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Cablegate: Somalia - Baidoa Stalemate Continues

VZCZCXRO3826
OO RUEHDE RUEHROV RUEHTRO
DE RUEHNR #2767/01 3461439
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 111439Z DEC 08
FM AMEMBASSY NAIROBI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 7888
INFO RUCNSOM/SOMALIA COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEPVAA/COMJSOC FT BRAGG NC PRIORITY
RUEKDIA/DIA WASHDC PRIORITY
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC PRIORITY
RHMFIUU/CDR USCENTCOM MACDILL AFB FL PRIORITY
RHMFIUU/CJTF HOA PRIORITY
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC PRIORITY
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK PRIORITY 7436

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 NAIROBI 002767

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

DEPT FOR AF/E AND A/S FRAZER

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PINR SOCI MOPS SO
SUBJECT: SOMALIA - BAIDOA STALEMATE CONTINUES

REF: A. NAIROBI 2652
B. NAIROBI 2681
C. DJIBOUTI 991

1. (SBU) Summary: A five-day face-off in Baidoa, the seat of
the parliament, between Transitional Federal Government (TFG)
President Abdullahi Yusuf and Prime Minister Nur Adde
continued December 11 with the estranged leaders showing no
willingness to compromise. Yusuf and Nur Adde have
reportedly met once since Nur Adde followed the President to
Baidoa. At that December 7 meeting, Yusuf continued to insist
that he would not accept Nur Adde's proposed cabinet (Ref A),
and that the November 25 Djibouti communique (Ref B) was a
non-starter. (In a separate, December 9 meeting with the
Ambassador, Puntland President Hersi backed co-clan member
Yusuf in rejecting the communique's call for an expanded
parliament.) Nur Adde told us that he planned to remain in
Baidoa until at least December 14, and that he hoped to
engineer parliament's approval of his cabinet. Yuuf, who
canceled his planned participation in the December 10 - 11
Nairobi piracy ministerial, seemed determined to wait by Nur
Adde's side. Both TFG leaders have been wooing the
parliamentarians who have been trickling back to Baidoa.
Speaker Sheikh Aden "Madobe," after initially siding with
Yusuf over fears that he might lose his position if a new
leadership was elected, has reportedly sided with Nur Adde
after receiving assurances that fellow clan members were not
gunning for his speaker's seat. End summary.

Yusuf Searches for a Strategy
-----------------------------

2. (SBU) After days of unhappiness following the signing of
the November 25 Djibouti communique that called for the
creation of a working group to explore doubling the size of
the parliament, extending the transitional government's
mandate by two years, and possibly electing new leadership,
Transitional Federal Government (TFG) President Abdullahi
Yusuf threw down the gauntlet by issuing on November 3 a
press release that called, on behalf of Puntland, for a new
reconciliation process. Yusuf then traveled to Djibouti (Ref
C), where he asked for, but did not receive, the support of
President Guelleh. On December 5, the President flew to the
seat of the transitional parliament, Baidoa, and, according
to TFG Prime Minister Nur Hassan Hussein "Nur Adde," "began
bribing parliamentarians" with money he received from Libya.

Nur Adde Presses Parliament
---------------------------

3. (SBU) In a December 6 conversation, a composed Nur Adde
told Embassy that Yusuf's presence in Baidoa would not stop
him from flying there on December 7 in an effort to win
parliament's approval of his transitional cabinet. Nur Adde
at that point was confident that parliament speaker Sheikh
Aden "Madobe" would "back the Djibouti process," by which he
meant the provisions of the November 25 Alliance for the
Re-liberation of Somalia (ARS) - TFG communique that called
for doubling the size of the parliament, extending the
mandate of the transitional institutions by two years, and
choosing a new leadership. (In the days following the
November 25 communique, Madobe had unexpectedly seemed to
side with Yusuf. Some observers suspected he was worried
that he would not remain speaker if a new leadership was
chosen. Others thought that Yusuf could have been successful
in bribing the Speaker.)

