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The AU Must Not Let States With Dual Allegiances-Egypt And Sudan Bully Them
This is the time to wake up and be vigilant. It is time not to be intimidated by a two failed dictatorships Egypt and Sudan, who muzzled all political dissent in their countries. Two countries who are bestowed with strategic locations, enviable national resources, human capital and plenty of history. But still most of their people live in abject poverty, undemocratic societies, lack of economical growth, illiteracy and disease.
The fact that, the AU fact finding mission on Somaliland briefing, was in the AU conference agenda in Gambia, in the absence of the Republic of Somaliland from the conference is amazing to me. Is this an episode from a fictional movie or what? This is just like a court trial where only the accusers in the case are present, while the plaintiffs are absent. Where on earth you can see something like that happen? Only in Africa?
It may be high time to bypass this despot-rich AU, where I doubt if anything of substance will ever come out of it? The presence of some of world's most notorious dictators and for life leaders there is disheartening. What can you expect from a place where Hosni Mubarak, Omar Al-Bashir, Isiah's Afwargus, Robert Mugabe, and others are sitting side by side? Did anything can happen, in such a high concentration of heavy metal one man rulers' laboratory? This do nothing despot den may be a waste of time.
We are talking about a debating society, where some big aggressive despots may veto anything of substance. I wonder If this body can ever do anything right. I am afraid this AU may not be different from its failed predecessor the OAU. So far, the only difference between the two bodies may be their names. According to some reports from AU conferences, it is customary to see some unexpected surprises flaring up. Every now and then also, you may see the hijacking of a conference by one intransigent despot or a group of despots.
I would like to remind Egypt that their short lived union with Syria has been amicably separated.
You all know the west is fascinated to the level of obsession with ancient Egypt's history and wonders. There are fewer things that mesmerized and captured the imagination of the world more than, the pyramids of Giza, mummies and the long reigning Egyptian Pharaohs, their writings-the 'Hieroglyphics, the sophisticated engineering of the pyramids, which is a vivid demonstration of a high knowledge of Astronomy, mathematics and especially geometry. For a very long time, the Nile was the center of the Egyptian foreign policy on the Horn of Africa.
Due to this concrete fact, Egyptian policy was always based through the ages, on persistent concerns about who controls the Somali peninsula. Therefore, their policy On the Horn of Africa and Sudan was always very clear, simple and straight forward, Ethiopia's neighbor to the East must be always a strong unitary state, that will be a counter-balance to Ethiopia, which also means under the lines, that state the former Somalia must always be a hostile neighbor to Ethiopia. It sounds like a mythical fantasy, which sounds to good to be true.
Don't get me wrong Egyptian leadership are fossils from another era. They are vestiges of the past. Their paradigm is set on the 19Th and the 20Th centuries. in other words, they are dinosaurs frozen on time, their thinking have stopped in 1952, following a military coup, led by the so-called free officers headed by General Mohamed Najib that ousted King Farouk. Among the famous names in this group were Anwar Al-Sadat, Zakaria Muhyadin, Marshall Abulhakim Amir and Hosni Mubarak. Their attitude is still programmed in "1952" and beyond. Despite the transformation that took place in the world since "1952".
Egyptian leaders still do things the "1952" way. It is just like a machine or motor using "1952" technology in a 21st century world. They still believe in boycotts, sanctions, isolation, sabotage, bulling and what have you. Constructive engagement and peaceful conflict resolution is not part of their vocabulary. They still are pursuing their failed policies of the past that cost them loose 4 wars to the tiny state of Israel.
They still following the policies and the mentality that thrusted the Palestinian problem into an untenable position. They still pursue policies that tolerated and even supports vicious dictators like Saddam Hussein, Qaddafi, General Abdul Karim Kasim, Siyad Barre, Omar Bashir , Ali Abdulla Salah and others.
For them they care less about the realities on the ground, about self-determination and what have you. Surely they do not care about Somaliland and Somalia for that matter. Their perpetual animosity towards Ethiopia is just nothing else but related to their water politics. Ethiopia on its part must have rejected this outdated Egyptian policy.
