Haatuf Media Network
Editor; Yusuf Abdi Gabobe - Asst. Editor: A. Dubad & Abdifatah M.Aidid - Sub. Editors: Hasan Hosh - Layout and Design: Ahmed Jama
Issue 37, Oct. 5, 2002
In this issue:
EU And US Diplomats Recognize Legitimacy of Somaliland Government, Senior Kenyan Minister Says International Community Should Recognize Somaliland.
Yemen: Power Struggle Could Hurt U.S., British Assets.
Somalia: Sovereign Disguise for a Mogadishu Mafia, by Andre Le Sage (continued from the previous issue).
Somaliland has always considered the long conflict in Somalia as an issue that primarily concerns the people of the former Italian colony.
However, the international community’s Somalia policy has openly contradicted Somaliland’s repeated assertions over the last 10 years that it was not a party to the conflict that has been going on in Somalia. International as well as regional sponsors of the last 13 “peace and reconciliation conferences” held on Somalia since 1991, have one after another committed the terrible mistake of making Somaliland’s participation as a preliminary condition for holding each of those meetings.
On each occasion, Somalia’s warlords, religious extremists and former Siyad Barre associates have never missed to raise Somaliland’s consistent absence from “reconciliation talks” as an issue with grave consequences for “Somali Unity”. Because of this irrelevant issue, focus of “peace conference” deliberations often shifted from achievement of reconciliation between real antagonists of the conflict to the “restoration of Somali Unity and Somalia’s territorial integrity”.
We therefore welcome the new stand by the US and the EU countries expressing respect and understanding for Somaliland’s decision not to attend the forthcoming Somali Reconciliation Conference to be held in Nairobi later this month.
By ending their decade-long policy of confusing the peaceful and stable situation in Somaliland with that of war-ravaged Somalia, the EU and the USA have in fact removed a highly distractive element from the path of the IGAD sponsored peace process.
The people of Somaliland are also encouraged by the decision of these countries, recognizing the government of Somaliland as the legitimate and sole political representative of its citizens.
There is no doubt that this new stance by some members of the international community will be viewed by Somalilanders as a kind of reward for their long and lonely struggle for peace and democracy.
We hope that the rest of the international community will follow suit soon.
EU And US Diplomats Recognize Legitimacy of Somaliland Government
Nairobi (SL Times): Nairobi-based diplomats from the European Union and the United States said their countries will respect Somaliland’s decision not to attend the forthcoming peace talks on Somalia, scheduled to be held in Kenya by Oct 15, 2002.
The Western diplomats told a press conference held in Nairobi last Tuesday that they still considered Somaliland as part of Somalia that is seeking independence.
In what seemed to be a shift in the common EU – US position on Somalia, the diplomats implied that they view the Somaliland government as the sole legitimate representative of the Somaliland people. This means that any delegates claiming to represent Somaliland in the upcoming peace talks will not be accepted unless authorized by the Somaliland government.
A US diplomat said that his country had paid attention to Somalia to ensure that the country did not become a terrorist haven. He pointed out that Washington would not try to control Somalia’s peace process.
At the same time, the Security Council has called on Somalis to participate constructively in the forthcoming reconciliation conference.
Meanwhile, Kenya’s Minister for Energy Raila Odinga has called on the international community to give recognition to the Republic of Somaliland.
Hargeisa (SL Times): A group of Swedish educators and civic leaders are in Hargeisa to promote collaboration between the Somaliland capital, Hargeisa, pop 600, 000 and the Swedish city of Malmo, pop 270,000.
The Swedish delegation is made up of Sven Persson, a senior teacher at the University of Malmo, Berhet Yobio, lecturer, Malmo University, Gunika Peannenstiol, international officer, Malmo University, Ahmed Hussein, Malmo Kommune (City) and Mohamed Samater, Somali Relief Organization, Malmo.
In an interview with Haatuf, Sven Persson said they envisage a good potentiality for cementing relations of cooperation between Hargeisa and Malmo, particularly in the field of teacher training and education.
Malmo, the 3rd largest city in Sweden, is also home to about 1700 Somalis. The Swedish delegation also met with the Mayor of Hargeisa to discuss specific areas for future cooperation.
Commenting on the difference between the Education here and Sweden, Mr. Persson said despite the apparent scarcity in a number of things deemed essential for delivering education, yet he has to admire the strong determination shown by teachers to fulfill their duties under difficult circumstances.
European Commission support to Somalia peace process
The European Commission and the Government of Kenya have signed an agreement on financial support to the forthcoming Somali Reconciliation Conference. This is part of the assistance the Commission is providing to the IGAD sponsored process co-ordinated by Kenya in close collaboration with Ethiopia, Djibouti and the IGAD Secretariat.
The European Commission is encouraged by the efforts of the IGAD frontline States in advancing the reconciliation process and particularly welcomes the conference as the next step in a process designed to facilitate the formation of sustainable structures of governance to be agreed amongst the Somalis themselves.
