Friday, December 21, 2007

Zuma’s choices and our own

THE most puzzling thing about Thabo Mbeki is how someone purported to be an intellectual could be so oblivious to the one historical principle that has proven true over and over again. I used to go around reciting it as a little boy in Ginsberg, having read it in one of Steve Biko’s essays:

“The limits of tyrants are prescribed by the endurance of those whom they oppress.”
Mbeki was not yet an oppressive tyrant, but with the passage of time he could easily have transmogrified into one. The signs were there for all to see. But I would not be surprised if Mbeki still insists that African National Congress (ANC) members suffer from false consciousness. I can see that this is all a machination of racists, liberals and coconut intellectuals. The man’s ability to deny is unparalleled. He is truly tiresome in that way.

Enough about Mbeki. He is a man of the past. Our gaze must turn to Jacob Zuma. In my forthcoming book, To The Brink: The State of Democracy in South Africa, I argue that Zuma is likely to be a transitional figure in at least three ways.

The first scenario would not be so much of a scenario were it not for its social consequences. I have always argued that we should have found a political solution to this matter. Mbeki took us to the brink with Zuma and was ultimately left with egg on his face. He might be tempted to retaliate through the legal process but that would simply heighten the tension .

We may look to our most recent history for precedent. The state could do what it did with Adriaan Vlok — who received a suspended sentence for apartheid atrocities. Zuma could also be pardoned by an incoming president — the way Gerald Ford did with Richard Nixon during Watergate. The quid pro quo would be that Zuma should exit gracefully into the sunset.

The second scenario would be one in which Zuma is acquitted. There is little a man can do about his age. Barring an early election, Zuma would be 71 at the end of his first term, and 76 at the end of the second term. The same goes for all the members of the so-called Class of 1942.
I cannot imagine the ANC electing another 70-something to lead it in 2012 or in 2017. Granted, Nelson Mandela was in his 70s when he was president and other countries have had old and successful presidents, such as Ronald Reagan. The difference is that many of our “old timers”, Zuma included, come from a culture of exile, secrecy, hierarchy and quaint notions of old-fashioned solidarity. And yet the world we live in demands openness, accountability and horizontal networks.

On a cautionary note, Zuma should avoid the triumphalism that goes with what the great American presidential scholar and adviser Richard Neustadt called “newness”. “Everywhere there is a sense of a page turning, a new chapter in the country’s history, a new chance too. And with it, irresistibly, there comes the sense, ‘they’ couldn’t, wouldn’t, didn’t but ‘we’ will. We can because we won.” This can be dangerous, particularly in the sensitive and closely watched areas of economic and foreign policy.

The third scenario is my most preferred. This would be for Zuma to give way to someone such as Kgalema Motlanthe or Tokyo Sexwale. I would prefer Sexwale over Motlanthe because the latter is more of an organisational leader and the former more of a public leader. Either one of them would give us a breather. We need it, desperately.

Zuma won on the strength of a deep and widely-held anti-Mbeki sentiment in the ANC, but now that he has won he will no longer have Mbeki as his foil and his anti-type. All eyes will now be on him. He saved us from the brink of tyranny but will he have the presence of mind to save us from himself?

Surely he would also agree that there would be too much “stuff” around him and that would distract him from being an effective leader of his country. And yet, as party leader and elder statesman he could still play an active and influential role in guiding the ANC. The country would be forever grateful to him, and history would remember him well for such a statesmanlike act.

Whether Zuma chooses to go down in ignominy in a jail cell somewhere; or to bear the burden of the state presidency; or to be remembered as a party leader and statesman who pulled his country from the brink of tyranny, is entirely his gambit. The challenge for us and future generations is different. It goes beyond Mbeki and Zuma to what Neustadt said: “Choose your president carefully because at the end of the day no one can save him from himself (or herself as the case may be).”

n Mangcu is executive chairman of the Platform for Public Deliberation and author of the forthcoming book To the Brink: The State of Democracy in South Africa (University of KwaZulu-Natal Press, January 2008)

Source: Business day

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Putin and TIME: The View From Russia

"How could you take part in this outrage?"
The first such call came from a friend on Wednesday, close to midnight, just after I had stopped surfing Russian TV newscasts, all full of proud reports that TIME had named Russian President Vladimir Putin its Person of the Year.

"Is this the Moscow correspondent of the U.S. magazine most loyal to Putin?" wondered the next caller. A friend in the U.S. e-mailed me: "Putin's Time's POY? Well...But we still love you."
All these old friends — intellectuals and members of the social elite, for the most part — were teasing me. But not entirely. "Every joke contains a bit of the truth," one of them remarked in passing.

As we discussed Russian TV's positive though shrill initial reactions to TIME's announcement, I realized that Putin was not all that far from the truth when he told the magazine's editors at the Person of the Year interview that Russian TV, however state-controlled, was free. Most commentators freely hailed Putin's achievment of putting Russia back on the world map and just as freely pruned TIME's analysis of what happened on his road to achieving it: the suppression of democratic freedoms.

"How do you think this coverage will affect the ordinary people?" asked a friend that night. "Those who will never enter or read TIME's print version?" He believed they would stay brainwashed into thinking that TIME magazine endorsed and promoted Putin and his politics.

