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Somalia : 'The World's Hidden Shame'

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Victims of war crimes unearthed by heavy spring rains at Boqol-Jire in Hargeysa

UN Envoy Concerned At Rising Tensions Between Puntland And Somaliland

" Qaran has a legitimate concern and an arguable legal case "

Somaliland Troops Clash With Puntland Forces

Call For Peace And Justice In Somalia

Africa's Success Story

Two Eritrean Journalists Captured In Somalia Held With “Foreign Fighters”

Somali Civilians Murdered, Raped, As Conflict Worsens, UN Says

Mission Report on the Trial Observation of Detained Human Rights Defenders
in Somaliland

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The Independence Of Somaliland A Reality Not A Hope, UDUB

Somaliland: Africa's Oasis Of Calm

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Peacekeepers With No Peace To Keep

U.S. declines to comment on reported North Korean arms sales to Ethiopia

Kadra Attacked In Public

Doomsday for the Greenback

Worse Than Apartheid?



Ethiopia Acknowledges Detaining 41 Suspected Terrorists, Denies Wrongdoing

Washington Post Equates Imus's Racist Remarks with When He Called Cheney a "War Criminal"

Somalia's Descent To Hell

North Koreans Arm Ethiopians As U.S. Assents

Somalia : 'The World's Hidden Shame'

The West Now Takes Keen Interest in Peace for Somalia

Food for thought


Recognition: Ritual or Requisite?

Bad Days Ahead For Puntlanders

The Twenth first Genocide

The Majeerten Envy Towards Somaliland

Mogadishu Massacre: Ethiopia Serves Vengeance In Cold For The US!

Somaliland's Foreign Policy, Understanding The Process Of Multilateral Diplomacy

Ich Bin Ein Hawiye (I Am A Hawiye Citizen)

Is Somaliland Teetering Towards Failure? - Part II


Internally displaced Somalis flee from fighting in Mogadishu. Photo by REUTERS/Shabele Media
Internally displaced Somalis flee from fighting in Mogadishu. Photo by REUTERS/Shabele Media

Blogged by: Nina Brenjo

Apr 11, 2007

While Western countries are desperate to find a solution for Somalia following the latest fighting, it’s worth remembering that it was the West that destroyed the tribal arrangements which used to hold Somalia together, writer Hugh Graham says in the Toronto Star. Even the current divisions between Somalia's peaceful north and restive south are due to western involvement. The British were wise enough to leave the tribal governing structures intact in the northern part of the country. The Italians, on the other hand, attempted to impose a centrist government in the south, dismissing the existing tribal system in the process, Graham explains. The U.S. followed the Italian example in the 1990s and the result is a failed state. It's also important to understand that most of the support for the Islamic Courts, a group of sharia-based courts which temporarily ruled the country last year, comes from the southern Hawiye tribe. But don't be fooled into thinking that this means the Hawiye are Islamist hardliners, Graham warns. The Hawiye’s main fear is being governed by the current president of the transitional federal government (TFG), Yusuf Ahmed - a member of the northern Darood clan. The example of Somaliland, a peaceful territory occupying part of northern Somalia, shows how traditional tribal structures can help reconciliation, Africa analyst Dr Timothy Othieno writes in Business Day. Othieno of South Africa's Institute for Global Dialogue echoes Graham's thoughts by suggesting that the rest of Somalia should do the same as Somaliland where traditional processes of conflict resolution enabled clan elders to sort out their differences in 1993 after years of fighting. The Economist says making concessions to the Hawiye tribe could go a long way in securing peace. The Hawiye would in turn be more ready to control their gunmen and detach themselves from the Islamist hardliners. The Washington Post holds foreign powers responsible for some of the failures in securing a more peaceful Somalia. It blames Eritrea for backing the Somali Islamists and African countries, such as Nigeria and South Africa, for failing to send promised peacekeepers. It also blames the United States and Europe for not increasing pressure on African countries to provide peacekeepers and for not pressing the Somali transitional government to strike deals with under-represented tribes, such as the Hawiye. The opportunity for peace in Somalia may have already been missed, the paper says. Late last year, Ethiopian soldiers entered Somalia to help the government kick out the Islamists. Replacing them with African peacekeepers sounds like a good idea and "makes political sense", says Kenya's Nation. But Somalis may not view it that way. The move could be seen as a means of strengthening the unpopular transitional government. The international community better rethink its strategy for Somalia, the paper warns. Otherwise, the mortar fire that greeted the first batch of Ugandan peacekeepers may not be a one-off. The Washington Times is similarly pessimistic about Somalia's prospects. There was a window of opportunity when the Islamists were booted out of Mogadishu, the paper says. Had they been prevented from reorganizing, Somalia may not be in the mess it now finds itself in, it concludes. A national reconciliation conference planned for April 16 may offer some hope, but don't hold your breath, says Michael Weinstein, an analyst at the Power and Interest News Report, cited by the Guardian columnist Simon Tisdall. He lays the blame on President Yusuf and factions within the government who, according to Weinstein, would be reluctant to hand over power. So, why not put pressure on Yusuf? It's more complicated than that, argues Weinstein. "If (the international community presses) the TFG into open reconciliation talks, they risk its implosion; if they stand back and let Yusuf proceed with his approach to reconciliation, they risk increasing instability." So, Somalia - "the hidden shame of the world" as Tisdall calls it - looks set for yet another "descent into the inferno".

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Nina Brenjo joined AlertNet in 2001. She worked with Medecins Sans Frontieres and Premiere Urgence in Bosnia during the 1992-95 war. Nina has a Masters degree in International Relations. She regularly scans the global coverage of emergencies and digests the most interesting highlights for AlertNet's MediaWatch section.

Source: Reuters AlertNet

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