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Crying Wolf: TFG And Puntland Desperately Play The Terrorist Card
It has become a deep-rooted culture for Puntland and for TFG (Tigray Founded Government) leaders to play the terrorist card—their new Ace Card—in every opportunity, in order to obfuscate and to distort the facts on the ground.
Historically, whenever Puntland leaders could not bear the heat from their opposition they echoed the presence of terrorists in their region, and sent SOS messages to Addis Ababa. In early 2002, when Abdullahi Yussuf was battling against, Jama Ali Jama, the then elected leader of Puntland, Mr. Yusuf played the terrorist card and accused Mr. Jama of leading a terror group. As a result, a battalion of Ethiopian troops gave a good chase to Mr. Jama and to his troops led by Gen. Adde Musse—the current president of Puntland.
While in the capital of Somaliland, Hargeysa, as a refugee, Gen. Adde Musse repeatedly said that his forces had nothing to do with terrorist groups. He literally begged the Ethiopians not to fall for Abdillahi Yusuf’s ridiculous accusations. Years later, though, Gen. Adde Musse returned to power, after an intensive negotiation between him and Abdillahi Yusuf. Much of the credit was due to Boqor Buur Madow ( King Black Mountain) of Somaliland. He made tireless efforts to mediate the warring factions and he succeeded it. But what was the reward he received from them in return? A hail of bullets!
No sooner Gen. Adde Musse became the president of Puntland than he attacked Somaliland; the same country that saved his sorry soul when he was at the mercy of Abdillahi Yusuf and the Ethiopian troops.
Amazingly, as the Somali proverb says: “Awrba awrka ka horeeya ayuu socodkiisa leeyahay” or “Every camel follows the footsteps of the one before it”, Gen. Adde Musse didn’t waste too much time. He too sent yet another SOS call to Addis Ababa when he was threatened by the Islamic Court Union I.C.U. And he too just like his predecessor played the terrorist card. Why not? After all, it worked for Abdillahi Yussuf.
Similarly, when disgruntled local people of the coastal town of Bargaal, in Puntland, protested against Gen. Adde’s regime and his incompetence as a leader, he duped the gullible Americans to bombard the town in order to flush out some elusive “terrorists” hiding in the mountainous area near the town. Now is there a parallelism between Bargaal and Sool conflict? You bet.
The current uprising in Sool against Puntland is the result of the failed tribal kingdom that Abdillahi Yusuf once promised to create, which left the people in the region in a destitute situation. As expected, once Abdillahi Yusuf reached his goal—i.e. parachuted into presidential seat in Mogadishu—he completely forgot about his impotent tribal fiefdom because he has a bigger fish to fry elsewhere. But the tribal fiefdom is crumbling before his eyes without Somaliland involvement.
While the people in Sool and in Eastern Sanag region have been drilled down the belief that sacrificing their own lives for their country was the biggest honor, and they are the umbilical cord between unity and separation, therefore, they must do everything possible to make sure Somaliland does not succeed in its quest for recognition, Puntland has had other agendas in mind, as one writer who hails from Eastern Sanag states, “The Birth of Puntland was a hope that never materialized and ended in a situation of agony, misery, and recurrent inter-clan conflicts. Besides, after so many years of administrative neglect, the Puntland Authority tried to tap the natural resources of Sanaag and Western Bari for its own benefit, and again the Puntland militias started trading charcoals and other illegal trading activity.” And he continues, “The Hartinism [Majerten, Dhulbahante and Warsangali tribes] that Puntland is lobbying for was not there when rag tag militias of Ade Muse lead assaults on Majiyahan mining town in Western Bari and again when they were burning the acacias of Sanaag in order to get Charcoal!!” But the populations in Sool as well as in Eastern Sanag regions have now realized that they can neither stop nor expedite the independence of Somaliland. Therefore, the only thing left for them is to safeguard their natural resources and create their own mini States. So the recent establishment of Makhir State was a rude wake-up call for Puntland. Now Makhir State (Warsangeli territory) is real, so is the upcoming birth of Daraawiishland (Dhulbahante region).
