| Jan-Mar 09 | Apr-Jun 09 | Jul-Sept 09 | Oct-Dec 09 | Jan-May 10 | Jun-Dec 10 | Jan-May 11 | Jun-Dec 11 |

[Dehai-WN] Mareeg.com: Somalia:The London Somalia Conference: A policy of status quo?

From: Berhane Habtemariam <Berhane.Habtemariam_at_gmx.de_at_dehai.org>
Date: Sat, 17 Mar 2012 13:04:16 +0100

Somalia:The London Somalia Conference: A policy of status quo?


17/03/2012 By Abdulkadir Suleiman


Mareeg.com-The London plan had met with mixed reactions. Euphoric for its
participants, despair for its opponents and skepticism for the Somali
masses. Prime Minister of Somalia Abdiwali Mohamed Ali had gladly
proliferated through the media outlets right after its closing moment that
the meeting was highly successful and the outcome was beyond his
expectation, but his people are not only uncertain about the reason of the
jubilation of the gathering but almost have no genuine anticipation from it.
The underlining reason is simple because this was the 15th luxurious
assembly for the cause of Somalia and all of them ended being futile.
Furthermore, no one is sure how calculations made miles away from the place
of havoc would have definite impact on its targets. Coincidently, a channel4
investigative reporter, Jamal Osman tried to discover what Somali people
could envision about the conference, and impressively he revealed some
heartbreaking facts regarding the huge gap between the policymakers and the
general population in Somalia when during some of his interviews in areas
controlled by Al-Shabaab after seeing a photo of David Cameron, people
thought him to be Mullah Omar – the Taliban leader! On the other hand, it is
obscure what the reaction would be of the deliberately excluded groups –
Al-Shabaab who are militarily much stronger than the Somali attendees at the
consultation. Despite of having encountered setbacks recently, still they
are a potential threat to the national security and to any diplomatic
initiative that does not shadow them. Yes, they have merged with Al-Qaeda
which might complicate future negotiations with them, but this must be a
diplomatic offensive rather than military strategy for the reason that Ayman
Alzawahiri, the current leader is far less charismatic, less spiritual than
his predecessor; and more importantly the organisation itself is in
desperate position. The Afghan Taliban led by Mullah Omar are quite tilting
away from Al-Qaeda and would likely sign a diplomatic engagement with the
US, the predator of Al-Qaeda. The American sophisticated targets are
atrociously murdering the organization’s operational figures, from South
Asia to the Arabian Peninsula and to the African region. And finally, the
Arab sympathisers have turned their backs on Al-Qaeda along with their
youth. Thanks to the Arab Spring!

After all, the talk show in London was all but underscored one existing
strategy – that was just to keep Somalia on its track as a weak central
government, keep it fragmented and feed on the headlines that Somalia,
comprehensively, is the only failed state on this planet. Surprisingly, it
seems that the Britain’s foreign policy approach to Somalia was not
fundamentally changed, even in this contemporary world as David Cameron,
Prime Minister of the UK and organiser of the meeting had invited all the
existing clan fiefdoms in Somalia at Lancaster House as well as the Somali
government. It was the British imperialists that dramatically advanced the
cause of clan politics in Somalia through its imperialist designs in the
19th Century via its unpopular ploy – divide and rule; and yet as it was
obvious in this move that the old policy was cunningly implemented. It is an
established fact that Politics do not change but administrations do. The
predominant policy of the Empire in that period was designed to gain
economic advantages and security as the British Industrial revolution was
severely demanding African raw materials. To exploit those raw materials
uninterruptedly, the ‘Mad Mullah’ for the empire, Syed Mohammed was to be
extinguished. Actually history repeats itself. The two exceptional issues of
today’s UK objectives in Africa are materialism and its fortification.
Unlike 19th century, today’s demand is rather black diamonds. So as to
secure and to protect this desire, security must first be prioritized,
because the Modern Mad Mullahs (Alshabab) for the empire are too lethal than
that of the 19th Century. Even though UK’s International Development
Secretary Andrew Mitchell denied, The Observer argued that Britain’s nascent
involvement in Somalia was nothing more than economic drivers since British
officials were secretly conducting high-stakes dash for Oil in Somalia
offering humanitarian and security assistance to the respective autonomies
in the country. Likewise, in an Africa Programme paper published by Chatham
House in May 2011 mentioned that the current coalition government’s top
priority in Africa is to secure access to natural resources and energy

For the tribal empowerment, the Foreign Minister of Somaliland - the
self-declared independent autonomy in the Northwest region, Mohamed
Abdullahi, eloquently said that he met with his UK counterpart, William
Hague on the sidelines of the meeting. He added that both countries,
according to him, agreed on two important factors: a) to increase Britain’s
humanitarian assistance to Somaliland, and b) that UK government would soon
open its office in Hargaisa. But he didn’t further elaborate what would be
the office, a diplomatic or a liaison? However, there was absolute
justification for the UK government by this execution that the Somali
politicians have great distrust among them and the autonomic leaders who
appeared there have complete loss of hope for the leadership of the central
government than the Somali people. But this could not be translated that
they are perfectly represent citizens under their jurisdictions as they were
there merely to vest power and for sightseeing.