The support provided by the Commission is in line with the conclusions of the EU Council of Ministers of 22 July 2002 on Somalia. In these conclusions, the EU confirmed its continuing support to the IGAD Summit Resolutions of 24 November 2000 and 11 January 2002, which provide a general framework for the Somalia reconciliation process. Moreover, the EU encourages and supports the efforts of all parties in Somalia as well as of the IGAD Member States aiming at:
- Promoting reconciliation among all Somali parties without preliminary conditions for dialogue and negotiation;
- Achieving a durable cessation of hostilities in areas where fighting has recurrently occurred during the past years, and safeguarding and consolidating peace and stability in those areas where it can be achieved;
- A progressive internalisation of the process leading to the establishment of new structures based on the sharing and devolution of power through the democratic process;
- Supporting a complementary process of inter- and intra-clan reconciliation;
- An early establishment of effective administration throughout Somalia including an all-inclusive, broad-based administration and, in parallel, the consolidation of provisional regional administrations representing components of Somali society;
- Promoting friendly relations between Somalia and its neighbours and other countries in the region, such positive relationships being beneficial to the security of each state;
- Providing efforts and assistance to improve the humanitarian situation and enabling conditions to promote and support economic social and human development and the return of refugees.
As the largest donor to Somalia, the European Commission will continue to support the process, and hopes that it will be instrumental in the restoration of the rule of law, democracy and good governance in Somalia on a sustainable basis as well as the promotion and protection of human rights. The establishment of such an enabling environment is the only effective way to provide social and economic recovery in Somalia.
Hawa Ahmed Youssouf, a Heroine
The Minister for Advancement of Women, Family Welfare and Social Affairs in Djibouti, Hawa Ahmed Youssouf is leading a campaign against her society which continues to practice female genital mutilation(FGM) – the surgical removal of the clitoris, so that girls cannot enjoy sexual relations.
The numbers are staggering. Up to 90 percent of Djiboutian girls are subjected to FGM at the age of seven or eight, as is the norm in much of northern and western Africa. It is also practised among emigrant communities residing in Europe and America. Clandestine operations, often performed in filthy conditions, subject the girls to a horrifying ordeal. Sometimes extreme and long-lasting pain and frequently, death through loss of blood.
Hawa Ahmed Youssouf has decided to speak out against the practice, bringing up the issue with the UNO and at international conferences on women’s rights. She points out that while FGM is illegal under the country’s law, 73 percent of the population is illiterate and bear more respect for local lore than national law. However, with a legal framework in place and continued pressure by national structures and NGOs, Hawa Youssouf intends to fight for women’s and children’s rights in her country. Setting a shining example for others to follow abroad.
Those who confuse FGM with Islamic rites are wrong, since FGM is a tradition which pre-dates Islam and there is nothing in Islam which refers to this practice as a specific religious duty.
20 Killed In Gun-Battle In Somalia
MOGADIDSHU: At least 20 people were killed and dozens wounded when rival militias fought for control of Somalia's south-central town of Baidoa on Thursday, a spokesman for one of the factions said Thursday.
"We lost five and killed 15 rival gunmen in the fighting that gave us the opportunity to capture Baidoa," a spokesman for one of the warring Rahanwein Resistance Army (RRA) faction, Sharif Hussein Robbow said.
Militiamen loyal to two warlords, Sheikh Aden Mohamed Madobe and Mohamed Ibrahim Habsade, said they seized the town from the control of an other RRA leader, Hassan Mohamed Nur Shatigudud, during the fighting early on Thursday.
Shatigudud's supporters admitted that they had made a "tactical withdrawal" from Baidoa and that they were preparing for a counter-offensive.
Robow said among the killed included Shatigudud's top military commander Mohamed Aden Iskow.
"Baidoa is in full control of two RRA deputies, Madobe and Mohamed Ibrahim Habsade. Please don't panic, there will be no violence," said an announcement made in the town early Thursday over a loudspeaker mounted on an armed vehicle.
But the claim could not be independently verified, as earlier reports had said only six people were killed in the clashes.
Fighting within the RRA started with an internal power struggle between Shatigudud and his two deputies, who later allied themselves to the Mogadishu-based Transitional National Government (TNG).
The latter grouped their militia in nearby districts before launching the Thursday raid.
Shatigudud has controlled Baidoa since August 1 when he expelled forces of his two deputies, during fighting that claimed 94 lives and left some 170 people wounded.
Shatigudud and his two former deputies had been at loggerheads since March over the new, unilaterally declared independent South-West State of Somalia (SWS). Shatigudud was appointed its first president, but refused to relinquish the RRA command.
Civilians fled Baidoa on Thursday and some residents reached by telephone from Mogadishu reported seeing armed gangs looting property in the town.
Somalia last had a nationally recognised government in 1991 when the regime of dictator Mohammed Siad Barre collapsed.
Since then, the Horn of Africa nation has been riven by clan warfare, despite the setting up of a transitional government in 2000 after lengthy inter-clan talks in neighbouring Djibouti.
Somali Refugees - Road to U.S. Develops Huge Pothole
IRIN, Oct 03, 2002
NAIROBI -- Plans to resettle over 10,000 Somali Bantus –
eventually to the United States – from refugee camps in nothern Kenya were in
jeopardy after reports that some of the refugees had recently subjected their
daughters to female circumcision.
The US has agreed to resettle Somali Bantu refugees, but media reports said the authorities had threatened to bar some of the families whose daughters had undergone the procedure.
Meanwhile, the International Organization of Migration (IOM) announced it had completed a process, started in June, of relocating all the Somali Bantus from Dadaab refugee camp in northeastern Kenya to the Kakuma camp in northwestern Kenya, from where they would go to the U.S.
The IOM is in charge of the logistical aspects of the operation. In Kakuma, the refugees will be interviewed by American immigration officials and will undergo cultural orientation before their resettlement in the US, it said.
