Saturday, December 15, 2007

Somalia must be free - Video

Somali football defies adversity

By Robin toskin
As he shook hands one by one with his players after the 1-0 loss to hosts Tanzania in the Cecafa Senior Challenge Cup, Somalia coach Dahir Rage told his charges "hold your heads up, you are not disgraced."

Captain, Abdigadir Oman, particularly appeared downcast. The look in his eyes suggested, he thought a draw would have been a fair result.

"The Ocean Boys" as Somalia are referred to, had given their all and kept a clean sheet until the 55th minute when Michael Chuma breached their defence for Tanzania’s only goal.
"We shall be back, organised and better next year in Uganda," vowed Rage as he patted the captain’s back.

It is easy to dismiss Rage’s vow since it is Somalia and because with the war that has ravaged the Horn of Africa country, nothing can be certain. But if what Canada-based Rage, nicknamed Bodaye, said that he would comb the whole of Europe, North, Central and Latin America for players of Somali origin, then Cecafa members should brace themselves for tougher encounters in future competitions.

"We have many players out there. What needs to be done is to bring them together. I believe we can do it with a little support from any quarter," Rage says.

The outfit in Dar es Salaam defending the sky blue flag has been unbelievably combative. Rage’s boys gave Tanzania’s coach Brazilian Marcio Maximo questions to answer from an insatiable battery of journalists after slim 1-0 loss to the hosts.

Elementary mistakes aside, theirs is raw determination - a collective spirit desiring to triumph in adversity. Against Tanzania, for instance, they took the game to their hosts, defended in numbers, stifled explosive Al Tadhamon (Kuwait) duo of Nizar Khalfan and Danny Mrwanda and Michael Chuma of Vaerlose (Denmark) to the distress of the home fans.

Coming from a country that has not known peace since the early 90’s and without a running football league in the past three years, it was hard to believe they could last 90 minutes of intensive play, let alone three group matches in a week.

"We trained in Djibouti for four weeks before coming here. Our Djibouti brothers gave us the chance to live and train in their country after the World Cup preliminary qualifier which we lost 1-0," said Rage.

"It is really hard to motivate these players especially when they are losing their loved ones each passing day back home. They are also not playing for any monetary gain and from whom anyway if they were to? Theirs is to keep telling the world Somalia exists," explains Rage.

Presence of Ethiopian troops

"We have always taken Cecafa Challenge Cup seriously and we will continue doing all that is humanly possible to honour matches in this tournament," he adds.

"The presence of Ethiopian troops on our soil has not made things any easier. Football has become secondary in view of their presence. People have to think first of how to defend their motherland. We have been sending out word around seeking anybody who could play and these are some of the players who responded. It kills me to see the government sanctioning their presence," Rage said dismissing repercussions of his statement.

"Don’t worry about me. I will be safe. I will fly directly to Canada after the championship," he says.

Somalia assembled in Djibouti from where pay television channel, GTV, the tournament’s sponsors airlifted them to Dar es Salaam.

Funds from the world football governing body, Fifa, have been instrumental in helping the Somalia Football Association meet its financial obligations, said Rage.

"The FA president Said Nur, too, has helped the team a great deal, but as you know an individual’s contribution is limited."

Rage took time off his youth coaching job in Canada to volunteer his services after Djibouti bundled Somalia out of the World Cup qualifiers in a one-legged tie in early November. For the four weeks, he has been in charge, he has instilled defensive discipline in the team and is still working on their individual ball handling techniques.

"It will take time, but you can be sure to see a changed side next time. Once I have a few experienced players, it will be easy to build a team around them," Rage enthuses.

One of Somalia’s big names, striker Mohammed "Sharkey" Nor, is reportedly playing in the Norwegian league. Issa Midnimo, who played for Tanzania’s Simba, is also said to be in Norway after a stint in Malta. Egypt-based defender Mostaf Sheikh "France" Hassan too is one of the players Rage targets to bring to the fold.

Current captain Abdiqadir Omar Ibrahim fondly referred as Gadudow which means red is happy to mingle with the rest of East African neighbours.

"It makes us feel we are part of a family. We are going through difficult years but that won’t last forever," Gadudow says summing up the infectious spirit of determination pervading their camp based in Liibna Hotel in Dar es Salaam. As I left their hotel after the interview which started in their van after the loss to Tanzania and infected too, with the spirit I could stop asking myself why my team Harambee Stars would lack such a fight spirit, even if an iota.

Bomb wounds 12 soldiers near Somali parliament

(Adds opposition quotes, paragraphs 13-16)
MOGADISHU, Dec 15 (Reuters) - A roadside bomb wounded at least 12 Somali soldiers in Baidoa and two people were killed in violence in Mogadishu on Saturday.
The attacks in the capital and the south-central town hosting Somalia's parliament came after two days of fighting in Mogadishu between allied Somali-Ethiopian forces and Islamist insurgents.

"A remote-controlled roadside bomb targeted a military pick-up truck," said police officer Aden Moalim in Baidoa. "At least 12 soldiers guarding the road to parliament, including one Ethiopian, were hurt."

In the capital, two people were killed when grenades were hurled at government troops patrolling Bakara Market, triggering a gun battle.

A local journalist who asked not to be named said he saw the insurgents execute one captive during the clash while the second victim was killed in crossfire.

"I and a few other people witnessed the killing of a blindfolded man who was shot dead by six young men armed with pistols," the journalist said. "Some people were saying the man was suspected of spying for government forces."

A police spokesman said several weapons caches had been seized since Friday during government operations in Bakara, which contains an open-air weapons bazaar.
Four suspected insurgents were killed on Friday after being seen firing mortars, he said, and several others were arrested.


At least 25 people have been killed in the capital since Thursday when mortar bombs damaged parts of Bakara and sustained fighting broke out in other parts of the city.
Many Somalis say the insurgents -- remnants of a hardline sharia courts groups chased out of the city a year ago -- have become increasingly confident in recent months while the interim government has been hobbled by infighting.

The government says the rebels are backed by 4,500 foreign jihadists from Afghanistan, Chechnya and the Middle East.

Fighting in Mogadishu has killed nearly 6,000 civilians this year and uprooted some 720,000 more, a local rights group says. The United Nations says the humanitarian crisis in Somalia is Africa's worst.

Many Somali opposition figures are based in Eritrea, where a senior official of the Alliance for the Re-Liberation of Somalia (ARS) said the Somali government and its Ethiopian backers were using the threat of international terrorism to justify the continued presence of Ethiopian troops.
"It's just a trick to prolong their stay," Ibrahim Yusuf, ARS' secretary for foreign affairs, told Reuters in Asmara.

He also dismissed a report that joint Somali-Ethiopian forces had killed 75 insurgents on Thursday in a surprise attack.

"The reality has come to everyone that this is a false accusation and a fake story," Yusuf said. (Additional reporting by Ahmed Mohamed in Baidoa and Jack Kimball in Asmara; Writing by Daniel Wallis; Editing by Janet Lawrence)

Friday, December 14, 2007

At Least 17 Dead in Somali Unrest


MOGADISHU, Somalia (AP) — A radical Islamic group that was driven from power a year ago by a Western-supported offensive is making a significant comeback in Somalia, and the government can do little to stop it, officials said Thursday, as shelling and gunbattles in the capital killed at least 17 people.

Sheik Qasim Ibrahim Nur, director of security at Somalia's National Security Ministry, said the government has no power to resist the Council of Islamic Courts, which the United States has accused of having ties to al-Qaida.

He said the fighters had regrouped and were poised to launch a massive attack, adding that the government has "no power to resist the Islamists."

Mortar rounds slammed into the biggest market in Mogadishu, killing 12 people and wounding more than 40 others. Five others were killed in a separate gunbattle in the city. The death toll was expected to rise from the latest bloodshed blamed on Islamic insurgents.

"I saw so many dead people lying on the road, I couldn't even look at them, I was so scared for my life," resident Salah Garweyne told The Associated Press.

At least 19 of those wounded by the shelling were in critical condition, said Dr. Hassan Osman Isse at Medina Hospital.

The Council of Islamic Courts has been waging an Iraq-style insurgency that has killed thousands of people this year.

"About 80 percent of Somalia is not safe and is not under control of the government," Nur told the AP. "Islamists are planning to launch a massive attack against the (government) and its allied troops."

Nur appealed for international support, saying Islamic fighters "are everywhere."
Presidential spokesman Hussein Mohamed Mohamud also said that the Muslim fighters were regrouping, and said they have "a lot of weapons and foreign fighters."

