Official I am Tres Thomas, owner of Somalia Newsroom -- AMA

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Tres.

What role do you think Somaliland will or can play in the political future of Somalia?
It doesn't seem like much is going to happen in the next few years. For me, I wonder to what extent the discovery of oil changes things one direction or another. If oil/gas is found, can Somaliland export oil independent of the Somali government, from a business/international politics point of view? I haven't done enough research on that yet, but right now there do not seem to be factors that are pushing things in any direction on the Somaliland-Somalia issue.
 

Duchess

HBIC| PuntExit Activist| PhD in Langaab Studies
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The Somali government has marginalized the Sufis in Central Somalia, banned Christmas and cut ties with Iran because they were 'spreading Shia Islam in Somalia'. Do you think religious minorities will play any significant role in the future Somalia?
 
How have you been able to grasp the clan system as a foreigner?
Hmmm. That is a good question. I probably know it better than the average Somalia observer, but once you think you "know" things, that is when you start making absurd analysis. So I always stay very humble and open-minded when thinking about clan-related issues. The biggest mistake I see is that people assume clans are homogenous entities. I find that there is often some kind of valid alternative explanation to a lot of issues that sometimes people just say is "a clan thing."
 
Im assuming your Somali isnt fluent (correct me if Im wrong), so what news sources do you rely on, or receive information about Somali politics in general?
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It's definitely not fluent, but I *TRY* to learn new vocabulary every day. I have lots of lists where I write down words to memorize. I can read well, but unfortunately I don't speak Somali very well. My favorite sites are Dhacdo, Jowhar, Saadaal, Puntlandi, Baido Media Centre, Jubaland TV, Horn Cable News, Universal TV, Wacaal, Radio Dalson, Goobjoob, VOA, to name a few.
 

John Michael

Free my girl Jodi!
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Btw thank you Tres I really appreciate your work. :nvjpqts:

I very much agree with you on the issue of clan, even somalis find it frustrating and complex. Hopefully we can one day we can move on from these stories.
 
As a foreigner, what do you think of somalis and clan worshiping
Since I'm not part of one, I don't really have a sense of what it likes to be in one. But I will say, every country has social groups that have used identity for social good, but also used it to instigate conflict. Somalia is no different.
 
Btw thank you Tres I really appreciate your work. :nvjpqts:

I very much agree with you on the issue of clan, even somalis find it frustrating and complex. Hopefully we can one day we can move on from these stories.
Thanks, to be honest, i *try* to avoid the issue of *specific* clans on my blog because I think some non-Somali analysts misuse info about it in their analysis. I try to only use it when it is VERY obvious that it is a fundamental factor in the issue that I am writing about.
 
Hi there. I think it can work in the long run, but lack of agreement on how the process should be implemented right now, an ambiguous provisional constitution, and a short time frame for many of the processes involved have challenged made it challenging.

It would probably work better if the political processes were not squeezed into such small time frames and if there was some way to build better trust between regional leaders, Hassan Sheikh, the PM, and Jawaari.
Have you read the survey done by the heritage foundation on the different interpretations and views on it.? If so what is your opinion on the survey testing the general civilian populous views and knowledge of Federalism.

They made it really clear that federalism is deeply misunderstood especially by those who vigorously support it.

And Secondly another thing what's your take on people who argue that federalism is not fit for Somalia and will not work in the long run? Their arguments is that federalism equals balkanization of Somalia supported by Somalias Neighboring countries Kenya & Ethiopia to keep it divided and destabilized. The other argument is that Somalia is too homogenous and the small size of Somalia means its geography does not necessitate federation. Moreover, the country is poor and cannot afford to run multiple levels of administration.

Many largely view it as elitedriven and externally facilitated scheme that-promotes clan identity at the expense of citizenship.

Taking all of this into consideration, don't you think Somalia should look towards different options, maybe for example a decentralized unitary option ,as opposed to a clan federation? Especially in the long run?
 
Hello and welcome Tres

As a Non-Somali what made you want to report specifically about Somalia?
I think I answered this in another post, but Somalia has the most fascinating politics in Africa, I think. I like languages, and Somali has been fun to try and learn. Also, there's hardly a boring day in Somalia. So many interesting political statements, exciting construction, and THE MUSIC. I love playing guitar/piano and Somali music has the most genius and complicated rhythms in any form of music. What's not to like?
 
I think I answered this in another post, but Somalia has the most fascinating politics in Africa, I think. I like languages, and Somali has been fun to try and learn. Also, there's hardly a boring day in Somalia. So many interesting political statements, exciting construction, and THE MUSIC. I love playing guitar/piano and Somali music has the most genius and complicated rhythms in any form of music. What's not to like?
Full disclosure, I would love to live on a beach on the coast, if anybody is offering :)
 
Have you read the survey done by the heritage foundation on the different interpretations and views on it.? If so what is your opinion on the survey testing the general civilian populous views and knowledge of Federalism.

They made it really clear that federalism is deeply misunderstood especially by those who vigorously support it.

And Secondly another thing what's your take on people who argue that federalism is not fit for Somalia and will not work in the long run? Their arguments is that federalism equals balkanization of Somalia supported by Somalias Neighboring countries Kenya & Ethiopia to keep it divided and destabilized. The other argument is that Somalia is too homogenous and the small size of Somalia means its geography does not necessitate federation. Moreover, the country is poor and cannot afford to run multiple levels of administration.

Many largely view it as elitedriven and externally facilitated scheme that-promotes clan identity at the expense of citizenship.

Taking all of this into consideration, don't you think Somalia should look towards different options, maybe a decentralized unitary option ,as opposed to a clan federation? Especially in the long run?
I think the Heritage survey was right that federalism is misunderstood. I also agree that it is currently, elite-driven, influenced by foreign countries, and could lead to regional admins that are too clan-oriented in nature. But one of the good things in federalism being so flexible right now is that Somalis can change it IF the process moves away from simply being driven by the Pres, regional leaders, the PM et al.

Basically, the process needs to involve more stakeholders so that Somalis can define federalism for themselves. There is too much personal interests by Somali political leaders that is crowding out discussion among Somalis.

I think the most important things that federalism has to address are security and service delivery. If federalism is not delivering on that, all the meetings in Kismayo about elections and so forth don't mean anything. So the question needs to be asked: Are all of the regional presidents and the President achieving their goal on security and service delivery for ALL of its constituents? Why is that not happening? I think it's because there is too much personal politics playing out between the whole lot. There is no transcendental political leader at the moment in Mogadishu or anywhere else that can improve the political climate unfortunately.
 
Well you seemed to answer @waraabe 's "general question" but I'll be specific for your sake.

So I'll ask again, what do you think of the developments and politics that's currently happening in Puntland?
It seems like Gaas is having to balance multiple priorities in terms of addressing Shabaab/ISIS, Khaatumo, Somaliland, how to pay security forces on time, and politics at the national level. Also, the whole momentum behind establishing one person, one vote in Puntland seems to have fallen off the radar -- 2013 was exciting until the ballot burning issue. I have been meaning to research if new PL political parties are active in the way they were back in 2013. It does not seem like they are, but I could be wrong. With all those challenges, it's great to see things like Bosaso's airport being renovated and Yemeni refugees getting housing, hopefully other positive news can follow. I really wish Gaas and Hassan Sheikh could improve their relationship as well. The dynamics between them are extremely influential in terms of how federalism can work.
 
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