Oodweyne News - Latest Somali News Update

The State of Somalia Today and the Role of Foreign Powers By: Nasrudin Mohamed Ahmed

On 19 September 2020, Somali President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed “Farmaajo” addressed the nation as a wrap-up statement to announce the outcome of the series of the National Consultative Meetings on the electoral model that were concluded in Mogadishu on the same day.





H.E. Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed addressing the nation
The result was appalling – as the Heads of regional states insisted on the indirect clan based electoral model as opposed to the one-man, one-vote or direct elections to which the president had to cave in. Both houses of the Federal Parliament endorsed the agreement on 26 September 2020. This has shattered the hopes of millions of Somalis who were optimistic about the future of the country when the President had earlier signed the historical electoral bill of direct elections into law in February 2020 guaranteeing universal suffrage.
President Farmaajo revealed he had to capitulate to the demands of the Heads of regional states to preserve the national unity and avoid the foreign interference should the parties not reached an agreement. “Some foreign powers exercise utmost pressure on Somalia, turn its people against each other and show the world to be resolving the very predicament they have created in the first place,” the president remarked.
According to the president, it is not the wish of the regional and foreign powers for Somalia to attain political and security stability and see a strong Somalia so that they sustain their interests – interests being unfortunately cheered for by Somalis themselves.
The president’s statements reminded me of a famous speech given by the former president of Kenya, Daniel Arab Moi at an American University during the Somali Civil War where reconciliations between the warring factions used to be engineered by the neighboring countries including Kenya “that even though there are Somali peace talks hosted by Kenya, the truth is that Kenya would not like to see a united strong Somalia once again”.
Kenya went on to create Jubaland State of Somalia in the South against the will of the Federal Government. Using it as a buffer zone, Kenya aimed at further destabilizing Somalia and fueling tribal clashes. As Barako Elma, a researcher at the Institute for Security Studies in Cape Town mentioned in an interview that Jubaland’s initiative seeks to curve the entire three regions of Jubaland; Lower and Middle Juba as well as Gedo region out of Somalia. Perhaps Kenya has far more ambitions in Somalia than we can think of and that’s the reason why many Somalis were not surprised when Wikileaks disclosed a cable of a correspondence sent from the Saudi Embassy in Djibouti affirming a strategy in place to divide Somalia into four that to be annexed to the neighboring Kenya and Ethiopia.
What’s more surprising is that Jubaland is now headed by a man once described in a UN report as a “spoiler” and a “threat” to Somali stability, but now glorified by USA, UK and other International Community members as the “President” despite him serving for a third term in a row repeatedly electing and re-electing himself in unlawful local elections. Isn’t it clear that foreign powers are sitting on our backs as we try to swim through the quagmire, they put us in, in our quest to attain political and social stability?
The foreign power interventions in Somalia had been there down the history as BBC’s Africa Editor, Ms. Marry Harper once mentioned in an interview with Aljazeera. Drs. Shamis Hussein argued in her fascinating book “Whose world is it anyway – the fallacy of Islamophobia” that the root causes of Somalia’s problems are the foreign interventions, ceding a segment of Somali territory to Kenya and Ethiopia, fueling clan disputes to undermine Somali unity, playing major role in triggering off the civil war and labeling Somalia as a “threat” in the region. She quoted a statement made during a conference in Harar (Somali claimed region ruled by Ethiopia) in 1954 between the British officials in Somalia and the Ethiopian authorities of the time drafting a policy to split the potential alliance of Somali peoples against Ethiopians, by fostering the traditional antipathy between Issaq and Darod groups of tribes in Somaliland.
No wonder why many countries including the Soviet Union, Cuba and Yemen supported the Ethiopians against the Somalis during 1977 war. This is a clear evidence of the wider Ethiopian policy with an international support to split the Somali people in such a way that hopes of any great Somali federation will be frustrated. At present, Ethiopia maintains consulates and missions in three cities inside Somalia including the capital city of Mogadishu, as if there were three countries.
After dividing the greater Somalia into five (5) territories, five (5) regional states have now been formed, by the very countries that divided the country, with five (5) so-called presidents–all having access to international relations under the notion of federalism in addition to Somaliland. This kind of federalism further exacerbates tribalism and division among Somalis. Surprisingly, the five regional states, paradoxically called federal member states (FMs), are regarded as five countries by foreign embassies in Somalia.
Military interventions, fighting the terrorism which could conceivably be US-invented phenomenon meant for US expansion and influence in the world, supporting warlords and patronizing the glorified potentates of theoretical federal member states who are seen as obedient agents, are all forms of failing Somalia. Simply put, foreign powers failed Somalia and continue to undermine its unity. How on earth can Head of federal member state challenge the President of Somalia at an international scene, visiting foreign countries and striking deals?
The Danish Institute for International Studies produced a report – The Somali Conflict; the Role of External Actors – in which they disclosed that Somalia has been securitized by the West under the heading of the global war on terror, that is, it has been discursively constructed as a threat of “existential” proportions and considerable urgency, thus warranting a resort to “extraordinary” measures. Securitization is motivated by the familiar assumption that failed states somehow foster terrorism.
During the electoral consultation meetings, the US ambassador to Somalia met with the Heads of federal member states (FMSs) on several occasions, but never emphasized the importance of the “one-person, one-vote” elections to the progress of the country. Likewise, other ambassadors to Somalia including the UK’s, EU Representative, the UN Special Representative to Somalia have all met these heads of (FMSs) but none have put pressure on them to respect the constitution and go for the direct electoral model that is already signed into law. In fact, looking at the results, one would make a case that USA, known for its delivery of democracy at all costs even through cruise missiles, if necessary, UK, EU and other foreign powers are partners in crime supporting the undemocratic corrupted electoral model in Somalia which is a step backwards.