Then, I received a call from Echo Moskvi, the last liberal Moscow Radio station, which is something of an on-air Hyde Park for limited numbers of intellectuals, a small arena for them to spout off, not unlike the old Soviet-era Literaturnaya Gazeta. I explained as briefly as I could: it's not an endorsement or a distinction. Hitler and Stalin were Men of the Year, because they left indelible imprints on their respective years' events, which were to influence history.

TIME journalists are like investigators who explore, gather and present facts on the assigned case as thoroughly and conscientiously as possible, allowing our audience to make decisions and pass independent verdicts on whether a given person has made such an impact for better or worse.

In Putin's case, I told the radio interviewer, it was crucial to the Person of the Year decision that he had revived Russia, returning it once again to its integral role in international politics and the global economy. But Putin had accomplished this by suppressing the freedoms, however frail and imperfect, that Russians enjoyed in the 1980s and '90s.

The majority of the Russian people supported Putin in his policy of swapping freedoms and democracy for stability and order — or, in the eyes of critics like myself, for the illusion of stability and order. Ordinary Russians believe Putin's impact is for the better. I told Echo Moskvi that I thought his impact was for worse. Only time (and TIME) will tell. They thanked me and cut off. After hearing my views on the air, other friends called to express appreciation.
One peculiarity of my almost 20 years experience as the only Russian citizen among the select corps of TIME correspondents is that I often enough fail to see Russian matters eye-to-eye with my friends and colleagues at the magazine.

Not that I always prove right. Still, I believe I'm right about this: Putin's formal emergence as the only viable national leader, and his tacit acceptance of the role, mark for Russia a point of no return in its slide into a new authoritarianism, the shape and nature of which cannot yet be fully defined. I'm sure that the period of Putin's rule — which I predict will be long — will once again put the country in the situation described by the great Russian historian Vasili Klyuchevsky almost a century ago: "The state was swelling up, the people were withering."

Nor do I agree with the view, espoused by some of my American colleagues, that this regime is dangerous for Russia only: the export of corruption, merged with the state machinery, is no better than the export of revolution. And that is why I believe that Putin was the correct choice as Person of the Year — because no other person this year made a deeper or more fateful impact on history, present and yet to come.

As I walked outside my dacha gate this morning, my friend Volodya was fiddling with his car. I asked what he thought of the coverage the Russian electronic media had been giving Putin as the magazine's choice. "What's that all about?," he asked, while fixing something in the engine compartment. "I was busy all day yesterday — first work, then picking up my kid from his nursery school, then running my wife's errands."

I told him that the Russian President had been picked by TIME as the Person who made the deepest impact on this year's events. "I dunno," said Volodya. "I'm just making my living. And who cares, anyway?"

Source: TIME

Yaa Yidhi Faysal Cali Waraabaa Doonaya Jagada Madaxweynenimada? Faallo– Maxamed Cumar Hyena

Qaybaha kala duwan ee shacbiga reer Somaliland ayaa weli ku jiro waayo aragnimo ay ku kala baranayaan siyaasiyiintooda haya xukunka dalka iyo kuwa haatan hadal haya mustaqbalka inay ka qayb galaan maamulka dalka, kuwaas oo isugu jira muxaafidka, mucaarad, wadaad, waranle, siyaasi cusub iyo kuwa hore.

Shacbiga ayaa durba qaybo ka mid ahi kala barteen ragga ku jira dawladda Rayaale ee wax qaban kara, kuwa aan waxba qaban karin, kuwa shacbiga iyo dawladda u kala sheekeeya iyo kuwa la dhegeysan la’yahay talooyinkooda.

Shacbiga ayaa sidoo kale waxay kala barteen ragga hoggaamiya siyaasadaha mucaaradka dhabta ah iyo kuwa sheeganaya, kuwa ay ka go’antahay in dalkan laga saaro xaaladda siyaasadeed, dhaqaale iyo nololeed ee uu ku jiro iyo kuwa an doonayn inay wax isbeddeleen ee hoosta kala socda xukuumadda shacbiga qaarkii ka cabanayo wax qabad la’aanteeda.

Sidoo kale waxay dadweynaha qaarkii ku sii kala durkayaan, ama u sii kala dhawaanayaan axsaabta lagu sheego inay yihiin kuwa qaranka, kuwaas oo kala ah UDUB, UCID iyo KULMIYE iyagoo qaarkood ay kala garan la’yihiin xisbiga mucaaradka ah ee dhabta ah iyo kan sheeganaya ee aan dhabtii ahayn mucaaradka, halka kuwa kalena ay kala garan la’yihiin xisbiga UDUB inuu yahay kan wax duminaya iyo inuu yahay kan wax dhisaya.

Haddaba markaan u soo laabanno siyaasadaha axsaabta mucaaradka lagu sheego, waxaad mooddaa inay soo baxayaan calaamado muujinaya in xisbiyadaasi, oo kala ah UCID iyo KULMIYE kala miirmayaan .oo midkood laga dareemayo inuu sito shaadhka Mucaaradka, balse aan dhabtii ku socon wadada lagu yaqaanno mucaaradnimada iyo isbeddel doonka.