The Council of Islamic Courts was driven from power last year when Ethiopia intervened, with the tacit approval of the United States, backing the government with soldiers and fighter jets.
Ted Dagne, an Africa specialist at the Congressional Research Service, the Congress' research arm, said the Islamic leadership was never truly gone and merely went underground.

"The Somali and Ethiopian governments may have underestimated the level of organization and determination on the part of the Islamic courts," Dagne said in a telephone interview from Washington.

He added that many people look back on the group's six months in power and conclude the country then "was relatively peaceful and gave hope to the people of Somalia that after over a decade of violence, they can live in peace."

After the council was ousted, remnants launched an Iraq-style insurgency, causing more bloodshed and throwing this already beleaguered nation into chaos.

In Washington, the State Department called on Somalia to work toward an effective cease-fire to prevent deaths of more innocent civilians.

"We reiterate our earlier call on all Somali actors to isolate extremist elements," State Department spokesman Kurtis Cooper said.

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has urged more African nations to send peacekeepers to Somalia, perhaps the most strategically located nation in the Horn of Africa. At a crossroads between the Middle East and Africa, Somalia dominates vital sea lanes, although rampant piracy has made the waters treacherous.

About 1,800 Ugandan peacekeepers are in Somalia, officially as the vanguard of a larger African Union peacekeeping force, although no other countries have sent reinforcements. Ethiopia, which sent soldiers to Somalia last year to back the government in its fight against the Islamic militants, is not part of the peacekeeping force.

The United States can do little by itself in Somalia. An intervention in the early 1990s left 18 U.S. servicemen dead and the legacy of the "Black Hawk Down" battle still weighs heavily on both countries. But Western powers have long been concerned that the lawless country could become a breeding ground for terror.

President Abdullahi Yusuf is in London for what his aides described as a regular medical checkup. On Thursday, the 73-year-old president was said to be well, but uncertainty over his condition persists, adding to the tension in his homeland.

Officials from Ethiopia, which has troops in Somalia backing the government, denied there is any Islamic resurgence. "The facts on the ground tell you that they are in bad shape and having serious difficulties," said Bereket Simon, special adviser to Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi.

Government officials rarely acknowledge what many observers have concluded about their tenuous position. But there are increasing signs that the Islamic extremist group that controlled much of southern Somalia last year is again gaining power in this Horn of Africa nation.
Members of the group and the feared Shabab — its military wing — have been spotted with increasing frequency throughout central Somalia.

In Kismayo, Somalia's third-largest city located about 310 miles south of the capital, a member of the Shabab said his group was sending soldiers to the capital daily to fight the Ethiopians. The fighter asked that his name not be published for fear of reprisals.

Over the weekend, about 50 heavily armed militiamen briefly overran Bula Burte town in central Somalia, about 130 miles north of the capital, said the regional Gov. Yusuf Dabaged.
"The so-called insurgents are increasing in the region," Dabaged said. "From now on we will fight them ruthlessly."

The country faces what the United Nations says is the biggest humanitarian crisis in Africa, and a local aid group says 6,000 civilians have been killed in fighting this year. Hundreds of thousands of people have fled their homes to squalid refugee camps.

Somalia has not had a functioning government since warlords overthrew a dictator in 1991, then turned on one another. The current government was formed in 2004 with the support of the U.N., but has struggled to assert any real control.

Kennedy contributed from Nairobi, Kenya. Associated Press writers Mohamed Olad Hassan in Mogadishu, and Nasteex Dahir Farah in Kismayo, Somalia, contributed to this report.

On the Net:

State Department on al-Qaida threat in Somalia:

Source: AP

The Africa Command Prospect and the Partition of Somalia

by Abukar Arman

"The neocons’ legacy, the DADD syndrome, or the Diplomatic Attention Deficit Disorder, is still propelling Washington’s foreign policy and continues to project America negatively throughout the world, especially in the Muslim world and Africa."

As the US Secretary of Defense, Robert Gates, was recently visiting American forces in Djibouti, the Washington Post was reporting how the Pentagon has been spearheading a seemingly dicey initiative to pressure Washington into recognizing the secessionist northwestern region of Somalia known as “Somaliland” as an independent state.

In an article titled ‘U.S. Debating Shift of Support in Somali Conflict’ that appeared on December 4, 2007 issue, the Post highlights how some Pentagon officials are convinced it is time “to forge ties with Somaliland, as the U.S. military has with Kenya and other countries bordering Somalia.”

The article quotes a senior defense official who asserts that "Somaliland is an entity that works." And another unnamed official who confirms the Pentagon’s view is that "Somaliland should be independent," and that the US should “build up the parts that are functional and box in Somalia's unstable regions, particularly around Mogadishu.”

This initiative clearly contradicts the State Department’s wait-and-see approach to this diplomatically sensitive issue. And, handled haphazardly, this could set ablaze the volatile inter-tribal tensions looming in northern Somalia, and, according to the article, “set a precedent for other secession movements seeking to change colonial-era borders,” therefore, “opening a Pandora's box in the region.

That said, it is worth noting that aside from the on again, off again, clan-driven skirmishes that make headlines every now and then, throughout the Somali civil war, the northwestern region has enjoyed relative peace and stability.

Naturally, this unprecedented aggressive approach by the Department of Defense raises questions worth pondering: When did the Pentagon become the engine propelling the US foreign policy? Why would the Pentagon care whether or not Somaliland becomes an independent state or not? And, more importantly, how prudent is it to take this kind of an approach?

In answering the first question, remember how the events of 9/11 have “changed the world” and how as a result the notoriously Islamophobic Neocons ascended to (absolute) power; remember that moment in history when in certain circles it was fashionable to declare diplomacy dead and to claim militarization of the American foreign policy is imperative to the survival of the nation.

It is then when the rules of the game have profoundly changed. Today, while the icons of that political machine have disappeared for one reason or another, the policy imprint they left behind would probably take generations to undo.

Last summer, US Assistant Secretary of State for the Bureau of African Affairs, Jendayi Frazer, addressed an audience of several hundred, mostly Somali scholars, activists, students, and professionals at a Somali studies conference held in Columbus, Ohio. In her speech, Dr. Frazer said “we were against the Ethiopian invasion”. This, of course, contradicted what the Somali people and the world already knew- that in January 2007 Washington switched hats from a “tacit supporter” of Ethiopia’s aggression to an active partner in the illegal invasion. US Air Force AC-130 gunship has launched aerial attacks against "suspected Islamist terrorists" based in Somalia.

So, was Dr. Frazer not being entirely honest? Perhaps not, though her statement was cleverly inserted in a context which could only give the impression that Ethiopia has invaded Somalia in spite of Washington’s objections. After all her statement was consistent with the State Department’s position; alas, that was superseded by the hawkish wishes of the Pentagon.

And this brings me to the latter of the two original questions. And the simple answer is the establishment of the Africa Command or AFRICOM as it is commonly known.

AFRICOM is a US command center completely devoted to Africa. The primary objective of the command center is to promote US national security by “working with African states and regional organizations to help strengthen stability and security…” and creating an environment in which sustainable economic growth is possible. The command center is supposed to focus on “war prevention rather than war-fighting”.

It is no secret that many in the Pentagon consider the Somali port city of Berbera as the ideal location for AFRICOM. However, considering the site-selection criteria jointly developed by the Pentagon and the State Department that include “political stability; security factors; access to regional and intercontinental transportation; availability of acceptable infrastructure; qualify of life; proximity to the African Union and regional organizations; proximity to U.S. government hubs; adequate Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA),” Somalia might not look as a prime candidate. However, detaching the secessionist northwestern region from the rest of chaotic Somalia gives a different picture. This explains why the Pentagon's view is that "Somaliland should be independent."

The Pentagon is pressed against time. October 2008 is the deadline when AFRICOM is supposed to be fully operational. In the mean time, Somalia’s situation is worsening by the day. The situation there is now considered the worst humanitarian crisis in Africa. According to the UN, approximately one million civilians fleeing Mogadishu have become internally displaced persons (IDP) threatened by severe food shortage.

Oblivious to the scale of this humanitarian catastrophe and how their approach could potentially add another layer of complexity, the Pentagon is eager to accelerate the establishment of AFRICOM, especially now that China is making profound stride in Africa and the European Union is following suit. However, the real set back to Washington is its own self-defeating foreign policy that is treated as suspect everywhere.

