By Osman Hassan
Mr. Ali Khalif Galeydh has done it again and ready to hand over the regions of Sool, Sanaag and Cayn (SSC) to the secessionists as part and parcel of their one-clan enclave calling itself Somaliland. It took him barely two years to get around almost all hurdles in his way to accomplish in Addis Ababa on 3rd November 2016 what he did in Burco in May1991. That much is clear from reliable sources and from the feedbacks one can get from his entourage. In an interview he gave to VOA, Mr Mohamoud Ismail Shabac, Mr Galeydh’s so-called Foreign Minister, (a fanciful title when Galeydh’s kingdom is only based in his room in Abdi Gurrey’s motel in Buhoodle and has no relations with most of the SSC people let alone foreign States), has said it all: in his words, the SSC regions are with secessionist “Somaliland” all the way and by implication the break-up of Somalia.
It has to be added that Mr Shabac, like other Galeydh close loyalists (including some notorious turncoats) has strong pro-Somaliland leanings and in this instance might have been carried away by the emotions of his reunion with his secessionist Somaliland soulmates in the breezy Addis Ababa air, prematurely and inadvertently giving away the ultimate goal of his boss’s mission to the Ethiopian capital. It has also to be born in mind that Mr Shabac represents the voice of his master more than anyone else among Galeydh’s entourage. Where the angels (or devils) fear to tread, Mr Galeydh’s fearless protégé is always ready to be used and step in to speak up on sensitive issues as a proxy for his boss, ready to take the full brunt of the consequential wrath from the public as is happening now. As one savvy SSC observer intimated, it serves Galeydh well to use this well-honed practice of using his aide as litmus test to gauge in advance public reaction from the sidelines on sensitive issues without incurring any backlash himself. When that reaction is hostile as in this case, all he has to do, as he did, is to dissociate himself from his minister’s statement – and if that leaves his poor underling in the dog house so be it. What a prize to pay for a non-job!!
As for the substance and the stakes inherent in the minister’s revelations, it did not come altogether as a surprise. Mr Galeydh had for long been craving a meeting with Siilaanyo at any prize and few SSC people had any illusion what he would be up to once that meeting took place. All the same, Galeydh’s unseemly rush and readiness to give away the SSC regions as if they were his personal property pales all his previous betrayals. This Minister’s premature damaging gaffe therefore should be seen in this context. By all accounts, it has hit Galeydh and his associates like a thunderbolt and pulled the rug from underneath his feet, laying bare for all to see his studiously choreographed treacherous plan to secede the SSC regions from Somalia under the guise of phoney negotiations to hoodwink the occupied SSC people.
In the wake of Mr Shabac’s statement on VOA, frantic desperate attempts at damage control were initiated by Galeydh’s camp and, at their behest, the Khatumo Diaspora Organisation (KADO), another diaspora Galeydh mouthpiece (the other one is the Forum), has hastily organised a teleconference in order for Galeydh and company to placate an outraged public and explain away the minister’s unwelcome “indiscretion” as an unfortunate slip of the tongue but otherwise signifying nothing else . What audacity! It is as if their public are gullible imbeciles. Indeed, that is what Galeydh thins judging by the way he often hectors his audiences in Buuhoodle as if was tutoring kids in a kindergarten.
The hapless Minister was forced to speak at this teleconference to eat his words and retract his statement. All that his pathetic incoherent utterances did- often blaming, cursing, and at one moment insulting everyone else – was to make things worse, not any better, for his boss. Mr Galeydh has only himself to blame for he chooses his so-called ministers not for their ability and true worth for the SSC cause but for their blinkered unquestioning loyalty to him, right or wrong. Often, their liabilities outweigh their benefits to him. But when it comes to which version to believe, it is surely Mr Shabac’s first statement on VOA that counts and the one that mirrors Mr Galeydh’s betrayal in Addis Ababa.
Mr Shabac has a history for speaking out of turns or spill the beans to communicate what is in his boss’s mind. That was the case with the recent attempt to unite Khatumo and Makhir States as equal partners with perhaps a new name and leader. Out of the blue came Minister Shabac claiming that what was on offer was for Makhir to become a junior partner of Khatumo, implying that Galeydh would continue as the supreme leader of the new entity. Understandably, that did not go down well with the Makhir camp and the discussions came to an abrupt ending. And this time, the Minister was merely echoing Mr Galeydh’s agenda at Addis Ababa but whether he was authorised to let the cat out of the bag to test public reaction is a moot point. Unlike Makhir, the secessionists are bound to welcome his outburst as a boon to boost their position. And for the SSC people, Minister Shabac is a God-send whistle blower albeit motivated not by public interest.
The next meeting between Galeydh and his Somaliland counterparts is scheduled for 17 November in Addis Ababa. The outcome from this meeting or any follow-up one is a foregone conclusion and that is based on the realities on the ground and the demands of each party. For Somaliland, it expects from Galeydh de jure recognition for what already is a de facto reality: that the SSC regions, barring the Buhoodle region, are under their control. As has been becoming increasingly clear for sometime, Mr Galeydh would have been ready in principle to oblige Somaliland from the beginning of his “presidency” if only the prevailing SSC public opinion would have permitted him . For tactical reasons, and with a view not to enrage that public opinion, Mr Galeydh had to make the withdrawal of Somaliland’s occupying militia from the SSC regions conditional on any talks between the two peoples.
But there has been a sea change in Mr Galeydh’s position. He has for a start dropped the prerequisite condition, sure that he can now weather any muted outcry from a weak, demoralised and divided public who, thanks to his deliberate actions or no actions, have largely come to terms with the occupation and Somaliland’s control (largely in the Sanaag and Sool regions). There is thus little divergence now and indeed progressive convergence between the aims of Galeydh and Somaliland. The forthcoming talks therefore would merely put the finishing touches to this already treacherous done deal. For Galeydh and company, the outcome would be mainly about the spoils of the sell-out of the SSC regions and what rewards are due to him and to his accomplices.
As for the SSC people, all they can expect from any deal are some token throwaway crumbs to make the betrayal palatable. There is nothing else to expect from Somaliland. Why should they compromise when everything is going its way? Anyone who thinks that the talks in Addis Ababa or anywhere else are between two equal administrations, or that Somaliland will withdraw its militia (unless there is quid pro quo from the SSC people, accepting as a minimum the secession and union with the enclave), can only be living in a fool’s paradise.
The SSC people have not been defeated by Somaliland. It is Galeydh who has defeated them, having destroyed Khatumo, the unity of the people and foiled the liberation struggle; Somaliland is only reaping the fruits Mr Galeydh has sown. The only salvation of the SSC people now lies with the only credible remaining SSC institution – the traditional leaders. Their first duty is to make an immediate joint statement for the attention of the international community and other stakeholders, declaring any agreement between the self-serving Galeydh (who represents no one but himself) and Siilaanyo as null and void and not worth the paper it is written on as far as the SSC people are concerned.
Secondly, and in the light of what Mr Galeydh has hatched in Addis Ababa, the proposed Buuhoodle conference is now acquiring additional importance and urgency and it is therefore incumbent upon the Isimo and all true SSC patriots that no effort is spared to make this indispensable conference a reality and the sooner the better. It would be the only forum, a replica of mini Taleex, that would make it possible to revive Khatumo (now practically dead), the unity of the people and the liberation struggle under a new credible leader.
The Voice of the Occupied SSC Regions
email: osman.hassan2 @gmail.com
Osman Hassan is a seasoned journalist and a former UN staff member. Mr Hassan is also a regular contributor to WardheerNews.