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IdentifierCreatedClassificationOrigin
90MOGADISHU1773 1990-02-21 09:44:00 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Mogadishu
Cable title:  

SOMALIS UNDULY GLOOMY OVER NEW CABINET

Tags:   PGOV PREL PINS PINR SO 
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P 210944Z FEB 90
FM AMEMBASSY MOGADISHU
TO SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 6980
INFO AMEMBASSY ADDIS ABABA PRIORITY
AMEMBASSY BONN PRIORITY
AMEMBASSY DJIBOUTI PRIORITY
AMEMBASSY LONDON PRIORITY
AMEMBASSY NAIROBI PRIORITY
AMEMBASSY PARIS PRIORITY
AMEMBASSY RIYADH PRIORITY
AMEMBASSY ROME PRIORITY
USMISSION GENEVA PRIORITY
USCINCCENT MACDILL AFB FL//POLAD//CCJ2/CCJ4/7-S/CCJ5//
					  C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 MOGADISHU 01773 

DEPT FOR INR/B

E.O. 12356: DECL: OADR
TAGS: PGOV PREL PINS PINR SO
SUBJECT: SOMALIS UNDULY GLOOMY OVER NEW CABINET

REF: MOGADISHU 1691



1. CONFIDENTIAL - ENTIRE TEXT.

-


2. SUMMARY: SEVERAL SOMALI FRIENDS CONFIDED DISAPPOINT-
MENT TO US OVER THE WEEKEND ABOUT THE MAKEUP OF
PRESIDENT SIAD'S NEW GOVERNMENT. THEY GENERALLY
CONSIDERED THE LINEUP POLITICALLY WEAK (THOUGH
TECHNICALLY STRONGER) AND OF LITTLE VALUE TO THE POLITICAL
REFORM PROCESS. I'VE TOLD THEM THEY ARE TOO PESSIMISTIC,
THAT I PERCEIVE A POLITICAL COMPROMISE NEUTRALIZING SOME
IMPORTANT OPPONENTS OF REFORM AND LEAVING PRESIDENT SIAD
FREE TO MOVE AHEAD -- IF HE WILL ONLY DO SO. END
SUMMARY.

-
POLITICALLY WEAK CABINET


--------------------------





3. ABDULKADIR ADAN ABDULLAH, SON OF SOMALIA'S FIRST
PRESIDENT AND SOMETIME POLITICAL PRISONER, SHOWED UP
EARLY FOR OUR FAREWELL FUNCTION FOR DEPARTING ITALIAN
AMBASSADOR FEBRUARY 17. BEFORE OTHER GUESTS ARRIVED,
ABDULKADIR COMMENTED THAT THE NEW LIST OF APPOINTMENTS
LEFT PRESIDENT SIAD IN UNCHALLENGED CONTROL OF THE
GOVERNMENT. PRACTICALLY NONE OF THE NEW MINISTERS COULD
CLAIM TO REPRESENT ANY POLITICAL OR TRIBAL FACTION,
ABDULKADIR REMARKED. ALL OF THEM WOULD BE VIEWED AS BEING
ENTIRELY IN SIAD'S POCKET.

-


4. PARTICULARLY TROUBLESOME TO ABDULKADIR WAS THE
CHANGED SITUATION IN THE MILITARY AND AT THE DEFENSE
MINISTRY, AS A RESULT OF GENERAL MORGAN'S SHIFT TO THE
PUBLIC WORKS MINISTRY. THIS, SAID ABDULKADIR, LEFT THE
PRESIDENT'S SON GENERAL MASLAH IN UNCHALLENGED CONTROL
OF THE ENTIRE MILITARY ESTABLISHMENT (SINCE DEFMIN
"MATAN" , A CIVILIAN, IS CONSIDERED INCONSEQUENTIAL).
ABDULKADIR COMMENTED THAT MORGAN'S PRESENCE IN THE DEFENSE
MINISTRY HAD REPRESENTED SOME CONSTRAINT ON MASLAH, AND
HE CLAIMED THAT TENSION HAD BEEN GROWING BETWEEN THE TWO.
BUT MORGAN HAD, IN EFFECT, BEEN BOUGHT OFF BY BEING
GIVEN THE LUCRATIVE PUBLIC WORKS PORTFOLIO IN EXCHANGE
FOR SURRENDERING HIS MILITARY ROLE.