They have to make it clear to them that Ethiopia, Somaliland and Somalia are neighbors, who will not let outsiders influence events in their area. Look what they are doing in the South (Somalia) after the ICU ousted the warlords from Mogadishu. They are internationalizing Somalia's internal problems. Countries like Egypt and Eritrea are siding with ICU, while Ethiopia and Yemen are siding with the Embagathi group.
This is a country with monumental internal problems which is on the verge of splitting into at least 3 parts, Northern Sudan, Southern Sudan and may be Darfur. It is a county living in a glass house but still throwing stones at others.
Sudan achieved its independence from Britain in "1956". Through out history, Sudan was under some form of Egyptian tutelage or the other. One time, a joint British and Egyptian colonial officers were ruling this country. Sudan have been bedeviled with long rule of dictator after dictator. To mention a few of them, let us start with General Ibrahim Aboud, Ismail Al-Ashari, Sir Khatum AlKhaifa, Jaffer al-Numiri, Sadik Al Mahdi and now the absolute dictator Omar Al-Bashir. Just few of the above-mentioned were elected leaders.
This country have been waging racist, religious, expansionist and irredenist wars against the people of Southern Sudan for about 20 years. The Sudanese armed forces have indiscriminately bombed towns, villages and the country. hundreds of thousands of civilians have been perished in this unnecessary war of aggression against the civilians of Southern Sudan.
The Southern Sudanese fought back and waged successful guerrilla campaign against the government of Sudan. After 20 years of vicious genocide against the people of Southern Sudan, A peace deal and cease fire have been finally struck down. In the agreement is a clause which calls for a plebiscite in Southern Sudan in 5 years, that will authorize them to vote for full independence.
According to many observers, the long suffered people of Southern Sudan will choose to secede from Sudan. Soon as the peace deal between the Khartoum government and the SPLA was finalized, the Sudanese forces were descending on the people of Darfur and again indiscriminately massacring the people of this land in the hundreds of thousands. Adding more fuel to the fire, The Khartoum government armed, equipped and financed a notorious Arab militia by the name of "JenJaweet" who raised hell in Darfur. The combined JenJaweet and the government forces have razed more than 600 villages to the ground and drove more than 2 million people out of their houses.
This is nothing but genocide pure and simple. So callous, so malignant and so ferocious was the war, Sudanese Armed forces have unleashed on the innocent civilians of Darfur. This is the country which has the guts to block the democratic Republic of Somaliland from the African Union conference In Gambia. This Sudan with the above-named record, is denying another country the right to defend itself and express its position. This dictatorial, despotic, unjust, intransigent country while committed genocide and crimes against humanity, is still enjoying the privilege of being a member of all international bodies. What a joke?
As far as I am concerned, in the real world neither Sudan nor Egypt has the moral fabric, credibility, stature, legitimacy, democratic values and the integrity to deny a nascent democracy like Somaliland to at least be bestowed with the right of an observer in the AU. What a world we are in ? What kind of world is a place, where non transparent dictatorships are imposing their unbending, despotic, unreasonable and undemocratic views on other nations? It is no wonder that Palestinians are begging to make their homeland an area just about 40-45 % of the size of the original Gaza and the West Bank. It is a fact in the years between 1948 and 1967, both Gaza strip and the West Bank were under the occupation of Egypt and Jordan respectively. These two countries never came up with the vision of creating a homeland for the Palestinian people.
It is very sad today, these two absolute dictatorships have imposed their dictatorial, unbending views on the AU. How long illegitimate, unelected regimes with checkered records are allowed, to impose their radical and extreme attitudes on others? Despite their poor behavior, unruly character and thuggish actions, they still enjoy full membership in both regional and international organizations.
How long will the regional and international organizations, will continue to let violent dictatorships who muzzled internal dissent, refused to conduct elections, and put their rudimentary opposition leaders in jail? Can the modern world of the 21century keep on tolerating that such countries be members of international bodies? Not to mention, Sudan is refusing to let international peace keepers to come to Darfur and keep the peace and pick up the pieces of a land they destroyed. How long such countries are allowed to further destabilize world peace and tranquility?
A note to the AU
There is a tremendous responsibility bestowed upon you. You well know that Africa has failed in the first 50 years of the post-independence marathon. The Failure was among other things, was due to poor leadership, lack of forward looking vision, bad management, and the inability to put in place civil society institutions, that will help the individual nations progress, develop, prosper and compete with the rest of the world.