The Somali Bantus are an ethnic minority, whose arrival in Somalia is linked to the Arab slave trade of the 18th and 19th centuries, with many of them having strong ancestral links to Malawi, Tanzania and Mozambique. In independent Somalia, they felt they were treated as second-class citizens and subjected to persecution. The refugees fled to Kenya when civil war broke out in Somalia in the early 1990s.
United Nations High Commission for Refugees spokesman Emmanuel Nyabera said that female circumcision was a common practice among Somali refugees in Kenya. "This is not an isolated case," he said. "It is normally a trend with Somalis who are waiting to be resettled, not just the Bantus."
Nyabera said the refugee agency had no capacity to enforce national laws against the widespread practice of female circumcision in the camps. Female circumcision, technically referred to as female genital mutilation, has been outlawed in Kenya under a new Children's Act passed in 2001.
"We are carrying out programs to discourage the practice [in the camps]," he said. "But it is the role of the government to enforce the law. Hopefully we will be in a position to work with the government."
US rethinks genital mutilation threat
The American authorities appear to be backing away from a threat not to allow into the United States Somali refugees who have genitally mutilated their daughters.
A group of about 12,000 Somali Bantus are currently waiting in a refugee camp in northern Kenya and have been given the right to emigrate en masse to the US.
But earlier this week the American embassy in Nairobi confirmed that some of those refugees had been rushing to circumcise their young daughters, having learned that the practice is illegal in the US.
An embassy spokesman said those involved would be investigated and the families probably barred from emigrating.
But now it seems doubts are surfacing.
Rite of passage
The American State Department is trying to tread carefully over what is becoming a very emotive issue.
It has put out a brief statement saying that it condemns the "abhorrent" practice of female genital mutilation and that it is seriously considering the next step.
Privately, aid workers have been critical of the American threat, saying it is "unworkable" and pointing out that the rush to circumcise has more or less stopped anyway following a series of recent publicity campaigns.
The United Nations Refugee Agency has gone further.
A spokesman, Emmanuel Nyabei, said there was nothing unique about what the Bantu Somalis were doing to their daughters.
The same thing has happened in the past, he said, with other groups waiting to emigrate.
The circumcisions, carried out without anaesthetic, are illegal in Kenya and the United States.
But the practice, an ancient rite of passage, is widespread in Somalia.
The 12,000 Bantus are members of an ethnic minority, the descendants of slaves who are persecuted in their country.
The first families are due to fly out to the US within a few months.
HARTISHEK, 2 Oct 2002 (IRIN) - Kaeja Jama lays out the
tools of her trade: a razor blade, two needle-like thorns and several small
pieces of cotton wool.
Each item, removed from a tiny plastic bag, is carefully placed on a small wooden table. A bottle of disinfectant lies next to them. With them Kaeja, a 40-year-old mother of three,
performs female genital mutilation (FGM) – an agonising and ancient custom.
As she admits, cutting away a young girl’s genitals can take at least half an hour. Three other women hold down the girls – usually aged between seven and 14 - while the operation is performed. The World Health Organisation (WHO) estimates some 138 million women have undergone the operation.
DEMAND FOR SKILLED CIRCUMCISERS
Her dank mud hut in a Somali refugee camp in Hartishek, southeastern Ethiopia - surrounded by flies and insects - serves as the makeshift operating room. But the operations are not confined to the women in refugee camps. Many Somalis who have fled abroad to avoid the decade long war that has ravaged their country, return to the Horn of Africa – and particularly Ethiopia - for the operation.
Skilled circumcisers are often sought out, charging up to US $50 for a child who has flown in from abroad.
African leaders have come under pressure to outlaw the controversial practice. The European Union (EU) has threatened action such as withdrawing aid against third world countries which refuse to ban FGM. Yet only Britain, Norway and Sweden have outlawed the procedure among immigrant populations in Europe. It is also banned in the US and Canada.
Maryan Siad has refused to allow her two young daughters to undergo the operation. Her husband, as a result, has threatened to divorce her if the girls, who are currently four and five, never marry.
“Men do not want to marry girls who have not had this done,” she says. “The shame is enormous. Often a woman would have to leave her village if it was known she was open.”
Maryan took her stand after years of painful reminders from the operation. She lost the use of her bladder and suffered from serious fistula problems.
Midwife Maryan Yusef, who works for the British charity Save the Children, tries to convince the women in Hartishek camp to take a similar stand against the practice.
“They are listening and they are aware of the dangers,” she says. The charity uses the circumcisers to help warn of the dangers. The message, in a region where literacy among women is around 20 percent, is conveyed through plays and songs. The plays attract large crowds who all claim to have stopped the practice.
“Many of the circumcisers are now helping us by telling women they have stopped practising," said Maryan. "We also have women and men taking part in plays to get the message across.”
Save the Children estimates that the number of operations in Hartishek camp has dropped as a direct result of its awareness-raising programme. It now plans to take its programme further afield.
But preventing FGM is an uphill struggle. It is deeply ingrained in the cultures of the countries that perform it and provides a lucrative business to the circumcisers.
Organisations like SCF-UK try to help the circumcisers by training them to become traditional birth attendants to ensure they do not lose their income. But some women continue to use income from the FGM to supplement their already meagre existence.
As Kaeja, who performed the procedure on two of her aughters, admits: “If someone came today then yes I would do it. I need the money. I have to provide for my children. We don’t want to. We now know the dangers, but many people here are poor.”
