So far, the consultations for the preparation of the London Conference on Somalia have been described as mere presentations of seven pre-determined themes while the views and suggestions of the Somali participants have been characterized as ambitious, opposing, and non-operational. Sure, the Somali views are diverse, not filtered and opposing but they share the deep desire for sovereign, democratic and peaceful post independence Somalia under a legitimate and accountable government that responds primarily to the needs and aspirations of the Somali people. That common desire is ambitious at this moment for which there is a strong need of an international help and commitment essentially focused on rebuilding the collapsed State of Somalia if there is serious concern and sympathy for Somalia. Failing or ignoring to take seriously that desire could foil the realization of many other positive objectives. The theme of addressing the causes of the Somali conflict and the need for new approach mentioned in the speech of UK PM, David Cameron seems abandoned or unarticulated while the publicly rejected Roadmap of the United Nations Political Office for Somalia (UNPOS) took the center stage.
The following seven themes hold different meanings to the Somali people as illustrated below:
- 1. Security: Means no professional responsible Somali national Security forces under the exclusive control of a legitimate national government and instead more foreign forces in Somalia. A local authority protected and empowered by foreign forces cannot be accountable to the Somali people.
- 2. Political Process: Means continuation of vassal Transitional Federal Government (TFG)’s model of IGAD, clan based regional states, letters to the Diaspora from the Special Representative of the Secretary General, and abusive threats and accusations as spoilers of peace to the critics of the inept TFG, Kenya and Ethiopian intervention in Somalia or opponents to Kampala Accord, the deceitful Roadmap or UNPOS’s wrongheaded policies. Even the representatives of the people of Somalia (Members of Parliament) are not immune from the foreign threats for punishment in fulfilling their constitutional rights and responsibilities. IGAD’s angry letter (IGAD threatens sanctions over Somali parliament) to the MPs who ousted the ex Speaker Sharif Hassan is a frightening and appalling example of infringement of Somalia’s sovereignty and proves the falsity of the international legitimacy conferred to TFG. In clear terms, Somalia is presently under the direct control of Addis Ababa.
- 3. Local stability: Means expansion of the Dual Track Policy which expedites Somalia’s fragmentation and conflict for resource and power competition.
- 4. Counter-Terrorism: Means insecurity, loss of dignity, freedom, death of innocent people in the hunt of terrorists, and deprivation of vulnerable Somalis from foreign remittances incomes and denial of humanitarian assistance in addition to Al Shabab’s cruel bans. Banks have been pressured to stop transfers of money to Somalia for counter-terrorism reasons.
- 5. Piracy: Means restriction of the Somali territorial water and utilization of marine resources, imposition of Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), continuation of illegal fishing and dumping toxic waste.
- 6. Humanitarian: Means intensification of the current Somalia’s depopulation by increasing the refugees, the displaced and impoverished population due to the massive military interventions and actions in Somalia.
- 7. International Coordination: Means increased support for the disintegration, polarization and division of Somalia rather than increased support for Somali driven peace, reconciliation and nation building.
Many like me hoped that a well structured, serious, intense and well funded consultations based on real examination of the actual situation of Somalia prior to the date of the conference would offset the doubt about the importance of a half day Conference on Somalia with the participation of more than 40 delegations. Now that hope dimmed.
Currently, there are seven parallel operational plans that are running simultaneously so that nothing will work for Somalia. The first plan is Kenya/Ethiopia (IGAD) strategy for Lower and Middle Jubba, Gedo, Bay and Bakol. The Amin Amir’s right picture in the box explains the plan. President Kibaki is asking PM Meles to leave the areas liberated by Kenyan forces after massacring Al Shabab and civilians. But PM Meles Zenawi refused and responded by saying, “you don’t know anything. I have been manipulating this country in the past 20 years.” Therefore, PM Meles relaxes on the bleeding Somalia. The strategy defines how the two countries could share the control of those regions independently from the rest of Somalia.