Waayo aragnimada siyaasiyiinta Somaliland oo muddo ku wareersanaa jahada siyaasadeed ee uu ku socdo xisbiga siyaasiga ah ee UCID ayaa haatan ogaaday in xisbiga UCID uu yahay xisbi Mucaarad ku ah xisbiga kale ee Mucaaradka ah ee KULMIYE, balse aanu dawladda iyo xisbgeeda UDUB mucaarad ku ahayn.

Tan iyo markii Guddoomiyaha Xisbiga siyaasiga ah ee UCID Faysal Cali Waraabe uu markhaatiga ku furay saaxiibkii KULMIYE, isla markaana uu si dhakhso ah u qirtay guuldaradii axsaabtaasi ka soo gaadhay doorashooyinkii madaxweyne Rayaale ku tegey kursiga dalka ugu sarreeya 2003dii, waxay dad badani shaki ka qabeen in Faysal Cali Waraabe daacad ka ahaa maragga uu sida degdegga ah ugu furay Madaxweyne Rayaale inuu 80 cod kaga guuleystay KULMIYE.

Waxay dad badan la ahayd in waagaasi KULMIYE ka doodi karayey ama joojin karayey madaxtinnimada Daahir Rayaale haddii aanu xisbiga UCID lugta jiidin dooddii uu guddoomiyaha KULMIYE Axmed Siilaanyo ku diidi lahaa natiijadaasi, balse markii ergooyin ay hor-boodayeen siyaasiyiin, salaadiin iyo wadaaddo oggolaysiiyeen Axmed Siilaanyo inuu kursiga ka hadho, ayaa waxay dad badani tuhunsan yihiin in UCID ka dambeeyo baabi’inta guul kasta oo xisbiga KULMIYE ka helo shacbiga Somaliland.

Tan iyo waagaasi iyo maanta oo ay bilo ka hadheen doorasho kale oo shaki ku jiro inay dhici doonto iyo in kale, ayaa dad badan oo siyaasiyiin reer Somaliland ahi la yaabbanaayeen hadalada is-burinaya ee ka soo yeedhaya guddoomiyaha xisbiga UCID, Faysal Cali Waraabe oo inkastoo musharraxiintii xisbigiisu haystaan Baarlamaanka Somaliland, haatan u muuqda inuu dagaal kula jiro shir-guddoonka ay isla daala dhacayaan xukuumadda.

Ilaa imika oo Faysal sheeganayo inuu hoggaamiyo xisbi Mucaarad ah, ayaa dhinaca kale waxa soo kordhaya shaki fara badan oo ku gadaaman halka uu u jeedo xisbigaasi iyo cidda uu taageerada ka haysto.

Tan iyo waagaasi mawqif kasta oo xisbiga KULMIYE iska taago siyaasadda dalka, ayaa waxa daciifiya talooyinka iyo turunturrooyinka xisbiga UCID u geysanayo.

Haddaba markaad u fiirsato hadalada ka soo baxayey xisbiga UCID ee liddiga ku ah xisbiga KULMIYE, ayaa waxa wakhtigan la hadal hayaa arrimo door ah oo caddaynayaa in haatan xisbiga UCID uu yahay xisbiga UDUB afhayeenkiisa.

UCID weligii kama hadal xuquuqda aadamaha Somaliland, kamana hadal xoriyatal qawlka, xadhigga suxufiyiinta, xeerarka saxaafadda, Dimuqraadiyadda, xadhigga siyaasiyiinta QARAN-na waxa uu horeyba iskaga taagay mawqif la mid ah kan dawladda, ilaa imikana lagama hayo wax talooyin ah oo dawladda ku khasbaya inay ka leexato ama ku socoto.

Guddoomiyaha UCID, ayaa waxa kale oo lagu bartay booqashooyinka iyo kormeerka hawleed ee ku tego laamaha dawladda qaarkood, halkaas oo sida wasiirada loogu soo dhaweeyo, halka siyaasiyiinta xisbiga KULMIYE-na laga eryo meel kasta oo ay dan ku leeyihiin.

Dhinaca kale tan iyo markii ay guddiga doorashooyinka qaranka ay isku qabteen dawladda iyo shirguddoonku ayaa la ogaa in xubnahala isku mari la’aa uu Guddoomiyaha UCID mar walba dawladda kula safnaa gardaradeeda.

Sidoo kale Faysal ayaa hadallo ka dhan ah musharraxa xisbiga KULMIYE ee madaxweynaha, Axmed Siillaanyo weydiiyey wakhtigii doorashooyinka madaxweynenimada bal in Siillaanyo garanayo Sheedaha iyo degaanno kale oo ku hareeraysan Hargeysa, taas oo u muuqata in Faysal Cali Waraabe Hargeysa ka eryenayo Musharraxa reer Burco ee kula tartamaya Hargeysa.

