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GAMBIA-L  January 2004

GAMBIA-L January 2004

Subject:

***Preying on a failed state

From:

uga479 <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

The Gambia and related-issues mailing list <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Tue, 20 Jan 2004 22:02:36 +0100

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (183 lines)

----- Original Message -----
From: "Andy Mensah" <[log in to unmask]>
To: <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Tuesday, January 20, 2004 8:54 PM
Subject: [unioNews] Preying on a failed state


Tuesday, January 20, 2004
<H3>Preying on a failed state</H3>
Abdulqawi A. Yusuf



PARIS
Political solutions have been found for several longstanding
conflicts in Africa in 2003 - in the Democratic Republic of the
Congo, Liberia and Burundi. The political arrangements in these
countries may not necessarily usher in permanent peace and stability,
but they at least afford an opportunity to work toward such goals.

Unfortunately, this is not the case for Somalia, where anarchy,
violence and chaos have prevailed for 15 years. A national
reconciliation conference - the 13th of its kind - has been sitting
in Nairobi for 15 months, unable to cobble together a transitional
government. As usual, all possible solutions are stymied by warlords,
warmongers and wannabe presidents.

Who are these foes of peace and reconciliation in Somalia?

The warlords are the worst of the lot. They carry primary
responsibility for the agony of the Somali people. They frustrated
the United Nations peacekeeping operation in Somalia in the early
1990's, and since then have been undermining all efforts to pacify
the country or to set up an effective national government. Their
armed militias have murdered hundreds of thousands of Somalis and
forced more than a million into exile.

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.

Because of the fortunes made by the first few warlords after the
ouster of the dictator Muhammad Siad Barre in 1991, their numbers
have been increasing in the last few years. In the capital,
Mogadishu, there are no less than six warlords, each controlling a
different section of the city and its rural hinterland.

The warlords are opposed to the creation of effective central or
provincial governments, because of the danger such authority would
pose for their illegitimate businesses. None of them, of course,
would refuse if offered to head such a government, but none would
accept a government led by another.

Then there are the warmongers, the financiers and business allies of
the warlords. They run the plantations and manage the ports and
airports; they organize the drug-trafficking and arms trade; they
establish contacts with foreign companies for banana exports and
fishing licenses. They promote the image of the warlords to the
outside world as "faction leaders" or "clan elders," and generally
put their racketeering activities in a positive light. Every year or
two, they print new banknotes which are exchanged against the dollars
or euros received by the impoverished population as remittances from
relatives abroad.

The warmongers are as loath to have a peaceful settlement of the
Somali crisis as the warlords. An end to the chaos and warlord-
created fiefdoms would sound the death-knell for their insidious
power.

Then there are the legions of wannabe presidents. Some of these have
already anointed themselves - at present, between Mogadishu and the
self-declared states of Puntland and Somaliland, there are no less
than five presidents and several prime ministers.

Others are perpetual candidates for leadership. At the national
reconciliation conference held in Djibouti in 2000, a transitional
Parliament of 254 members was selected and charged with the task of
electing the president of a provisional government. Forty-five of the
deputies, almost one-fifth, immediately submitted their candidacies
for the post.

The same circus is being re-enacted at the neverending Nairobi talks,
with more than 60 declared candidates among 365 delegates. Most of
the pretenders are disciples of the deceased dictator, Siad Barre,
under whom they had served. They dream of a lifetime presidency and
instant wealth. Whoever among the wannabe presidents does not win the
keys to the shop will do everything in his power to thwart its
exploitation by others.

Somehow, Somalis will have to find a solution to their sorrowful
predicament. They will have to find in themselves as well as in their
history and culture the wherewithal to overthrow the yoke of their
homegrown oppressors.

The odds of this happening are long unless they get a helping hand
from other countries, especially their neighbors, as well as from
Europe and the United States. Such assistance should no longer be in
the form of futile reconciliation conferences, but should focus on
criminal prosecution, sanctions and isolation of those responsible
for the unending chaos and conflict in Somalia. Die-hard warlords
will never reconcile or disarm unless forced to. In the absence of a
credible legal system in Somalia, only coercive measures by the
international community could help bring to an end their criminal and
murderous enterprises. The freezing of the warlords' ill-gotten
assets, travel bans on them and their families, sanctions on foreign
corporations doing business with them and the establishment of an
international commission of inquiry on massacres and mass murders
committed by them and their armed thugs would go a long way to pave
the way for a real peace in Somalia.

Equally effective would be targeted assistance to those regions and
areas where peace and stability have been secured through civilian-
based governance. Helping those relatively calm provinces develop new
institutions of self-government and laying the groundwork at the
local level for democratic structures and mechanisms would serve as a
powerful incentive for others to follow. On the basis of such self-
governing units, a new Somali state could be established, perhaps
with a federal structure. Attempts to find a magic formula for a
rotating presidency among Somalia's warlords, warmongers and wannabe
presidents are doomed to failure.

Warlordism breeds not only domestic terrorism and mayhem, but can
provide a useful cover for international terrorist activities. The
sooner the Somali people are helped to get rid of warlords, the
faster another potential safe haven for terrorists will have been
removed from the map.

***
The writer is general editor of the African Yearbook of International
Law and a former lecturer in law at Somali National University,
Mogadishu.

 Copyright  2003 The International Herald Tribune




lllll
QUOTATION:

"All of us may not live to see the higher accomplishments of an African
empire, so strong and powerful as to compel the respect of mankind, but we
in our lifetime can so work and act as to make the dream a possibility
within another generation"
-<html><A HREF="http://members.aol.com/GhanaUnion/afrohero.html">Ancestor
Marcus Mosiah Garvey <i>(1887 - 1940)</i></A></html>

llllllllll
 *  //\\//\\ unioNews Newsgroup //\\//\\   *
 * http://members.aol.com/GhanaUnion *
 *          We're One People         *
 *          Join the Chorus          *
 -    African Union Shall Succeed    -
 =====================================
A luta Continua!

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