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Wednesday, September 29, 2010

President Sharif Ahmed at the UN: Time to leave

I was taken aback after I watched President Sharif Ahmed’s speech at the 65th Session of the General Assembly of the United Nations (New York, 23-25 and 27-30 September 2010).
The president shouldn’t have accepted the invitation to address such an important audience who have no time to entertain a failed president that cannot hold his government together – a nominal government that lives in the barracks of AMISOM.

It was an embarrassment for the president to have participated Turkey’s Somalia fund raising campaign in last April, leaving behind a government without prime minster and certainly to address the general session today again leaving behind a government in taters is absolute madness. The president’s speech was a carbon copy of his previous speeches in which he usually blames the opposition Islamists for everything that went wrong but rarely talks about any substantive development that his government has achieved since its inauguration in February last year. 

The international community who have their ears on the ground are bitterly disappointed with the poor performance of president Ahmed who wasted his government’s limited time, mandate expires August 2011, in senseless political infighting at a time the Islamists are breaking the morale of the TFG protection contingent of AMISOM. Due to his lack of relevant experience in general and public administration in particular, he spend a lengthy time on how his government ministries are planning to deliver services, capacity building, global warming and etc when in reality not a single ministry has an office let alone staff – he made himself the laughing stock of the day. 

I think president Sharif Ahmed was shot in the heart, if he has one, by the intentionally timed announcement of Amb. Carson that the US Government will deal with the breakaway regions (Somaliland & Puntland) aggressively rather than the TFG. This statement clearly shows for the first time that the international community has come to the consensus that the south is beyond redemption and as such to be left for Al Shabab . The Ambassador said” "We think both of these parts of Somalia have been zones of relative political and civil stability, and we think they will in fact be a bulwark against extremism and radicalism that might emerge from the south." 

This change of heart from the US government also carries the threat of creating further instability in the breakaway regions as there is a burning issue, the SSC factor (Sool, Sanaag and Cayne Region), which needs to be settled before the new policy is put in to force. The US government appears to be walking in to another land mine when it sides one tribe against the other in the area collectively called the breakaway regions which has neither established boarders nor common ideology. The blanked geographical region houses the SSC region which encompasses 40% of the land mass of the former British protectorate which their identity was wrongly side lined by the statement of Mr. Carson – the US has to do her home work right to avoid offending communities that they mean to help. 

Sharif Ahmed’s government has been embroiled in seismic inside political rifts during its short life. The speaker of the parliament was dragged out of his office in a very ugly way in May only to be replaced by the most corrupt politician of all - Sharif Hassan. The TFG’s argument at the time, as always, was that the differences among the leadership have been sorted out - a new war springs up
before the lips that read the statement dries out. Within the space of four months the prime minster was pushed to resign after he couldn’t stand the pressure from the president and his hired so called MPs who only vote for who ever gives them money. The Mps mostly live in neighbouring countries and are called in only when one of the three top leaders needs them for a kill and as a consequence are paid handsomely – they collect enough to pay for their hotel lodgings for a month at least. Their current going rate is in the range between $500 and $1000 depending on the importance of the motion in the eyes of the senseless TFG leadership. 

The present state of the TFG: from secularism to Wahabism 

The driving vision on which President Sharif’s TFG came to power was footed on the creation of an environment where the Islamist forces are set to annihilate each other to pave the way for a secular institution that was envisaged at the time to rise fairly quickly from the ashes of the demise of the Islamists. This was precisely the sore grape that Colonel Abdulahi Yusuf, first TFG president, refused to swallow and which ultimately led to his forced resignation from the TFG Presidential Office. 