Somalia: Sovereign Disguise for a Mogadishu Mafia
[Continued from last issue]
After refusing to integrate their pious and better-trained militia with the TNG's forces, the judiciary lost its role in local law enforcement. As a result, the role of the judiciary is limited to administering a small number of Mogadishu prisons.
One substantial effort of the TNG has been to gain public confidence by removing uncontrolled militia from the streets of Mogadishu. The initial phase of this exercise (still ongoing) has not been demobilisation per se, but rather the conscription of militia into training camps to form a national army and police force. This has made the streets of Mogadishu only slightly safer, although indiscriminate banditry, rapes and carjacking continue even in areas of supposed TNG control. Given that the conscripted militia maintain their clan-based commanders and elders, the TNG forces cannot be expected to act as unequivocal supporters of the TNG when confronting opposition warlords. In fact, when clashes with militia factions do occur, as happened with Hussein Aideed at the Mogadishu seaport in May 2001, the TNG military is not even called to respond. Rather, the fighting is done by the personal militia of businessmen loyal to the TNG (UN-IRIN, 2001).
...and Lucrative Cartel
If the TNG is so dysfunctional as a formal government structure, how can its continuing survival and the support of the Mogadishu business community be explained? After all, Mogadishu remains one of the most violent cities in the world and political rivalries are regularly settled at gunpoint. To answer this question, it is necessary to analyse the personal relations, clan networks and financial flows that benefit the inner circle of TNG supporters. This is the key to understanding its strategic importance and prospects for success. At the same time, it reveals a far more sophisticated political arrangement at work that leads one to question: how democratic the Arta process really was.
It is no coincidence that the TNG, led by President Abdiqasim Salad Hasan (whose clan genealogy is Hawiye: Habr Gedir:Ayr:Absiye), was established through a peace process led by the Government of Djibouti. Abdurahman Boreh, one of the key financiers of the Arta conference and the eminence grise to President of Djibouti Ismael Omar Guelleh, has long-standing business connections in Mogadishu (ION, 2000a). For instance, both prior to and following the Arta conference, Boreh has been a key investor in the SomTel communications company with the TNG's first Prime Minister, Ali Khalif (ION, 2000b). Boreh was also financially connected to a group of Mogadishu businessmen that continue to support the TNG's operating costs.
Most notably, this group includes Mohamed Deilaf (also from the Ayr:Absiye clan). Deilaf was a relatively unknown entrepreneur before the civil war, but capitalised on aid contracts to transport food and exchange dollars into local currency for international relief agencies (i.e. ICRC, WFP, ADRA and others). This launched him into large-scale trading activities. He is known for importing food and non-food items into Somalia, primarily Brazilian sugar, and then transporting them onwards to Kenya and the greater Horn of Africa region without paying duty. Given the financial and legal problems of conducting such an operation without banks or national certificates, Boreh has invested in Deilaf's enterprise by accessing letters of credit from Djiboutian banks and registering bills of lading destined for Djibouti port (ION, 1999b and also Marchal, 1996).
As one of the richest and most powerful men in Mogadishu, Deilaf had little trouble recruiting other businessmen to co-finance the TNG. In fact, he has long been the nexus of a cartel of pious businessmen who supported the emergence of Shari'a Courts in south Mogadishu and Lower Shabelle. The failure of Somalia's militia-factions to provide a stable investment and trade environment motivated Mogadishu businessmen to identify an alternative to the inefficient and costly protection racket established by the feuding warlords (ION, 1999c). This brought together a number of influential Hawiye traders and hotel owners, such as Abdirashid Elqrete (Hawiye:Habr Gedir:Saad), Haju Abukar Adan (Hawiye:Abgal:Warsangeli), Abdulkadir Enow (Hawiye:Abgal:Warsangeli) and Hussein Golei (Hawiye:Habr Gedir:Ayr). These and a dozen other key businessmen are all involved in lucrative sectors of food aid transport, remittance banking, telecommunications, construction or management of small beach ports near Mogadishu.
While the TNG's formal bureaucracy is not functioning, the strength of the TNG emanates from the symbiotic relationship with this group of businessmen that dominates the regional currency supply, import markets and other UN/NGO contracts. The businessmen have provided a range of services to TNG members, including the provision of houses, hotel rooms, office and home furnishings and food stuffs (ION, 2001). Even more importantly, it is these individuals who provide security services and vehicles for key members of the TNG, as well as engaging in battles with warlords opposed to the TNG. Although this support forms the backbone of the TNG's military and economic capacity, it is not officially part of the institutional structures comprising the administration. This explains the ability of the TNG to disavow its hand in any of the recent violent confrontations with Hussein Aideed and others.
For a year and a half now, speculation has been rife that the support of key businessmen will wane unless the TNG is successful in establishing order and collecting taxes to pay for its own daily operating costs. The TNG has been able to acquire only limited supplies of hard currency through foreign aid. Despite vociferous diplomatic support from the United Nations, the international community has been very slow to release new aid flows to the TNG. To date, direct assistance from the UN and EU to the TNG has included little more than limited training of parliamentarians, socio-economic studies of the potential for demobilisation, and the supply of excess desks and computers. In terms of hard cash transfers, only the support from Saudi Arabia and Libya mentioned above has been forthcoming. This is hardly an amount comparable to the regular operating costs of the TNG, when one includes salaries and offices for parliamentarians and the cost of payments to militia in the demobilisation camps.