Haddaba iyadoo xaalku sidaa yahay Xisbiga Faysal Cali Waraabana doorashooyinkii 2003dii uu dadweynaha Somaliland ka helay cod 15% dadweynihii Somaliland ee codkooda bixiyay, ayaa u muuqda in UCID shaki ka qabo guul uu ka gaadho doorashooyinka soo socda ee madaxweynenimada sidaa darteedna la tuhunsan yahay inay xukuumadda wada galeen heshiis lagu wiiqayo guul kasta oo uu Somaliland ka helo xisbiga KULMIYE, isagoo haatan Faysal Cali Waraabe shaadhka ka bixiyey mucaaradnimadii uu sheeganayey, si toos ahna ula saftay xukuumadda, taas oo dad badani oo reer Somaliland ahi shaki ka qabaan in Faysal Cali Waraabe doonayo kursiga madaxweynenimada, iyo inuu doonayo inuu u ololeeyo xisbiga UDUB oo ka heli karo danihii uu ka waayey dalka Finland, isagoo aan doorasho iyo olole kale toona ku karaamo beelinna uu la daadego xisbiga KULMIYE, ama xisbigaasi hoggaankiisa uu jeebka ugu rido xukuumadda sida ka muuqatay bilihii u dambeeyey ee Guddoomiyaha xisbiga KULMIYE ka dhammaan la’aa madaxtooyada, isla markaana Guddoomiyaha xisbiga UCID sida la sheegay ku sasabayey in xisbiga KULMIYE la shaqeeyo Dawladda.

Ugu dambayntiina waxa soo yaraanaya shakigii laga qabay guddoomiyaha xisbiga UCID ee ku saabsanaa inuu yahay Mucaarad iyo inuu yahay sub-station UDUB ah, oo aan isagu doonayn inuu Rayaale ku cidhiidhiyo doorashooyinka soo socda ee qabsoomiddoodu shakiga leedahay.

Source: Haatuf

Somaliland should be recognised

Publication Date: 2007/12/20

Reports that the Bush administration is seriously considering recognising Somaliland are most welcome.

Without a doubt, Somaliland is a an oasis of stability in a sea of anarchic Somali politics.
Moreover, Somaliland is an important partner in the war on terror.
Somaliland is a democracy and should be rewarded by being afforded international recognition.
I appeal to the US Government to lead the rest of the world by doing so.

I urge the US to ignore those who are against Somaliland. They have no moral right to poke noses into the affairs of Somaliland.

The warlords posing as elected leaders command very little support from their own people.

Hargeisa, Somaliland.

UN Council urges more support for AU in Somalia

By Claudia Parsons
UNITED NATIONS, (Reuters) - The U.N. Security Council called on Wednesday for more funds for a hard-pressed African Union peacekeeping force in Somalia and asked the U.N. secretary-general to keep planning for a U.N. force there.

U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said last month Somalia was too dangerous even to send an assessment team to prepare for a U.N. peacekeeping force.

U.N. officials say half the population of Mogadishu, or 600,000 people, have fled persistent fighting since Somalia's transitional government came to power after ousting militant Islamists early this year.

The Somali government has long urged the United Nations to send peacekeepers. The AU force, known as AMISOM, is supposed to number some 8,000 troops but only around 1,600 Ugandans have actually arrived.

The Security Council issued a statement after talks on Somalia on Wednesday reiterating its backing for AMISOM.

"(It) urges again the international community to provide financial resources, personnel, equipment and services for the full deployment of AMISOM," it said.

The council also asked Ban to continue to develop existing contingency plans for a possible U.N. deployment and asked him to report back on progress by Feb. 8.

The statement welcomed a briefing this week by Ahmedou Ould-Abdallah, U.N. special envoy for Somalia, who called for a new strategy from the international community to tackle the humanitarian crisis in the Horn of Africa state.

Ould-Abdallah said Saudi Arabia should be asked to lead a new drive to reinforce the AU peacekeeping force, though not necessarily with its own troops. Such a force, including Asian or Middle Eastern troops, could be an interim step before a U.N. peacekeeping force could be deployed.

"The Security Council looks forward to hearing more details of (his) proposals," the statement said, adding that it strongly supported Ould-Abdallah's work in Somalia. (Editing by by Sandra Maler)

Source: Reuters

Do you have an accent?

By Prof. Joseph L. Mbele , African News Journal
If you are like me, with deep roots in Africa, you probably have heard Americans say you have an accent. You might feel that having an accent is not a good thing. Many new immigrants in America are embarrassed about their foreign accents and struggle to learn to speak like Americans. I met a Somali youth in Faribault, Minnesota, who felt that way. I think all this is rather unfortunate. I teach English at college level in America. With apologies to no one, I speak English with my distinctive Tanzanian accent.

An accent is an intrinsic aspect of spoken language. Nobody can say a word, let alone speak a language, without an accent. Basically, an accent is one’s distinctive way of speaking. Though an accent is an individual characteristic, it is also a collective one. Despite their individual differences, people from a given country or region tend to speak with a recognizable accent. I can tell a South African from a Nigerian, or an American from an Indian, based on the way they speak English. Those who know Americans say that Texans, for example, have their own accent, so do Californians, and Americans from other regions.

The accent we grew up with sounds normal to us. We might not even notice it. That we notice the accents of foreigners doesn’t mean that they alone have accents. American English sounds normal to Americans, but it is not a universal norm. English is an international language, with different varieties. With the world getting increasingly interconnected, people who ignore those varieties do so at their own peril, just as those who think they don’t need other languages. Our best option is to learn to hear and understand as many varieties and accents as possible.