According to Congressman Donald Payne, the Chairman of the House Subcommittee on Africa, Washington should expect “a lot of skepticism, because there has been so little attention given to Africa…All of a sudden to have a special military command, I think the typical person would wonder why now and really what is the end game?"

The neocons’ legacy, the DADD syndrome, or the Diplomatic Attention Deficit Disorder, is still propelling Washington’s foreign policy and continues to project America negatively throughout the world, especially in the Muslim world and Africa.

The US foreign policy regarding Somalia ought to focus on ending the Ethiopian occupation and therefore ending their widely condemned human rights abuses, as well as facilitating an all inclusive reconciliation conference before the 2009 general elections. This is congruent, at least in part, with a nine point recommendation articulated in a communiqué issued by the Somali Cause upon the conclusion of its two day conference on December 1, 2007.

Somali Cause is a nine member coalition, Eight US based organizations and one Canada based- the Somali Canadian Diaspora Alliance.

Source: Media Monitors Network

Somaliland: Will the U.S. do it ? By Rooble

OPINION/ By Rooble Mohamed

Do what exactly?

Well the last discussion of the Pentagon about Somaliland was a positive move from the US. Some would say it is the best during the past 17 years.

I think it is still hard for some people to believe that the US is finally in favor of Somaliland’s recognition. Why not ? what is Somaliland differ from its own sister, Kosovo ? Somaliland has been independent from the rest of Somalia for the last 17 years maintaining the best peace-building practices in the world. It maintained to start from the scratch without any support from the International community.

Building a high quality military and police forces, creating a whole governmental body with its government, parliament, judicial system, national bank, etc. all elected by the public is something that is very rare in the whole Africa. For Somaliland it was success but it always met a blind eyes from the western powers when it comes to the issue of international recognition. With all the efforts done by the government, the opposition parties and the Somaliland individuals living inside and outside the country there are still no touchable results of the issue.

Suddenly here is the US debating over Somaliland’s recognition and clearly in favor of it. It was a big surprise to the world especially after the Kosovo’s issue. It was a big success for Somaliland’s foreign minister for his struggle to put this issue at least on the table and he immediately replied to the pentagon for their concern.

The Somaliland community everywhere also welcomed the move as they see this is a golden opportunity for their abandoned country. Some Arab newsletters and journals started to highlight the issue marking it as Arabs loosing Somalia if Somaliland is recognized. It is usual that Arabs do not welcome anything that is for the good of Somaliland but they don’t have a choice this time especially when the US is the one lobbying for the case.

Now as the Somalilanders are expecting a bravely move from the America to announce its recognition to Somaliland and the Somaliland’s enemy is waiting for the outcome of more discussions within the Bush administration it is expected otherwise too. Somaliland made all the necessary steps to be an independent government and the last move of closing the border in Sool region can be described as the last step to finalize the struggle which attracted the international attention towards Somaliland.

But the question is:

Will the US do it ?

Will the US dare to face this and announce their recognition to Somaliland ?

If that happens then the Americans will be welcomed flowers in this part of the world.

Source: Jimma Times

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Canada set to order restart of isotope reactor

By David Ljunggren
OTTAWA (Reuters) - The Canadian Parliament was set to overrule the country's nuclear watchdog on Wednesday and order a reactor that makes crucial radioisotopes for cancer tests be restarted immediately.

The Chalk River reactor -- which makes more than two-thirds of global supply of the medical isotopes -- was shut down in November, quickly triggering shortages.

The Conservative government, under heavy political pressure to solve the problem, is pushing through legislation that will allow the reactor to resume operations for 120 days.
This would involve using back-up safety systems, an action that the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission says is unsafe.

The House of Commons approved the bill on Tuesday night and the Senate is expected to follow suit on Wednesday.

Once the reactor is restarted it will take three or four days before operator Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd can begin delivering isotopes. When injected into the body, the isotopes give off radiation that can be seen by a camera to diagnose cancer, heart disease and other medical conditions.

Government ministers insist there is no danger in restarting the reactor now.
"This was always an issue of public interest and it was the right thing to do. We've had absolute reassurance that we could resume production of medical isotopes, and 100 percent assurances of safety and that's what our goal was all along," Natural Resources Minister Gary Lunn told Reuters.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper strongly criticized nuclear commission boss Linda Keen on Tuesday, saying she was being unreasonable, but Keen did not change her opposition to the government's plan.

"This provides significant risk not only to the reactor but to the employees and the communities that live around this reactor," she told a special meeting of legislators late on Tuesday night.
At least one medical specialist hailed the emergency move, saying it would be welcomed by hospitals everywhere.

"This is a crucial thing, a great Christmas present for us, for sure," said Dr Andrew Ross, a nuclear medicine specialist in the eastern Canadian city of Halifax.

"We have been living day to day," he told the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. on Wednesday.
AECL, the government-owned nuclear technology company that operates the reactor, had earlier said it would not be back to full output until early to mid-January.

But on Tuesday it said "heroic efforts" by staff meant the facility could be restarted on December 20 without having to resort to the back-up safety procedure.

Chalk River produces medical isotopes for Canadian health care company MDS Inc and its MDS Nordion division, which is responsible for about 50 percent of world supply.

(Additional reporting by Randall Palmer; Editing by Rob Wilson)