However, there is a serious fallacy behind speculation that business support for the TNG will dwindle unless it becomes self-financing. Even in the absence of further support, some Mogadishu businessmen have already benefited from the TNG. It must be recalled that the Somali business community has long paid extortionate rent to the militia for protection. This is simply part of the cost doing business in Somalia. By supporting the TNG rather than militia factions or the Shari'a Courts, key Mogadishu businessmen are no longer paying a rent that is entirely unrecoverable. Rather, they are using the same money that they would inevitably pay for protection to invest in the TNG with hopes of future returns in the form of international aid. Even if the Saudi and Libyan donations are only one-off gestures of support, that is more money than businessmen ever received from the likes of Hussein Aideed or Osman Atto.
The TNG's use of the $15 million provided by Saudi Arabia gives an example of how this symbiotic relationship between the TNG and Mogadishu businessmen works. The arrival of the Saudi aid in hard currency provided the businessmen an opportunity to realise a new source of revenue that went above and beyond their regular profit. There were two conduits for this exchange of money. First, the TNG used the Saudi money to repay handsomely the support of their financiers who had maintained receipts for all of the services provided to the TNG to date, and were able to to claim portions of the Saudi aid directly from the TNG's coffers. According to informed sources within the TNG, the amounts charged for individual services clearly outstripped the real cost incurred and provided for a handsome profit.
Second, at the same time the Saudi aid arrived, the TNG was forced by public outcry to confront rampant inflation and devaluation of the Somali Shilling. The devaluation of the Shilling was caused by the introduction of a massive consignment of new banknotes by the very same businessmen identified above. Over the past ten years, in the absence of a formally recognised government or central bank, Somali businessmen and faction leaders have regularly procured new notes from printers in Canada, Indonesia and Malaysia (see UNDOS, 1999). To mop up the excess Shillings, the TNG held an auction of the remaining hard currency supplies to mop up excess local currency. Only the Mogadishu traders close to the TNG and involved in the money printing were able to participate in this auction, which offered an extremely favourable exchange rate (information from interviews conducted by the author).
In this exchange, the TNG's financiers were able to make three forms of profit from their initial investment in printing and shipping costs. Thes included 1) the original seigniorage (i.e. the difference between the market value of the printed money and the cost of its production), 2) the opportunity for arbitage through the controlled introduction of the new currency into the Mogadishu market, and 3) the sale of a portion of their remaining Shilling stocks to the TNG at favourable exchange rates. Simultaneously, the Mogadishu businessmen continue to make money from their regular trading activities and services to international aid agencies.
In practice, the TNG comprises two separate structures. First, the TNG has established an intricate bureaucracy that resembles the structure of a formal state institution. That bureaucracy does not function and no investments are being made to increase its capacity. Second, the TNG rests on a unique and powerful relationship between key Mogadishu businessmen and senior government officials, nearly all of whom are drawn from the Hawiye clan. They use their private sector connections to wield power by controlling the flow of trade in Mogadishu and financing large standing militias under the guise of business protection.
Politically, the modus operandi of the TNG is clear. Its institutions serve to gain social acceptance and co-opt potent political forces, such as the Shari'a Courts, in weak government roles. This is a means of neutralising their potential opposition towards the TNG. An economic modus operandi also seems to be emerging. Rather than struggling for territorial control in the face of staunch military opposition, the TNG is trying to squeeze its challengers - those businessmen who continue to support other militia factions - out of the trade market entirely.
By undermining the ability of the warlords to finance their struggle, President Abdiqasim hopes to force them to sue for peace and slowly extend his authority. To succeed with these strategies, the TNG President must find a way to manage the dissent of its MPs and Cabinet, while sharing the profits of trade and aid with supportive businessmen. If this can be accomplished, it may be that only continued Ethiopian military support for his rivals in the SRRC prevents the TNG's opposition from total collapse. However, until the TNG's financiers begin to invest in the functional capacity of the TNG's bureaucracy to provide security and essential services for the Mogadishu public, it makes little sense for the international community to support what amounts to little more than a business cartel.
Indian Ocean Newsletter (2002), 'Somalia: TNG Threatened with Desertion', Issue 984, Paris; (2001), 'Somalia: A Thrifty (Not) Government', Issue 976, Paris; (2000a), 'Djibouti/Somalia:Boreh Is a Happy Man', Issue 917, Paris; (2000b), 'Somalia: Business Picks Up', Issue 925, Paris; (1999a), 'Djibouti/Ethiopia: Mister Sheraton', Issue 871, Paris; (1999b), 'Somalia: Islamist Militia Offensive', Issue 879, Paris; (1999c), 'Somalia: Warlords May Be Sidelined', Issue 878, Paris.
Le Sage, A (2001), 'Prospect for Al Itihad and Islamist Radicalism in Somalia', Review of African Political Economy, vol. 27, no. 89.
Marchal, R (19960, 'The Post Civil War Somali Business Class', Research Report for the European Commission Somalia Unit, Nairobi.
UNDOS (1999), 'The Macroeconomy of Somalia - A Conceptual View', UNDP-Somalia, Nairobi.
UN - IRIN (2001), 'Somalia: Fighting at port challenges interim government', 12 May, Nairobi.
Shoe-bomber proclaims loyalty to bin
By Greg Frost
BOSTON (Reuters) - Declaring himself an enemy of the United States and a follower of Osama bin Laden, Londoner Richard Reid has pleaded guilty to charges of trying to blow up a trans-Atlantic flight with explosives stuffed in his shoes.