Unfortunately, most people have not thought about the issue in this way. Immigrants who struggle to change their accents in order to “fit in” should think about this, so should those who complain about immigrants who speak with foreign accents. Why should someone with a proper Nigerian or Ugandan accent be pressured to speak like an American? Why should someone with a proper Jamaican or British accent be pressured to speak like an American? In Africa, no one asks foreigners to speak English like Africans: the British speak with their own accent; so do the Indians, the Australians and others. That, I think, is the way to go.

Source: TCDaily Planet

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Madaxweyne Daahir iyo Maxaabiista QARAN.

Waxan jeclaan lahaa in salaan lagya gaadhsiiyo Madaxweyne Daahir Rayaale Kaahin, waaba hadduu iga qaadee, illeyn miskiin dan yaraan ahay, oo waliba ku ah mucaaride !. Madaxweyne Daahir iyo dadkiisa iyo dalkiisa oo ah dadkayga iyo dalkaygana waxan u rajaynayaa inay ku ciidaan Nabad iyo Caano.

Madaxweynaha, waxan odhan lahaa: Adeero Daahir, markii horana waad ku qummanayd inaad hoggaamiyayaasha xisbigii sharci darrada ahaa ee QARAN ad qol madoow ku riddo. Imikana waad ku qumman tahay, inaad qolkii madoobaa ee ay ku jireen ad sida jiirka uga soo dhex qaaddo oo ad guryahoodii ku soo celiso habeen madoow. Waxay sugayeen in lasoo galbiyo oo diyaarado iyo dibaabado lagu soo hooyo, loona rido madaafiic qarane. Waad ka badisay, waana xeelad lagaaga dayan karo oo xusid mudan, waana mid ay ku jirto sugida ammaanka dalku. Hambalyo... Madaxweyne....Hambalyo.

Mahadsanid Mudane madaxweyne waxanan kuu qirayaa inaad tahay halyeey soomaaliyeed oo aad u sugi yaqaana amniga dalkiisa iyo dadkiisa. Waxad isku haysaa oo ad isku xidh-xidhaysaa xanjo iyo jawaano midba gees u jeedo. Maalin maalmaha ka mid ahna dadaalka ad u gashay dalkan Somaliland , ee ad u dayacday gobolkaagii ad kasoo beerantay, waalla xusi doonaa, taariikhda been lagama sheegi doono.

Hogaamiyayaasha Xisbiga QARAN, iyagana waxan odhan lahaa, anugba xisbiyo waan keensan karnaa, waxanse xeerinaynaa xasiloonida iyo xurmada dalka Somaliland . Saddex xisbi oo isku wada reer kaliya ka yimid ayaa ka jira dalka JSL, waana inay idinku fillaadaan oo ad heshiis ku ahaatiin, iskuna iimaansantiin. Haddii ad u halgamaysiin diimuqraadiyad iyo daacadnimana, waan inaad danaysiin dareenka reeraha kale ee dalka idinla yaalla, ee midkoodna keensan xisbi wali. Haddii ad nagu dirqiyaysiin inaan ogolaano xisbi afraad oo kasoo baxa hargeysa, waa inaad marka hore ogolaatiin 3 xisbi oo kasoo baxa Awdal inta an la aqoonsan xisbigiina QARAN. Haddii kale QARAN wuxu waligiiba ahaan doonaa QARAN.

Nabad iyo Caano Aynu Ku Ciidno.

Cabdiqani Yuusuf Caateeye


Somali Elder: Kidnapped Reporter OK

MOGADISHU, Somalia (AP) — A Somali clan elder has met with a French journalist being held by kidnappers who have increased their ransom demand to $1 million, the elder said Wednesday.

Cameraman Gwen Le Gouil was kidnapped Sunday outside Bossaso in semiautonomous Puntland, a northern region that is removed from the ferocious Islamic insurgency in the country's south. In recent months, however, Puntland has become associated with piracy off its coast.

"I met with the kidnapped reporter," said elder Mohamed Said. "He told me that he was safe and was treated well."

The kidnappers were demanding a $1 million ransom, according to Said. The figure is a significant increase over the $70,000 that they reportedly were demanding earlier this week.
The kidnapping highlighted the widespread insecurity in Somalia, which the United Nations says is facing Africa's worst humanitarian crisis. Bossaso is about 900 miles north of Mogadishu, which is at the center of the insurgency.

Ethiopia, with tacit U.S. approval, sent soldiers to Somalia last year to wipe out the Council of Islamic Courts, but they soon launched a ferocious insurgency. A local aid group said some 6,000 civilians have died this year alone, caught in the crossfire of mortar attacks, suicide bombings and street battles.

Source: AP

Putin named Time magazine's person of the year

NEW YORK (AFP) — Time magazine named President Vladimir Putin its person of the year Wednesday, recognizing the Russian leader's role in achieving stability even at the cost of Western-style freedom and democracy.

The award is not considered an honor so much as a recognition of the most powerful forces and individuals shaping the world, according to the magazine.
It was handed to Putin for reshaping a country that Managing Editor Richard Stengel said had "fallen off our mental map."