For the last 20 years, the world has undergone unprecedented economical, political and informational transformation. East Asia, North America and the European Union are mostly the beneficiaries of this globalization. Several international protocols destined to ease, or break some barriers to trade have been signed. Some South American countries are also, to some extent involved in this transformational process.
As you know Africa is totally absent from this emerging paradigm. If this trends continues whereby Africa is excluded from the international markets, multi-national corporations, international organizations, the latest technological break throughs and scientific research, Regional economical groupings, the continent will remain as a pre-historic and backward outpost completely excluded from civil society, the cutting edge technology, global media, democratic ideals, Justice, human rights, education and the information superhighway. It will remain a basket case entity, where the only information coming from it, will be mindless wars, diseases, violent fanatics, man-made famines and refugees.
This development May further plunge this long sleeping giant into abyss, despair and backwardness. If that happens, The continent will be dropped from global coverage, at which time, the only people interested it, will be NGO's, adventurers or specialists doing research. Some of these shocking markers are already there, but surely. It is a bitter fact that, your predecessor the OAU has already miserably failed.
Its tenure has ended with a poor report card reading "F". I can understand that, some of the problems that bedeviled the continent for the last 50 years may have been structural, molecular and systemic, which may be in part inherited from the European colonial powers. But that doesn't put Africa's leaders and the former OAU and the modern AU off the hook. To wade you through the laundry list of OAU failures, will be a rather arduous job at best and strenuous and time consuming at worst. But I would like to underline few synopsis of the plethora of conflicts that plagued the place.
Most if not all of the following conflicts have been overlooked, neglected or deliberately ignored due in part, to the adherence to a foolish and non pragmatic cold war political correctness, shear incompetence and lack of vision.
Here are some of the past and present problems of the continent:
The bloody thirty years Eritrean conflict
Looking the other way when non transparent, brutal and genocidal dictators/warlords such as Mengistu, Siyad Barre, Idi Amin, Mobotto, Husseini Habre, Mogadishu warlords, Sudanese leaders, Charles Taylor, Rwandan Hutu leaders and many others were ravaging nations. I don't understand why some form of international intervention won't be conducted, when these heartless beasts were destroying innocent lives.
Remember all these were active members of all the international organizations until their last hour. These killers were given economical, military, political and social support. They were all bestowed with international recognition. The cumulative effect of the nightmarish experiences these vicious leaders have perpetrated is profound. Many observers wonder whether these organizations can shake off some of their checkered record and undergo a radical overall reform, so they may get the opportunity to repair some of their tarnished track record and credibility.
Africa's big men, the presidents for life, who reached to the top echelons of power via a banner of nationalism and anti-colonial message, are one of the major culprits to be blamed on the Continent's predicament. One may wonder how come such potentially rich and vast continent ends up so impoverished, so desperate, so behind and so untamable. These men were mostly decent, well-educated, and some of them were laden with graduate degrees.
But they have miserably failed in the department of leadership, management and vision Their leadership style was so diminutive bordering on ineptness and incompetence, when it comes to the complex art of governance, management, and leadership. In fact they have very little experience regarding the complicated task of transitioning these nations from the colonial era political, economical, educational and social structures, and into modern, independent states with comprehensive and elaborate economical, political, social and educational plans.
This is a very tall order which needs serious, well-experienced, well-advised and well-coached leadership. In a net shell many of 1960s leaders may have been well-intentioned. But most of them lack a very crucial attributes all successful leaders need to have which is vision. Another very debilitating feature, that may have crippled them from doing anything is their despotic tendency, intransigence, my way or the highway mentality and their unbending political outlook.
The latter along with so many other shortcomings have made their nations fall into underdevelopment, backwardness, illiteracy, abyss, runaway unemployment, social unrest and finally chaos, institutional collapse and you eventually end up with Somalis, Sierra Leones. Liberias, Congoes, Sudans, and Ugandas of the world. Though dozen other counties are just one notch ahead of Somalia, the latter is the poster child of dysfunction, chaos, violence and institutional collapse.
