Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Huseein Farah Aideed

Hussein Mohamed Farah Aideed is the son of former warlord General Mohamed Farah Aideed and a former U.S. Marine Sergeant. His father was a famous General in the now defunct Somali Armed Forces and a former Somali Ambassador to India respectively. Young Aideed's father headed the United Somali Congress (USC) militia faction that was behind the overthrow of President Siyad Barre's government in 1991.

One of the most fortunate of Somali children, Hussein Aideed grew up in the United States where he eventually joined the United States Marine Corps. He also served as a translator in Somalia during Operation Restore Hope because he was the only Somali serving the United States Marine Corps by then. Young Aideed's famous military quote is "Once a Marine, always a Marine".

Upon the death of his father in 1996, Hussein Aideed returned to Somalia to succeed him and was elected "interim President" of the Somali National Alliance (SNA). His burning desire to lead the straying Somali nation has been stained by the same negative leadership styles common with most Somali warlords. In an earlier interview with an online newspaper, young Aideed was quoted as saying: "When I was a boy, I made a promise to my father to serve the people of Somalia in whatever way I could. When he died, it was time to honor that promise"-a promise he has not fulfilled to this day.

In 2000, Hussein Aideed or "Aideed Junior" as he is called, refused to recognize the initial Transitional Federal Government founded in Djibouti accusing it of "harboring militant Islamic sympathizers". Despite his objections, a close relative, Abdiqasim Salat Hassan-a man who served the former government of President Siyad Barre as Interior and Finance Minister, was installed President. However, when another Transitional Federal Government (TFG) was founded in 2004-in order to manipulate Somalia's political opportunism-Aideed was given the post of Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Home Affairs where he was responsible for internal security of the Somali nation despite the transitional government's limited power and little resources. As a gesture of goodwill, Aideed vacated Villa Somalia-the historical Presidential Palace so it could house the newly created Presidency.

In the cabinet reshuffle of February 7, 2007, Aideed fell off with the then Prime Minister Ali Mohamed Ghedi who demoted him and placed him to oversee the Ministry of Housing and Public Works-a post that did not augur well with him and with his sub-clan. The man whose loyal militia massacred 60 innocent civilians in Baidoa and Daynunay, eventually became a critic of the Ethiopian occupation forces. "Like father like son", Hussein Aideed espoused erroneous political miscalculations like that of his father by failing to give popular opinion considerable thought; his lack of vision for the Somali nation blockaded his political aspirations while his absolute reliance on clan superiority and tribal hegemony scuttled his efforts to create a fiefdom of his own desires.

However, Hussein Aideed's reputation began to decline when on the 2nd of January, 2007 he was quoted as suggesting that Somalis within Ethiopia and those of Somalia share a common passport-an utterance many Somalis thought was aimed at the annexation of Somalia by neighboring Ethiopia. Such shortsighted utterances by Hussein Aided incited renewed fighting in the country. Many Somali clans became his avowed enemies overnight.

By the time Ethiopian troops were pouring in to Somalia in December of 2006, the of Islamic Courts Union (ICU)-an amalgamation of eleven courts drawn from fighters from the Hawiye clan, controlled most of Mogadishu and almost the entire south of the country. A strong opponent of "jihadists", "extremists" and "Islamists", Aideed was opposed to the emergence of the Islamic Courts Union headed by Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed and Sheikh Hassan Dahir Aweys-two religious figures who spearheaded the creation of the Islamic Courts Union and belonged to Hussein Aideed's Hawiye clan. As fate would have it, the Islamic Courts Union disbanded when heavily armed Ethiopian troops swept through Somalia.

Finally, on May 13, 2007, Hussein Aided was relieved of his post as Deputy Prime Minister for failing to dispense his duties. This drastic action led Hussein Aideed to seek refuge in Eritrea and join the so-called Asmara Group-a group that composed of the remnants of the Islamic Courts and other splinter group. Under the watchful eye of Eritrea's President, Isaias Affewerki, the Asmara gathering created the Somali Reconciliation and Restoration Council (SRRC). Since his defection to Eritrea, little has been heard from Hussein Aideed despite the group's active participation at the recently concluded reconciliation efforts that paved way for the signing of the Djibouti peace treaty that led to the ongoing eviction of Ethiopian troops from Somalia.

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