Failed State of Somalia and Jumping on the Terrorism Bandwagon
By Shaacir Mataan
The Failed State
of Somalia and Jumping on the Terrorism Bandwagon
According to the global policy forum -- a non-profit organization with
consultative status at the United Nations -- a failed state is when:
the state apparatus is unable to uphold an effective monopoly of violence
over its whole territory, lacks an effective judicial system to guard
the rule of law and promulgate judgments that are internationally regarded
as legitimate and sound (especially in commercial matters), is unable
or unwilling to fulfill international obligations (such as in debt repayment)
and cannot prevent various forms of transnational economic crime or the
use of its territory for the perpetration of violence (politically motivated
or otherwise) against other states in the international system.
Somalia has been described as the textbook example of a ?collapsed? or
?failed? state. The reason why Somalia became a failed state in early
1990s, after three decades of independence could be traced back to Cold
War geopolitics in the horn of Africa, the feudal political character
of Somalia?s clan structure and the lack of good leadership and governance.
Somalia has been a cold war pawn for two decades before it had collapsed.
However, ?when cold war ended, the Somali government was left to its own
Some experts argue that failed states can become a haven for extremist
non-state actors, ?The dangerous exports of failed states -- whether international
terrorists, drug barons, or weapons arsenal smugglers -- are subject of
endless discussion and concern.? (FP)
The experts contend that some criminal elements do usually take advantage
of the lack of strong government that can control its borders and the
?terrorists? always attract the disinfected, the unemployed youth to their
Every time a nation-state lurches toward or into failure it poses humanitarian
and possible relief issues. It may also become a breeding ground for terror;
the more anarchic and anomic the nation-state, the more non-state actors
and the forces of terror can take opportunistic advantage of a deteriorating
internal security situation to mobilize adherents, train insurgents, gain
control of resources, launder funds, purchase arms, and ready themselves
for assault on world order. (CIA, 2003)
Albeit the fact that the above analyses hold some credence, regrettably
some Somalis with short-sighted clannish agenda have jumped to this bandwagon.
Without a second thought, they have unashamedly petitioned the international
community in order to label their opponents as terrorists. In their clannish
psychosis and convictions, some have tried hard to depict Mogadishu, the
Somali capital as the ultimate hideout of violent terrorists.
One thing we all know is the fact that these Somalis don?t have the intellectual
knack and academic propensity to grasp thoroughly what this correlation
between terrorist and failed states in actuality signify. However one
thing we all know is that these clannish and phony lobbyists are unqualified
scouts for the current TFG faction sheltered in the provincial small city
of Jowhar. Their hard slog to sway public opinion against their fellow
Somalis is inspired by clan allegiance. However, what the Somali clannish
charlatans don?t know is that U.S. policymakers are mindful of how this
?terrorist-card? have been overplayed. The U.S administration is aware
how some ?third world? detractors are brashly striving to capitalize on
the so-called ?war on terror? and how they using it as a channel to gain
special favors from the U.S.
Disappointed with the Doctor.
Unfortunately, our tongue-tied UN representative, Ambassador Elmi Duale
also followed suit and stumbled in the same trap of his partisan benefactors
in Jowhar. In his succinct NPR responses and the MIC forum, Ambassador
Elmi has reiterated that Somalia has become a passage and base for international
terrorists. Dr. Duale - whose thirty years of impeccable record as a medical
doctor and whose humanitarian work with the United Nations and the World
Health Organization is laudable and unparalleled- is now keenly kowtowing
and acquiescing to the divisive clannish policies of a ruthless warlord,
whose thirty years of belligerent record of sectarian hostility and tyranny,
had contributed to the destruction of our beloved nation. It is distressing
to see educated Somalis, like Dr. Duale, without demur turning out to
be the accessories for ruthless empty-headed warlord.