"At significant cost to the principles and ideas that free nations prize, he has performed an extraordinary feat of leadership in imposing stability on a nation that has rarely known it and brought Russia back to the table of world power," Stengel wrote.

"For that reason, Vladimir Putin is Time's 2007 Person of the Year," he added, saying the Russian leader had made Moscow "a critical linchpin of the 21st century."
"If Russia fails, all bets are off for the 21st century. And if Russia succeeds as a nation-state in the family of nations, it will owe much of that success to one man, Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin," he wrote.

Putin, he added, "is not a boy scout. He is not a democrat in any way that the West would define it. He is not a paragon of free speech.

"He stands, above all, for stability -- stability before freedom, stability before choice, stability in a country that has hardly seen it for a hundred years."

Putin's latest coup is to have all but secured himself the post of prime minister if his protege Dmitry Medvedev becomes president in March, continuing his position among the top Russian leadership after eight years at the helm.

In an interview with the magazine, Putin said Russia wanted to be a close ally of the United States but that Washington did not treat it as an equal.

"We want to be a friend of America," the Russian leader told the magazine, while adding: "Sometimes we get the impression that America does not need friends" but only "auxiliary subjects to command."

While the Kremlin celebrated Time's selection, US officials declined to comment. White House spokeswoman Dana Perino said only that Putin was "a very intriguing figure in modern history" while the State Department sidestepped the question.

"I'm not in the business of helping Time sell its magazines," said deputy State Department spokesman Tom Casey.

The magazine named former US vice president and 2007 Nobel Peace Prize winner Al Gore its first runner-up, followed by British author J.K Rowling, the creator of the blockbuster "Harry Potter" series.

Last year the magazine named "You" as its person of the year, reflecting the importance of user-generated Internet content as a force in the modern world.

Previous winners include Adolf Hitler, Joseph Stalin and the computer. In 2005, U2 frontman turned anti-poverty campaigner Bono shared the award with Microsoft founder and philanthropist Bill Gates and his wife Melinda.

US President George W. Bush was chosen in 2004, following the American soldier in 2003 and a group of whistleblowers in 2002.

The first winner named after the September 11 attacks of 2001 was former New York mayor Rudolph Giuliani, despite suggestions from within Time's editorial department it should be Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden.

Late Iranian leader Ayatollah Khomeini won the award in 1979, the year he helped lead the revolution that toppled the Shah. The controversial choice lost the magazine an undisclosed number of subscribers.

Source: AFP

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Somali drug may fund terrorism

Terrorist groups may be funding their activities through khat, an illegal stimulant smuggled daily into Canada, says a newly released intelligence report.

The report by the Canadian government's Integrated Threat Assessment Centre says "some part of the proceeds involved in the global khat trade possibly finances terrorrism"

Khat is an illicit drug that is wildly popular among Somali-Canadians. It originates in East Africa and the Middle East, regions that "are 'of concern' from a terrorism viewpoint," the report says.
"Given that a number of terrorist organizations around the world finance their activities through the drug trade, and that much of the khat trade occurs in and emanates from a region of the world closely identified with terrorism, it is possible that some parts of the proceeds involved may end up in the hands of terrorists or their sympathizers."

A declassified version of the Dec. 8, 2006, intelligence assessment, titled Khat: Connections to Terrorism? was obtained by the National Post under the Access to Information Act.

Formally called Catha edulis, khat is a leafy shrub that grows only in the Horn of Africa and Yemen. Chewing khat is a daily ritual among men in Somalia.

As home to one of the world's largest Somali communities, Canada has experienced a steady rise in the use of khat. Although illegal, khat is still widely available on the black market in places like Etobicoke, home to Toronto's Little Mogadishu neighbourhood, where it is sold out of backrooms in restaurants and shops.

The RCMP's annual drug report, released yesterday, said 14 tonnes of khat were seized in Canada last year, two-thirds of it at Toronto Pearson International Airport.
The drugs were destined for the Toronto, Montreal and Ottawa regions, "where larger concentrations of Somali communities are found," the RCMP report said.
The seizures were valued at $7-million.

The United Kingdom and the Netherlands are the major transshipment points, but smugglers are increasingly using alternative countries such as Italy, the United States, France and Germany, it said.

Most of it is coming to Canada aboard passenger and cargo planes.

"Mules were recruited through the Internet, newspaper ads or word-of-mouth to bring khat to Canada," the RCMP said. "They were often offered all-expense-paid trips and cash rewards if the delivery was successful."

While many Somalis chew khat, others oppose the practice, arguing it is destructive to families because it is costly (a small bundle can cost $80), time-consuming and makes users lethargic.
Somalia's Islamist extremist movement, currently at war with the government, opposes khat, considering it against Islamic law. But in 2003, the Somali terrorist group Al Ittihad Al-Islam, which is associated with al-Qaeda, was accused of smuggling khat into the United States. The group has operated a small fundraising network in Toronto since the 1990s.

The RCMP has found "no distinct links" between the import and trafficking of khat in Canada and terrorist groups, the report said. But the report also concluded there are several ways terrorists may be profiting from the global trade.

