There are times when people lose touch with reality and thus analyse, assess and interpret matters not as they are in real truth, but as they are imagined. Such times come up when people lose their sense of direction.
Directionless and disorientation occur
when people are confused about what
the time requires, where they stand at present, where they born to or even who really they are.
understand why something is the way it
is, or why it is what it is.The present time is one of those moments
in the history of Somalis in which most of Somalis try to defend their rights or interests
in denial of others’ rights or interests.
Surprisingly, contemporary Somalis are not culturally emulative, not having yet formed
a style of learning behavior, but are imitative, assembling their decisions, thoughts, and behaviors that make them who they are from political demagogues whom they are most frequently exposed.
In view of above, these days Somalis make their decisions and actions out of deception and delusion. They try to attain deceptively and dilusionally what they couldn’t achieve it intellectually and intimately for they don’t know that deceiving each other and deluding themselves share similar outcomes. Both
cause the perception of reality to collapse.
A wrong judgment about what to do in, how to defend or resolve Lasanod issue that has been simmering for many years can simply explain how S/land deluded itself and lost control of Lasanod city when Muse Bihi administration allowed anti-S/land armed militias to enter in Lasanod city, assuming that Lasanod’s long standing political problems would be solved peacefully by an immediate pullout of security forces from Lasanod city. Wow! Wasn’t it ‘shoot-yourself-in-the-foot mentality?’
Similarly an attitude to disregard reason and reality in favor of envy and emotions can also explain how SSC-khatumo militias deceived themselves to believe that Lasanod could only be liberated from S/land govermmrnt by use of force.
How did the current war in Lasanod begin?
The cause of the current armed conflict in Lasanod actually began on December 26 when a local politician, Abdifatah Abdullahi Abdi, was assassinated by unknown attackers, resulting anti-government protests across the city, followed by voilent crackdown on civilian protesters by S/land security forces.
Somaliland troops have since been stationed outside the city, a move that actually left the space for the city to remain under the control of a committee of 33 elders and intellectuals of the Dhulbahante clan, with a defensive force that consists of local armed militias and others from neighbouring Darood clans.
Not reponding to or reacting after the consequences of the violent crackdown on civilian protesters by S/land police forces on February 6, 2023, but acting from their long standing tradition to conspire against S/land existence as a separate state, Dhulbahante elders and elites made a communique requiring S/land government to withdraw its troops to Oog, claiming that Oog is the borderline
between Dhulbahante clan and Isaaq tribes.
On February 8, Dhulbahant’s highest Garad,
Garad Jama Garad Cali, a fugitive for many years, along with all local elders and intellectuals stated their intention to cut ties with S/land government and reunite with Southern Somalia, assuming that shock and awe is the only response that can succeed.
The real war erupted just hours before that statement was to be released, when militias from Dhulbahante clan and forces from Putland region attacked S/land troops in Goojacadde.
Is war really what anyone, any group, or
any country can easily start?
The fog of war always starts when either
one of the adversaries knows or both of them know nothing about the woes of war. The self-styled SSC-khatumo Militias have learned nothing from the civil war in the year 1988.
their homes destroyed.History teaches us that humans go to war when the consequences of war seem to outweigh the conditions and causes of concessionary options, or they go to war when there is no
other mutually agreeable solution to avoid war.
Evidently, it is easier to start a war than to stop it; it is easier to wage a war against a country than it is to win. But once warmongers have falled further and further into a quagmire of exhaustion, means of how to take a moment to catch breath and get out of the quagmire will bleed them dry.
War is not what anyone, any group or any country can rush into, no matter how they are powerful. War only happens when all else fails, when dialogues fail, when discussions fail and even persuation won’t work. Common sense understands this.
In fact, Dhulbahante elders and intellectuals have instigated the war in Lasanod and encouraged their people to fight not because they love what is behind the war, but because they hate who are in front of them (the Isaaqis).
Culturally the responsibility of Somali elders was and still is to promote peace, develop confidence-building measures among societies, observe good faith toward all people, cultivate fraternity and harmony within societies and appeal for cessation of hostility, not because the people they represent are too weak to fight, but because war is a catastrophe in essence.
What is the war in Lasanod all about?
The war in Lasanod is not a war between freedom fighters and occupation forces.
Nor it is a battle between emancipation movement and exploitation system. Nor it is between a system that wants to assimilate community and others that resist to be assimilated. The war in Lasanod city is
As they say, haters inspire vice instead of virtue, stir up strife instead of calling for stability, ignite sparks of venegence instead of faith and forgiveness, and instill the love of learning envy and enmity instead of nurturing harmony and hope. Haters always want to ignite in others what must first burnt inside themselves.
