Bleak Predicament of Kenyan Adventures into Somalia…! - Part One
By Prof. Mohamoud Iman Adan- Keydmedia - Virginia, USA - One thing that Somalis know more than anything else in the real life is warring. The battlefield is a barometer of worthiness and fallen heroes become instant role models for the memory of kin generations.
Traditionally, war is accepted as an exacting macho business, and the more you have that staff the more you earn respect and privileges from your people and the foes alike. Circumstances vary.
It could be rustling someone’s herd of camels and becoming instant wealthy man. A bleeding ego caused by poetic slander may trigger long lasting inter-clan vendettas. It could be caused by canning someone’s prodigious she-camel, or it could be caused by inter-clan blood feud equation.
No lingering hard feeling after by party negotiations, which is followed by prompt reparations. Within days, genuine community elders and religious exponents broker peace in the land, which is offset by impartial retribution paid to the wronged party in camels-the yardstick currency of nomadic life. Courtesy and handshake seal the settlement with amiable coexistence in the land. The brokered peace could be temporary or a long lasting one according to the prevailing circumstance of the time. However, at the heat of foreign invasion all local issues are put on hold until they ward off the external enemy while fighting on the same side.
History should serve us a living lesson in real life. In 1992-1994, about 35 thousand UN contingents from 36 countries failed to capture Mohamed Farah Aideed-the chairman of USC and round up his supporters and bring peace to Mogadishu, let alone controlling all the regions of Somalia.
Defamed, they had to leave the country in defeat after becoming entangled into the clan-based conflict and becoming part of the political disharmony. Admiral Jonathan Howe, the strongman in charge of UNISOM mission commented wearily after giving up hope of the UN failure, “The Somalis run away from the rain and catch up in haste to lend a hand in cross-fire.” UN did not heed that background.
UN gave the green light to AU to handle the political conflict in Somalia and they deployed over 40 thousands of well-seasoned Ethiopian army to come to Somalia and support the rule of unpopular TFG establishment in 1996. After two bloody years of urban war, the Lions of Africa suffered the death toll more than half of their combatants, and departed home defeated and licking their wounds at the end of 2009. This Ethiopian experience did not serve the AU as a living lesson.
As that was not enough, the AU replaced the Ethiopian army with 9,000 AMISOM contingents from Uganda and Burundi in 2007 to bolster a weak TFG hastily coined by the UN and the AU liking and forged in foreign soil. This is failing too, because they could hardly dislodge al-Shabaab squads militarily from their backyards.
Now we have Kenyan army trying to install a regional authority of their creation in Jubbaland and decimating al-Shabaab from the land. Unfortunately, al-Shabaab is a moving target very hard to take out militarily unless we invite them to take part of round table negotiations and hammering out the fate of the country. TFG is not willing to share power with al-Shabaab, and al-Shabaab doesn’t want to 2nd to the TFG. They want even partnership.
In terms of traditional standards, local warfare had nothing to do with plotting political intrigues, land grabbing, displacement of native clans from their lands, aiding allied clan supremacy and exploitation of offshore oil deposits and other vital natural resources.
Somali nomads under the leadership of Sayid Mohamed Abdulle Hassan nailed down the British Empire garrison off the shores of northwest of Somalia for 21 bloody years in early 20th century. Only the British Royal Air force dislodged the Drawishes from their strongholds in the region.
Take the Biyamal resistance fought along the coastline of former Benadir region against the invading Italian army in the middle of 20th century that took another 21 years that ended in mutual agreement to peace and respect to each other.
The resistance fighters were only armed with bows, poisoned arrows axes and spades and they hold back the enemy back because they had the unanimous support of the people. After reconciling with the elders of the movement on mutual terms did the Italian army landed on shore. Such historical facts did not serve a lesson to any aggressive enemy against the sovereignty of the Somali nation.
Kenyan authorities are the midwife of the birth of Azania, or perhaps any other partner of their liking in the future. Kenya is there to consolidate Azania in the region as a buffer zone between her and the lawless Somalia.
Mr. Gandi, the future President of Azania wears two hats. He wants the Kenyan army to get rid of Al-Shabaab and install him on power, while keeping a revolving backdoor with Kenyan Government for back up or bail out.
Kenya wants Azania in place and taking over the Jubba lands and be part of the exploitation of its oil fields and other commercial natural resources. Everything else is a pure political fabrication and excuse of convenience to launch such invasion.
However, there’s another temporary drawback that bogged down the invading army. The report we have received says that the Kenyan army has crossed the borderline without have prior intelligence to guide the army. It looks that the incursion was based on political showmanship instead of military push.
The move in the darkness had compromised the element of surprise attack. Such evitable failure gave a crucial head start time to al-Shabaab to flee, regroup, mobilize and refurbish weapons, retreat or fortify their strongholds. Also, the timing of the military operation was flawed.
It is in the heart of the raining season when transit on rough roads is impossible for one to two months, depending on the gravity of rainy season and the condition of loam and clay soil terrain very hard to drive by even with 4 wheel drive military vehicles. Such laxity is not an option for a military operation expected to be highly mobilized.
Layers of Lies
Let’s see the cross-cut layers of faulty intrigues at play in Somalia and identifying the stacks from the bottom up: There’s clan supremacy at play spear-headed by Gandi and his Kenyan clan loyalists.
Then there’s the unpopular political profile of the TFG handled by expatriate native Somalis who are instrumental of the balkanization of the southern regions. Then there’s the scrambling policy of EGAD countries who are partitioning Somalia on clan-based enclaves. Then there’s the polarizing policy of UN who rule Somalia behind the screen. There’s al-Shabaab menace, the killing machine of Somalia’s political reconciliation.
Then there is the Kenyan, the French and Norwegian oil consortium who are leading the economic exploitation efforts and investing on expropriation of offshore oil deposits in the southern regions of Somalia. There’re Somali economic brokers of the natural resources of the country who are there to sale the wealth of the nation to global conglomerates. There’s a depopulation policy of East African countries that are undermining any political reconciliation to take roots in Somalia. And then there are the non-committed observers who are lurking at the corners and waiting until the Somali interest group partition the country to potential buyers, just to mention a few faulty layers at play in Somalia.
Money and power change hands, and everything are conducted under the mantle of secrecy. No justice, no peace, no stability, no transparency, no accountability and no one, however criminal he may be, was ever brought to the court of justice because no one wants a court of justice to be there in the first place.
Protracted conflicts are inevitable, but the Somali people would like to have an honest broker(s) on the ground, like USA or perhaps Turkey, who can glue the pieces together as America did in Europe after the 2nd WW. Perhaps it could be feasible to arrange a consensual marriage with respective Somali regions to USA counterparts for ten, twenty or thirty years, until Somalia become conductive to political reconciliation under the umbrella of a federal system. Could that be an everlasting Solution for Somalia…?
Forget about the UN policy guidelines that failed to bring forth a new beginning. Forget about the EGAD countries who are in the frontline of partitioning Somalia into spheres of influence. Forget about the lethargic involvement of Arab countries that Somalia is member of them. Don’t ever mention about Europe who is fighting with its economic survival.
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- Part 3: A Different Perspective For Long Lasting Peace And Stability In Somalia
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