The alternative for the galvanisers as to adopt a collective action on
Somalia issue, nonetheless, should have been a faithful encouragement for
the Transitional Federal Government, TFG, to conduct a genuine
reconciliation on the ground without the well-known rhetoric expressions by
the international community(IC) as well as the TFG leadership. It could have
the spirit and the letter support of the IC. Any pseudo-leader who might
disobey this initiative should have been put on travel ban mechanism,
withdrawal of his property in the International banks, and if this could not
have been effective arrest warrant should be preferred.

Opportunities that come up with the Conference:

These are just opportunities but not realizations. Their future pragmatism
would eventually determine their success.

Cameron’s effort to galvanise the issue of Somalia into coordinating
approaches was noteworthy despite a slight majority of the participants did
not show enthusiasm. Prime Minister of Ethiopia Mela Zanawi had politely
protested that he was not consulted about the agenda of the conference in
advance and therefore hinted that its implementation might face severe
challenges. No wonder he is the giant of the region. But more than 40 high
profile officials attended for the sole agenda of Somalia were too highly
remarkable and that could be a turning point for the regional politics.
However, it remains to be seen how the principals agreed would be
effectively implemented and similarly how its participants might willingly
adhere to those principals.

The proposed Bureaucracy of Joint Financial Management Board (JFMB) has come
up with the right time, and as it was agreed, it would effectively manage
the flow of cash in and out of Somalia. It would further prevent the corrupt
officials to mislead the income of the TFG and to use it for private gains.
Just another financial scam has been dominating the news recently and its
exposure is also very fascinating because it immediately succeeded the
London Conference. A former head of the Public Finance Management Unit of
the TFG Abdirizag Fartag had revealed that the TFG received an income of 58
million dollars in 2011 at a time when millions of Somali people starved to
death for the basic needs of survival. According to him, only 1 million was
spent to social services and the rest went nowhere. Such shameful scandal
could be controlled through JFMB mechanisms.

The follow up procedures that would lead Britain’s Foreign Secretary William
Hague are not only welcomed but another timing factor. He was specially
assigned to monitor the implementation of the conference’s outcome and the
gist is that any deviation from those London principles would not be
tolerated and must be adopted and accomplished. Should they be legitimately
and appropriately approached, it would maximize the credit for the UK’s
conservative party.

Another positive sign was the respect of Somalia’s political and territorial
sovereignty. The London Communiqué had encouraged the TFG leadership and
that of the Somaliland to initiate national talks and that they should
resolve their difference through dialogue means. Yet before anything else, a
political will is very important regardless of the rhetoric remarks
exchanged by both sides. And it is the national interest of Somali people to
safeguard their solidarity particularly in this 21st century where regional
cooperation and regional integration are the most fashionable political
agendas. At the end of the day a political will would depend upon how these
opportunities would have been substantiated.

Missed opportunities

The oversimplifying of the creation of Somali National Forces (SNF) and the
frequent reluctance of the UN Security Council (UNSC) to remove arms embargo
on Somalia was a complete misfortune. Contrary, the UNSC extended the number
of African Missions in Somalia (AMISOM) from 12,000 to 17,731 troops. So did
its futile budget! As President of Djibouti Ismail Omer Gele reminded the
UNSC at the conference that such already failed policies must not be
reverted; unfortunately his plea has fallen to death ears. 17,000 African
troops would not be able to cover the required security establishment as
approximately 40,000 international troops utterly failed in early 1990s that
culminated the famous Hollywood movie Black Hawk Dawn, and Ethiopian might
was also severely bogged down in Mogadishu streets. A popular story does not
deserve further elucidation. The AMISOM troops shouldn’t able to peruse
Alshabab fighters deep in the rural areas because this can effectively be
done only by strongly disciplined SNF, Prof. Afyare Abdi Elmi emphasized.

A soft approach for the Alshabab was completely outlawed given the fact that
there must be nationalistic entities in the ranks of the group. Even States
at the frontline war on terror having nightmare experiences with militancy
fiascos have extended talks to them. Prime Minister of Pakistan Yousuf Raza
Gilani, in February for the first time had appealed to the militants in the
region to come to negotiating table to advance the cause of peace and
reconciliation. Putting Alshabaab under the banner of pariah would not make
the London Conference productive. Theoretically and practically 80 percent
of insurgent wars are motivated by political action instead of military
aspirations as Mao Zedong had observed in earlier centuries. So some
elements of Alshabab may accommodate political agendas. Governments like
Qatar had voluntary offered to facilitate any reconciliation between the TFG
and its principal rebels just like it is doing between the Taliban and the
US. However, the US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton emphatically rejected
such initiative in her lecture at the Conference. Certainly, people might
have confused Hillary’s statement without the explicit interpretation of US
foreign policy by Noam Chomsky.

Abdulkadir Suleiman: Researcher at the Pakistan Institute of International
Affairs (PIIA)


      ------------[ Sent via the dehai-wn mailing list by dehai.org]--------------
Received on Sat Mar 17 2012 - 08:04:35 EDT
Dehai Admin
© Copyright DEHAI-Eritrea OnLine, 1993-2012
All rights reserved