Nairobi(SPR) For the past 2 years Somali politics has entered in to a new area, and Somali tribal leaders and politician has not hesitated to proliferate versions of what it will be the end of Somalia ever having a centralized government, the return and 2012 being the heights of traditional rivalries between tribal groups, jihadist group, neighboring state and global power each competing itself interest and each of those vision catches aspects of emerging unsettling reality to the cause of stabilizing Somalia once and for all. If the current status quo stays the prospect of more conflict is looming and I ought to give the readers the daunting reality of the next pattern of conflict and were it may arise if the current political trend continues.
It is my intention to analyze the division among Somali tribal based politics and to the facts that is known already that the source of future Somali conflict will be dominated by tribal and sub-tribe’s own political interest rather then collective interest. The division between north and southern tribal politics and policies is quite clear, each setting their own self determination and political goals that serves only the concerning tribe.
- What is the overwhelming difference and commonality between Southern politicians i.e. Galmudug, Puntland and the Northern i.e. Khaatumo and Somaliland?
It is easy to concentrate to the fact that they are all in pursuit of tribal politics serving the interest of their own tribe, the second similarity is that they are all locked in a border conflict each claiming territories over the other, furthermore they are all in a competition to sell their political concept and attract aid and foreign alliances by hook and crook, and the fourth similarity is the lack of trust in between all of those tribes, each of those commonality is the very reason why Somali politics tribal policy is fragmented and lacks flexibility to adopt and change for the good of the country. The gap between tribal political policies and their difference are always based on the easy political tribal route and not managing difficult task of addressing the tribal political system that has often failed, instead we see competing and counter competing policies and differs from centric groups, federalism group, and jihadist group to a secessionist group.
2) The next pattern of conflict has already begun between the self declared semi autonomy state of Khaatumo and the facto state of Somaliland. This conflict stems from the territorial claim of Somaliland claiming territorial right over the Sool, Sanaag and Cayn territories. To contrast Khaatumo argues’ the right to self determine which led to the creation of Khaatumo State as part of Somalia. This has led to the current war between S/land and Khaatumo State and had a domino effect to the neighboring semi-autonomy state of Puntland although the effect is only verbal and has gone as far as discredits of Khaatumo’s existence and self determination.
- So where could we see further conflicts?
The recent treaty signed in February (Garowe 2) has created extra tension between Puntland, Southern regions’ and to certain degree the effect is felt by the facto state of Somaliland as this could hamper the political interest of Somaliland. The recent accusation and counter denial of the Somali Theater bombing is a sign of division among TFG 4.5 Politician and shows distrust among the TFG leaders, this was Garowe 2 domino effect and we are seeing the beginning of the Garowe 2 treaty conflict. Furthermore, Somali Academician argues that Puntland and the Southern regions or Galmudug are locked in a power battle between them and any small conflict could trigger to a major conflict (God forbid). How is this possible? The answer lies the formation of the recent tribal alliances of between different type of tribes, i.e. the talk between Mareexan and Habargedir forming alliance once again, more importantly Majeerteen alliance with certain tribe of Abgaal or the resurrection of the late President Egal political legacy of Irirism linking the northern tribes with the southern tribes shows that 1991 rivalries and alliances is at it heights and this could translate to real tribal conflicts. On the other hand the recent announcement of Somalia and Somaliland discussen about their future brokered by United Kingdom is changing the status quo of the region. Puntland and Somaliland could go in to a border conflict if the status quo change’s and is a daunting and unsettling prospect for those regions often known as the most stable region in Somalia. Recent demonstration in Baran capital of Warsengeli tribe (http://www.somaliaonline.com/community/showthread.php/61563-Somalia-Protesters-refuse-Somaliland-authority-in-Sanaag) shows the border division hype and is direct evidence of recent refusal of Somaliland opting out the planned discussion between Somaliland and the TFG, the Somaliland Foreign Minister quoted the refusal as reported by BBC Somalia website “the extra 2 representative added by Puntland are individuals who are part of Somaliland territories and can not be part of the talk”. Is it possible that we see border conflicts soon between Southern regions, Puntland and Somaliland? We ask the readers to evaluate the fact presented, what is the solution to this crisis that is looming? We already know Khaatumo V Somaliland begun, what is next?
- Somalia and the foreign influence next conflicts?
The well respected Guardian newspaper published a recent article about the London conference and it is finally remark was “the Secretary of the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office Rt. Hague is right to suggest this could be Somalia's last chance. The state as presently constituted has only existed since 1960. The preceding decades, going back to the 1880s, were marked by persistent British (and Italian) colonial incursions. Ironic then, and possibly fitting, that more modern-day British meddling may precipitate Somalia's ultimate demise” (http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012/feb/22/hague-british-meddling-somalia).