Also, in his short sojourn in Minnesota, the Somali representative has
been in guarded get-togethers with the Cedar/Riverside cheerleaders of
warlord-turned president Yusuf. Dr. Duale instead of meeting with the
Somali intellectuals, professionals, students, youth and balanced members
of the community had opted out to please the regionally enthused clannish
devotees. This letdown is not what you expect from a man whose charitable
impressive career is an inspiration to many of the future generations.
In spite of everything, our well-regarded doctor and ambassador has chance
to mend his unintentional faux pas.
Confused about Jendayi Comments
There has been some confusion among Somali clan trailblazers of the recent
pronouncement of Dr. Jendayi Frazier of the U. S. State Department. In
a recently held forum organized by the Minnesota International Center,
Dr. Frazier carefully stated that Somalia is now a ?priority? for her
administration. Somali ears hear what they perceive as pleasing to their
clannish impulses and had interpreted this diplomatic and crowd-pleasing
comment as a ground-breaking new American interest in Somalia. But what
the Somali ears refused to hear is Dr. Jendayi Frazier?s summon for Somali
warlords ?to work out their differences through dialogue -- instead of
armed conflict -- so stability can return.? (Star tribune)
?In U.S. diplomatic circles, mention of Somalia provokes embarrassment
and avoidance behavior? the United States has minimized its involvement
in Somalia and maintained a low profile.? (USIP) This is due to the disastrous
U.S. operation restore hope intervention in Somalia in early 1990s.
The U.S. State Department recognizes Somalia, as a failed state but still
is not actively involved in efforts to re-establish a viable government
in Somalia. It is pursuing a containment policy. Apparently, the US government
is convinced that its interest in the region can be taken care by its
Special Forces in Camp Lemonier, Djibouti.
Furthermore, Somali ears should have listened to Senator Norm Coleman
when he told the Somali crowd present in that MIC forum that Washington
DC is a city of thousand competing ideas but Somalia is an afterthought.
Some Somalis in their frenzied fervor are press-ganging and overwhelming
the senator with tenuous fraud in order to legitimize support of their
clan faction. It was a moment of mockery to the conscious Somali ears
when the senator lightheartedly said that ?for every two Somali you talk
to, three disparate ideas will come out of such a talk.?
Once again it was a déjà vu when one of the few American
officers present in the forum cautioned to a Somali crowd that most officials
are well acquainted with the Somali clans and their resentment of each
other by now.
There is no doubt that any effort to restore governance in any a failed
state would need help from the international community. True that there
is a need for the United States to help Somalia but peace in Somalia can
only come within. We, Somalis will have to find a solution to our problems.
Then we could all lobby together to our representatives to seek some support
for rebuilding our shattered home country. We Somalis have to come up
with revolutionary ways to get rid of the ruthless warlords.
?The warlords have neither an ideology nor a political agenda. Their actions
are solely driven by the pursuit of illicit enrichment and war booty.
The individual fiefdoms they have carved out are used as a base for the
exploitation of confiscated properties, plantations, ports and airports,
as well as for drug trafficking, the issuance of fishing licenses for
foreign concerns and for arms trade.? (GPF)
We are now at crossroads and we shouldn?t lapse back to aberrations of
yesteryears. We cannot afford any more to pursue the same old tenets of
clannish division and pride. We in the Diaspora have to find pioneering
ways in developing consensus on a peaceful political framework among the
warring groups back home. We shouldn?t prop up one warlord and demonize
others. They are all the same.
Instead of siding with the warmongers, we in the Diaspora need to support
the members of the civil society. These groups usually need technical
assistance and funds to rebuild civic institutions from the grassroots.
It is the Somali civil society organizations such as doctors, teachers,
women groups, peace activists and entrepreneurs who are trying to rebuild
and rehabilitate the basic social infrastructure.
For the sake of peace and reconciliation, I know that most peace loving
Somalis are willing to exercise some restraint and give the current warlords
at the helm of leadership the benefit of the doubt.