In a tense courtroom hearing, Chief U.S. District Judge William Young accepted Reid's decision to change his plea to guilty from not guilty, a move that could send the 29-year-old British citizen to prison for the rest of his life.
When Young reminded Reid he would probably use the government's claims of his al Qaeda links for the purposes of sentencing, Reid professed allegiance to bin Laden.
"I'm a disciple of Osama bin Laden. I'm an enemy of your country. I don't care," Reid, looking dishevelled and wearing a beige prison jump-suit, replied in a broad British accent.
Reid's lawyers surprised prosecutors on Wednesday by announcing that to spare his family he would admit his guilt and accept responsibility for trying to bring down American Airlines Flight 63 on December 22, 2001, as it flew from Paris to Miami.
Passengers and flight attendants overpowered Reid as he tried to ignite explosives in his athletic shoes. He was tied up with belts and headphone cords, and the plane landed in Boston under escort from fighter jets.
Reid, now popularly known as the shoe-bomber, was charged with attempted murder and attempted use of "a weapon of mass destruction" for trying to blow up the airliner.
AL QAEDA TRAINING
In pleading guilty, Reid gave up his right to a trial due to have started next month. According to the government, he now faces a sentence of between 60 years and life in prison. The judge scheduled a sentencing hearing for January 8.
Prosecutors stressed they had not struck a plea bargain with the Briton.
"The fact that Reid has chosen to plead guilty in no way mitigates Reid's actions, which were those of a terrorist -- plain and simple," U.S. Attorney Michael Sullivan said.
Before Reid entered his guilty plea on all eight counts against him, his lawyers tried to persuade Young to drop language from the indictment that said he received training from bin Laden's al Qaeda network, the group Washington blames for the September 11, 2001, attacks that killed about 3,000 people in the United States.
Young said he was not inclined to grant the request, noting he would probably take into account the al Qaeda allegations when deciding Reid's sentence.
Faced with what looked like another legal setback, Reid proceeded to plead guilty anyway.
Young painstakingly reviewed each count with Reid, making sure he knew what he was doing and asking the defendant at one point why he had decided to plead guilty.
"Because at the end of the day, I know that I done the actions," Reid answered.
LEFT BEHIND ON SEPT. 11
Prosecutors said earlier this week they could prove Reid received training at al Qaeda camps, and more evidence of his ties to the network came during Friday's hearing.
According to excerpts from an e-mail message read out by Assistant U.S. Attorney Timothy Feeley, Reid was upset at being excluded from the September 11 attacks.
In the e-mail, which Reid wrote to a person identified as "brother" two days before he boarded Flight 63, the British citizen recalled one of his dreams from a year earlier.
Reid said that in his dream, he was waiting for a ride by the side of a road. A pickup truck pulled up but it was full and he later hitched a ride in a smaller car.
"I now believe that the pickup truck was 911 as it's true that I was upset at not being sent," Reid said in the e-mail, according to prosecutors.
In a separate e-mail to his mother, the self-avowed Muslim militant spelled out why he wanted to strike at the United States.
"This is why we are ready to die defending the true Islam rather than to just sit back and allow the American government to dictate to us what we should believe and how we should behave," the e-mail said.
"It is clear that this is a war between truth and falsehood ... this is a war between Islam and democracy."
Yemen: Power Struggle Could Hurt U.S., British Assets
1 October 2002
Stratfor Strategic Forecasting
A power struggle in Yemen between the central government and a powerful northwestern-based tribe could erupt into bloody warfare in the short- to mid-term. If pushed to the wall, the opposition may respond with attacks against Western interests and assets.
Bloody tribal warfare may be about to erupt in Yemen. On Oct. 1, the official SABA news agency reported that the government had arrested two sons of Sheikh Abdullah al-Ahmar, who is Yemen's Parliament speaker, leader of the Islamist opposition Islah Party and a chieftain of the Hashid tribe. His sons were arrested Sept. 30 after a shootout the previous day between Hashid tribesmen and Yemeni security forces in front of the British Embassy in Sanaa.
Various tribes hold power over different territories in Yemen. Al-Ahmar's Islah Party represents Islamist factions of the Hashid tribal confederation in the northwest, while Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh's government controls only a narrow portion of the country, largely around the capital.
Saleh is related to the Hashid tribal leader, and the recent clashes may be part of an internal power struggle. Al-Ahmar accused the central government earlier this month of using money to scare opposition members and weaken his party, one of the first indications that ties between the two sides may be deteriorating.
Now open warfare between the government and the Hashid tribal confederation will lead to fierce and bloody battles in Sanaa and in the mountainous northwestern regions of the country. It also could result in increased attacks against Western interests and assets, especially those of the United States and Britain, in the Arabian Gulf state.
The central government has taken several steps recently to break the hold of the Hashid-Islah alliance over Yemen. In May, it announced plans to nationalize 400 Islah-run Koranic schools, where more than 250,000 students are enrolled. The move has been touted as a means of shutting down recruitment centers for radical militants, but it is a way to reduce the Hashid-Islah influence on the political stage as well.
Saleh also may be taking advantage of U.S. military sweeps against militants to target key tribal leaders in the northwest, which is traditional Hashid territory. One possible target is the leader of the Islah Party's militant wing, Abdul-Majeed al-Zindani, who allegedly is close to al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden. The government in Sanaa seems to using the hunt for al Qaeda to diminish the Hashids' political power.