International community meeting with heads of Puntland and Jubaland states
After independency through 1969, Somalia held two general elections in a democratic fashion. Unfortunately, the last democratically elected President Abdirashid Ali Sharmarke was assassinated in 1969 an assassination that remains a mystery. Some believe the hit was masterminded by a foreign country paving the way for the famous military coup d’état in 1969 that was straight away backed by United States of America (USA) and the Soviet Union, the two then superpowers in the world killing off any hopes for democracy in Somalia, the same way it’s now been dashed.
In his book of “Lords of Poverty” published in 1989, Mr. Graham Hancock is astonishingly telling real stories on the failure of aid organizations in Somalia and how the aid can go badly wrong. He revealed how Somalia is encouraged to depend on aid funds for survival and for any development initiative it wishes to undertake. Mr. Hancock illustrated how the majority of the aid funds are spent by the donor agencies themselves in recruitments and lavish living while the remaining resources are either bestowed or withheld during an emergency as they see fit. This exactly what the President has pointed out in his latest speech.
Somalis are not aware of any crime they committed so that they are punished and treated improperly. Is it because of our Islamic faith that we are disintegrated? Or because of the natural resources richness that we are ripped apart so that we will never be able to live again with dignity? Could it be the strategic importance for Somalia? The competition of the foreign powers in Somalia was latest joined by the Arab countries as UAE is making serious moves to extend its influence in the Southern regional states after it had introduced military bases in Puntland and Somaliland and overtaken its two ports.
At times, I seriously mull over the partnership referred to by the International Community when they call themselves “partners”. Are they partnering the country with Somalia, what’s left for it? Is it a new wave of recolonization? Is Somalia on its way to be Palestinized? I wasn’t caught unaware when General Wesley Clark, the former NATO commander revealed the US plan to trouble seven countries including Somalia back in 2001. The rest were Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Sudan and Iran.
For Somalis to survive in the long run, two issues must be addressed:
First of all, the International Community “partners” must support the good cause and stand by the constitution of Somalia and its right systems, not to undermine its unity and encourage corruption and above all take their hands off the internal affairs of Somalia. Somalia is troubled enough to tolerate the protracted international involvement in the Somali instability and the foreign dictation to its political processes.
Secondly, Somali nationals to always work towards the unity of the country and endeavor to settle their differences, if any, on their own without reverting to foreign actors and pay attention to the strategies in place to divide Somalia into smaller territories which is not a secret anymore. Unity is the victory of our nation.