Source: Reuters

Ethiopia - Exclusive interview with Mr Seyum Mesfin

Ethiopia - Exclusive interview with Mr Seyum MesfinEthiopian Minister of Foreign AffairsLES NOUVELLES
The Horn of Africa is a region of permanent tensions. In Somalia the situation is precarious, a peace agreement between Eritrea and Ethiopia was signed seven years ago but it is an armed peace with risks of confrontation, a rebellion is active in the Ethiopian Somali region. Ethiopia, the most important country in the Horn, cannot withdraw from Somalia since neither African Union nor United Nations have taken over the task of helping the transitory government though it is recognized. Some regional and external actors are busy adding fuel to the fire. On the occasion of Mr Seyum Mesfin’s visit in Paris it was appropriate to have a detailed interview with the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ethiopia.
Les nouvelles d’Addis. – The situation in the Horn of Africa will be the main subject of this interview. But first may I ask the reason of your visit to Paris ?
Seyum Mesfin. – I came for regular bilateral consultations and exchange of notes on regional and international matters. I met the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr Kouchner and his team and this morning I had meetings involving other Departments on the basis of bilateral cooperation.
LNA. – I shall go back to this later but let us start with the hottest place in the Horn : Somalia. When Ethiopian troops were sent to help the Transitional Federal Government (TFG) and his president Abdullahi Yusuf, Prime Minister Meles Zenawi said : we shall withdraw very soon. Eleven months later every observer sees that the intervention in Somalia has not been a success. What can you say about the present situation in Mogadiscio ?
SM. – The situation has remarkably improved when compared to what Mogadiscio and Somalia were before December last year. During the last eleven months there is a lot of transformation in the sort of capability building of the institutions of Somalia, the TFG, the parliament and some other institutions. But as well the security area. You know, most of Somalia was a no-go area just a year ago. Today there is no any no-go area in Somalia. But of course it does not mean that there are no security concerns in the country. Mogadiscio is one. The extreme south of Somalia is another. One region in central Somalia, Galguduud, is also a security concern because it is vulnerable to international terrorist groups. But relatively the situation has greatly improved and it will continue to improve day after day.
LNA. – Press reports do not present the same picture and an American scholar, Dr Michael Weinstein, has written that the Ethiopian military operation in Somalia is a “disastrous miscalculation”. In addition the African Union has not been able to send 8000 soldiers as pledged, the UN Secretary General thinks that it would not be adequate to send a peacekeeping mission and yesterday the special envoy of Le Monde describes a war without frontline and without rules. Does the Ethiopian leadership believe in a military solution in Somalia ?
SM. – Let me say this : military solution cannot be a solution for a political crisis. Naturally the problems of Somalila have of political nature. There is no doubt about this. But let us talk about the reality instead of speculations and assumptions. Where is the miscalculation ? Somalia was a failed State for the last 15-16 years. Today Somalia has institutions, wether they are fully functional or not is not what matters. Today Somalia has a duly constituted transitional government, a federal transitional charter and a federal parliament. This was not the story some years back. There is a transformation from lawlessness and absolute anarchy into the establishment of rule of law and transformation towards peace building. So this does not indicate that Somalia is going from bad to worse but from worse coming to rule of law. There is radical improvement. Secondly : what is miscalculation ? To leave Somalia in the hands of international terrorists, talibanists, califates ? Today the nation is beeing governed by transitional federal institutions where all clans and sub clans are involved. So where is the disaster ? Truly, Mogadiscio and the rest of Somalia was ruled by terrorists and extremists affiliated to al-Qaida. Today they do not exist as elaborate organization but they still pose a threat to public security. So where is the disaster ? To me what analysts and speculators are saying is that they are not totally grasping the transformation that is taking place in Somalia. What they are feeding to the international community (IC) is what they think is sensational for selling their news. Sensationalism does not help in establishing and building peace in a country. Somalia has entered in a peacebulding process. Like all peacebuilding processes, it cannot be challenge free. It is rather a big challenge to the Somalis themselves, to the entire region of Africa and to the IC. Now, the African Union decided to send a peacekeeping mission in Somalia to replace the Ethiopian troops and assist the peacebuilding. Unfortunately it is only the Ugandan peacemission that is in place in Mogadiscio. There are other countries willing to deploy troops like Burundi, Malawi, Ghana and Nigeria. What is lacking is not the good will, the political will and commitment of African countries sending their troops to Somalia. What is lacking is the ressources. Europe is saying : Somalia is not our priority. The UN is saying they are overstretched, they have many agendas full at hands. So the IC is continuing to put Somalia at the backburner. Somalia is a country that has failed. The IC has a responsability to discharge here. It is a threat to international peace and the IC is urged to provide the ressources, to assist in the peacebuilding. This is what is lacking.
LNA. – The problem is that the method of the IC has been to create a Somalian government from the top. There was another theory about block building. That is to encourage local authorities like Somaliland, like Puntland, like Bay and Bakool. The paradox is that the UN have always maintained the fiction of a united Somalia which does not exist anymore. Another paradox is that Ethiopia has sent an ambassador to Mogadiscio where the government has hardly the means to control its territory but there is no ambassador in Hargeisa where there is peace for about 12 years. One could think that one would encourage more those who have obtained results in building peace.
SM. – Let me indicate this. You are right. Somaliland has been an island of peace for over a decade. And the IC would rather adopt a policy of reticence and wait and see towards Hargeisa and Somaliland. And it was trying to assist those who have been destroying Somalia, the warlords. But this does not mean that the IC was not, through various means, trying to encourage the Somalis to sort out their problems. They are primarly responsible for changing the present reality of their country. You said that the IC was trying to impose a solution for Somalia from the top which is rather the contrary. For the last two and a half years Somalis of various walks, religious leaders, clan leaders, scholars, civic societies, including many of the warlords, sat in Kenya. After two and a half years of protracted talks and dialogues the Somalis have formulated a national transitional charter upon which the transitional government and parliament have been established. This is a transformation. Secondly, what happened during the summer is a very well formulated development of Somalia. Again more than 2000 representatives of grassroots Somalis, both from inside and from the diaspora sat for 45 days in Mogadiscio which would have been totally unforseeable to happen inside the country because it never happened before. They have come up with concrete recommendations on the way forward. They presented them to the government and the government endorsed them, took it to the parliament. Again the parliament has endorsed them. On the basis of which these institutions are now preparing a new transitional government with the departure of Mohammed Gedi. And we are optimistic to see that this would give an opportunity to establish a functioning government, a technocratic government, that would assist Somalia to continue with the peacebuilding process.And then the question of Somaliland. I do agree with you that there has been a total neglect of those who have been trying to build a region. They have to get support. But on the issue of Somaliland and of the rest of Somalia, it is truly the Somalis themselves to resolve this crisis. No one would stand on the way of what the Somalilanders would decide. It all depends on the dialogue and on the solution for Somaliland that would be also perceived by the rest of Somalia. The question of Somaliland cannot be solved by violence and by mean of force. They have to enter into dialogue and address the question wether to reconstitute Somalia. I accept with you that Somalia cannot be reconstituated the old way.
LNA. – May I add that Ethiopia has made bad experiences with to much centralism. So how could Somalia be again a centralized country when it has failed for so long ?
SM. – What Ethiopia has done is on the basis of its own realities and solutions to the long standing problems. We would not advise any other country, be it in the neighbourhood or afar, to copy the Ethiopian model because copying model would not work. But I do agree with you that Somalia cannot be rebuilt the old way. A new reality has emerged. The various regions of Somalia are insisting for decentralized state structures. Somaliland is pushing along a line of secession. So definitely there is a new reality of Somalia that the Somalis have to face. Our job as a region and also the international community, is to assist the Somalis to address this problem by peacful means.
LNA. – So you don’t feel that you are trapped in a very complicated situation where you are sometimeinvolved in the clan divisions. You had Puntland versus Somaliland, you had Abdullahi Yusuf versus Mohamed Gedi, you have the Hawiye versus the Darods. You seem to be in a quagmire.
SM. – We are not trapped in fact. It would be a political suicide for Ethiopia to fight one to one, supporting any clan. As you might know Ethiopia is a home of millions of Somalis of its own nationals. So almost all the clans you have in Somalia are replicated on this side of the border as well. Thus Ethiopia is a genuine broker for peace and reconciliation in Somalia. Ethiopia has not gone there to crown Abdullahi Yusuf as king of Somalia or somebody else. Or against a particular clan or in support of another clan. What Ethiopia has done is to fight international and local terrorists who have been the source of bloodletting in Somalia. Today the Somali people are very grateful of what Ethiopia is doing, assisting them in the establishment of rule of law in the country. Truly we do’nt want to abuse this goodwill of the Somali people of welcoming us in supporting them. We would like to withdraw as early as possible. We can only withdraw in a responsible manner, we cannot allow the situation to unravel again and leave a vacuum in Somalia. We are assisting the government to build its own capacity, build troops, police, security and government. We will not be trapped because Ethiopia is not fighting any other commmunity in Somalia, except the terrorists and they are now reduced to fragmented terrorist elements creating security concerns.
LNA. – What is the perspective for Ethiopia. This military operation is a financial burden. And you said that not enough money is coming to help the transitional government. Can you go on for a long period. I suppose that you would like to have a deadline to withdraw.
SM. – Precisely we are urging the IC, the African Union, the European Union and other actors to discharge their responsability by supporting the institutions of Somalia to build their own capacity and to assist them in peacebulding by deploying peacekeepers from Africa or from the UN. Any other formula is not going to assist the Somalis. Secondly, Ethiopia is not only fighting the terrorists in Somalia, Ethiopia is also assisting in the capacity building of the government. The Somalis are building their troops, they are training their police, building their ministries to function. That would definitely ease the burden for Ethiopia and allow to withdraw. We have already withdrawn two thirds of our troops from July onwards. One third remains mainly in Mogadiscio. We are hoping and we are confident that we would be able to withdraw these troops if two things happen. One : if the international community’s response is very responsible and immediate we will be withdrawing from Somalia. We don’t want to spend even an extra day in Somalia. Two : If the IC fails to discharge its responsability, definitely Ethiopia would continue to assist the government to control the situation and then would withdraw soon.
« Eritrea has committed a material breach by occupyingthe Temporary Security Zone »
LNA. – We have spent a long time about Somalia but there is another problem which might produce a new confrontation : the border issue with Eritrea. Seven years ago a peace agreement was signed in Algiers but the boundary problem has still not been solved. And last September Ethiopia has warned that the Algiers’ agreement could be terminated. What does this threat mean ?
