utterly failed state | The Economist.
Categories: East Africa, Somalia
Tags: Abdillahi Yusuf Ahmed, civil war, Ethiopia, failed state, somali conflict, Somalia, Transitional Federal Government, U.N., U.S., UIC, union of islamic courts, Warlords