Yusuf - Nur Adde Meet
---------------------

4. (SBU) On December 7 in Baidoa, Yusuf and Nur Adde held
their first face-to-face meeting since the Prime Minister
traveled to London in an unsuccessful attempt to win approval
of his cabinet on November 8. Contacts in Yusuf and Nur
Adde's camps confirmed that Yusuf remained unwilling to
accept Nur Adde's nominees, and that Nur Adde refused to back
down. Since that meeting, the President and the Prime
Minister have each had long meetings with larger groups of
parliamentarians and, no doubt, many one-on-one sessions.
The fact that Yusuf, Nur Adde, and Madobe separately
celebrated Eid-ul-adha on December 8 was read by observers as
further confirmation that there was little prospect for the

NAIROBI 00002767 002 OF 002


TFG.

Parliament Tied to Djibouti Process
-----------------------------------

5. (SBU) In conversations over the last five days, members of
parliament in Baidoa have told us that a majority of their
colleagues support the November 25 communique, although there
appears to be a consensus that an additional 275 MPs is too
many, and an insistence that the 4.5 formula for clan
representation be used in selecting new MPs. (The ARS
leadership has assured us privately, and ARS Chairman Sheikh
Sharif has said publicly, that it would observe the 4.5
formula.) As one parliamentarian told the Embassy, "we
understand that we will lose (our jobs) if the Djibouti
process fails." Those parliamentarians more closely aligned
with Nur Adde were, as expected, extremely critical of
Yusuf's behavior while in Baidoa: "He knows only one word:
'no,'" one said. Still, a vocal minority in Parliament worry
that the understandings reached in the communique negotiated
by Nur Adde and Sheikh Sharif amount to a sweeping victory
for the Hawiye clan.

Puntland President Explains Yusuf
---------------------------------

6. (SBU) In an extended, December 9 conversation, President
Hersi of the semi-autonomous Puntland region offered
Ambassador Ranneberger his best gloss on Yusuf's thinking.
The TFG President was not opposed to Djibouti, Hersi
insisted, but Yusuf knew "others" were using money to
influence the Parliament, and that's why he was in Baidoa.
The principle Nur Adde had used in selecting his cabinet was
"loyalty, not competence," the composition of the TFG's
High-Level Committee was "flawed," and the November 25
communique was an "agreement between two people (Nur Adde and
Sheikh Sharif), and both of them were of the same sub-clan."
In opposing the communique, and Nur Adde's cabinet nominees,
Hersi maintained that Yusuf was protecting the interests of
Puntland.

7. (SBU) Hersi then offered a more detailed critique of the
communique. He joined consensus among deputies in arguing
that 275 is too many slots to add, and he worried that only
members of the Hawiye clan would be appointed by the ARS.
These and other "mistakes" could have been avoided, Hersi
said, if the UN SRSG Ould-Abdallah had allowed Yusuf to fly
to Djibouti.

8. (SBU) Special Envoy for Somalia John Yates pointed out
that the November 25 document was not an agreement, and that
a joint working group was to use the communique in making its
recommendations to the parliament within thirty days. S/E
Yates noted that the ARS had pledged to use the 4.5 formula
in recommending members for parliament, and he pointedly
noted that Nur Adde had made numerous efforts, all of them
rejected, to reach out to Yusuf.
9. (SBU) Ambassador Ranneberger urged Hersi to lobby Yusuf to
cooperate in advancing the Djibouti process. "It is
important for the TFG to unite, and work with the ARS," he
said, or al-Shabaab will continue to gain ground in Somalia.
He also reassured Hersi that the principle of federalism was
enshrined in the Transitional Federal Charter, and had not
been at issue in the discussions about the Djibouti process.

Comment
-------

10. (SBU) It appears that neither the TFG President nor Prime
Minister has been able to win a clear advantage in Baidoa,
although Nur Adde told us recently that he is still hopeful
that parliament will approve his cabinet by December 14.
Even if it approves the cabinet, it is uncertain what that
might mean for the recommendations coming out of the Djibouti
process. With Yusuf giving every sign that he intends to
resist a unity government and playing the clan card to
prevent perceived gains in the TFG, it appears that he is
stymieing progress on the Djibouti Agreement at every turn.
RANNEBERGER

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