-
LITTLE IMPULSE TO REFORM


--------------------------





5. ABDURRAHMAN OSMAN "SHUKEH" ALSO ARRIVED AT OUR
LUNCHEON IN A MOOD IF DISAPPOINTMENT OVER THE CABINET
ANNOUNCEMENT. SHUKEH (WHO HAD HIMSELF DECLINED AN
APPOINTMENT) WARNED THAT THIS CABINET WAS LIKELY TO DO
LITTLE TO LEAD THE COUNTRY THROUGH CONSTITUTIONAL REVISIONS
AND INTO MULTIPARTY ELECTIONS THIS YEAR. HE SAID THE
PRESIDENT HAD MISSED AN OPPORTUNITY TO GARNER SUPPORT FOR
THE REFORM PROCESS WHICH HE COULD HAVE WON BY NAMING
FIGURES TO THE NEW CABINET WHO COULD SPEAK FOR PARTICULAR
INTEREST GROUPS IN THE COUNTRY. INSTEAD, HE CHOSE TO
NAME TECHNOCRATS AND PERSONS HE COULD EASILY MANIPULATE
HIMSELF. SHUKEH, WHO IS A FORMER MINISTER OF EDUCATION
AND NOW SECRETARY OF THE PEOPLE'S ASSEMBLY, WAS NOT
HOPEFUL THAT SIAD WOULD WIN MUCH CREDIBILITY AMONG
SOMALIS WITH HIS NEW APPOINTMENTS NOR ACHIEVE THE POLITICAL
CONSENSUS NEEDED FOR FUNDAMENTAL REFORMS.

-
A COMPROMISE BETWEEN RIVAL FAMILY GROUPS


--------------------------





6. EARLIER IN THE DAY, NURTA HAJI HASSAN, A LAWYER AND
DEPUTY STATE COUNSEL AT THE PRESIDENCY, DROPPED BY THE
RESIDENCE TO CHAT WITH MY WIFE. SHE WATCHED MUCH OF THE
SELECTION PROCESS FROM THE INSIDE OF VILLA SOMALIA OVER
THE PAST 40 DAYS AND DESCRIBED THE OUTCOME AS A PAINFUL
COMPROMISE BETWEEN OLD GUARD SUPPORTERS OF PRIME MINISTER
SAMANTAR (INCLUDING THE PRESIDENT'S WIFE KHADIJA) AND
MAREHAN-FIRST ELEMENTS OF THE FAMILY CONNECTED WITH FORMER
FOREIGN MINISTER JAMA BARRE. THE COMPROMISE CONSISTED
ESSENTIALLY OF EXCLUDING OLD GUARD MEMBERS SULEIMAN
ABDALLAH (EX-INTERIOR MINISTER), KULMIE AFRAH (EX-PUBLIC
WORKS), AND MOHAMED SHEIKH OSMAN (EX-FINMIN) ON ONE SIDE;
AND EXCLUDING JAMA BARRE HIMSELF ON THE OTHER SIDE, WHILE
ADDING HIS PAL ABDULKADIR HAJI MQHAMED AS INTERIOR
MINISTER.

-


7. NURTA WAS NOT ENTIRELY NEGATIVE ABOUT THE RESULTS,
AS SHE SAID IT MADE WAY FOR A NUMBER OF TECHNOCRATS AND
CAPABLE YOUNGER MEN TO BE GIVEN PORTFOLIOS. SOME OF THESE
HAD PROVEN TO BE COMPETENT BUREAUCRATS AT THE DIRGEN OR
EVEN VICE MINISTER LEVEL; OTHERS BROUGHT EXCELLENT
CREDENTIALS FROM FOREIGN TRAINING TO THEIR JOBS.
NEVERTHELESS, NURTA CONCEDED THAT THE CABINET WAS
POLITICALLY A VERY WEAK ONE THAT COULD NOT BE EXPECTED TO
SOLVE ANY OF THE COUNTRY'S DEEPER PROBLEMS.