To evaluate the Guardian closing remark Britain interest in Somalia is both economical and strategically important to UK and the West, however, well over a decade, Britain and the West choose containment as a module to manage the Somali affairs, therefore, world lords were free to commit atrocity knowing that the Internal community or the Internal Court (ICJ) showed a blind eye on Somali warlords and up to now there is no accountability towards their wrongdoings. The ICJ is a court of last resort, since there is no respect to the rule of Law nor any judicial system in Somalia, the ICJ and the International community has the morale obligation to act under the Geneva Convention 1949 and all major states are signatory to the convention. http://www.icrc.org/ihl.nsf/full/380. To contrast, the ICJ has issued an arrest warrant against Omar Albashir of Sudan, or more recent Saif Al Islam of Libya. Somalia has been held to ransom by the incompetent tribal/world lords leaders, this is green light to commit humanitarian crimes and it is partly to blame why Somalia is a failed state. Britain is host of the largest Diaspora in UK but the Diasporas community is fragmented to challenge HM UK Government in order to eliminate the current containment policy of the West.
The Ethiopian and Kenyan involvement is so far self serving both are neighboring countries, thus, it lacks the trust factor. The historical aspect and conflicts between the neighboring countries are well documented, therefore, it is worth focusing on the new emerging players i.e. Chinese and the Turkey involvement in Africa and Turkey involvement in the Islamic world and in particular Somalia has been well received by Somali Nation’s, however, what does this translate to in to the global political terms? Could this lead to power struggle between the West and Turko-Chino agenda? The shift of power could mean the West could lose Trillion Dollar asset in Somalia, the opposite option could be the West and Turkey managing the Somali affairs and historically Turkey were consulted when Palestine was given a way http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Balfour_Declaration Sèvres peace treaty to Israel by Lord Balfour. This external influence could tip the political balance of Somalia and how it is Trillion dollars asset could be managed. The recent article published in BBC confirms the creation of a Joint Management Board post TFG. I ask the reader what this entails? And could this create a further proxy war played in Somalia as tribal leaders might strike alliances with Joint Management Board (JMB) member state and be used against each other for JMB State self interest. It is for the readers to evaluate and I hope the readers could draw a self conclusion by understanding the eco-political agenda of internal tribes and External states. Click here http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-17144557
To serve a general conclusion, it is worth summarizing the looming conflicts between Somali tribes, border conflicts, and the deadly questions are, how would you resolve Puntland V Somaliland border conflict? How would you resolve Khaatumo V Puntland or Somaliland v Khaatumo? How would you resolve Southern region V Galmudug, or Galmudug V Puntland? How would you resolve the external conflict i.e. Petroleum interest of the West? How do you resolve the strategic interest of Iran and the West? How do you resolve the strategic interest of Egypt and Ethiopia? And so on. Can fragmented tribal leaders deal with external conflicting interest or internal tribal conflicts? The answers could be that Somalis should learn from past conflict and from great civilizations and how they resolved conflicts. The 30 year bloody war of Europe was ended by rectification of Westphalia treaty in 1648 recognizing each others sovereignty and historians argue that this was foundation of European Union creation. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Westphalian_sovereignty. Can we learn from the prophet Mohamed (PUH) and how he unified the tribes in Yethrib and eliminated the 120 year war between tribes in what is now known as Medina? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Medina. What can we learn from the unification of the Chinese communist party who keeps over a billion people under 1 umbrella? And what about the unification of the United State of America? All of these civilizations had one thing in common, the importance of being unified Nation, if tribal politics is abolished to the detriment of tribalism believers but to the benefit of the state, the Somali state could find answers of all those realistic questions that currently have not been answered and resolve internal/external conflicts coherently. It is fact that Somalia is in a fragile situation and dependable both economical and political term as foreign powers often dictated policies that serves their own interest and this has effect on gaining the momentum to change the political course of Somalia. We are nomad Nation and it is hard to learn collective rule as this was never practiced by our ancestors and the divining code in between tribes was customary law (Xeer). This modern globalized and fast moving world and political state system requires separation of Power, by separating tribalism and politics as a 2 different entities. 2012 represent many political challenges and requires strong leadership to steer the country back to stability. We hope the above looming conflicts could be resolved by Somali’s themselves by recognizing there is enough resources and land for all Somalis, to the readers, I ask? Could the Trillion dollar resources be the unity factor for us all or be a hinder to our progress? A Somali academic proposed a 5 point action plan; the beautiful conclusion that Mr. A Hashi has proposed to the Somali’s in order to safe the country from self destruction was “that Somalia survival lies by abolishing tribalism” and I sign of with the author’s words. “In order for any future government or Somali society to function, the one obstacle to Somali progress must be addressed and removed. It is the TFG, without reservation it is crime against the Somali that the international community sponsored and imposed such an entity upon the Somali Nation and it is a lesson learnt for all Somalis. We as a Nation MUST obsolete tribalism as a cultural belief system and replace it with a strong loyalty to our country, our Nation and for the young generation, build them a beautiful kingdom they will inherent” We love all Somali’s and may God bless you. (Click here http://818860688613225822.weebly.com/ )
By Doonyo A Ahmed & Julie Green
On behalf of Somali Strategy for Peace Council in UK