Sunday, August 15, 2010

Somalia’s Proliferation of Tectonic Cantons and the Quest for Tribal ‘Lands’

The new regional Flag of Maakhir State of SomaliaImage via Wikipedia

All of Somalia’s so-called leaders share one mindset: the dismemberment of the country into cantons ruled by ruthless tribal chieftains whose ultimate goal is to ensure the security and protection of their clans. Previously, it was Somaliland that seceded in 1992 though not recognized by the international community. What is currently referred to as Somaliland, was before the collapse of the military government in 1991, composed of five separate provinces, namely Awdal, Sanaag, Sool, Togdheer and the North West region. However, despite Somaliland claiming sovereignty, the three regions of Sool, Sanaag, and Cayn remain violence prone as the inhabitants of these regions prefer to remain with the rest of Somalia.

In 1998, Somalia’s former Eastern region, declared autonomy with established governing institutions in place headed by a president and seconded by a cabinet. During the colonial era, this part of Somalia currently called Puntland was known as Majertinia-a reference to the Majertein clan that is the dominant clan in the region. Now we have Maakhirland, GalMudug, and Hiiraanland-each drawing governing styles from their predecessors Somaliland and Puntland.

The current transitional government of Somalia has no mandate over the rest of the country because it is surrounded by hostile Jihadi forces determined to enforce sharia law by sheer force. With his mandate restricted to an area the size of the Vatican, Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed, the current transitional president, relies on African Union forces for protection.

The recent inhuman expulsion by the Puntland autonomous government of internally displaced persons from central and southern Somalia to the unforgiving city of Galkayo demonstrates the sadistic and appalling behavior of Somali tribal leaders and their total disregard for harmony and coexistence of Somali tribal groups. Perhaps, the current visible territorial divisions will set the stage for a future federal government based on tribal demarcations.
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