The End of Era of Warlordism in Mogadishu is in the Horizon
By Omar A. A. Fiqi
Since the collapse of the Somali government in 1991, the country had slipped into different fiefdoms under different controls. Unfortunately, Mogadishu and most of the south had succumbed to the control of brutal warlords. The era of warlordism in Mogadishu had experienced various stages and various warlords. The failure of Ali Mahdi and his arch rival General Aidid to reconcile their differences and the ensuing wars in which thousands have been killed and hundreds of thousands were displaced while an equal number may have been maimed would be reasoned as the juncture of the era of warlordism . The rejection of General Aidid to work with Ali Mahdi and the failure of Ali Mahdi to accommodate General Aidid created the first phenomena of two powerful figures in Mogadishu each with his coterie and army thus marking the beginning of the era of warlordism in Mogadishu.
Since then the tendency of a new warlord born from the offshoot of another one and its subsequent gain for political recognition after engaging a war within was on the rise. This led to the birth of numerous warlords who all are reckless, irresponsible and thugs. They developed lucrative resource generating schemes like controlling airstrips, controlling natural ports, and road blocks within the city and entry points of the city and imposing extortion money for the users and passer. Some of them are even accused of being involved in more dirty businesses like trafficking drugs through their airstrips and making deals with international mafia like the dumping of toxic waste in the Somali coast. These practices enriched them and made them the untouchables in Mogadishu. They failed to agree themselves on anything with the thinking of each one as the dominant over the others by claiming to enjoy more clan base and more cash.
In addition, this gave them a tremendous opportunity in the reconciliation conferences until in the last conference held in Kenya, which they have been given all the authority to select the national MPs exclusively and becoming the ministers at the same time, despite being incompetent. In spite of the egregious injustices they made in the selection process they have been accepted to lead for the sake of the national interest. But, the truth was that nothing is suffice to them and they understand only the thuggish style in anarchic situations, where they stack all they could extort from the hapless residents in Mogadishu into their pockets and kept Mogadishu like that until it deteriorated to rubble and totally run down city controlled by internecine feuding clan based factions. However, they forget that their end might be near and their behaviour will determine how fast that end might arrive. It was known that their greed will lead to their demise and that long awaited day has eventually come. They have to face the reality of the popular uprising led by Islamic courts as they started the proxy war of Uncle Sam in the name of war on terror.
The Islamic Courts Union, a lose alliance of Islamic groups which are also clan based and earned some respect within the population by providing some security in their areas of control and an additional services were the perceived target of the warlord alliance in their proxy war for Uncle Sam's war on terror. The fast majority of the public sympathized with the Islamists and therefore sided with them. The business community supplied the funds, the schools and the general public supplied the fighters and many Islamists from the other Somali territories rushed to Mogadishu to ensure their success. As the battles in Mogadishu and its vicinity are raging it proved beyond doubt that the warlords are losing in all encounters and some of them are already on the run while others are facing an uncertain future and are expected to be finished within the next few weeks or so. The vanquished warlords were further humiliated by their dismissal from their cabinet posts in the Transitional Federal Government and the denial of the Kenyan authorities for entry visas. This is a proper blow that secures their removal from politics until the time they face justice.
The defeat of the warlords marks once again the end of an era - the era of warlordism -for the people in Mogadishu to be specific. The prospect to a better change, the pacification of Mogadishu and the possibility of cooperating with the TFG by the Islamic courts remains to been. In the mean time, let us hope that they will demonstrate a political maturity and will work with all concerned groups including the TFG and let the sceptics give them the benefit of the doubt until proven otherwise.
By Omar A. A. Fiqi
- Nairobi, Kenya.