The Scourge of Irirism is Somalia’s Achilles Heel
Somalia is the ultimate failed state in every sense of the word. In fact, Somalia’s name has become synonymous with every negative word imaginable from starvation to piracy to terrorism. Since the early 1990s, when President Culusow’s USC murderous thugs had massacred an estimated 100,000 civilians from the Darod clan, Somalia has totally disintegrated into clan fiefdoms. Numerous attempts to form a functioning government had failed, largely because the country’s capital has become a stronghold for one clan. That clan, in collusion with their allies from the northwest of country, has time and again derailed the formation of a viable government in Somalia.
The two clans have a deep seated inferiority complex and are highly insecure. Both of them feel that they have long been dominated by the Darod clan even though Somalia, prior to the collapse of the Somali state, has had only 30 years of a functioning government. The first nine years of civilian rule the country had had two presidents and three prime ministers who included the late Adan Abdulle Osman, a Hawiye who was president for seven years, and Mohamed Ibrahim Egal who was prime minister from 1967 until his ouster by the military following the assassination of President Sharmarke in 1969. The bloodless coup, which brought to power the late General Mohamed Siad Barre, was led by an institution (the military), and not a clan. For some reason, the two clans cannot disassociate Siad Barre, the man, from his clan, and, as a result, have developed such a deep seated hatred. One may argue that the obsessive hatred these two clans harbor for the Darod clan precedes this period and goes back to earlier centuries.
Between them, they have killed tens of thousands of Darod civilians since the early 1990s. And they both feel good and proud of having done that. Both clans have a habit of claiming other clan’s regions and districts. For example, the Isaaqs are obsessed with former British Somaliland and have convinced themselves that somehow the British had bequeathed the area to them, notwithstanding the fact that the area is home to five major clans and a host of smaller clans.
Likewise, the Hawiye clan has the same mindset and have convinced themselves that they can claim the area between Galkacyo , Doolow and Raasmiyaambooni as theirs even though they inhabit between Galkacyo and Mogadishu. For example, since the formation of the Culusow led government we have witnessed increasing clashes in Marka between the indigenous Biyomaal clan and, of all people, the Galguduud based Habar Gidir. The government’s position is that the locals of the Lower Shabeelle have no choice but to accept their uninvited guests as co-owners of the land. The late warlord, General Aideed, had invaded Kismaayo and Gedo in the early 1990s. The Jubbas and Gedo are areas that the Hawiye are daydreaming on forcing a co-ownership project on the locals, similar to what they are doing in the Lower Shabeelle. Consequently, the Jubbaland issue has become the most contentious issue since Culusow’s government was formed eight months ago. Using his puppet prime minister who hails from the Darod clan, Culusow has been busy trying to create friction and clashes between the region’s two largest Darod sub clans, the Ogaden and the Marehan, in order to derail the just concluded process and promote his clan’s grandiose territorial ambitions throughout Southern Somalia.
What the Neighboring Countries, Kenya and Ethiopia, Can Do Under Such Circumstances
Since Somalis will not allow the formation of a centralized, Hawiye dominated government (This may potentially reignite the civil war), Kenya and Ethiopia should unequivocally support the bottom up approach that most Somalis feel is the only way out of their current quagmire. Both neighboring countries must be aware that the majority of the Alshabaab leadership hails from the Isaaq and Hawiye clans. For instance, there is a working relationship between Culusow and Alshabaab in the Jubbas and Gedo regions because both groups have a common interest of frustrating the IGAD backed conference in Kismaayo. Culusow may use the money he is receiving on Somalia’ behalf to strengthen his clan’s evil ambitions (which will not work), and in the end, the scourge of Irirism may derail Somalis’ hopes of rebuilding their country and institutions.
Mohamed Ismail (Shuuqiye)