Ali Khalif’s Disguised Politics of “Somali Unity” A dangerous message

On the faithful day in what supposed to be his smooth inauguration ceremony in Saah-Dheer Village,  75 KM South of Laas Anood and 60 KM North of Ethiopian border,...
On the faithful day in what
supposed to be his smooth inauguration ceremony in Saah-Dheer Village,  75 KM South of Laas Anood and 60 KM North of
Ethiopian border, before Somaliland National Army interrupted and took over the
village, Ali Khalif Glaydh, newly appointed president of the controversial
“Khatumo State” lamented, “…Puntland president claims that our people supports
him, we don’t support Puntland”, he continued to switch gears between his
chosen words in describing his misgivings about Puntland and his true feelings
reserved for the real “enemy”, Somaliland.
“… We call the Federal Government
of Somalia to help us in our struggle to free our land from the Somali Diid Administration
of Somaliland and if you are not willing to support us, we employ you to at
least condemn Somaliland and agree that we have a right to be here”.  At least, he got the second wish as the
Minister of Information of Somalia “deplored” Somaliland’s operation to chase
Ali Khalif and his team away from Saah-Dheer, according to the news media
He took a deep breath and
looked at the camera of the Universal TV, the only Somali TV Channel present at
the village that gladly and usually reports the Khatumo group’s message or
covers anything anti Somaliland; nothing is too small or too big as long as
Somaliland bashing contains the news. The other Channel that has recently stepped
up its extensive coverage to spread the propaganda, Kalsan TV, was nowhere near to be seen, to the surprise of
many, a media monitoring group based in Hargeisa reported.
When he exhaled, Ali Khalif
hit the bunch lines with an emotional tone designed to generate sympathy with
words bleeding for his viewers to act, “We are the only people fighting for the
Somali Unity. No one forced us to do so but it is our obligation to defend the
Somali Unity and we are asking FGS for help.”
Mr. Ali Khalif repeated in
many times in so many words that their struggle is only to preserve the Unity
of Somali people. He sounded like a great warrior! A man with a mission! The
one and the only that can revive the doomed “Greater Somalia” from the grave
yards! This is the corner stone of his claim.
Yet, the people he is using
are in the most arid regions of the country and are in need of so much help in terms
of development. Mostly nomads living in the roughest edge of the country, unemployment
and poverty devastate their families where the only option is a constant
migration from place to place.
In addition, the continued skirmishes
hamper Somaliland Government’s ability to provide basic services to the area
residents. Thus, lack of access to adequate education and poor healthcare
systems are hindering any chances for improvement.
Unfortunately, Ali Khalif has
not indicated, even once, that he would like to lead his tribesmen in the often
mentioned Sool and Sanaag regions from poverty to better standard of living.
Nor has he ever talked about
his lifelong ambition to always have or close to be near the helms of power.
But why should he mention
these issues as they will only distract people from this emotional subject that
guarantees to produce some devotees to the cause, his cause?
Contrary to what he is promoting
now, before he jumped on this “unity” bandwagon, Ali has been for Somaliland in
1990s. History noted that he has even run against the late Egal in Borame for
the Somaliland presidency.
So when unsuspecting and ill-informed
viewers see him on TV claiming for
“sacred Somali Unity”, with all these colorful, carefully delivered messages, focusing
his talking points, they sure will feel sympathy for the guy. The drama generates
temporary pity, and that is what he is aiming for, to get empathy, however
Ali advocated the creation
of a State for the Dhulbahante clan, inhabitants in some parts of the Somaliland
Eastern Regions in their second meeting in London ahead of the formation of the
Somalia Federal Government.
To come to the negotiating
table, Ali knew he needed a platform. He wanted to be equal to all the other “mini
states” in Somalia taking their share of the pie. He envisioned that if Humin
iyo Heeb could be a state within a state, so could Khatumo. He imitated, but
miserably failed when then TFG refused to accept Khatumo as a credible state.
At the time, the message was delivered by a TFG Minister from Puntland. Ali
Khalif couldn’t swallow the fact that Puntland is blocking his dream, yet he is
in an open war with Somaliland.
In Saax-Dheer, a nomadic
village with no amenities, a true politician can only deflect the real reason
for his presence and Ali Khalif is an expert in tribal politics. A western
educated man, he is well versed with the modern diplomatic jargons intended for
foreigners as well as Somali clan based politicking.  That is why he plays and exactly understands
that the “Unity” drum beat wakes up nostalgic dormant memories that can hear
his pleas.
So when he shrewdly appeals
for support on the bases of “Somali Unity”, it sounds good to many, but only
momentarily, then,  in a heartbeat people
can truly see for what it is; dishonest, selfish and dangerous message that is
neither attainable nor helpful for the future coexistence of the people in these
Ali’s outcry and the
response from the FGS have spoiled the mood. Somaliland cancelled the ongoing
Somalia and Somaliland talks.  In their
reaction to the media, Somaliland leaders from Guurti, to Government to Opposition
figures, FGS’ interference has hardened their stand and seemed to unify their preparation
for future conflicts.
Or perhaps this is what Ali
Khalif wanted; to find a way to cancel the meetings in Turkey, as he has always
been critical for the talks between the two entities, Somaliland and Somalia.
Whatever Ali Khalif has in
mind, judging his determination, albeit looking tired, there is a reason why he
abandoned his comfortable life in Minnesota. He is a man with a “MISSION”.  But in this daring route to pursue a power, lives
will perish along the way, casualties of a war perpetuated by over ambitious
man with point of no return in his late in life. His source of support would be
plenty of people naïf enough to think the fragile and already fragmented Somalia
with its dozen and so autonomies and independent states can be “united” by Ali
Khalif et al.
From the beginning, as the
chief architect of this “Khatumo” affair, Ali never really believed the idea of
creating a viable state. The motive has always been to establish stepping stone
enclave for reaching the fruits of power, to claim his share of the prize, a
seat with portfolio for him and hopefully for his buddies in the new government.
Therefore, it is rather
obvious that the purpose for his current crusade, through the use of the
tactics of politics of war where he is exploiting the emotions of the innocent,
is to get to that illusive power.
Nevertheless, Ali Akhalif’s
latest saga will sure need to come to its end, soon. But to get to the finale, Somaliland
Government must reach out to him and present alternative solutions to the wider
disgruntled Dhulbahante community. Otherwise, the instability will harm both
Somaliland objectives as a country and the development plans for the Eastern