“Clan monopoly on violence” is what UN wants in Somalia

Mohamud M Uluso — The unethical practice of UN Somalia and Eritrea Monitoring Group (SEMG) to leak disputed allegations to the media for vilification of Somali leaders and clans has done huge disservice to the efforts of statebuilding in Somalia and reinforced public distrust about foreigner powers’ intentions.
Article Keydmedia Online
“Clan monopoly on violence” is what UN wants in Somalia

Equally, it has also tarnished the reputation of the United Missions for Somalia (UNSOM) advisor to the federal Government of Somalia. SEMG, supposedly an independent Auditor-General for assessing the implementation of UN Security Council Resolutions, has violated six rules necessary for the integrity of its work.

The six rules are: 1) In-depth examination of the consistent following of policies and procedures agreed upon by all parties, including the international community; 2) verification of the accuracy and reliability of the information collected for assessment; 3) observance of impartiality and apolitical stance with respect to interested parties; 4) investigation of constraints, inconsistencies, and conflicts related to mandated policies; 5) transparency towards investigated subjects; 6) accountability to higher impartial authority.

Admittedly, Somalis has weak interest in their nation building mainly for foreign manipulations.  But more dangerously, SEMG is one of the five machetes (destructive channels) used by international actors to make Somalia’s annexation inevitable. The other four machetes are: UNSOM, AMISOM, IGAD, and International Non-Governmental Organizations (INGO). The four organizations compel Somalis to own inherently contradictory policy prescriptions,  pay attention to foreign allegiance, and preside nominal government. Then, SEMG comes in to dramatize the misdeeds and failures created and nurtured by the four. This triggers humiliating international media blitz that calls for fresh international actions-intervention, sanctions, and change- in Somalia. 

The latest report issued by SEMG on Feb 6, 2013 assesses the implementation of UN Security Resolution      2093 (2013) concerning the partial lifting of arms embargo to achieve the goal of statebuilding in Somalia. The resolution, adopted against the vigorous objection of Kenya and Ethiopia, was intended to implement the UN approved plan for the creation of Somali National Army (SNA), necessary for a sovereign Somali State.

Unfortunately, the report heavily influenced by foreign warlord experts on Somalia targeted Hawiye clan, particularly Abdgal, Habargidir, and Ayr sub clans for ulterior motives. It is an abuse to blame the federal government for the flaw of arms to Mogadishu Market Arms. The incendiary language used in the report against Hawiye clan clearly indicates the prejudicial frame of mind of the authors of the report.

In general terms, the report accused the federal government of failure to comply with the reporting of its military structure, logistical infrastructure, and arms control procedures to the UN Security Council. With the exception of unaccounted 1,000 AK-47 rifles supplied by the Government of government, the most sensational evidence discussed in the report is Hawiye conspiracy.

The evidence include clashes between Habargidir and Biyamal clans in Lower Shabelle region, Abgal and Bantu in Middle Shabelle region, and clashes between sub clan Habargidir and “heavily armed troops of Puntland” near Galkaio. Another bizarre allegation in the report is the connection of President Hassan Sheikh with Al Shabab leader Yusuf Kabakutukade for clan affiliation. SEMG did not disclose the motivation of President Hassan in supporting Kabakutukade who zealously plans to kill him.

SEMG has been disturbed by the discovery of attempts of the federal government to improve the cooperation between Abgal and Habargidir for strengthening the cohesion within Hawiye clan because Darods in Puntland and Jubbaland States felt threatened. This argument shows one of the many flaws of clan federalism.

 The report ignored to recognize the complain of the federal government about the lack of notification of arms delivered by the UN to regional states of Somalia or to acknowledge the receipt of the 47 pages report of the federal  government detailing the SNA structure, logistical infrastructure, and arms control. It also omits the publicized reconciliation efforts arried out by cabinet members, parliamentarians, security officials, and civic leaders who genuinely intervened and mediated peaceful agreements about the clashes in the Middle and Lower Shabelle regions. SEMG decided to take over the investigations of both clashes from the Somali state and other Human Rights Organizations. No follow up for the clashes near Galkaio.