The war in Lasanod city is all about anti-Somalilanderism, a prejudice, fear, and hatred
of S/land natives, particularly Isaaqis, their government, their determination to stand independently as a nation, and rule themselves through the laws and governmental apparatus of their own style, an entitlement of having the right to secede from the failed state that was formerly known “the republic of Somalia.”
More importantly, what makes Lasanod war more crucial is SSC-Khatumo’s position to part Lasanod city from S/land sovereign territory; a motive that is meant to divide S/land State Sovereignty into two or more authorities within the single state, of which the only aim behind this is to destroy and dissolve S/land state, with its constituent parts becoming new sovereign states that would further dissolve into lesser parts.
The point of contention is that Dulbahante demands that Somali forces should vacate Dhulbahante land, which many locals in Lasanod consider as “occupied” by Somaliland. But in reaction to that, S/land government rejects that request, and reaffirms that there is no way that that demand or desire can be compromised
away because there will be no room for another administration in S/land territory other than the already established one.
The current situation in Lasanod.
The tension is high and things are very
much up in the air as each side is now on its highest alert against the other side’s sudden attack. Only the position each side will take
in dealing with the other side or the current situation can determine when to pull the
The current locations of the warring sides.
S/land troops are entrenched in the areas
such as Goojacadde, Maraaga and locations alongside the main road that connects S/land and Somalia, which is the only passage that is open to logistics supplies for S/land troops.
On the other hand, Dhulbahante militias and other Darood militias are holed up in the city, making their hideout in the homes of the vacated city, with trials to keep their moves
from house to house undiscovered.
Because both sides are talking past each other, the current situation bears a high risk of further escalation into an all-out war. Each side is still continuing to ammass heavy weapons. Media outlets reported that S/land government has reinforced its troops in Sool region, stationing considerable parts of its army including heavy armoury and tanks in Lasanod.
While it is hard to state the exact number of soldiers deployed at strategic locations in and around Goojacadde, it is safe to imagine that soldiers number several thousands. More tanks and technicals (pick-up trucks mounted with heavy machine guns) have been brought to Goojacadde over the past weeks.
On the other side, Dhulbahante armed militias are attempting to increase their defensive power. As the fighting continued over the last months and Dhulbahante lost many men, neighbouring clans such as Warsangeli, Sawaaq-roon, bunches of Liyu police from Somali Ethiopian and Putland’s regular army
are still pouring into Lasanod to assist local fighters.
While it is hard to know how many and what
type of weapons exactly are in the hands of clan militias, it is reported that through areas south of Lasanod, not controlled by Somaliland, the Darood militias have brought a considerable number of mortars, howitzers and armoured vehicles into the town.
The side that has the upper hand in the war.
The warring sides cannot control the pain that comes with the fighting but they can control their response and show more courage and strength in the face of fighting. In any armed conflict, military tactics that apparently maximize the art of organizing and employing fighting forces on the battlefield is one way of imagining the side that may have the upper hand.
Only by tracking progress can we know
which side’s strategy is working well. Of course, identifying the momentum of the battle is fairly a straightforward approach, as movements of the frontlines, and logistical sustainability of forces in the field provide obvious standards by which
to measure trends of where does each side stand in the fields of fighting.
Predicting ultimate outcomes of the war in Lasamod is still very difficult, but the side that is “ahead” at the current situations is feasible. And only by examining a range of indicators can we determine how to know the fighting strategy that requires improvement.
Joint command on the battlefield is crucial
in the fields of action. There is no unified command for Dhulbahante insurgents and their Darood alliances. They are running parallel to one another. Besides this, they are ill-trained
and disorganized and undisciplined. The commitment to take commands is the essence of war.
The tactics of victory for Dhulbahante insurgents and their allies fighting S/land government are not to defeat their better equipped foe on the battlefield. They just intend to unequivocally demonstrate their capacity to fight a war of attrition indefinitely and then wait for political support for the mission to collapse on their enemies’ home fronts.
To counter this strategy, S/land government took timely diplomatic and military maneauvers.
Militarily S/land troops usually take two types of attacks on the militias, hasty and deliberate.
First, S/land troops take hasty operations when the allied militias are in a vulnerable positions and could be defeated quickly with available resources.
Second, S/land troops execute deliberate attacks when sufficient knowledge of the positions of the allied tribal militias are available to enable the attacking units to ascertain how the militia forces are arrayed on the ground and what they say about their general intent, timings, and capabilities.
