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