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Cablegate: Somalia - Reaction to Obama Win

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OO RUEHDE RUEHROV RUEHTRO
DE RUEHNR #2562 3151503
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 101503Z NOV 08
FM AMEMBASSY NAIROBI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 7550
INFO RUCNSOM/SOMALIA COLLECTIVE IMMEDIATE
RUEPVAA/COMJSOC FT BRAGG NC IMMEDIATE
RUEKDIA/DIA WASHDC IMMEDIATE
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC IMMEDIATE
RHMFIUU/CDR USCENTCOM MACDILL AFB FL IMMEDIATE
RHMFIUU/CJTF HOA IMMEDIATE
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC IMMEDIATE
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK IMMEDIATE 7409

UNCLAS NAIROBI 002562

SIPDIS

STATE FOR AF/E AND A/S FRAZER

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PREL KPAO PINS SO
SUBJECT: SOMALIA - REACTION TO OBAMA WIN

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Summary
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1. Somali contacts expressed deep admiration for the United
States in the aftermath of the November 5 U.S. election. A
wide range of Somalia Unit contacts called and wrote to
congratulate the United States on a peaceful and historic
election. Contacts' comments ranged from statements of
esteem for the United States' having voted on the two
candidates' qualifications rather than ethnicity to hope that
Somalia could likewise overcome years of adverse conditions
to end the 18-year conflict in their own country. End
summary.

--------------------------------------------- ---------
Historic Election, A Sign That All Things Are Possible
--------------------------------------------- ---------

2. The Somalia Unit received a wide range of positive
messages and calls in the aftermath of President-elect
Obama's November 5 electoral win. Many messages, including
Lul Sharmarke, Director of HornAfrik Radio, simply praised
the fact that the American people were once again able to
conduct a peaceful election, unlike Somalia, in which the
citizens exercised their right to choose a leader. A contact
with the Coalition of Grassroots Women's Organizations
(COGWO) reported women in Mogadishu weeping.

3. A Somali businessman in Nairobi was among those who wrote
to congratulate the American people on making "remarkable and
unforgettable history" in electing an African-American
president. On the same note, Sharif Hassan Sheikh and
Professor Abdurahman Ibbi of the Alliance for the
Re-Liberation of Somalia congratulated the American people
for voting on the qualifications of the person, contrasting
that with Somalia's practice of basing all elections on the
4.5 formula. (Note: This formula balances representation of
Somalia's four main clans with its minority clans. End
note.) Other contacts cited the election as a "demonstration
of true democracy" and an example of putting one's country
ahead of the individual.

4. Still other contacts noted that if the United States,
which they maintain is far less homogeneous than Somalia, can
overcome decades of racial discord, Somalia should be able to
overcome decades of violent conflict. The Transitional
Federal Government's Deputy Prime Minster, Ahmed Abdisalam
Aden, told us America's vote showed us "all things are
possible."

5. Comment: The unsolicited and emotionally-charged comments
from our contacts were interesting and useful demonstrations
of the hopes they have for their country. We also found
their unsolicited comments to be yet another example of the
vigor with which Somalis track events beyond their borders.
End comment.
RANNEBERGER

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