The conspiracy link of President Hassan Sheikh, Minister Abdikarim, and presidential Security Advisor Abdurahman Isse with Hawiye clan fits the strategy of the United Nations, European Union, African Union, and IGAD to divide Somalia into institutionalized clan fiefdoms under the slogan of federalism. Some clans have established their local security institutions directly accountable to Addis Ababa, Nairobi, and Jigjiga. This raises the question about the usefulness of the federal government in the face of country divided into clan fiefdoms.

Former Foreign Minister of the Transitional National Government of Somalia, Ismail Buba, suggested in his concluding remarks during the 8th Fagaaraha Forum held in Mogadishu on Feb 15, 2014 the urgent need to review the structure of the Somali government and to separate the administration of “South Central Somalia” affairs from the federal government. His suggestion has encouraged consultation among Hawiye clan for the proclamation of “Hawiye Council for security, development, and International cooperation,” which will take over the responsibilities of the security, finance, public administration, port, airport, and local government functions and the partnership role with international forces stationed within Hawiye fiefdom. “clan (not state) monopoly of use of force (violence)” is what UN wants in Somalia.

Without plausible justification, SEMG has recommended a reversal of the 2013 partial lifting of arms embargo to get the quick approval for tightening, intrusive, and humiliating sanctions, which will be a blow to the federal government’s ability to gain public support and credibility. It is critical that members of the UN Security Council set aside the inflammatory SEMG report for rebuttal and further scrutiny.

The federal government angrily dismissed the SEMG allegations. Its report does not address the Hawiye conspiracy, but it answers the requirements of UN Security Council Resolutions. In January, the Security Advisor of President Hassan pleaded with SEMG Coordinator to give feedback about the government report to no avail.  

SEMG overlooked  many factors screwing up the Somali security and politics: one, the federal government populates members of all clans but it burdens and messes mainly with Hawiye clan; two, externally influenced clans defied this shared federal government by labelling it as “Hawiye representative, ” a mendacious argument and decided to remain separate; three, according to clan federalism, clan represents antagonism, hatreds, and self-importance; it stimulates the concept of “otherness, “and anti-citizenship; four, Somali National Army in south central Somalia is formed along clans ( twelve brigades) and is subordinate (ally) to AMISOM forces deployed in four sectors-Mogadishu, Beletwein, Baidoa, and Kismaio. Donors pay salaries and arms. The role of the Federal government remains to be as a liaison.

Incidentally, SEMG report reveals the UN deceptive position. The UN publicly supports but practically undermines the sovereignty, territorial integrity, and political independence of Somalia; similarly, it declares opposition but spearheads Somali refugee repatriation in high risk area; it killed the New Deal strategy for Somalia despite expressing support; it symbolically calls for the leadership role of the federal government in the Somali affairs but practically stifles; it is silent about Somaliland rejection of UNSOM and about Kenya and Ethiopia meddling; it fetters the Somali security build up. 

Clan federalism forces each clan to devote time, energy, and resources to pursue its short term vanity in rivalry mood with other clans. The security concern of each clan could instigate border and trade disputes, restriction of movements of people, revenge killings and harassment, and introduce the temptation of deterrent and preemptive strikes.

The ultimate outcome of clan federalism is to see Somali clans under permanent threat among themselves and not being anymore security concerns to neighboring countries. The use of the phrase “Somalia in peace with its international neighbors (Kenya and Ethiopia)” will be replaced by “clan X in peace with its other Somali clan neighbor(s).”  This is what the UN and Ethiopia are hoping to achieve in Somalia. It is a sad chapter of Somali history close to become a reality.

However, Somalis have the power (maybe not the will) to avert such tragic fate. In his timely analysis “Are Corruption and Tribalism dooming Somalia’s war on Al Shabab Extremists? Andrew McGregor reminds Somalis and foreigners the following: 

Eliminating the Shabaab threat will remain impossible no matter what degree of international assistance and funding is provided so long as service in national and local administrations in Somalia is seen as a means for personal self-enrichment and the furtherance of clan interests at the expense of national interests. Ultimately, the path Somalia will follow will depend not on UN assistance or AU military deployments, but rather on the interest Somalis themselves have in the national project.

Mohamud M Uluso

Article 21 May 2021 10:14

I read your article on Foreign Policy with keen eyes and interest. While whining from public officials does not deserve response from any sensible citizen of the Republic of Somalia, I felt compelled to counter false narrative with more objective analysis.