| Khaatumo State and TFG-Somaliland Talks.|
Fri, 24 May 2013 12:30:47 -0400 pm -04:00 -14400
The VOA Somali Service reported that the office of the Somali prime minster has reversed the Transitional Federal Governmen's (TFG) decision to recognise Khaatumo State. Upon returning to Mogadishu yesterday the prime minister, Dr Abdiweli Ali, declined to comment on the recognition or non-recognition of Khaatumo State of Somalia formed nearly two months ago after politicians and traditional leaders and convened in the Taalex district.
The silence of the prime minister is as damaging to his political and academic reputation as the role he allegedly has in reversing the decision after being pressured by Puntland president to challenge the Somali president's decision to recognise Khaatumo State.
Are people who support Khaatumo right to lose faith in Puntland? The answer to this question lies in the political developments since the formation of Puntland in August 1998. In 2004 Somaliland and Puntland forces clashed near Adhicaddeeye. After a year, the two administrations exchanged prisoners of war. Shortly after the prisoner exchange Puntland forces at Adhicaddeeye were evacuated to southern Somalia to beef up the security detail of former Transitional Federal Government president Abdullahi Yusuf Ahmed without making an agreement with Somaliland not to instruct its forces and allied militias to advance to Las Anod. As a Wikileaks cable dated 24/1/2004, nearly two months after Adhicaddeeye clash, shows the TFG president said he “ used to be President of Puntland, now I am President of Federal Republic of Somalia and my duties are to observe the laws."
President Ahmed said “the conflict will only be solved by dialogue.” That attitude to conflict resolution has shaped Puntland policies although the dispute with Somaliland has been unresolved. To many people who supported Puntland, such a policy meant betrayal, a failure to honour kinship ties and the right to be protected against organised clan aggression. Contrast that with Somaliland president whose forces attacked unionist towns such as Buuhodle or authorising his militias in Las Anod to open fire on unionists.
Enter the talks the Somalia's TFG president proposed to have with Somaliland administration. Who is entitled to talk on behalf of the unionists who support Khaatumo state of Somalia? Is it Puntland or Somaliland?
In a speech on the finalisation of Puntland Constitution , president Abdirahman Farole of Puntland welcomed the TFG's call for talks with Somaliland but insisted on the role of Puntland in the talks as “ Somaliland has attacked Puntland territories .” President Farole alluded to the Garowe Principles to argue that the TFG cannot recognise a new administration as " there are rules governing recognition of new regional administrations." President Farole has no legal or moral right to render the outcome of Taleh conference null and void.
Unlike the regional administrations formed outside Somalia by the Diaspora the Taleh conference was held in Somalia and was attended by traditional leaders, politicians and civil society members to bring to an end the status of the regions as “ disputed lands”. President Farole inherited the territorial dispute with Somaliland but he opted for a policy of pinning the blame for the fall of Las Anod in 2007 on some politicians ( from Las Anod ) associated with his predecessor. How can a president who does not understand his duty to protect people who had a role in forming Puntland now claim to be the sole representative of Dhulbahante clan in Somalia's political meetings?
Somaliland claims it is the legitimate authority in what was known as British Somaliland Protectorate . Its argument is based the border between the ex-Protectorate and Ex- Italian Somaliland. After July 2010 when Ahmed Mohamed Silaanyo was elected Somaliland president conflicts between Somaliland forces and unionist forces increased . Another attack on Buhhodle town this year by Somalilad forces was denounced by Somalilad Minister for Foreign Affairs Mohamed Abdullahi Omar in remarks for the Voice of America Somali Service stringer in Hargeisa.
In an interview with Somalia Report website, Mr Omar Omar said that his government would negotiate with Khaatumo state leaders and supporters. “In fact, people in that area are part of our government, but there has been a misunderstanding which we will resolve as soon as possible. We will negotiate with people in that area , whether they are youth or elders, or officials who want to work towards peace in this region," Omar told Somalia Report. It is not only Khaatumo State leaders and supporters who should work towards peace. Somaliland administration leaders and supporters have an obligation to work towards peace and restore trust and refrain from unethical use of concepts such as sovereignty which is not applicable to Somaliland administration. Somaliland administration has turned what was a minor clash between sub-clans into major clans and deployed in shared commons forces from different Isaaq sub-clans although Buuhoodle traditional elders, out of deference to Somali notions of impartiality, allowed the third party mediators to belong to president Siilaanyo's clan family.
The influential traditional leader Boqor Cismaan Buurmadow who happens to hail from Burco has criticised Somaliland government for war campaigns and welcomed the formation of Khaatumo State. “ Now that the political decision of the Dhulbhnate clan lies with elected leaders, talks should be held with Khaatumo leaders, “ he told Daahir Alasow of Waaga Cusub. What Boqor Cismaan wants to see is one political platform for northern people in the ex-British Somaliland, an idea that leaders of the two major, pre-independence political parties of northern Somalia ( Somali National League and United Somali Party ) failed to articulate to face one major party in the South ( Somali Youth League ) after the union of the two provinces created the Republic of Somalia on July 1 1960 .
Of all challenges Khaatumo State and its supporters face Puntland administration 's relentless efforts to belittle and make Khaatumo still-born are hard to understand. Granted that Puntland has given some Harti sub-clans a political platform to influence Somali politics since 2004 when the founding president of Puntland was elected a president. Two of TFG's prime ministers hail from Puntland as well but Puntland political project has not delivered the goods for people in Sool, Cayn and parts of Sanaag ( i.e. Dhulbahante sub-clan). If the report about the the Somali prime minister's intervention to try to reverse the Transitional Federal Government's decision to recognise Khaatumo as a state is true, the prime minister will come across as someone looking after the interests of his sub-sub clan even if that amounts to trampling the democratic rights other sub-clans underfoot. His silence on this matter is equally damaging. Khaatumo State was ratified by all traditional leaders of Dhulbahante .
In his memoir the former TFG president Abdullahi Yusuf Ahmed recounts a story about a meeting between Ahmed Suleiman Abdalla, former Somali National Security chief and son-in law of president Siyad Barre, and the Sacad sub-clan in Galka'ayo. “ You have a right to kill and rob the Cumar Maxamuud [sub-clan ] against the revolution " Ahmed Suleiman Abdalla allegedly told the Sacad traditional leaders, to which a a prominent Sacad traditional leader responded. “ We have no a right to kill and rob them of their wealth”).
Ahmed Suleiman Abdalla is not on the record for ever speaking out against the excesses or human rights violations of the military regime. And that is what makes the story plausible . Prime Minister Abdiweli Ali will be committing a grave political misjudgement if he keeps silent on Khaatumo State, a popular expression seen by many as undercutting both Puntland's political influence and Somaliland's search for secession.
VOA Somali Service story on the letter from the Prime Minister's Office:
Voa Somali Service story on Somaliland Foreign Minister's remarks on Buhoodle war.
Somalia Report interview with Somaliland Foregn Minister