The large segment of the northwest that the Hashid tribe controls is an important trade route to Saudi Arabia. Al-Ahmar also reportedly has close ties with Riyadh, and Saleh may be hoping to weaken his rivals in order to reduce Saudi Arabian influence in Yemen.
As the struggle heats up, both sides will turn to violence. Negotiations are possible, but the government's crackdown and continued pressure on its opponents are putting al-Ahmar in a tough position. Resistance may be the only acceptable response, and since the Hashids see Westerners as Saleh's allies, U.S. and British interests may become a target of attacks.
Rival forces to resume Sudan peace talks
By Paul Casciato
NAIROBI (Reuters) - Sudan and the rebel Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA) have agreed to resume stalled peace talks soon and to stop fighting then, a regional conflict resolution body says.
"Both parties have agreed to resume negotiations starting 14th October," the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD), a grouping of east African countries seeking to end wars in the region, said.
"In order to create a conducive atmosphere for the talks both parties have agreed to cease hostilities in all areas and ensure a military stand-down of all forces," the statement said on Friday.
But SPLA spokesman Samson Kwaje told Reuters the rebels would only cease their campaign when talks start on October 14.
"When we start talking we will sign a document affirming our positions to have a military stand-down on the talks, but as of now there is no agreement on that yet," Kwaje said, adding the group had captured another strategic town on Thursday.
The Islamic government in Khartoum broke off talks in Kenya in September after the SPLA took the southern town of Torit in hostilities that had continued while talks went on.
An IGAD source told Reuters the group was appealing to the SPLA to hold back. The grouping of east African countries that seeks to end wars in the region had said both parties agreed to cease hostilities and ensure a military stand-down in order to create a conducive atmosphere for talks.
Khartoum said it would return to the negotiating table once a ceasefire was in place. The SPLA said on September 27 it would observe "restraint" on military operations to revive the talks.
The announcement by the Sudan People's Liberation Movement (SPLM) followed several days of heavy fighting around Torit, which government forces are trying to retake.
An SPLM statement, referring to its SPLA military wing, said: "SPLA units will be instructed to maintain a defensive posture and not go into offensive military operations."
The SPLM statement said it was announcing "a period of tranquillity" to resume the talks and hoped the government and its militia allies would reciprocate.
Since talks between the SPLA and the Khartoum government aimed at ending the conflict broke down fighting has escalated.
The rebels have long said they will only agree a ceasefire in Africa's longest civil war when all outstanding issues have been settled in peace talks.
The SPLA says the south, which is mainly animist with some Christians and Muslims, wants more autonomy from the mainly Muslim north. There are many other political, militia or ethnic groups involved in the war in Africa's largest country .
In July, the SPLA and Khartoum signed a framework peace deal that would allow southerners to hold a referendum on secession in just over six years time and to separate state and religion in the south.
Analysts have hoped mediators would get the parties talking again eventually, saying international pressure, war fatigue and expectations within Sudan would help get the talks relaunched.
The Sudanese charge d'affaires in Nairobi, Ahmed Dirdeiry, declined to comment on Friday's SPLM announcement, calling it an initiative announced only to the media.
He said any serious proposal should be submitted to a mediation panel of neighbouring countries led by Kenya.
"We have not yet heard anything formally about this proposal," he said.
Both sides are reporting heavy fighting in the south, and the SPLA has said the government has launched a big offensive in the area and near some of the country's oil fields.
The government has banned all U.N. relief flights into parts of southern Sudan, saying it took the measure to ensure the safety of a U.N. umbrella group that provides aid to Sudanese.
U.S.-Russian Energy Goals: The Long Road Ahead
2 October 2002
Stratfor Strategic Forecasting
Both U.S. President George W. Bush and Russian President Vladimir Putin are pushing for Moscow to become a major energy supplier to the United States in the future. But there is a long way to go to fulfill this strategic task, and the outcome is not yet clear. Russian oil cannot replace Middle Eastern oil in the foreseeable future, and U.S. energy security could be better guaranteed by a quick victory in Iraq.
The Russia Energy Summit was held in Houston Oct. 1-2, with heavy corporate and government attendance from both the United States and Russia. Besides all the major energy companies, U.S. Energy Secretary Spencer Abraham, Trade Secretary Don Evans, Russian Energy Minister Igor Yusufov and Economic Development and Trade Minister German Gref were among the participants.
This summit coincides with growing fears on the global market about the impact that a U.S.-Iraq war could have on the supply, price and stability of oil. The U.S. government is intensifying efforts to diversify its energy supplies in order to decrease its dependence on the volatile Middle East and in particular is working with Moscow to turn Russia into a major U.S. energy supplier. If such a goal is realized, Washington could benefit by acquiring both geopolitical and energy control over Moscow, while the latter might finally get major foreign investments to revive its economy.
But this could take years with no guarantee of success, while Russia will be unable in the foreseeable future to replace the Middle East as the main U.S. oil supplier. A quick victory over Iraq seems to be a faster and easier way to maintain U.S. energy security in the meantime.
The main theme of the Houston summit was about turning Russia into a major U.S. oil supplier. There are three international projects that are currently being considered for implementing this strategic goal.
The first and only realistic project as of now envisions shipping Russian oil from Murmansk, a port in Russia's sub-Arctic zone, by super-large oil tankers directly to the United States. To make this a reality, Moscow supports a Lukoil-advanced plan to build an oil terminal near Murmansk.
