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Accountability: the omitted piece from the peace deal

We are expected to be cheering and welcoming the Djibouti breakthrough peace pact between the Somali Transitional Government and the Opposition Islamist groups. As usual; most of us will oblige and feel relief that the Somali factions once again for the 15th or 16th time reached another landmark peace deal.
Qalin jebinta ardada Soomaaliyeed ee Minnesota 2008

Ethiopian troops leaving Somalia is great news but would it turn out to be real? We got to wait for 120 days and hope so! Yet, the ambiguity of the article (7b of the pact) that calls for the withdrawal dampens the spirits. Maybe if the wording was bit different and straight, it would have made us all cheer for it and be optimistic. The vagueness of the article bodes gloomy interpretations later on. The conditions linked to the total and absolute withdrawal of the Ethiopian troops and when, how and who will fulfill these clauses as "TFG will act in accordance"; "the deployment of a sufficient number of UN Forces"; begs the question.

Then there are other reasonable qualms one can raise. Who will guarantee Al-Shabaab to comply and cease the insurgency to liberate Somalia from the Ethiopian subjugation? What would happen if they don't cease the armed confrontation and hostilities? Within 30 days and keep it for 90 days? Would the insurgents stop their raids to takeover towns and villages throughout the country? Would the TFG headship be happy being confined to Villa Somalia, the ADC warehouse in Baidao? Even if, the moderates disassociate the hardliners, who would guarantee the insurgents won't attack the expected UN forces that would be deployed in Somalia? When and how these forces will be deployed? Would the UN and International Community carry out their pledge this time around and on time?

But most importantly; what would this peace deal means to the average suffering Somali mother and child and to the ones whose loved ones perished under the brutal Ethiopian occupation?

The Ethiopian troops would be leaving after they have killed thousands of innocent mothers and children, wounded thousands of innocent Somali civilians, destroyed and wiped out entire neighborhoods. The Ethiopians would leave unpunished for the war crimes they committed in Mogadishu. The Ethiopians would leave undefeated knowing that they pulled off remarkable feats: Crushing the Somali people in their own capital, reaching the coveted Indian Ocean and avenging the humiliation of the 1977 war. These are milestones for Meles Zenawi to be proud of. He will tell his returning military officers to hold their heads up and be proud of what they did in Mogadishu.

Most of all, the Ethiopians would leave their warlord clients behind, in power, unpunished and protected by the UN multinational force that would be deployed. The peace deal means that Somali warlords and war criminals would not be held accountable and would be retaining positions of leadership under the next "inclusive and unity" government.

Even so, with this peace deal, the average Somali mother and child would be expecting to be relieved of the indiscriminate shelling and human rights abuses. Possibly, they would come back to their destroyed homes and as resilient as they always have been lick their wounds and recover from the unimaginable horrors. But the humiliation and suffering would haunt them forever!

Forget about accountability and justice. The relatives of the mothers and children who have been killed, wounded, displaced, starved, raped, massacred in their homes, in the markets and mosques, and blocked of food, medical and humanitarian assistance are told to forget and forgive all of that painful atrocities and welcome this peace deal.

As for the international community that have not only complacently sanctioned the Ethiopian occupation but turned blind eye to the worst humanitarian violations in the past 18 months can now exonerate itself of the shame and complicity of the occupation by pushing this peace deal and "possibly" replacing the Ethiopians.

Abdulkadir Mohamed - Ato

Faafin: | June 11, 2008


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