SM. – You know that Eritrea has committed a material breach by occupying the Temporary Security Zone (TFZ). This zone was established under the Algiers’ agreement of cessation of hostilities. It is a 25 km zone all along the border area. And the UN peacekeeping mission was deployed in this area. Today the security area does not exist anymore. It has been 100% occupied by Eritrea. Secondly the peacekeeping mission of the UN has been paralyzed by Eritrea’s restrictions of movement of these troops. So Eritrea has demolished the cessation of hostilities of Algiers. And Ethiopia has notified Eritrea that they cannot be allowed to continue with their material breach if they are for the Algiers’ agreement. Ethiopia’s understanding is : if Eritrea fails to reverse its occupation of the TFZ, it means that they have moved out of the Algiers’ agreement. This is what we have notified, and not that we are withdrawing from the Algiers’ agreement. We will act as a responsible party but the IC and Eritrea have to understand that Ethiopia cannot be expected to remain abiding the peace agreement when one of the parties has totally demolished this agreement.
LNA. – If the Algiers’ agreement is terminated, what would that mean ?
SM. – Ethiopia wants this agreement to remain in force and lead us to normalization of relations, finalizing the demarcation of the border and towards engagement between Eritrea and Ethiopia. But Ethiopia alone cannot achieve this. We need a peace partner and the world knows that Ethiopia has no peace partner in Asmara. That is the problem.
Democratization : « Ethiopia is in the processof fundamental transformation »
LNA. – I would like to have your comments on some domestic political issues. Friends of your country noticed with great interest the political evolution. But after the May 2005 elections Ethiopia’s image as a modernising country has been shattered because of the great number of people arrested and kept in jail without charges. The Economist wrote recently : “Opposition leaders were accused of hugely inflated crimes, such as treason and attempt of genocide”. Would you understand that it is difficult for observers to take at face value some arguments your government is opposing to criticism concerning the state of democracy in Ethiopia ?
SM. – You know there are various perceptions and various sides of the story. It depends from which perspective you see the process of democratization in Ethiopia. If you are looking it from the perspective of fault finders, definitely at any time they would have it. If you see from the perspective of a social transformation where you cannot calculate it like mathematics, one plus one is two on base ten or certain formulas, the challenge is there : Ethiopia is in the process of fundamental transformation. This process, transforming a society, is full of pitfalls, ups and downs and zigzags. This is what Ethiopia is facing. This does not mean that Ethiopia is not progressing firmely towards democratization, of the country, of the society, of the state. There has been tremendous achievement during the last decade and a half. Ethiopia’s building of institutions, of gouvernance are more firm and solid. They cannot be judged with the outcome of one election or with elections scenarios as test of the democratization of the country.
Let us come to the issue you mentionned. The 2005 post election. One thing that the IC has confirmed is that the will of the people has not been subverted. The will of the people has been honoured. But any challenge could happen. There cannot be any perfect election anyway.
LNA. – My point was not about the election but about the repression with accusations like attempt of genocide.This word is now used for the killing of ten persons but it has a very precise definition. It is something serious.
SM. – Yes it was very serious. One : the opposition wanted to dismantle a government placed on the basis of the Constitution by the means of violence and unconstitutional means. This is treason by any standard of Constitution of any country. This is what they have been accused.Two : they have made a specific ethnic group as a target. They have been campaigning on that hate propaganda. That is what happened in Rwanda in 1994. Nobody is saying that what happened in Rwanda was not a genocide.
LNA. – But nothing of that sort has happened in Ethiopia.
SM. – It did not happen but it does not mean that they have not attempted. So the charges were that they have been attempting to lead the country towards that bloodbath.
LNA. – Let me ask this : why did Bereket Simon say before the election that the opposition leaders are “Interhamwes” ?
SM. – Because their main direction was hate propaganda, it was not a propaganda for elections. The Interhamwes were the leaders of hate propaganda. So what our opposition was doing was not campaigning for election, but they have been deeply involved in hate propaganda against certain ethnic groups in the country. It was dangerous. This was the accusation they have been charged with.Then there have never been opposition members which were detained without charges. They have been charged, tried by the court of Justice and we have now what the decisions of the court were. Some were thrown into life imprisonment, some were sentenced to 25 years, 20 years, 15 years and so on. Now the government and the people of Ethiopia wanted to leave this behind us and look forward. The clemency has been of a tremendous tolerance and accommodation. This must be evaluated in view of Ethiopia’s transformation.
The other point : it is said that Ethiopia’s image has been tainted. For those who have been expecting for perfection and anything to go smooth, that might be so. But Ethiopia is continuing to build its institutions of good governance, to build institutions of democracy with full committment and fiercely fighting poverty. Ethiopia to day is one of the few hopeful in Africa to achieve the Millenium goals. It is registering an economic development, a real growth of GNP on the average of 10%. We are not an oil country, we are an agrarian country. We have reached tremendous achievement in the areas of education, health, social programs and so on. This cannot simply come on its own. It is associated with the transformation of the politics, of the legal system, of the state system.
LNA. – You might think we are more interested in the problems of your country. It does not mean that we are not aware of progress and economic development. But one knows that Ethiopia is a multiethnic country with an important minority, the Oromos and there is an ancient debate about their place in Ethiopia. Number of them are not supporting OPDO, your partner in the government, but most of these are not favourable to OLF either but to some opposition groups represented in the parliament like OFDM whose leader is Bulcha Demeksa. He has complained that recently thousands of Oromos, including followers of his party, have bee jailed. Is he right ?
SM. – His problem is : crying foul has become a phenomenon of opposition groups in Africa in general. He cannot prove it. He says that his followers have been emprisonned by thousands, that his offices in the country side have been closed and so on, and when he was asked were people have been arrested, he could not prove it. So crying foul is not the game of politics. He should continue to participate in the democratic process through democratic means, through the building of opposition parties. Unfortunately this is not what Bulcha Demeksa and the other opposition leaders are doing. For them fault finding, baseless allegations are the day to day engagement of their parties. We do accept that democracy cannot be complete without loyal opposition, not loyal to the party in power but loyal to the Constitution and the rule of law. But at the same time our western friends and partners think they can create opposition parties through artificial insemination over night. It needs time for the opposition to mature.
Ogaden : « There is no hidden and dirty war »
LNA. – According to recent news, the situation in Ogaden is deteriorating and there could be a humanitarian problem. What is really going on because we have has head lines like in the Guardian : “Ethiopia’s dirty war”. The UN factfinding mission has pointed at serious violations of human rights. The International Comittee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has been expulsed, Médecins sans Frontières (MSF) had to stop its operations in that region. What is the situation ?
SM. – There is a disgruntled group among the Somalis calling itself ONLF. The government has been trying to resolve this problem by peaceful means, involving the population a year ago. Somali elders even travelled to various capitals in Europe to find the leaders of this group. Because they try to lead this rebellion from Stockholm, from London, from Copenhagen and so on. The elders travelled and tried to talk to these people that raising arms in present Ethiopia has no place because if any community is not happy, they have the constitutional guaranteed means of peacefully divorcing from the country. So by force they cannoy achieve anything. But the rebellion leaders never heed the call of the people and the call of the government and finally they committed a heinous crime, a massacre, attacking a camp of a company involved in exploration works. And this is what they have done. The least a credible government could do is give security and stability to the country. So the government has taken a fierce mesure against this group which has now been completely neutralized in the region. There were collateral damages. Yes. But not as to the accusation MSF tried and also the ICRC. They have been telling the world that several villages have been erased to ground, that thousands of people were moving from one place to the other, and the UN went and did not find any village burnt down, did not find any population displaced from their villages. The UN mission never said that there has been gross violations of human rights, they never said that there is a humanitarian disaster. What they said is, if not checked at the earliest possible time, in three, four months down the road, there could be a humanitarian disaster or crisis. So they urged for immediate relief assistance to reach the needy people. This is what the UN and Ethiopia are doing today. We have launched a huge humanitarian assistance in the region, security has been guaranteed, business is back to normal, activities are going normal. There is no hidden and dirty war as those who tried to open a different agenda for Ethiopia. The ICRC was thrown out of the region simply because they tried to propagate a situation that never existed. They are now regretting it. Concerning MSF, I met the international president recently in Addis. He admits that what his people did on the ground was absolutely wrong, going to the public and make statements which are not reflecting the reality in the area.
LNA. – I don’t understand what is the interest of a NGO to make false statements ?
SM. – Ask them. It is not Ethiopia saying it. This is what the UN is saying.
LNA. – In your opinion the ONLF actions are to be considered in the context of terrorism ?
SM. – It is part of the overall drive in the region because they have been pushed to commit this crime assisted by Eritrea and by the al-Shebab group, the Islamic courts and so on.
LNA. – Let us return to Franco-Ethiopian relations. Do you expect changes since there is a new president in France and a new government ?
SM. – We expect naturally an enhanced cooperation, between Africa and France, because the situation requires so. And there is good will from the government of France to remain committed to the partnership with Africa and we will work on that.
LNA. – Is there a specific program or project in the context of bilateral relations ?
SM. – We have agreed to revitalize the mixed commission we have between France and Ethiopia. We have given serious consideration to enhancement and diversification of our cooperation in basic areas and we hope to go into the mechanism we have established and see it functional as soon as possible.
LNA. – The mixed commission did not meet for a long time ?
SM. – For almost four years but now we have agreed to relaunch that.
LNA. – In December Africa and Europe will meet at a summit in Portugal. Critics have been expressed in Africa about the European commercial propositions which seem to be less favourable to Africa than the Cotonou agreement. What is the Ethiopian position in this respect ?
SM. – The same position that Africa is expressing. The main direction for Europe must be to open up the markets for African products. Any other consideration to deny a huge European market for African exports would definitely have a major negative impact on the growth of trade and on social development in Africa. So we are urging Europe to be open and to assist Africa also in capacity building to meet required demands. But at the same time Europe had declared this EBA (Everything But Arms). It has to remain in place. Now they are trying to take this out and to go in the fixation of the World Trade Organization (WTO). As you know the WTO Doha Round has not yet been successful. We are witnessing a lot of retreats from the industralized countries in opening up their markets to the products of developing countries. That is going to create a lot of damages and imbalance in the trade movement. We are urging Europe not to shut the door.
LNA. – Thank you.
Source: EthioBlog

