Cablegate: Somalia - Deputy Prime Minister Questions Tfg Future

DE RUEHNR #2579/01 3180449
P 130449Z NOV 08





E.O. 12958: N/A
SUBJECT: SOMALIA - Deputy Prime Minister Questions TFG Future

REF: A) Nairobi 2520 B) Nairobi 2380

1. (SBU) SUMMARY. On the margins of the IGAD summit in Nairobi, A/S
Frazer met with TFG Deputy Prime Minister Ahmed Abdisalam Adan.
Abdisalam noted the fragility of the TFG and the ARS and the
importance of strengthening both institutions and the Djibouti
process that binds them. The DPM emphasized the hope of all Somalis
for a change and their strong commitment to a peace process. He
expressed concern with IGAD's apparent attempt to usurp the ongoing
Djibouti process with a parallel initiative. Abdisalam also voiced
his frustration with both President Yusuf and the Prime Minister,
saying they have lost all credibility and that no progress can be
made with them leading the TFG. He said the bombings in Hargeisa
and Bossaso were a signal to discourage good governance and to
change Somalia's focus to terrorist threats. Abdisalam told A/S
Frazer that time is of the essence and the longer it takes for a
shift in leadership of the TFG, the more difficult it will be to
effect real progress. End Summary.

IGAD - A Parallel Process?

2. (SBU) On October 29, Assistant Secretary for African Affairs
Jendayi Frazer met with Transitional Federal Government (TFG) Deputy
Prime Minister and Minister of Information, Sports and Youth Ahmed
Abdisalam Adan. Abdisalam, who entered government in January as one
of the new cabinet representatives from outside parliament, has
worked closely with Prime Minister Hussein on the reconciliation
process, beginning in Mogadishu. The meeting took place shortly
after the conclusion of the IGAD summit (Ref A) and Abdisalam raised
several questions about the apparent new role for IGAD in Somalia's
peace process. He expressed concern that IGAD appears to be
launching a parallel track to the Djibouti Process at a critical
juncture when Somalis are ready to support a common solution to
achieve peace.

3. (SBU) Abdisalam thanked A/S Frazer for her strong support of the
Djibouti process, even with the serious challenges to its
implementation. He believes the international community should
emphasize support for the process, rather than bolstering either the
TFG or the ARS as institutions. Abdisalam noted his concern that
the IGAD summit appeared to be an attempt to squeeze the UN
Political Office for Somalia out of the process. The DPM was
especially concerned by Article 16 of the communique stating "...the
anchor of all efforts in relation to Somalia must be IGAD."
Abdisalam said we should not allow the role of UN SRSG Ould-Abdallah
to be minimized or for IGAD to open a parallel track that will send
"mixed messages" to the political negotiations. He said most
Somalis were against the IGAD meeting that seemed to usurp the
existing Djibouti process. (Note: Abdisalam voiced similar
apprehensions in a meeting with us prior to the IGAD Summit. See
Ref B for a report of this discussion.)

TFG Fragile
with Discredited Leaders

4. (SBU) Abdisalam told A/S Frazer that with the signature of the
two agreements in Djibouti on October 26 and with the deadlines
outlined in the IGAD communique, the "tough job starts now."
Unfortunately, he did not believe the existing TFG leadership was up
to the job. Abdisalam said that communities in Merka, Beletweyn,
and others across Somalia are lashing out against targeted
assassinations and the terror that has gripped their neighborhoods,
but that neither the TFG nor the ARS has the capacity to support
them. He said bluntly, "The TFG cannot move forward with the
current leadership." After the harsh criticism leveled against
Yusuf by his regional colleagues during IGAD, Abdisalam said, "If I
was Yusuf I would have resigned to allow the process to move

5. (SBU) Abdisalam said any roadmap that is developed to implement
the peace process will not go anywhere with the current TFG
leadership. He asserted that it is a losing proposition for the ARS
to join the TFG as is. The DPM opined that Yusuf sees the peace
process as a clan issue, not a peace issue. "The President can be
given a decent exit, as can the Prime Minister and the Speaker," he
said. Abdisalam believed that the TFG's problems stemmed from the
top, but they were compounded by corrupt figures such as
Commissioner of Police Abdi Awale Qeybdid and Director of National
Security Mohamed Warsame Farah "Darwish", who use the excuse of

NAIROBI 00002579 002.2 OF 003

security to block any political progress.

