As unity seems to emerge out of the Asmara meeting of hundreds of Somali delegates, vowed to keep infamous ‘Ethiopia’ out of Somalia, war erupts in other parts of the multi-divided Somalia. A tit-for-tat, good and bad news follow one another in a precipitating rhythm.
Somalia has been de facto divided into three parts; Somaliland seceded proclaiming independence in 1991 in the North to control the former British Somali colonial territory. With the center of the Somali civil war converging to the South, Somalia’s North-Eastern and Central part declared autonomy in 1998 under the name of Puntland that underscores 3500 years of Somali History, notably due to the extensive passages of Pharaoh Hatshepsut’s Expedition to Punt (1480 BCE). Ever since then, people thought that civil strife would be hopefully limited in Somalia’s southern part only. Unfortunately, this proved to be wrong.
Quite unfortunately, due to the nefarious ‘Ethiopian’ interference, successive divisions, strives and discords have occurred over the past few years. Rancorous racists, the Abyssinian tyrants of ‘Ethiopia’ want to maintain Somalia divided, as they consider this great historical country as their enemy no 1.
Reminiscent of the unforgettable Abyssinian defeat and humiliation at the hands of the Great Somali King Ahmed Ibn Ibrahim, the Abyssinians, under monarchical, communist or bogus-federal/pseudo-republican regimes, have been incessantly revengeful and hateful in their attitude and policy towards Somalia; even today, fake ‘Ethiopia’ occupies a vast part of Somali territory, namely the tyrannized province of Ogaden where almost 5 million Somali face on daily basis multifaceted excruciating and intolerant oppression practices.
The different national aspirations led to the magnification of the most secondary and insignificant divergences. Somaliland regime sought to get international recognition without any success. Contrarily, Puntland rulers decided to wait until the civil strife ends in the Somali South in order to merge again into one and united Somalia.
Tribal and territorial differences have been added, and repeatedly rekindled by the catastrophic and malignant ‘Ethiopian’ pseudo-diplomats. Thus, Somaliland’s harbour Berbera became almost an ‘Ethiopian’ port, helping the landlocked country to avoid the relatively high Djibouti port tolls.
The territorial disputes evolve around a strip of land between Somaliland’s Erigavo and Puntland’s Bossasso (Bandar Kassim) which stretches from the ‘Ethiopian’ border’s Easternmost corner to the Gulf of Aden. This territory is inhabited by the Somali tribes Sool (inland) and Sanaag (on the seaside). The territorial conflict is not due to disputes for natural resources, strategic locations and historical claims. It is all due to the nefarious ‘Ethiopian’ infiltration that the UN, major powers, Human Rights activists and NGOs must finally decide to contravene and eradicate. Quite indicatively, part of the disputed territory, mostly the Sanaag tribe territory, self-declared independence as another state under the name Maakhir just a few months ago (1 July 2007).
The hostilities that took place over the past 48 hours targeted Las Anod, capital of Sool, at a distance of few kilometers from the ‘Ethiopian’ border. As the town belongs to Puntland, Somaliland had gathered military forces at a close distance.
According to Puntland website Garowe Online and quoted sources (http://www.garoweonline.com/artman2/publish/Somalia_27/Somalia_Military_buildup_along_Somaliland-Puntland_frontier.shtml), there was exchange of artillery between security forces from Somaliland and Puntland militias. One person was reported dead from Puntland’s side, whereas Somaliland’s authorities claimed that 3 fighters from Puntland were killed. Heavy reinforcements along the disputed unofficial border between Somaliland and Puntland seem to have taken place over the past few days, which suggests further deterioration.
According to the aforementioned portal, “Military sources in Garowe, Puntland’s administrative capital, told Garowe Online that upwards of 30 armored trucks left their barracks on Tuesday en route to Las Anod to reinforce the Puntland presence there”.
With Somaliland troops having also received armed reinforcements, Somalia’s Sool province seems poised to become another hot spot in the ongoing civil war of Somalia. Somaliland had reportedly maintained heavily-armed presence at 35 km distance from Las Anod over the past four years, as the government at Hargeysa never resigned from the idea of finally re-annexing Sool and Sanaag that were part of Somaliland for no less than 12years.
For the recent developments the government at Garowe held former Puntland Security Minister, Ahmed Abdi Habsade as responsible; as he had been fired by the Puntland President Adde Muse last July, Mr. Habsade was considered to have fast made an agreement with the Somaliland authorities in an effort to dissociate his sub-clan from Puntland – which he reportedly denied.
Local inhabitants have expressed great concern about the military building in the area, and IRIN (the website of the UN Office for the Coordination of Human Affairs / OCHA) reported that dozens of families from the conflict area were fleeing from their places, following the casualties.
According to a Las Anod inhabitant, Faisal Jama, the artillery exchange occurred at Abeseoley, a village at 22 km from Las Anod, involved one casualty, and ended up in the flight of the entire population of the village Anjiid (16 km in the North of Las Anod), who tried sought safety in Las Anod.
IRIN website report quotes the Ahmed Aden Arab, vice-minister of the Puntland government, who accused Somaliland for the beginning of the hostilities, adding that Puntland forces only riposted. The same report published the rejection of the Puntland accusations, quoting Said Adani, Somaliland government spokesman, who attributed the hostilities to local clan clashes, thus downplaying worries for escalation, and explicitly stating that the Somaliland forces were not involved at all (http://www.irinnews.org/fr/ReportFrench.aspx?ReportId=74392).
As the report correctly adds, the long disputed area that was part of the British colonial Somaliland territory is inhabited by Warsangeli and Dhulbahante, who belong to the wider Darod tribe and have a closer relationship with populations encompassed within Puntland. Until 2003, Las Anod was part of Somaliland, but following the military raid of Puntland soldiers – effectuated in December 2003 –, it has been kept under Puntland control.
This shows very well that the colonial borderlines do not reflect the real situation among the area’s various populations, and that the UN should immediately debate and deliberate on an urgent pacification in Somalia.
As Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed, Chairman of the new Alliance For The Re-Liberation Of Somalia, gets momentum – particularly after the Asmara Meeting, it would be wise to ponder on how the Somali South will be pacified first.
In this regard, it will be imperative for the US administration to conclude on the futility of a continued support offered to the unrepresentative and inexistent Transitional Federal Government of Somalia, and to the loathsome, criminal ‘Ethiopian’ tyrant Zenawi, starting thus to seek ways how to approach and cooperate with Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed, who dissociated himself from the ominous Islamist Sheikh Hassan Dahir Aweys.
As Somali opposition figures, meeting in Asmara last Friday, named Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed as chairman of a “liberation” alliance, vowing war on Ethiopian troops and urging the exit of Ugandan peacekeepers from the Horn of Africa nation, it becomes urgent for the US administration to reconsider its Horn of Africa strategy from scratch. Through the catastrophic alliance with the bogus-‘Ethiopian’ tyranny of the tribal chieftain Meles Zenawi, the US did not only ignite the Islamist fire but also helped create an environment within which China will drive Europe out of Africa, closing at the same time the Black Continent’s door on the face of America. We will expand on this in a forthcoming article.
Picture: Flight to Las Anod
Dr. Muhammad Shamsaddin Megalommatis
Orientalist, Historian, Political Scientist, Dr. Megalommatis, 50, is the author of 12 books, dozens of scholarly articles, hundreds of encyclopedia entries, and thousands of articles.