Did these big men laid the foundation for the cosmic calamities and the biblical tectonic plate shifts that bedeviled the continent for the last 40 years? The answer is yes!
Why nobody said anything when Siyad Barre was conducting punishing air strikes, in urban population centers brimming with civilians in Somaliland? Why the UN and other organizations such as the OAU looked the other way? Why the OAU failed to proactively stop even one single conflict?
History has told us how simple matters which are let to simmer escalate into chronic problems which are difficult to resolve.
Applying a simple driving license or buying a gun triggers a background check. How come some countries in the AU and the UN, won't go through a period of checking the on going democratization process happening in their countries. Aren't some countries would have to think twice, had there was an annual, biennial or whatever review process, at which time a number of markers such as human rights, democratization, freedom of the press, transparency are looked at? New countries applying for membership in the regional organizations or the world body, should have to go through something like this.
What was wrong with the judgment of the OAU and other states when they were openly supporting regimes and despots committing gross human violations? How come Siyad Barre continue to be a member of the OAU, the UN, and other organizations, while bombarded Somaliland cities to rubble? Did brutal and genocidal dictators like that deserve to be in the OAU, and other world bodies, among the family of nations and still supported? What a hypocrisy? What a double standard? The security council authorized the UN and the international community to use force when Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait. While the League of nations done nothing a while fascist Italy brutally attacked a sovereign state-Ethiopia in 1935.
Some of the following countries have been peacefully separated from each other, While others have been violently separated from each other: Senegal and Gambia, the Mali federation, Pakistan and Bangladesh, Egypt and Syria, Czech Republic and Slovakia, the 15 Republic of the former Soviet Union, Bosnia, Croatia, Slovenia, Macedonia, and Montenegro were all separated from the Former Yugoslavia.
In Ethiopia, what has happened in 1991, when the EPLF victorious marched into Asmara without firing a shot, and the surrender of the whole Ethiopian elite forces roughly numbering about 100 thousand plus soldiers said volumes about nations who fight for a just cause. What had happened in 1991 started thirty years prior to that? In 1952, Emperor Haile Salessie, a man with very myopic vision transformed Eritrea from A United Nations Trusteeship nation in a nation federated with Ethiopia. As a maximum despot with a 19th century mentality, he did all that without conducting referendum or plebiscite in Eritrea. He didn't stop there, He changed the ancient name of the country from Abyssinia to Ethiopia.
Though short sighted and dictatorial, he was no fool, that move was a clever attempt to pave the way, for changing Ethiopia into a centralized unitary state. That was exactly the beginning of the seeds of the long drawn Eritrean conflict. His reckless miscalculations didn't stop there, in 1962 he dissolved the Eritrean local assembly and removed their flag and declared Eritrea as part and parcel of Ethiopia. That has completed the total annexation of Eritrea, and that immediately precipitated Mr. Osman Salah Sabi to declare the formation of the first Eritrean independence movement, the ELF (Eritrean Liberation Front) in Damascus, And the Eritrean Resistance for liberation started.
In Somalia, the voluntary and defective union of 1960 ended with the collapse of the state in 1991. Somaliland the former British Somaliland protectorate, declared its independence after a long and bitter 30 years struggle, that went through many stages, that culminated on an armed struggle and genocide. Here is where the world-est greatest anomaly happened. No center to separate from existed following a total collapse of the former Somali state.
Somaliland just rose from the ashes of a country in total ruins, a growing number a brutal dictatorship and further destroyed by an array of warlords. Though a good number of countries are increasingly becoming more sympathetic to its just cause, still several countries are harboring the old school, cold war, non pragmatic and uncompromising views, and these countries are opposed to Somaliland’s Independence. But at the end of the day what counts is the self-determination of its people.
You need to carefully and closely look at Somaliland's cause and try to justly resolve this pressing issue, which needs your earnest and urgent attention. You must always put into your consideration, that the people of this country have spoken and decided to go their own way, which is the reacquisition of their Independence and sovereignty, and amicably live side by side with their sister country Somalia. You must put into consideration the many conflicts your predecessor the OAU neglected, overlooked or pressured to ignore. The Eritrean conflict is a very good example. The OAU have completely ignored that important issue and you know what had happened-30 years of devastating war.