Much of the current fighting in Sool is in fact a prelude for the creation of Drawiishland. The people in this region also feel they have been neglected and marginalized by Puntland. But Puntland would not admit that. It would rather find a scapegoat—or play blame-placing and finger-pointing games—where Somaliland has always been number-one suspect until very recently when the bogus terrorism accusations of the Puntland and the TFG regimes have taken the spotlight. Even if a minor earthquake shakes Puntland, the culprits would be either Somaliland or terrorists.
So now according to Puntland, the Asmara Somali Liberation umbrella is directly involved in the war in Sool region. This is beyond stupidity. The Asmara groups just like previous groups are against the independence of Somaliland. They would rather take the Puntland side than Somaliland’s in this fight. Besides, Asmara groups have a bigger problem to deal with: the expulsion of the Ethiopians from Somali soil than concerning some skirmishing between two Somali authorities. Again, pathetically, Puntland’s accusations are laughable. These latest falsified accusations are an embarrassment for Puntland leaders, to say the least. Surely, where logic and common sense prevail, Puntland leaders fail.
And then on top of that, of course, you have politicians like Ahmed Abdi Habsade—the former Interior Minster of Puntland and a former member of Somaliland government—who changes allegiance as many times as there are seasons in a year. Surprisingly, Mr. Habsade, who hails from Sool region, was the same man who sent armed militias from Puntland to LasAnood, the provincial capital of Sool province, years ago, in order to expel the visiting President of Somaliland, Mr. Dahir Rayale Kahin from the city. And now once again, Mr. Habsade has changed shirts, and his militias is said to be supporting Somaliland. It is amazing what money can do!
Meanwhile, few months ago when Puntland forces attacked the visiting delegation from Somaliland in Dhahar, Eastern Sanag, the Prime Minster of Somalia, Mr. Geedi, quickly expressed his support for Puntland. As usual, without a shred of evidence he said the war in Dhahar was the result of Somaliland and the remnants of the I.C.U (the “terrorists”) trying to disturb the Puntland and the TFG governments.
The TFG’s quisling leaders desperately label anybody that steps on their shadows as a terrorist. As Salim Lone, former spokespersons for the UN mission in Iraq states, “The prime minister's attempt to lure Western oil companies is on a par with his crying wolf about al-Qaeda at every turn. Every time you interview a Somalia official, the first thing you hear is al-Qaeda and terrorists. They're using that. No one believes it. No one believes it at all, because all independent reports say the contrary.”
Also, in light of fighting in Sool, the so-called Ministry of Information for the TFG, Mr. Madobe Nunow Mohamed, spoke of the situation as if Somaliland were part of his turf (like the Green Zone in Mogadishu). Mr. Mohamed said, “Puntland always listens to the TFG, but Somaliland turns deaf ears to the TFG's orders .” Absolutely pathetic! Well, Mr. Minster, when you get your Green Zone under control, then worry about Somaliland. In the meantime, I suggest that you take some basic Public Relations PR courses.
In short, only time will tell whether Mr. Habsade’s loyalty will last for another season, however, the TFG and Puntland’s ludicrous claims of presence of terrorists in Mogadishu and in Sool region whenever they face local opposition groups have become nuisance. Their fake terror alerts and false terror flags run risk of crying wolf. Undoubtedly, the TFG and Puntland’s worn-out terror accusations have surpassed the threshold of stupidity. Puntland has even planted and foiled its own terror plot, at the same time. Congratulations! Recently, hundreds of fleeing refugees from Mogadishu have been accused of plotting terrorist acts against Puntland. Fake cylindrically shaped bombs that were inscribed with Arabic letters (for convenience) rather than Somali letters were showcased by the authority. Yet not a single person was charged. Also, Somaliland and Puntland fought sporadically long before the I.C.U took control of Somalia, and long before the Asmara group held its liberation meetings and certainly long before the bogus terrorism dirty games became the best weapon to fight against your opponents; so the Puntland and the TFG’s tireless efforts to attribute the conflict between Somaliland and Puntland forces to I.C.U, to Asmara group or to terrorism truly make Mr. Geedi and Gen. Adde Musse the laughingstocks of the century. Absolutely clueless!