The big reveal at the end of the these types
of attacks answered the questions of who are, in addition to local Dhulbahante armed militias, the other forces that are actually involved in Lasanod war.
At the end of those operations, reports showed that the forces that are fighting in Lasanod include: Alshabab terrorists, who want to open a new frontline in the region, Liyu police forces from Somali Ethiopian region and Putland’s regular army of whom many were captured in the battle fields.
What picture did the war in Lasanod give?
The war in Lasanod conjured up a strong sense of despair, disappointment, and displacement.
The war in Lasanod has shown the importance of facing reality as it is. There is no hope for Lasanod to become an autonomous state of Somalia. There is no hope for Lasanod to be even part of Putland.
When two things correlate with one another it means that the changes in one will cause similar changes in the other.
This means that if the boundary between
S/land and Putland is touched, leave alone changed, the boundaries between S/land and Ethiopia will also be touched and changed as well. The effect of Africa’s current boundaries being touched will surely raise new waves of unresolvable miseries in the African continent. This confirms that Lasanod is part and parcel of S/land territory. He who argues otherwise is an ignorant who tries to spoil the wonders.
Since February, there have been many big miscalculations. The first was SSC’s confidence about quickly prevailing on the ground against the S/land troops. That is, SSC-khatumo’s confidence that in a matter of weeks they would expell S/land troops from Sool region by force has virtually turned out to be impossible.
The second miscalculation that SSC-khatumo leadership has made was to believe that the Western world would compel S/land to pull its forces out of Lasanod through unprecedented political pressure. And that assumption has not and will never happen.
Surely, in addition to many people being displaced, Lasanod has had many shell shocked and traumatized people, because very few would endure the effects of long-term physical and psychological harm to people, young and old alike, and reduction in material and human capital
Is there a possibility for a negotiating strategy?
Despite many appeals from neighboring countries and Western world to both sides,
S/land and SSC dissidents, to stop hostility and come to negotiating table, unfortunately, we are not closer to the war’s end, than we were at the beginning. The problem is that SSC leadership has still more sincere interest for war than it has for peace.
Negotiations are a dicussion aiming at reaching an agreement. Negotiations can deliver more of what cannot be achieved militarily. The sensible realizes that in this particular issue what cannot be achieved by dialogue cannot be attained by force.
If the two sides come to the negotiating table, negotiations will raise strategic questions such as: Is any settlement short of Lasanod liberation from S/land forces acceptable to SSC so long as Garad Jaamac Garaad Cali and his likes remainin in power? If not, what will be S/land’s position in the end game? Is S/land prepared for the consequences of SSC’s control in Laascaanood?
So far neither side is prepared to see Lasanod go out of their control, more likely leaving Lasanod as a war zone where might is the only factor that can determine which side to win the war, with dire consequences for the local population.
That again brings up another question regarding the fate of Lasanod. If SSC resistance movement will continue in Lasanod, how S/land will suppress it?
Two options are only open for S/land. The mujahids should choose one option only. Either pull the troops out of Lasanod or punish the insurgents. It is do-or-die situation and anything other than choosing one of the two options is a waste of time.
The delusion around Lasanod war.
It is sad when people cann’t tell what is real
from what is imagined. For those who think that Dhulbahante are fighting for what SNM fought for in 1980s are beating the bush. Why?
The war in Lasanod is different from the
war that SNM waged against Siyad Barre’s regime. The points that SNM and Siyad
Barre bickered were totally different in principle from the views S/land and Dhulbahante differ now. Siyad Barre did’t realize that Isaaqis have the right to have a say in how they are ruled. To him, Isaaqis were worse than enemies. That is why Siyad Barre and his regime had left no stone unturned in order to wipe Isaaqis out of Somalia.
In contrast, S/land realizes that all S/land citizens have equal rights and that there are
S/land country. Dhulbahante people are
S/land citizens and they deserve what all
the incumbent S/land leadership is dull and deserves punishment.What does the current situation in Lasanod tell us about how the war might end?The short answer: While each armed conflict tends to defy history, a clear-cut defeat of either side in this war is unlikely. A more likely scenario is protracted fighting that will finally leave SSC malitias exhausted but unwilling to admit defeat, due to ‘mind forged manacles’.
In conclusion, experience teaches us that emotions, especially in times of war, have a tragically long shelf-life. As the war in Lasanod sometimes became more brutal and each side suffered many casualities, all sides should remember and realize that whatever has happened and may happen, in the end, the legacy of relationship, restraint and resilience will prevail without hatred and that the compulsion to rule and govern is an addiction
at best, and an incurable disease at worst.