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BALCAD (TAY-TAYLEEY) Waa Magaalo Qadiim ah! M.M.AFRAH - JOURNALIST OF THE YEAR 2005 Editorial: Simple Solution: No to Ethiopians, Yes to AU troops

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Somalia: The Baidabo Mysteries
By Jama Mohamed Ghalib

On Friday, 28 July 2006, member of parliament (MP) and former speaker of the Somali parliament, Abdalla Deero Isaaq, was murdered just as he had stepped out of the main Mosque in Baidoa after the weekly congregation of the Friday prayers. Despite that crowded scene of so many worshippers nobody saw the killer(s). The transitional government (TFG) of premier Ali Mohamed Geedi was facing a challenge of no vote of confidence in parliament the next day. It survived. Again, on Monday, 18 September 2006, the TFG was seeking a confidence vote in parliament after a major reshuffle following dismissal of Geedi’s previous government by president Abdullahi Yusuf.

The president addressed parliament just before voting would begin and left the hall. As his convoy of escort vehicles moved, one of them that must have had been secretly dynamited exploded, killing about a dozen of people and wounding many others, majority of them members of the presidential guard and also including a Ugandan national. The explosion also destroyed a number of motor vehicles that were at stationary outside the make shift parliament hall. No doubt the act was an assassination attempt on the life of the president who escaped unhurt. And again nobody saw the perpetrator(s) in such broad daylight.

Despite such disastrous situation, premier Ali Mohamed Geedi remained seated undisturbed and managed to prevail over the parliament to vote on his government and won. This was, however, after so many MPs had left the hall in order to see the extent of the disaster and were replaced by many outsiders of non-MPs who might have been pre-arranged, they rushed into the hall and raised their hands in favor of government when a vote of show of hands was taken, as has been complained by very credible personalities among the MPs.

The scenario of the Baidoa Mysteries shows an orchestrated pattern of expertly executed assassinations and attempted assassinations so that each time Geedi’s TFG is in constitutional crisis; it wins by deceit or by intimidation. To be valid, however, this rationale must stand the test of answering the following two conundrums:

1. Who could be the expert executor(s) of such hideous crimes without leaving any clues of their identity (ies)? Somali personnel formerly trained for such operations are no longer around. They were among the first to leave the country at the collapse of state authority, more than a decade and a half ago. To the best of my knowledge, the only likely ones are Ethiopian agents who are freely around and mixed up with the TFG affairs.

2. Could the Ethiopians ever contemplate assassinating Abdullahi Yusuf?

The Ethiopians unreservedly supported Abdullahi Yusuf to win the Somali presidency by manipulating the IGAD sponsored conference for a number of reasons including:

a) Among all its Somali clients, Abdullahi was the only one who had the chance of winning and, therefore, the only one worthy of their investment;

b) Abdullahi had demonstrated his aversion to Islamic principles whether because of his personal nature, or by design vis-à-vis his relations with the Tigre-led Ethiopian officials.

However, the Ethiopian investment in Abdullahi Yusuf was only for a short term. By the same token, Abdullahi’s association with Ethiopia, although it has irreversibly already cost him the trust of the Somali people may not be perpetual either.

The short term for the Ethiopian investment in Abdullahi Yusuf has almost come to its end. Abdullahi is not easily manipulateable animal. His relation with the Ethiopians was forged, in the first place, during the Mengistu regime. They could not, however, continue putting up with his rigidity and he was locked-up and indefinitely detained until the fall of that regime. And secondly, despite close association with the Ethiopians, after all Abdullahi wants a Somali government of his own choice to be in place. The Ethiopians want a Somali government of their choice or none of it. The convergence of interests between Abdullahi Yusuf and the Ethiopians ends there as far as the latter is concerned.

On his part, Abdullahi Yusuf still needs the Ethiopians, because he wants to impose his will and authority on the Somali people under cover of foreign forces instead of reconciliation and compromises. The only feasibly available foreign forces are the Ethiopians. Any other forces, even if available, would need prior funding, which may not be easily forthcoming. The Ethiopians would want funding too for the deployment of their forces, but that is dispensable when it comes to their deployment in Somalia. Because their forces in the Somali and Oromo regions never ever have full budgets or no budgets at all, apart from their military equipment and uniforms. They have been living upon the resources of the conquered peoples since the Menelik era. So, any such deployment will only be an increased extension of those forces already in the Somali region of Ethiopia.

Abdullahi knows the Ethiopians well as much as they know him too. He wants their forces to come through IGAD and AU so that he may ask them to leave if and when it suits him. This is also ok with the Ethiopians, but only as a short term, because they want to come to Somalia with legitimacy if at all possible, but for their geopolitical interests.

Abdullahi Yusuf wants power to govern Somalia that may run counter to Ethiopia’s geopolitical interests. Ali Mohamed Geedi's priority is to fulfill the wishes of his sponsors.

According to a statement by Geedi’s representative in Addis Ababa during a recent BCC interview, Geedi’s TFG must have had already given a carte blanche for Ethiopian forces to enter Somalia at their whims even before the parliament’s approval, during the TFG’s seat in Jowhar. Even Abdullahi Yusuf might not have been made aware of the exact nature of that agreement. The only release of it made public was that of co-operation between the two countries. Abdullahi Yusuf also confided in some MPs that the entry of Ethiopian forces into the country during last July was without his knowledge. Abdullahi is not a man given to tolerate such double crossing.

Abdillahi Yusuf made a big mistake when he accepted Ali Mohamed Geedi, a man chosen by Ethiopia and appointed him as his prime minister. Had he not done that he would remain their only (Ethiopians) best Somali connection.

Therefore, the answer to the 2nd question: above "Could the Ethiopians ever contemplate assassinating Abdullahi Yusuf ?" Is yes! Geedi is more useful to them now onwards and they must liquidate Abdullahi Yusuf before he sacks Geedi. Ethiopian military presence in Somalia already exists in abundance. And if the attempted assassination succeeded they would have immediately exerted their authority and intimidated the parliament to elect Geedi to the Somali presidency. Geedi would then in turn appoint another Ethiopian supplicant as premier.

Abdullahi Yusuf is no doubt quite savvy of these Ethiopian mischiefs, but he is most unlikely to divulge a word of it. He is given the stamina for such endurance. He has already pretended suspecting Al-Qa'eda and terrorism at large and is expected to stay on that course. Other TFG officials have given contradictory statements about the last incident. The most plausible of these is that of the minister of the interior, Hussein Aideed, according to his interview with the Xog-Ogaal Newspaper of Wed. 19 September 2006, p.2, and quote as per translation from Somali"

"Investigation is in progress to find out who was behind this act. Up to now the government cannot accuse any body until the investigation is concluded."



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