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Somaliland: Growing Democracy Yet No Aid

Somaliland Representative in Brussels, Mohamoud Daar, calls upon the European Union to reevaluate its policy on Somaliland, referencing the growing development in terms of democracy in the region.

Below is a statement published by Mr. Mouhamoud Abdi Daar:

After restoring its freedom and independence since the beginning of 1991 the people of Somaliland have continued to rebuild democratic structures of their country. The constitution of country upholds democratic principles of participation in the decision making process, competition among political parties and protection of civil and political liberties.

Since that time, the country has succeeded to establish an orderly transition to peace and stability and continuity of democratically-elected governments and good governance institutions. General elections of its parliament, local government and direct presidential elections, always observed by members of the international community, are now a permanent feature of the country’s democracy.

As is acknowledged, Somaliland has a defined territory within its old colonially demarcated boundaries, a permanent population of more than 3.5 million people and an independent government which has the capacity to enter into relations with other states of the African Union, the European Union, Americas, Asia and other countries as well as inter-governmental and non-governmental organizations. At present, Hargeisa, the capital, hosts many UN agencies and international NGOs. Various government delegations, parliamentarians and other distinguished personalities visit the country almost every year which is testimony to the growing understanding and international support of its people.

The people of Somaliland have strong faith in friendship and international cooperation. Much of the country’s development depends on the hard work, local initiative ad investments by its people and diaspora. All these efforts facilitated massive repatriation of refugees from outside and displaced persons, second only to South Africa’s, according to some agencies. The thriving economy of the country and its stability certainly play an important role in the attraction of voluntary repatriation and resettlement in the country.

In spite of these positive developments, there are other challenges and difficulties in the country faces. Owing to its present status, it cannot access much needed development funds to alleviate poverty and underdevelopment. The government is currently launching economic and social development programs in education, health, water supply, infrastructure, capacity-building as well as in the areas of livestock, environment, agriculture and rural developments. It strongly calls for more aid and generous assistance from the donor community more than ever before.

In conclusion, I should express our appreciation and emphasize that Somaliland, an oasis of tranquility, in a troubled region, will always look forward for greater support from the international community to consolidate stability and development. We call on the European Union to reevaluate and redefine its policy towards the Somali issue, taking into consideration the dynamic situation on the ground.

Mr. Mohamoud Abdi Daar,
Somaliland Representative in Brussels

Somalia: Somaliland is “beacon of stability and democracy” (Readers Series)

OPINION/ By Sadik M. HassanSomaliland is a country that is a beacon of stability and democracy in Africa. Somaliland was independent before Somalia, however we as Somaliland decided to join with Somalia with the express aim of creating a Greater Somalia on 1st July 1960. This union was never ratified by vote.

This Union collapsed in 1991, Somalia became a failed state, and it was then that Somaliland decided to reclaimed its independence as a sovereign and separate nation. Today, even the most narrow sighted observer accept that Somaliland and Somalia are two nations. Ethnically, we have the same background, WE ARE BROTHERS & SISTERS But we have different political view. We Somalilanders thought that we can be mix together and be two countries which go together like Sweden and Norway in the past, then we saw after the civil that Somaliland and Somalia are on a different political paths, and have always been. At this point Somaliland can actually help Somalia to get peace but if Somaliland tries now, it not doesn't yet has the power to bring peace in there because we have not get the recognition.

I hope the international community will one time know how Somaliland is important with East Africa to be peace, Somaliland is the only country in East Africa who has developed without war inside them and develops everyday in a democratic way.So, I said I understand we worry about the slaughter in Somalia, despite the good intentions of the International community, but people say Somalia has many clans, but so does Somaliland.

What most people will not admit to is that there is, or never has been democratic roots in Somalia. There is no concept of dialogue, discussion and then consensus. That is where Somaliland is different. We Somalilanders have made on ourselves from the civil war, Somaliland has held elections, has developed democratic improvements without recognition.

Somaliland is a good example to other African nations that democracy and good governance are the keys. Somaliland has made a decision in 1991 to regain its sovereignty, this decision is not negotiable, furthermore there is a new generation, the future of Somaliland, that have know nothing but Somaliland.

Are we going to punish them for their forefathers mistakes? Somaliland is going to be always a country whether the international community will recognise or not, the citizens will not allow anymore unions that lead to nothing but mayhem and destruction. Thank you and I hope that people will understand how Somaliland is important in getting East Africa peace and order.

Source: Jima Times

Ont. man charged in death of teenage daughter

Updated Wed. Dec. 12 2007 11:44 AM ET
Police have charged a Mississauga, Ont. man with second degree murder in connection with the death of his teenage daughter.

Aqsa Parvez, 16, was taken to hospital with life-threatening injuries on Monday after police said a man claiming to be the girl's father called them and said he had killed his daughter.

Parvez succumbed to her injuries on Monday night.
Muhammad Parvez, 57, made a brief appearance in a Brampton court on Wednesday morning and has been remanded until Jan. 29, 2008.

"The details of the court appearance are subject to a publication ban so we can't talk about them," CTV's John Vennavally-Rao said from outside the courthouse.

Friends of the girl have told CTV News that she had been involved in a family dispute over her choice not to wear traditional Muslim clothing.

Two of Parvez's sons, along with a friend, attended Wednesday's hearing. Outside of the court, one brother said that he did not believe that the situation was the result of a culture clash, said Vennavally-Rao.

Meanwhile, the lawyer for Parvez said there was more to the story then what is being reported in the media.

"The lawyer... did say that his client was suffering from some medical problem," said Vennavally-Rao.

Police had been considering a first-degree murder charge against Parvez, reports the Toronto Star.

The victim's brother, Waqas Parvez, 26, is also charged in the investigation with obstructing police.

Aqsa Parvez

The teen, an Applewood Heights Secondary School student, often complained of her situation at home, her friends told CTV News on Tuesday.

The students said Parvez no longer wanted to wear a hijab, a shoulder-length head scarf worn by some Muslim women. They also said Parvez would often change her clothing once she got to school and then would change back before going home.

"People said her brothers and sisters followed her to see if she was wearing her headscarf or not," one student said.

Parvez had recently been staying with a friend because of tension at home, classmates said.
"Her dad was threatening her and she was getting scared and she just didn't want to live there anymore," another student said.

Parvez's death has again raised the issue of so-called honour killings.

'Honour killings'

The United Nations estimates at least 5,000 women a year are killed for committing adultery, defying tradition, or for simply talking to the wrong man and thereby bringing shame upon relatives.

Exact numbers are impossible to know because the majority of such murders -- women are the main victims -- go unreported and the guilty unpunished.

United Muslim Women of Canada's Anisa Ali said the public shouldn't assume that honour killings only happen in the Muslim community.

"It's not an Islamic practice," Ali told CTV's Canada AM on Wednesday. "There's nowhere in the Quran where it talks about honour killings. It's more of a cultural phenomenon."
She said honour killings are not limited to Islamic countries like Pakistan, Jordan, Syria and Afghanistan.

"There's Latin American countries, it has taken place in Germany, in Britain," she said. "A lot of it is under the guise of family honour or religious values."

With a report from CTV's John Musselman

Air France plane 'too high and too fast' before crash

Globe and Mail Update
December 12, 2007 at 11:07 AM EST
Air France Flight 358 came in too high and too fast when it overshot a runway and crashed in heavy rain at Toronto's Pearson International Airport in August 2005, a final report says.
The Airbus A340 "came in too high and too fast, touching down almost halfway along the wet and slippery runway. It simply ran out of room,” said Wendy Tadros, chairwoman of Canada's Transportation Safety Board, which probed the crash.