Oil from the Timano-Pechora province in Russia's northeast would be shipped either through a planned Yaroslavl-Murmansk pipeline or by ice-resistant small tankers to the terminal, which may cost $300 million. The cost of the whole project ultimately would total between $1.5 billion and $2.6 billion, Lukoil has said. Russian oil majors Yukos, Sibneft and TNK have also expressed interest in participating in the project.
Lukoil believes that if the project is a success, the first oil might come to the United States by 2005, with the goal being 1 million barrels per day. This would be a significant advance in achieving Washington's goal of diversification -- currently the United States imports 8.9 million barrels of crude per day globally, with 48 percent coming from the Western Hemisphere and 30 percent from the Middle East, according to the Department of Energy.
A second project that Yukos is working on would ship Russian oil via the Druzhba pipeline to a Croatian deep-sea port in the Adriatic Ocean, with tankers then taking it on to the United States. The project might become operational by 2005, but it would have a much lower capacity of 100,000 barrels per day. A transit-fee agreement and serious reconstruction of the Croatian part of the pipeline have yet to be done.
The third project would ship oil from Russia's Sakhalin Island by tankers via the Pacific Ocean to the U.S. West Coast and may be operational by 2008. But the closer markets of Japan, China and Southeast Asia look much more attractive economically for Sakhalin oil exports. The West Coast is also well supplied now through a pipeline stretching from Alaska through Canada.
If Russia were indeed to become a major energy supplier for the United States, it would have to remain firmly on Washington's side if it wanted to ever benefit from oil revenues. Moscow would also realize that multi-billion-dollar investments would stop flowing to Russia if Washington did not like Moscow's foreign policy at some point and applied sanctions. In addition, the Russian energy sector would become strongly dependent on both the U.S. energy market and U.S. investments in its energy infrastructure and enterprises.
But Moscow might benefit as well, first by getting reliable oil revenues. Major U.S. direct investments into the energy sector could also be expected, leading to a more efficient Russian energy sector. Politically, Washington would have to pay more attention to Russia due to its new status as a major U.S. energy supplier, although Russia would remain a junior partner in this relationship.
However, there is a very long way to go to fulfill this goal.
First, the Russian energy sector needs about $50 billion in investments that cannot come from within the country. There is a big question mark about whether American energy majors and large investment companies would agree to commit this amount to a stagnating Russian energy sector and its archaic infrastructure, especially since the global and U.S. economy are still struggling to recover and global security risks after Sept. 11 are on a sharp rise.
The lack of transparency of Russian oil companies, the prominent role organized crime plays in Russia's economy -- including the energy sector, as the recent kidnapping of Lukoil's first vice president shows -- as well as the other political, economic and social problems that Russia is likely to face for years ahead, may become an insurmountable obstacle for investments.
Second, despite the political benefits of a closer U.S.-Russia energy relationship, U.S. corporations have often demonstrated that economic considerations are the overriding basis for their strategic decisions. Russia is unlikely to look economically viable and profitable to them in near future.
The U.S. trade secretary had to admit in Houston that governments do not take risks and sign checks -- the decisions should be made by American oil companies on their own, RusEnergy.com reports. And American companies have always proceeded with great caution in the Russian market. For example, mainly U.S. oil majors in 1994 created a consortium to exploit the same Timano-Pechora oil province that is offered now by Lukoil as the source of big oil for the Murmansk project. But numerous Russian obstacles caused the project to be scuttled.
Third, Russian oil, despite being of lower quality compared to that of the Middle East, costs significantly more. Thus, buying Russian oil might become cost-prohibitive for American consumers who would then refuse Russian deliveries. In principle, Russian oil deliveries are economically viable only in periods of high global oil prices. If, for example, a new pro-U.S. Iraq government is installed after a war and raises oil production and export volume significantly, then an oil price of $15 per barrel would make any purchase of Russian oil senseless.
Last, the final outcome of turning Russia into a major oil supplier for the United States remains unclear. The government of President Vladimir Putin is firmly behind this goal. But it remains to be seen how succeeding Russian governments will treat this initiative. A future government in Moscow may not be happy with Russia's junior status and the perceived unilateral advantages Washington might have gained by that time from Russian oil supplies.
Unsure of the outcome of Russia's internal geopolitical struggle, Washington is not likely to ever put itself in a position of depending heavily on Russian oil. But Washington will continue to work to diversify its energy supplies, including increasing the role for Russian energy deliveries.
It is likely clear to Washington that Russian oil, even together with planned increases in West African oil supplies, cannot replace Middle Eastern oil in the foreseeable future. And if a war against Iraq is won within three months, then early next year the United States would already have secured control over vast Iraqi oil resources. As Sarah Emerson of the U.S. Energy Security Analysis Institute said at the International Energy Forum in Osaka, Japan, last weekend, one of the best ways to secure American energy security would be the liberation of Iraq, RusEnergy.com reports.
The amount of oil Russia promises to deliver to the United States by 2005, 1 million barrels per day, is only half of current Iraqi exports. With a new pro-U.S. government in Baghdad and sanctions lifted, Iraq would be able to step up oil exports quickly. Russia is currently working at the top of its oil production capacity -- everything extracted immediately goes for sale. And Iraqi oil is of much higher quality and has lower extraction costs. But a U.S. victory in Iraq is not assured either, which is why the Bush administration will work simultaneously on several energy fronts to diversify its supplies.