The second plan is IGAD/AU/UN strategy developed in Addis Ababa by a Joint Task Force of bureaucrats and it perpetuates the chaos in Somalia as long as possible so that Somalia ceases to exist as a nation. This plan has international attraction because it experiments new precedence for the cooperation between regional/continental and international organizations. The plan submitted by IGAD/AU to the UN Security Council deals chiefly with security matters and conditions the establishment of Government in Somalia to the success of security goals which could take more than 15 years. Al Shabab withdrew from Mogadishu on August 2011 and after six months AMISOM/TFG forces moved less than three miles with huge cost.
The third plan is the UK led London Conference on Somalia, which has started with the hope of state building in Somalia but now it recycles the roadmap themes. The plan introduces a new element which is called a Joint Financial Management Board. The High Level Political Committee and the Joint Security Committee established in Djibouti, and the Joint Financial Management Board expected to be established in London will constitute the instruments (institutions) of illegal International Trusteeship Administration on Somalia. In the context of London Conference, it has been circulated an Italian proposal which advocates a 16 months of UN/AU Trusteeship or what it is called Transitional Administration on Somalia. The Italian proposal has formally documented the total failure of the TFG and international efforts. Theoretically, the proposal is far better than the current situation of TFG’s vassal model or what Prof Afyare Elmi called “stealth trusteeship” on Somalia under disparate actors.
The fourth plan is sponsored by Ethiopia for the disintegration and destabilization of Somaliland. This plan covers the creation of Khatumo State and Awdal State. In spite of the fact that the Ethiopian forces escorted the participants of Talex Conference, some believed that the efforts led by former Prime Minister Prof. Ali Khalif, Dr. Ali Isse Abdi and Abdikarim Jama for the creation of Khatumo State will help Somalia’s unity. But emerging information indicates that Khatumo State and Awdal State are more prone to join the Somali Regional State of Ethiopia rather than unite with Somaliland, Puntland or Somalia. These developments could ignite new political dynamics that could produce serious consequences in the future.
The fifth plan is the roadmap and the Garowe Principles owned and managed by UNPOS through the TFG and Puntland. The central aim of this plan is to produce a federal constitution before March 2012 and new parliament against the will of the majority of the Somali people. The plan extends the TFG vassal model for another four years.
The sixth plan is the counter-terrorism operations executed by multiple security contractors under the US Government control. This plan works with the intelligence and other independent local contractors.
The seventh plan is sponsored by the Government of Turkey. It focuses on humanitarian, relief and social development needs. It leaves out the political and security matters or governance issues.
The TFG as a government has no input or role in all these plans because everyone knows its ineptitude. It is figuratively responsible for the acknowledgement of their ownership. All plans are disconnected from the Somali reality, interests and needs.
The support of TFG for the past seven years has resulted Somalia’s map in the box which conveys several messages. First, it considers Somalia only the territory below Galkaio. This is the operational map for the international community. Second it indicates the different areas of new Somaliacontrolled by foreign forces and local Militia. Third, it shows that the capital Mogadishu is under the control of AMISOM forces. Available information to the international community unequivocally confirms that there are no Government security forces in Mogadishu in accordance with the Transitional Federal Charter, which has been deliberately violated and disabled.
While the declared aims of the Conference are inspiring, it is fair to say that, based on the conference’s details, the London Conference disregarded Somalia’s expectation for self-governance and it is far from addressing the real problem of Somalia which is the formation of the Somali State. The actions of the International Community, Al Shabab and the TFG leaders are precipitating Somalia’s complete demise. Somalia faces the situation of either to sink or swim collectively. Only Somali Citizen Patriots can save Somalia. Ambassador David Shinn stated rightly that he doubts that it will be possible to end the conflict in Somalia unless the Somalis huddle to discuss their future at their expenses inside Somalia without foreign participation.
Mr. Mohamud M Uluso