The Somali Ghost strikes again….

Editorial By

The piracy problem along the Somali coast is attracting a lot of media attention here in the Gulf region and elsewhere. Those who follow or monitor the slow suicidal process of the Somali people know that this is not a new phenomena, but just another manifestation of the warlords' desperate attempt to regionalize or globalize the Somali problem.

Somalia was on the nose for a long time, no one cares about what happens in Somalia let alone wants to help or solve its self-made problems. The fact of the matter is, Somalia is a country destroyed by its own help with the supervision of its own leaders, whether they are warlords, religious leaders or self-elected or tribe-elected so called Transitional federal government officials.

To understand what lead Somalia to its current quagmire one must seriously study the Somali character, its makeup, its tribal and regional alliances, its religious believes or lack of it, etc. It quickly becomes apparent that there are no existing tools to examine the Somali psyche. One needs to develop a new mechanism, methodology to analyse, evaluate and understand Somalia and Somalis. This is a task for the future '-ologists' to sort out.

This short note explores the ramification of three recent articles that appeared in the 'Khaleej Times', a UAE daily newspaper.

The Newspaper published a shallow investigative piece that in a way damages the credibility of Dubai financial and security systems. It also tarnished the image of Dubai as a clean crime-free and business oriented city more than highlighting what is already well known problem in Somalia and elsewhere.

The articles described the hijacking of The San Carlo, which is Greek owned but carries a Maltese flag, late October, 2005, the hijacking of the UAE-operated oil tanker Lin 1, by Somali pirates on March 29 2006 and another ship with some Indonesian crew.

This is a fast developing story and it has all the elements of front-page sensational journalism. However, this is just the tip of the ice-berg, if one looks at what is happening in Somalia. To understand the source of the problem, a short history lesson is necessary.

The international community lost interest in Somalia since some thugs financed by warlords, some of them still running their criminal enterprises chased the UN and the US out of Mogadishu in 1993.

The warlords grow fatter and more powerful by the day, incidentally with the support of external power, i.e. Ethiopia, corrupted UN staff and others.Illegal fishing was rampant along the Somali coast since the collapse of the Somali government.

No government or international organization was interested in this daylight robbery of a country's natural resources. The warlords and their thugs were part of this organized crime. However, like any other criminals, the warlords want more and targeting bigger ships and oil tankers is naturally the next logical step towards becoming super criminal with global reach.

These warlords are smart and they successfully metamorphosed themselves aligning themselves to any agents who will support their interest. The latest card in their hand is 'the war on terrorism'.

What is new and disturbing development in this story is the fact that pirates method of attack are becoming more sophisticated and it has the hallmark of professional and in the last cases, the involvement of foreign criminals. The Somali pirates might be used by professional hardcore criminals from Europe or Asia.

This is a worrying development for the international community especially the business people and the trader who use the Somali coastline.

So you have a very cunning warlords, failed state, corrupted and incompetent transitional federal government, a broken society that lost hope, vulture-neighboring countries who are watching and waiting for the appropriate to take over, misguided religious leaders and the only possible outcome so far expected was the slow death, the implosion of Somalia.

Many believe that this (the implosion of Somalia) has happened more than a decade ago and now the international community will have to put up with the Somali ghost that will haunt it for many years to come.

The warlords manage the piracy, the printing of Somali passports and the Somali currency with or without the permission of the incompetent Transitional Federal government and this will have a major impact on the whole region.
The Somalis who are not linked to the warlords were so far the only victims of this madness, those who survived their bullets have no where to shelter from the economic violence caused by the warlords capacity to print their own currencies and manipulate the economy. Now it seems the rest of the world seems to have smelt the gunpowder and the ever increasing sound of explosions from the horn of Africa.

The longer the international community ignores Somalia, the more powerful the warlords and their thugs will become and as a consequence the less safer the region and the Somali coastline will become.

What is the solution? One way to deal with this ever increasing danger along the Somali coastline and the Somali tragedy in general is to get the Somali communities, especially the business people and the diaspora around the world to become involved in rescuing Somali from the brink of extinction. Perhaps the Somali intellectuals can organize an alternative solution that will support the weak and incompetent transitional federal government.

To do nothing can't be a solution. Drastic problems require drastic solutions, is it too embarrassing to contemplate asking the UN to consider new form of trusteeship, or some foreign entity to re-colonize us? . Other views, solutions or suggestion are welcome. Let us start this forum to at least try to search how can we help stop this madness that conquered our beloved land .