The primary producers of khat, Kenya and Ethiopia, have "experienced significant terrorist activity," it said. Khat is also cultivated in Yemen, and "several terrorist organizations, such as al-Qaeda, continue to maintain a presence in Yemen." Some khat also makes its way to Saudi Arabia, it added.

"It is possible that some terrorist financing occurs through involvement in the local or regional khat trade, either directly in the cultivation, transport and distribution of the drug, or indirectly, such as levying fees or 'taxes' for transport or access," it says.

Source: National Post

Madaxdii Ururka QARAN oo la sii daayay

Madaxdii ururka QARAN ee Dr. Maxamed Cabdi Gaboose, Eng. Maxamed Xaashi Cilmi iyo Jamaal Caydiid ayaa xabsiga laga soo daayay aroornimadii hore ee maanta, Salaasa 18/12/2007, kadib markii ay xabsigu ku jireen muddo shan bilood ku dhow (144 maalmood) iyaga oo dawladdu u xidhay sifo siyaasadaysan oo guud ahaan laysku raacay inay sharciga baalmarsantahay.

Dr. Gaboose oo u waramayay weriyaha BBC-da ayaa sheegay in abbaara 4-tii aroornimo laydhka lagu shiday taasoo aan caado u ahayn xabsiga. Kadibna waxa u soo galay taliye xigeenka iyo ciidankiisii oo ku wargeliyay inay degdeg alaabtooda u soo qaataan.

Wuxuu Dr. Gaboose sheegay inaan wax waraaqo ah laga saxeexin iyaguna aanay wax codsi ah u qoran madaxweynaha. Wuxuu sheegay in xitaa waraaqdii lagu xidhay aanay mar qudha arag intii ay xidhnaayeen iyo markii maxkamaddoodu socotayba.

Dr. Gaboose wuxuu sheegay inay guryahoodii soo gaadheen abbaara shantii subaxnimo. Wuxuu intaa ku daray in dareenkoodu aad u wanaagsanyahay.

Waxa kale oo uu Dr. Gaboose ku adkaystay in dimoqraadiyadii iyo xaqiiba ay adkaadeen, soo-dayntooduna ay tahay guul u soo hoyatay ummadda Somaliland maadaama aanay ka tanaasulin mawqifkoodii. Wuxuu sheegay xabsigii lagu bajin jiray dadka ku taagan xaqu inuu beenoobay.
Wuxuu Dr. Gaboose u mahad celiyay dhamaan dadkii u gurmaday intii ay xabsiga ku jireen.
Sidaasoo kale Eng. Maxamed Xaashi Cilmi ayaa sheegay inay ku faraxsanyihiin inay guryahoodii iyo caa’iladahoodii ku soo noqdaan.

Jamaal Caydiid ayaa isna sheegay inay sii wadidoonaan hawshoodii [urur-siyaasadeedka QARAN].

Madaxda ururka QARAN waxa la xidhay bishii 28-kii bishii July ee sannadkan.

SOURCE: Somaliland.Org

French journalist held in Somalia said to be "fine"

(Adds arrest, death threat)
By Abdiqani HassanBOSASSO, Somalia, Dec 18 (Reuters) -

A Somali clan elder said on Tuesday he had seen a French journalist kidnapped by gunmen and he was in a "fine" condition.But the local elder, who is related to the kidnappers, also told Reuters the group was demanding an $80,000 ransom for the release of Gwen Le Gouil in northern Puntland region."We saw the French journalist. He is fine.

We tried to convince the abductors to release the journalist, but they refused and demanded $80,000," Abdulqadir Ahmed said."We are going to negotiate with them again today."Le Gouil, who was seized on Sunday, is being held in the mountainous village of Mareero, 30 km (19 miles) east of Puntland's Bosasso port, locals say.

Puntland's security minister Abdulahi Saeed Samatar said one of the kidnappers had been arrested in a police operation, but gave no further details.Jama Hussein Mohamed, an accomplice to the kidnappers, said he escaped arrest but his friend was detained."

The kidnappers called the police and threatened to kill the French journalist if they did not release him," Mohamed told Reuters by phone.He said he was one of the people who had set up Le Gouil's kidnapping, but was now mediating with the Frenchman's captors.

Somali kidnappers are known to treat their captives well and almost never kill them, viewing them as an investment on which they expect a return in the form of ransom.Many foreigners in Somalia run foul of local clans by failing to seek permission to travel through their territories.A colleague of Le Gouil in a TV company, Cargocult Production, said he had no fresh information on Tuesday."

But I am hopeful we might get some good news of his release today. Negotiations are continuing," said Jean Laurent, who is tracking his colleague's case from Nairobi.French diplomats in the region had no comment.

Le Gouil was in the semi-autonomous region of north Somalia working on a piece for the Franco-German TV network Arte Television about human trafficking of African migrants to Saudi Arabia through Yemen.Media groups have denounced the kidnapping in a nation where eight local journalists have died this year covering a conflict between the Ethiopian-backed government and Islamist-led rebels.