Since Sharif Ahmed assumed power in Mogadishu the pronounced dividing line between the secular TFG and the Islamists insurgents has faded away. Six months in to the presidential office, President Ahmed, failed to make any progress either at the battle field or in bringing the Islamists through negotiation in to the TFG’s fold in any form or shape. Surprisingly a scary picture of total Wahabist(Islamist) coalition bank rolled by the international community surfaced although the early warning sign seemed to have missed the eyes of the political analysts of the west. The Islamists infiltrated the TFG structure to a degree that so many of Al Shabab and Husbi - Islam fighters benefitted from the US & EU paid training programs in Uganda and elsewhere. The torrent of defections to the Islamist side, including the elite presidential guards, became the norm and more ludicrously one can hardly tell whether the TFG soldier or commander is an islamist mole or genuine TFG soldier. The degree of Islamist infiltration in the TFG boarders to insanity as it is hard to imagine that the Minister of interior’s own body guard Mr. Ali Abdulle Kheyre will detonate himself in the presidential compound only to be found that he was Hisbu – Islam member all that time. 

The abduction of the two French nationals from their hotel rooms was a joint operation between the Wahabis of the TFG and the Wahabi insurgents - the minister implicated at the time was not even questioned. Barely a month passed before the same Minister’s (interior) name was again linked to shipments of weapons passed on to the insurgents and still that went with impunity too. Just a fortnight ago the commander of the TFG army was sacked after the arms and ammunition stores were emptied out without any authorisation. The few of the ARS members who tactically joined his camp found to their disappointment that Sharif Ahmed is not the type that can make use of the opportunity the international community offered him and thus either rejoined the Islamists with whom they share the fundamentals or left the country. 

The premier’s case: the golden resignation letter

Premier Sharmarke was nominated on the recommendation of Sharif Hassan(current speaker) on the grounds that he can easily be handled as he has no prior experience in the Somali politics and that he will be tasked only to officiate the administrative arm of the government. Contrary to the general believe Sharma’rke was Sharif Hassan’s(Speaker) man not Sharif Ahmed’s(president) as most of the people assume. The friction between the president and the prime minster was simmering for a while but it reached boiling point during the negotiations between the TFG and Ahlu Sunna which resulted the inclusion of some controversial Ahlu Sunna members in to the cabinet and the subsequent purging of some of the president’s right hand men (follow Wahabis). The Ahlu Sunna leaders and foot soldiers were all the time disowning the members parachuted to benefit the power sharing agreement in their name. While the President was at UN, Ahlu Sunna issued an official declaration that they have severed their relations with the TFG which in fact crumples his false claims – Ahlu Sunna and the TFG Wahabis can’t be bed mates although they are accountable to the same master(Ethiopia) albeit to a different degree. 

The president is a mortally wounded man at this juncture - with the exception of the minister of interior and the presidency minister his men were methodically flushed out in to the Indian Ocean. The president is standing alone and the resignation of the premier was voluntary one that attracted a golden hand shake like that of his predecessor Prof. Ali Geedi who walked away with 25 Million dollars. Sources close to the TFG put the goodbye package of Premier Sharma’rke as sweet two million dollars and a pledge for the post of Somalia’s envoy at the United Nations. The source also mentions that warlord Qanyare and Sharif Hassan (parliament speaker) concluded the deal after colonel Hassan Abshire failed to convince the premier to resign twice. 

Conclusion: Summary of the talk of the town of the last two months
  1. The production of the Draft constitution which itself was turned in to political tug of war, makes no sense what so ever as the preconditions for this tool to get legitimacy is yet to be realized – it is like putting the cart before the horse. The 1960 constitution suffices the nation until a government that controls the country is born.

  2. The resignation of the premier Sharma’rke may give a glimmer of hope in the potential nomination of two qualified professional candidates; Mr. Hussein Abdi Halane who has extensive experience in international organisations or Dr. Bashir Nur Loyan who is an upcoming academic trained in America. Their nomination won’t safe the TFG from the downhill trajectory as the basic leadership and team work is missing.

  3. The third time official declaration of Ahlu – Sunna that they are not party to the TFG reinforces the isolation of Sharif Ahmed’s one man show foreign owned entity.

  4. The Islamists that rule south and central Somalia with the exception of the few blocks guarded by AMISOM showed to have home grown, robust and functional structure that has the potentiality to unite Somalia under one banner while the enclaves and the Islamist foes, the west promotes, are mainly happy to serve Ethiopia and as such have no strategy to counterbalance the Islamists in the near future.
Abdikarim Haji Abdi Buh
Email:abdikarimbuh@yahoo.com
WardheerNews contributor and political analyst

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