"The Air France crew did not calculate the landing distance required for the conditions at destination,” she said. "In a few short minutes, the passengers went from the relative calm at the end of a long flight to an emergency evacuation.”

Ms. Tadros noted that since the Air France crash, 10 large aircraft have gone off runways around the world in bad weather.
The TSB made seven recommendations, including:
• mandatory international standards limiting landings during thunderstorms
• better pilot training on landings in poor weather
• requirement that crews calculate the landing distance upon arrival at their destination so they will know the margin of error
• requirement of a 300-metre safety area or an alternative means of stopping aircraft at the end of Canadian runways
• that passenger safety briefings include clear directions to leave all carry-on baggage behind during evacuations
"There can be no doubt the story of Air France flight 358 is the story of survival – the survival of all 309 people on board," Ms. Tadros said.
"Even so, I'm certain all on board that day would tell you that no one should have to go through what they went through."
The report elaborates on previously published findings from the investigation, including that the Air France pilots made no effort to abort the landing, which is standing operating procedure when there is insufficient runway on which to land.
Although two crew members and nine passengers were seriously injured in the incident, all 309 people on board the flight from Paris survived, scrambling into a rain-soaked ravine just before a spreading fire engulfed the plane. Evacuating the jet took less than two minutes, even though four of eight exits were blocked or unavailable and despite the fact that many passengers disobeyed instructions and took their hand baggage with them.
A TSB interim investigation update released in November, 2005 amounted to an exoneration of the aircraft, saying there was nothing wrong with its brakes or other key systems as the plane landed just after 4 p.m. on a day marred by heavy thunderstorms and shifting wind gusts.
"No significant anomalies of the aircraft system have been found to date," the interim report said. "No problems were detected with the flight controls, spoilers, tires and brakes, or the thrust reversers."
The earlier report also made clear that air-traffic control had properly and fully warned the Air France pilots of the wet runway and poor braking conditions and that the plane had plenty of fuel either to abort the landing and try again in Toronto or to divert to its designated alternative, Ottawa.
Without pointing to pilot error – the investigation is not intended to assign blame – the report makes it clear that the pilots knew they were too high and too fast as they crossed the beginning of the runway, and that they should have known the big, four-engine A340, weighing 185 tonnes, would need about two kilometres to stop.

The pilots disconnected the autopilot about 100 metres above the ground and the co-pilot landed the aircraft manually.

"The aircraft then went slightly above the glide slope" – the ideal path that put the aircraft down in the first few hundred metres of the runway – "and arrived over the runway threshold at an estimated height of 100 feet," twice the normal height expected at that point, the report said.

Not only was the plane too high, it was going too fast. "Indicated airspeed increased from 139 knots to 154 knots."

Instead of landing the aircraft at 260 kilometres an hour in the first few hundred metres of runway, the crew touched down at about 285 km/h and almost halfway down a 2.7-kilometre runway.

Air-traffic control had informed the crew of AF358 that aircraft landing on the same runway just ahead of it had reported poor braking conditions and shifting winds.

Source: The Globe and Mail

Maqaal ka turjumaya H/Cafaan iyo Siyasadeeda - Ahmed Bakaal

Marka hore waxaa xusid mudan dhamaan akhristayasha sharafta badan ee waqtigoodii uhuray inay akhristaan maqaalkan.

Maalmahan dambe waxaa isa sootaraya hadal hayta siyaasada s/land.
Siiba tartanka ay ku jiran (makaahiil iyo maxad case) .taasoo ay kuloolamayaan sidii ay s/land wax ula qayb san lahaayeen .

Taasoo beelaha qaarkood ay rabaan (madaxwayne).kuwa kalena ay rabaan (madaxwayne)ku xigeen .

Hadaba waxa is waydiim mudan sababta beesha h/cafaan oo ah lafdhabartii( habar samaroon)
Waxa ka maqnay siiyay garoonka kubada cagta ee dhawaan ka bilaami doona g/awdal ayna kutartami doonaan beelaha kala duwan ee daga s/land.

Hadaba waxaan iswaydiiyaa H/cafaan meeday oo siyaasada s/land xageebay kaga
Jirtaa oo maxay amin santahay ma (madaxwaynay rabtaan mise kuxigeen bay rabaan.
mise tolow waxayba soowadaan xisbi siyasadeed oo ka turjumaya danaha G/awdal?
Waa sual dawaynaa madaxa dalinaysee Hadaba hadan fikirkayga qiyaaso aniga waxay ila tahay inayna H/cafaan maanta loolan kaa kajira s/land anay diyaar u ahayn Sabab too ah H/cafaan waxaa u caado ahayd inayna ka hordagin mar kasta wacdiga jira iyadoo ufiir sanaysa kolba
Sida wax usocdaan iyo xaga loowado hogaanka beesha samaroon.

Markaa haday u argto inay la jaan qaadi kartona way racdaa hadii
kalena way ka hadhaa markaa tani hada socotaa tii aan raaci karaynay maaha waa tu aan jaho haysan oo loo tartamayo xisbiyo rag samaysteen oo la inaga siiyey inta ugu yar sabatoo ah inagaa isa soo koobnay oo iska dhignay sadex qolo Markaa waa inaa la inasiiyaa (harag sagaaro) inaguna aan kalajiidanee ilan harag sagaaro iigakac mooyee igadurug male.

Markaa hada laba beelood baa isku haysta haragii sagaarada waana( makahiil iyo maxad case) h/cafaana meel kama helayso haragaa isaga ah.

Markaa H/cafaan waxay saluugsantahay sistamka iyo sida wax loo qaybiyay. Markaa dib ayay uga joogsatay waxayna sugaysaa inta wax lasaxayo.

Isla markana waxay aragtay inay walaalo hooga samaroon raali ka yihiin siday wax usocdaan.
H/cafaan waxay tidhi (afkii baa juuqda gabay ).

kamanay hadlin wayna isku dawanaysaa kii roon baa reerka uhadhidoona.
Markaa hadaan idiinka waramo taariikhda H/cafaan waxay caado ulahay inay wax wanaagsan ka taliyaan mar walba.

Taariikhda hadaan dib uraacno waxaan ognahay ama aan ku garaaday sanay inuu samaroon oo dhan meelkasta Hajoogaane talada H/cafaan lagu meel mari jiray. markuu samaroon mid ahaa
imikase waa la iska dhaga tiray oo waa hasocoto oo dantii guud baa lagatagay waxana loo ordayaa dan gaar ahaaneed.

markaa hadalka waxaan ku soo gaba gabaynayaa (hawareegto giraantu)
Meerasasay meerageedii waxay ilatahay xisbigan loo kala badinayo ninlaa udoobiyey

Sidaa iyo nabad galiyo iyo amaano ala

Wabilaahi tawfiiq ilaahaw nanabad gali

Ahmed Bakaal
Ottawa, Ont - Canada

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Out of Africa

HAS track distance running, particularly for men, become an East African monopoly? Have the dominant Kenyans and Ethiopians, reinforced by the handful of other nations that border on the Great Rift Valley, scared others off?

You could be forgiven for thinking so on the basis of the men's 10,000 metres at the world championships in Osaka.

One European entered — Alistair Cragg of Ireland — and, ultimately, did not compete, saving himself for the 5000 metres. And Cragg is South African-born, attended an American university, and took up his Irish qualification on the basis of heritage (he has Irish grandparents).

The non-African component of the Osaka field comprised three Americans, two Japanese, a Mexican, a Canadian and a New Zealander. Of that eight, two were African-born.
The annual Zatopek meeting is on at Olympic Park this Thursday, its focus the men's and women's 10,000 races that serve as the Australian championships and Olympic nomination trials for that distance.

The qualifying standards for Olympic selection for men and women are 27 minutes 50 seconds and 31:45, respectively. Up to three athletes can be nominated provided all have met that standard; one can be nominated who has met a B-standard of 28:10 or 32:20. With neither Craig Mottram nor Benita Johnson running, the chance of anyone achieving an A-standard on Thursday is slim.

Given the African domination and the likely performance standard on Thursday night, the question must be asked: is it all worth it anyway?

Many European countries already seem to have decided it is not. Osaka was one pointer and many European distance insiders will tell you the Africans are unbeatable.

European representation at this year's world cross-country championships in Mombasa, Kenya, was also down and the European Cup 10,000 metres a couple of weeks later saw the slowest men's winning time in its 11-year history.

