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By M. M. Afrah©

My own vocabulary of Armageddon is limited, but I can reasonably predict more bloodshed flowing in the streets of the ruined capital as the sound of war drums is heard both at home and abroad.

It was crystal clear that Abdullahi Yusuf and his opponents in Mogadishu were not destined to be easy partners in history. The back-biting and the chronic divergence between the two factions is deep rooted and could not be diagnosed by the African Union, IGADD, the United Nations, the European Union or the Arab League. But the symptoms or the warning signs were already in El-Doret, the first venue of the long fatigued peace talks more than three years ago. But the facilitators of the conference failed to detect them, and pretended that everything was running with good grace.

Now, their failure to compromise is a clear sign that their conflict over where the government should be based, and who will have prerogative to nominate provincial governors, including the capital is the thorny issue.

I recall a reader of this column saying in his email that he had what he called the final solution-airlift the warlords to the notorious Devil's Island, thousands of miles away, or better still cart them off to a war crimes tribunal for the heinous crimes they had committed against unarmed civilians instead of entertaining them at 5-Star hotels in Nairobi. He said the people will sort out their problems without the gun culture.

The other day former US Marine Corporal and son of the late faction leader General Mohamed Farah Aideed, now Minister of the Interior in the Transitional Federal Government of Somalia spoke the need for dialogue and understanding between the two opposing wings of the government, ending with a note, quote that it was not Ethiopia that has been derailing the reconciliation process but some elements among us, unquote.

Congratulations Aideed Junior, it was an admirably delivered talk and quite appropriate to the occasion. You had assured the long- suffering people of Somalia with your pledge to "forge vibrant" links between Mogadishu and Jowhar. You didn't even flinch when you publicly admitted that you had sided with the Jowhar-based wing against your former comrades-in-arms holed up in Mogadishu, but promised that you will try to avert a volcano eruption. The lingering question is: can you reconcile the two groups where others had failed? For a starter, disarm your own supporters and clansmen in order to demonstrate that you are honest broker and peacemaker.

It is clear that the Mogadishu-based wing, among them former drivers, street vendors, office messengers, Jinni Boqorre (the devil king), Gacma-dheere (the man with the long arms) and petty politicians, led by a wealthy business tycoon refuse to admit that Mogadishu is one of the most dangerous places on earth, after today's Baghdad, but acknowledged that their pacification process is going at snail's pace despite endless unproductive meetings at the former party headquarters. Major-General Mohamed Siyad Barre must have been turning in his grave!

The fact is that the issue of the roadblocks had become so disappointing that the civic societies, particularly the brave women of Mogadishu pleaded with the former warlords to take drastic measures against those who refuse to comply with the schedule. They want things done, not "acted on" for media hype and photo prop. These women can absorb great deal of suffering and abuse without showing it, but now they are made to suffer even more grievously by the very people who mercilessly massacred their loved ones and destroyed their city. Undoubtedly, they are made of sterner stuff. During their 15-year-old ordeal many of them maintained the most correct bearing. Other women in other countries might have given in to emotions, but not the Somali women.
But now their high expectation for peace and stability had evaporated into thin air.

Before now it had become obvious that some of these faction leaders had their own hidden agenda from the very beginning, hence the very slow progress and half-measure to pacify the capital.

In Galkayo, Abdullahi Yusuf was quoted as saying: " I am not going to start a war, but if it was war they wanted I would give them one." His supporters, however, say that quotation was out of context, and I will leave it to the reader.

Here is my own latest quip on ARMAGEDDON DAY: "Perhaps Abdullahi Yusuf and his opponents are going to need a crystal ball reader to explain why they are still alive when everyone else is not."

Unfortunately. Articles written by well-meaning Somalis abroad were not getting read, because they were not getting through to the President. A reliable source says that one of Abdullahi Yusuf's inner circles directs the flow of articles in the Internet to his political adviser and never sees the light of day again. I spare myself recounting the details of how those scathing articles are classified and subsequently kept in a "deep freezer."

It is time for cool heads to prevail.

By M. M. Afrah©2005

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