-
BETTER ON THE INSIDE THAN THE OUTSIDE


--------------------------





8. THE WIFE OF ISAAK POLITBURO MEMBER AHMED MOHAMOUD
FARAH TOLD MRS. CRIGLER THAT HER HUSBAND IS NOT EXACTLY
PROUD TO BE APPOINTED TO WHAT EVERYONE KNOWS WILL BE A
PURELY CEREMONIAL POST AS DEPUTY PRIME MINISTER. SHE
SAID ISAAKS ARE NOT FOOLED BY HAVING ONE OF THEIR NUMBER
ASSIGNED THE NUMBER TWO CABINET SLOT, BUT THEY CONSIDER
IT USEFUL TO HAVE SOMEONE ON THE INSIDE KEEPING TRACK OF
THINGS AND EXERCISING AT LEAST SOME MODERATING INFLUENCE
ON THE PRESIDENT.

-
MAYBE OUR FRIENDS ARE TOO PESSIMISTIC


--------------------------





9. SOMALIS LOVE TO LOOK ON THE DARK SIDE OF THINGS, AND
THEY ESPECIALLY ENJOY READING NEGATIVE SIGNALS INTO
WHATEVER THE PRESIDENT ATTEMPTS TO DO THESE DAYS. I'VE
TRIED TO SUGGEST THAT THERE IS A BRIGHTER SIDE TO THE
NEW CABINET LIST: SPECIFICALLY, THAT IT INDEED DOES
REPRESENT A COMPROMISE -- PERHAPS A VERY SIGNIFICANT ONE --
BETWEEN THE TWO MOST POWERFUL COMPETING GROUPS AT VILLA
SOMALIA. PERHAPS IN THE PROCESS THEY HAVE NEUTRALIZED
EACH OTHER, LEAVING THE WAY OPEN FOR PRESIDENT SIAD
HIMSELF TO SEIZE THE INITIATIVE AND REGAIN SOME MEASURE
OF PERSONAL LEADERSHIP. IF HE IS TRULY SERIOUS ABOUT
REFORMS AND RECONCILIATION, THIS MAY BE OPPORTUNITY TO MOVE
FORWARD DRAMATICALLY.

-


10. THE REAL QUESTIONS REMAIN UNANSWERED: IS SIAD PREPARED
TO SEIZE THE INITIATIVE AND BEGIN CAMPAIGNING SERIOUSLY FOR
THE POLITICAL REFORMS THE COUNTRY NEEDS AND HE HAS
PROMISED TO ACCEPT? AND IF SO, IS HE PHYSICALLY AND
MENTALLY CAPABLE OF EXERCISING THE KIND OF LEADERSHIP
NEEDED TO ACHIEVE SUCH BASIC REFORMS? UP TO NOW, HE HAS
HAD TO BE DRAGGED KICKING AND SCREAMING BY OTHERS INTO
THE REFORM PROCESS. NOW THE WAY SEEMS OPEN, IF HE WILL
TAKE ADVANTAGE, TO MOVE ON TO THE OFFENSIVE AND TAKE CHARGE
OF THE REFORM PROCESS IN A POSITIVE SPIRIT. UNLESS HE
DOES SO, THERE WILL BE NO REFORMS -- AND SIAD HAS GOT TO
RECOGNIZE THIS. MY HOPE IS THAT OUR INTERLOCUTORS WILL
FIND A WAY TO GET THIS MESSAGE BACK TO THE PRESIDENT AND
PERSUADE HIM TO TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THIS NEW OPPORTUNITY TO
SALVAGE HIS FAMILY AND TRIBAL INTERESTS, HIS REPUTATION,
AND HIS OWN SKIN.

CRIGLER