A Tale of Two Anti-Somalia Conflict Entrepreneurs

By Mulugeta Adematu

It is the predicament of Africa that some Western expatriates can summon the courage to claim expertise on problems in war-torn countries.  Those pseudo-experts peddle policies devised by countries that seek to exploit the chaotic situation. Long-time presence in African countries and a record of ethnicity-based writings about the country entitle them to be awarded contracts by development agencies such UK Aid and USAID.

Those pseudo-experts (aka conflict entrepreneurs) pontificate on African politics. Two leading members of this cohort are Matt Bryden and Rashid Abdi of the Sahan, a so-called think-tank devoid of ethics of research.  When the President of Somalia and his Prime have fallen out Rashid Abdi tweeted a curse that reflects how he wishes Mogadishu to be engulfed by war. “All roads leading to Villa Somalia (Somali Presidency) reportedly cut off by soldiers loyal to PM Roble” tweeted Rashid in his typical warmongering tone.  Roble has never cut off “all roads leading to Villa Somalia.” Rashid lied.

Matt Bryden, whom Banadir Court sentenced to  five years in prison for stealing state secrets,  egged  the “West” in a shameless tweet to interfere in the politics of Somalia: “Why are Western powers protecting a spoiler named Farmaajo? He is no longer president and has no constitutional mandate.  Somalia’s political, military, FMS and opposition are united behind Roble’s electoral leadership. Farmaajo’s options are exile or to face justice.”

Before Sahan Rashid Abdi (left) and Matt Bryden worked together at the doyen of conflict entrepreneurship, the International Crisis Group.

Matt and Rashid have in common the wish to see Mogadishu turning into clan fiefdoms.  At the infamous International Crisis Group, Matt and Rashid disseminated divisive and colonially inspired narratives about the Somali social groups. What possessed Rashid Abdi to wish Somalia harm and continued turmoil?  Matt practised the art of dissemination disinformation at the war-torn societies projects in 1990s Somalia, where his reports promoted the narrative that Somalis are lawless people deserving of a new bout of colonialism.

A roll-call of useful idiots serves to retweet Matt Bryden’s disinformation-filled tweets. Why did a Canadian conflict entrepreneur ask for the West to undermine the sovereignty of Somalia? Matt thinks President Farmaajo is like Manuel Antonio Noriega, the former military leader of Panama.

It was odd to see the Statement Department, the US Africa Command and US Embassy in Mogadishu sending conflicting messages on the political rift between the Somalia President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed and his Prime Minister Mohamed Hussein Roble.

It is in the playbook of moribund imperialism to accentuate ethnicity in African countries.  Aimé Césaire shed light on the problem of Western imperialism.   “A civilization that uses its principles for trickery and deceit is a dying civilization” wrote Césaire in his Discourse on Colonialism. Western imperialists are like a fool who roughed you up many years ago but whose children still think they can do the same to you now. Africa should not be turning a blind eye to Western conflict entrepreneurs such as Matt Bryden and Rashid Abdi.

By Mulugeta Adematu