Known for its relative stability compared to chaotic south Somalia, Puntland has, however, become increasingly associated with kidnappings, hijackings and piracy. (Writing by Aweys Yusuf and Andrew Cawthorne; Editing by Katie Nguyen)

Saudi could lead new Somali peace drive-UN official

By Claudia Parsons
UNITED NATIONS, Dec 17 (Reuters) - Saudi Arabia should be asked to lead a new drive to stabilize Somalia by reinforcing an African Union peacekeeping force, though not necessarily by sending its own troops, a U.N. official said on Monday.

Ahmed Ould-Abdallah, U.N. special envoy for Somalia, also urged the United Nations to work harder to tackle what its officials have called Africa's worst humanitarian crisis.
He told the Security Council the world's "wait and see" attitude had failed to solve Somalia's problems. It was time to decide whether to give up and withdraw all international support -- which currently includes U.N. humanitarian aid and the AU peacekeeping force -- or find a new strategy.

"The United Nations must launch diplomatic action to mobilize a consensus to stabilize the country," he said, warning that the world body's credibility was at stake.
John Holmes, the top U.N. humanitarian official, said this month that half the population of Mogadishu, or 600,000 people, had fled persistent fighting since Somalia's transitional government came to power after ousting militant Islamists early this year.

Ould-Abdallah called for a new initiative to reinforce a hard-pressed and under-funded AU peacekeeping force that has yet to be fully deployed. Such a force could be an interim step before a U.N. peacekeeping force could be deployed.

"For this, Saudi Arabia, the custodian of the two Muslim holiest sites and a close neighbor with many Somali refugees, should be invited to play a leading role," Ould-Abdallah said, noting that Saudi Arabia had shown its willingness to help by inviting Somali leaders to the kingdom in October.

He said he had not discussed such a plan with Saudi Arabia but it would not necessarily involve sending Saudi troops.

"They have moral authority," Ould-Abdallah told reporters.
Last month, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon raised the idea of a "coalition of the willing" to help Somalia. Ould-Abdallah said a Saudi-led drive to reinforce the AU force was in line with that idea and the force could include Middle Eastern or Asian units, with financial or technical support from others.

"Support from one or two NATO member states should be made available if necessary," he told the council.


The Somali government has long urged the United Nations to send peacekeepers but Ban has said it is too dangerous even to send an assessment team to plan for it. African countries are also stretched by demands for peacekeepers as a U.N.-AU force of up to 26,000 prepares to deploy in Darfur from January.

Several council members said on Monday it was vital to keep making contingency plans for a U.N. force for Somalia.

The AU force, AMISOM, is supposed to number some 8,000 troops but only around 1,600 Ugandans have actually arrived.

Ould-Abdallah said political progress was in the hands of the Somali government, which he urged to engage with the opposition to establish a national unity government.
Somalia has been plagued by anarchy since warlords toppled military dictator Mohamed Siad Barre in 1991.

International intervention in Somalia has a poor record.

The 1993 shooting down of two U.S. Black Hawk helicopters by militiamen in Mogadishu deeply shocked U.S. public opinion, precipitating American withdrawal and contributing to the ending of a U.N. peacekeeping operation in 1995. (Editing by Philip Barbara)

Source: Reuters

UN calls for intervention in Somalia

"Without an immediate intervention on the part of the international community, Somalia risks a humanitarian catastrophe" says UN special envoy Ahmedou Ould-Abdallah.

More than 720,000 people have been forced to leave Mogadishu over the past few months because of Ethiopian soldiers and transition government troops fighting militia groups linked with the Islamic Courts.The international community is still trying to find a solution for the dramatic crisis in Somlia.

While Uganda, which supplies most of the troops of the African Union mission in Somalia, has announced the deployment of 1,500 soldiers trained by French experts, to replace those already in the country, UN special envoy, Ahmedou Ould-Abdallah asked Saudi Arabia to use its "moral authority" to convince the Somali parties to sit down at the negotiation table.

Ould-Abdallah said the 'wait and see' attitude of the international community threatens to worsen the situation and to bring the country to a humanitarian crisis. "Saudi Arabia is the custodian of the most important Muslim holy places and it is a neighbour which accepts many Somali refugees. It has moral authority" said the UN special envoy, who stressed the need to increase the African Union contingent with a contribution from other countries in Africa, the Middle East, south east Asia and one or two of the NATO member nations.At the political level the new Prime Minister Nur Hassan Hussein announced the imminent formation of a 'technical' government of 18 ministers, half of them non members of parliament.

On 16 December the executive was dismissed by the Premier only two weeks after the resignation of five ministers because of a power-sharing dispute. Hussein said he intends to start dialogue with the opposition.

The political picture of Somalia is also fragmented by tensions between semi-autonomous region of Puntland and that of Somaliland, self proclaimed independence, not officially recognised by any country as yet. These regions dispute control of the Sool border area (see Fides 29/10/2007), whose capital Las Anod was occupied by Somaliland troops in October. The President of Puntland, general Mohamud Adde Muse, admitted to the local parliament that he had started secret negotiations with the Somaliland authorities to solve the question of Las Anod, giving rise to strong protests from the MPs who accused him of being a "traitor".

The abduction of a French journalist in Bosaso, 'economic capital' of Puntland would not appear to be connected with these tensions. The local authorities said they are trying to negotiate his release.

Sunday, December 16, 2007