No male ran an Osaka qualifying time in the event that traditionally produces half a dozen or more and just one female — Evlan Abeylegesse, Ethiopian-born but running for Turkey — got an A-standard.

Amid a generally gloomy picture for non-Africans, two things stand out: first, there is the relative success of the US, which had good results in Osaka, operating on principles Australia has followed for years.

Second, there is the women's 10,000, in which the first two home — Tirunesh Dibaba of Ethiopia and Abeylegesse — were Ethiopian-born, but the bronze medallist, six more of the first 12 finishers and 11 of the 19 finishers overall, were non-African.

For the past 40 years, Australian track distance running has been built around the Zatopek races. For the past 30, the world cross-country has been a second pillar. For all that time, a co-operative approach has been a feature.

Adopting a similar approach — boosted by the simultaneous flowering of three exceptional male athletes — the US filled the gap left by departing Europeans. Bernard Lagat, who won the 1500 and 5000 in Osaka, is Kenyan born; Abdi Abdirahman, seventh in the 10,000, is of Somali background.

The rest are home-grown. Matt Tegenkamp was fourth in the 5000, missing a medal by hundredths of a second.

Alan Webb, eighth in the 1500 final, and Dathan Ritzenhein, ninth in the 10,000, with Ryan Hall, who won the US Olympic marathon trial last month , all emerged from the same high school year of 2000.

Galen Rupp, last year's Zatopek winner, was 11th in the Osaka 10,000. On the women's side, Kara Goucher was third in the 10,000, Deena Kastor sixth and Katie McGregor 13th. Jennifer Rhines and Shalane Flanagan were seventh and eighth in the 5000.

"Some of it is dumb luck," Weldon Johnson says of the current US success, referring to the emergence of Hall, Webb and Ritzenhein in the one year.
Johnson is an elite distance runner himself.

With his brother, Robert, a coach at Cornell University, he is co-founder of, an internet running site that draws 200,000 hits a month.

The net, says Johnson, is part of the explanation for the revival. "People started to talk on the internet," he says of the days when US distance running was on a low, "and said 'hey, we can do better'."

Then they started to race. Much in the manner that Australians all run the Zatopek, and target several other track distance races through our season, Americans started to pick key races.
The primary target is Stanford University, California, where top college coach Vin Lannana (now at another college distance centre, Oregon) was based.

Stanford's invitational distance races became the place to chase qualifying times, with good entries and pacemakers.

"People started to realise you can run fast in Stanford in the spring," Johnson says. Gradually performances improved. "It slowly raises the bar for everyone."
While this year's European Cup 10,000 produced no men's qualifier, the Stanford 10,000 saw 11 under 27:50.

There's also been an injection of private sponsorship. One success has been The Hansons' running team, organised and backed by brothers Keith and Kevin Hanson from their running shops. The brothers' top graduate is world championships marathoner Brian Sell, who joins Hall and Ritzenhein in the US Olympic marathon team.

Two factors apply to the US market that do not apply here.

One is financial: the major shoe companies are based there and the bigger market makes it viable to support domestic athletes.

The US system also guarantees selection of qualified athletes, not only for the Olympics and world championships, but also for world cross-country and world road championships.
"You make a team, you know they're going to send you," says Johnson, describing as "crazy" Australia's system, where achieving qualifying standard is but one part of the process.
Tim O'Shaughnessy, Australia's national distance co-ordinator, sees merit in what the US has done and how it mirrors much of what traditionally happened here. Resources are an issue, he agrees, but the group philosophy does not rely on resources alone.

"Success breeds success," O'Shaughnessy said.

The east African presence ensures any distance success will be hard-won, but it is even harder to achieve anything if you are not in it.

For the past 40 years, Australian track distance running has been built around the Zatopek races. For the past 30, the world cross-country has been a second pillar. For all that time, a co-operative approach has been a feature.

Adopting a similar approach — boosted by the simultaneous flowering of three exceptional male athletes — the US filled the gap left by departing Europeans. Bernard Lagat, who won the 1500 and 5000 in Osaka, is Kenyan born; Abdi Abdirahman, seventh in the 10,000, is of Somali background.

The rest are home-grown. Matt Tegenkamp was fourth in the 5000, missing a medal by hundredths of a second.

Alan Webb, eighth in the 1500 final, and Dathan Ritzenhein, ninth in the 10,000, with Ryan Hall, who won the US Olympic marathon trial last month , all emerged from the same high school year of 2000.

Galen Rupp, last year's Zatopek winner, was 11th in the Osaka 10,000. On the women's side, Kara Goucher was third in the 10,000, Deena Kastor sixth and Katie McGregor 13th. Jennifer Rhines and Shalane Flanagan were seventh and eighth in the 5000.

"Some of it is dumb luck," Weldon Johnson says of the current US success, referring to the emergence of Hall, Webb and Ritzenhein in the one year.
Johnson is an elite distance runner himself.

With his brother, Robert, a coach at Cornell University, he is co-founder of, an internet running site that draws 200,000 hits a month.

The net, says Johnson, is part of the explanation for the revival. "People started to talk on the internet," he says of the days when US distance running was on a low, "and said 'hey, we can do better'."

Then they started to race. Much in the manner that Australians all run the Zatopek, and target several other track distance races through our season, Americans started to pick key races.
The primary target is Stanford University, California, where top college coach Vin Lannana (now at another college distance centre, Oregon) was based.

Stanford's invitational distance races became the place to chase qualifying times, with good entries and pacemakers.

"People started to realise you can run fast in Stanford in the spring," Johnson says. Gradually performances improved. "It slowly raises the bar for everyone."

While this year's European Cup 10,000 produced no men's qualifier, the Stanford 10,000 saw 11 under 27:50.

There's also been an injection of private sponsorship. One success has been The Hansons' running team, organised and backed by brothers Keith and Kevin Hanson from their running shops. The brothers' top graduate is world championships marathoner Brian Sell, who joins Hall and Ritzenhein in the US Olympic marathon team.

Two factors apply to the US market that do not apply here.
One is financial: the major shoe companies are based there and the bigger market makes it viable to support domestic athletes.

The US system also guarantees selection of qualified athletes, not only for the Olympics and world championships, but also for world cross-country and world road championships.
"You make a team, you know they're going to send you," says Johnson, describing as "crazy" Australia's system, where achieving qualifying standard is but one part of the process.
Tim O'Shaughnessy, Australia's national distance co-ordinator, sees merit in what the US has done and how it mirrors much of what traditionally happened here. Resources are an issue, he agrees, but the group philosophy does not rely on resources alone.

"Success breeds success," O'Shaughnessy said.

The east African presence ensures any distance success will be hard-won, but it is even harder to achieve anything if you are not in it.


Monday, December 10, 2007

Ciiddayda iyo Calankayga (2)

Wali waxaynu ku guda jirnaa Albumkii an ugu magac daray Ciiddayda iyo Calankayga. Qaybtii hore waxan idiinku soo gudbiyay heestii koowaad (1) , “Ciiddayda Hooyiyo, Calankayga Buluugoow”.

Haatana waxa idinku soo maqan heesta labaad (2) ee isla Albumkasi oo ah:


Baydka Koowaad:

Baladkayga hooyoow
Baxsanoow dalkaygoow
Ilaahbaan baryayaa
Inuu ku badbaadshee

Buul nabadi taalloo
Bulshadiisaa deeqoo
Idayl lagu badhaadho
Hakaa yeelo Boqorkay

Baydka Labaad

Baladkayga hooyoow
Baxsanoow dalkaygoow
Ilwaadaadii bilicsanayd
Indhahaa u basaasaye

Bogsan maayo ruuxii
Beryo kaa maqnaadiyoo
Intii kaa boqooshay
Badi way ku tabayaane

Baydka Saddexaad

Baladkayga hooyoow
Baxsanoow dalkaygoow
Inaad baylah iyo
Baydad ahaato maanta

Beerlaawe naxaniyo
Arxan laawaa ku badaye
Ha boholyoobin waligaa
Birmad Allaa kuu imane

Dhamaam heesaha Albumkan ku jiraayi waxa leeyihiin laxan aad iyo aad u macaan. Hadday iga fursan waydana waxan ku talo jiraa inaan idiin soo diraba iyagoo duuban, balse bilaa musig ah ..Insha Alah. Si fanaaniinta heesti, halkaas uga sii amba qaadaan oo iyagu musig ula raacaan iyo codkooda macaan.


Cabdiqani Yuusuf Caateeye