In Somalia, soldiers supporting Prime Minister Mohammed Hussein Roble have surrounded the presidential palace since Monday. A show of force following a further suspension of Roble by President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed, nicknamed Farmaajo. Explanations.
The political crisis in Somalia has continued to worsen since the end of President Mohamed Farmaajo's term in February. After several postponements of the legislative and presidential elections, and the - contested - extension of his mandate which provoked violence in the capital Mogadishu, the Somali president had finally restored his Prime Minister Mohammed Hussein Roble, his confidence in early April.
The head of government was notably responsible for preparing for the elections. But while Roble began to show, in turn, ambitions to take over from Farmaajo, the latter suspended him on September 16. This once again caused bloody clashes in the capital, before Roble was reinstated. Last Sunday, however, Villa Somalia decided to suspend the Prime Minister again. A real soap opera.
The duty and powers of the PM Mohamed H Roble, who is being investigated over allegations of corruption and abuse of public land, remains suspended pending the outcome of the ongoing investigations. https://t.co/CjGZtpnH8N
- Villa Somalia (@TheVillaSomalia) December 27, 2021
While we thought the international community, omnipresent in the country, united in the Somali issue, the political crisis quickly evolved into a diplomatic crisis. On the one hand, the European Union does not hide its support for Prime Minister Roble. On the other hand, the United States and the Arab Gulf countries seemed to support their lifelong ally, the president. Until Monday.
Indeed, in a startling statement, the US Embassy in Somalia, closely followed by the US State Department, openly condemned the President's actions. The American Embassy also demands that "all parties refrain from provocative actions and statements."
The US is prepared to act against those who obstruct Somalia's path to peace. The attempted suspension of @MohamedHRoble is alarming & we support his efforts for rapid & credible elections. All parties must desist from escalatory actions & statements. https://t.co/gQwkRhGvY8
- Bureau of African Affairs (@AsstSecStateAF) December 27, 2021
Strangely, despite the deadlock that has now lasted for three days around Villa Somalia, no bullet has been fired. And it seems that the loss of American support caught Mohamed Abdullahi Farmaajo by surprise. But this is not the only support the Somali president lost earlier this week.
Fahad Yasin abandons Farmaajo
Since Hussein Roble's first suspension, an intriguing figure has been accused by the Somali opposition of influencing President Farmaajo. Former director of intelligence services (NISA), and current Farmaajo national security adviser, Fahad Yasin.
The decision to suspend Roble in September was blamed on certain initiatives by the prime minister, such as the dismissal of Fahad Yasin. The latter is often referred to as "the vice-president". He is also close to the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia, Mohammed bin Salman, and was, in the 1990s, a fighter in the terrorist group Al-Ittihad al-Islami - a subsidiary of Al Qaeda -, including his stepfather was a founding member.
During the events of September, it was the travel ban on Fahad Yasin, by neighboring Djibouti, which had poisoned the relationship between Roble and Farmaajo. Finally, Djibouti let go of the ballast, and the two men finally decided to bury the story that had positioned Yasin in Roble's sights: the death of an intelligence agent, Ikran Tahilil, allegedly tortured and murdered by relatives of the president, including Fahad Yasin.
The same Fahad Yasin, for whom Farmaajo had risked a political and diplomatic crisis, left Somalia. According to Somali media, Fahad Yasin would have taken a flight to Qatar, as soon as the United States made public its abandonment of the Somali president.
- GAROWE ONLINE (@GaroweOnline) December 28, 2021
What future for the Somali president?
In full stalemate, therefore, the situation in Mogadishu is subject to talks led by Deputy Prime Minister Mahdi Mohamed Guled. It is clear, however, that Farmaajo has lost its last diplomatic support. Only still in the running, the head of the African division of the American army, AFRICOM, General Stephen Townsend.
On his last three trips to Africa, Townsend has met Farmaajo on three occasions. The two are very close, and the American general is not really known for his obedience to the American state. In this case, he had unilaterally taken the decision to resume the bombings in Somalia, despite their ban by the UN and the US Congress. Townsend also appeared, last August, alongside the Danab Brigade., the cream of the special forces of the Somali army, in the west of the country invaded by Shebab terrorists.
Concretely, the American general is very influential in Somalia. He would also have intervened, in September, for the release of Fahad Yasin, traveling personally to Djibouti. But with Yasin who has visibly abandoned Farmaajo, just like American diplomacy, what future is envisaged for the Somali president?
As a reminder, the United States are already deciding the conduct of the Somali elections., having the only international observers accredited by the electoral authorities. Are the Americans pushing Farmaajo out the door? And will they accept Hussein Roble, who does not have the Arab support of Farmaajo, as head of state of the country?