Competing Agendas

6. (SBU) Abdisalam confirmed that parliament is ready to force
regime change and came to Nairobi for that sole purpose. The hot
debate at the end of the first day of the IGAD summit set the stage
for the impeachment vote the MPs had prepared by circulating a
petition in Nairobi signed by the majority of its members. While
the parliamentarians were hoping to force Yusuf out, Kenyan
President Kibaki changed the agenda, abruptly ending the IGAD summit
before they had a chance. After inviting all 275 parliamentarians
to Nairobi, there was no role for them in the summit, the DPM said.
He suggested that the resulting confusion was part of the Kenyan
attempt to take a more prominent role in Somalia.

7. (SBU) Abdisalam commented that Kenya understands the least about
the Somalia crisis and sees itself in competition with Djibouti,
which has played a central constructive role in supporting the peace
process. In response to A/S Frazer's question about the TFG's
relationship with the Government of Kenya, Abdisalam replied, "We
have no contact with them." He said the Somali-Kenyan politicians
have not been involved in the political process. He noted that even
the Chief of Police and the Deputy Speaker, two of the most
prominent ethnic Somalis in the Kenyan government, are suspicious of
the peace process.

A Critical Juncture

8. (SBU) A/S Frazer agreed that Somalis have no confidence in their
government. She encouraged Abdisalam to take the breathing space
afforded by the IGAD's preemption of an immediate regime change to
pull the TFG together and make it functional. Frazer also said that
any change in the TFG should be sooner, rather than later to take
advantage of the present momentum. A/S Frazer volunteered U.S.
assistance to the TFG through the process.

9. (SBU) Abdisalam shared our concern that the time is short for
any changes to be made. He said that if the ARS does not join them
to create a broader institution, all momentum will be lost. "The
more you extend the time, the more people will break off from the
process," he predicted. The Deputy Prime Minister asserted that on
the other hand, if ARS joins a new TFG, together they can move
forward, broaden the base, and establish a unity government, open to
all Somalis. But the TFG must do its part. Abdisalam concluded,
"You cannot organize an institution that does not want to be

10. (SBU) With another jab at the present administration, Abdisalam
said, "The leaders must realize that it is not about them, it is
about Somalia." The DPM warned that if he discovers that things
will not change this time, he does not want to be part of the
government. "It does not make sense to stay in conflict - I have
done all I can do."

Bombing Targets Peace Process

11. (SBU) Abdisalam said that the October 29 bombings in Hargeisa
and Bossaso will open the eyes of all Somalis. "You cannot leave
Mogadishu burning and think it will not affect you." He said the
attacks were well-planned and coordinated, marking a "localization
of the conflict." Abdisalam likened the bombers' tactics to those
used in Iraq and Afghanistan -- striking deep within many
communities to weaken the resolve of its residents and demonstrate a
wide reach. He said the terrorist tactics used on October 29 were
intended to destabilize the security situation and keep Ethiopia in
Somalia. As long as Ethiopia remains, Abdisalam said, Somalis
regard the crisis as a conflict with an outside power. He concluded
the meeting by telling A/S Frazer, "The solution to the threat is
good governance."


12. (SBU) Abdisalam is regarded as one of Somalia's new generation
of leaders, although he has not proved as effective within the TFG

NAIROBI 00002579 003.2 OF 003

as many hoped. In recent meetings, he has evinced a level of
confidence in the ongoing reconciliation and peace process, at times
seemingly at odds with the realities on the ground. His total lack
of confidence in Yusuf is not a surprise as Abdisalam himself is a
lightening rod for Yusuf's criticism. However, Abdisalam's similar
critique of the Prime Minister, who he said has lost all support in
an effort to please the President, is telling. There is a short
fuse for the TFG to change its leadership and strengthen its ranks
to be part of an effective unity government; it appears the DPM
doubts it can deliver. In this case, the TFG (and Somalia) may lose
the commitment of one of its brightest leaders and hope for a new
generation to usher in peace.

13. (U) Assistant Secretary Frazer has cleared this message.


© Scoop Media

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