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Somaliland

Muse Bihi Abdi

Date of Birth: 2 January 1948
Place of Birth: Hargeisa, Somaliland


Displaying 1-10 out of 27 results.

Abiy Ahmed’s sovereignty deal with Muse Abdi risks more regional turmoil

Regional concerns are mounting over the mooted quid pro quo between Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed and President Muse Bihi Abdi in which Ethiopia gets a port in the Gulf of Aden in return for recognising the independence of Somaliland which broke away from Somalia in 1991 (AC Vol 65 No 2 Why Abiy and Muse signed a 'memorandum of misunderstanding')...

It's complicated by the UAE operating behind the scenes to strengthen the hand of Muse Bihi and assert their own strategic interests...

President Muse Bihi is pushing to take maximum advantage – his supporters keep claiming recognition by Addis is imminent – and taking a hard line against the opposition emboldened by the UAE...

Tangled pathThe tortuous road towards the current crisis over Somaliland started on 25 August when the Somaliland army – more precisely its contingents of Haber Awal and Haber Je'elo clan fighters – suffered a humiliating defeat when their military base near Las Anod was overrun by militias of the Dhulbahante clan (AC Vol 64 No 19 Muse Bihi's political headaches worsen)...

One result of that was that Muse Bihi was forced to accept an election plan that Haber Je'elo elders had proposed as part of a mediation effort between the two sides...

But the signing of the MoU with Ethiopia and the promise of recognition for Somaliland gave Muse Bihi new options...

Meanwhile Muse Bihi wanted to strengthen his hand by taking charge of the parliamentary elections which have relatively high credibility in the region...

Muse Bihi wants no donor funding for the poll because his opponents say it would come with monitoring and oversight that would interfere with Muse Bihi's rigging of the poll...

Backing this strong enables Muse Bihi to hang tough...

The bitterness and aggressiveness of Muse Bihi's rhetoric also serve to pressure Abiy to act against international advice and go through with the recognition of Somaliland...

Muse Bihi's supporters are continually announcing Addis's imminent recognition of Somaliland – originally intended for Somaliland's unofficial independence day of 26 June – and then pushing the date back...

According to our sources Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed and President Muse Bihi Abdi of Somaliland deliberately spread a rumour on X and other social platforms that Ethiopia would formally recognise Somaliland on 1 July as a way of putting pressure on the negotiators at the Istanbul meeting the day before...


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Turkey hosts first round of talks on port row

Turkey mediated the first round of talks between Somalia and Ethiopia's foreign ministers on Monday in the first international attempt to ease diplomatic tensions between the two Horn of Africa states (AC Vol 65 No 14 Abiy Ahmed's sovereignty deal with Muse Abdi risks more regional turmoil)...

Last week Africa Confidential reported that Prime Minister Abiy and President Muse Bihi Abdi of Somaliland had deliberately spread a rumour on X and other social platforms that Ethiopia planned to formally recognise Somaliland on 1 July in an attempt to put pressure on the negotiators...

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Puntland risks fracturing the federation

We hear that after annoying Hassan Sheikh by taking visits from President Muse Bihi Abdi of Somaliland and Puntland's President Said Abdullahi Dani he will invite South West State's President Abdiaziz Hassan Mohamed 'Lafta Gareen' to the Ethiopian capital...


Politicking hinders the war effort

Meanwhile significant elements in the Puntland army especially the Dervish (Darawish) flocked to help the Dhulbuhante in Las Anod defend themselves against Somaliland President Muse Bihi Abdi's forces in heavy fighting last year (AC Vol 64 No 8 Risks of Las Anod lull)...


Why Abiy and Muse signed a 'memorandum of misunderstanding'

By announcing a trade-off on New Year's Day – putative recognition of Somaliland's 'independence' in exchange for access to the Gulf of Aden – Ethiopia's Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed and his Somaliland counterpart Muse Bihi Abdi have united the region against them ramping up tensions at a highly volatile time...

They were already coordinating with Muse Bihi on how to restart Somalia/Somaliland talks and were not ready to believe that the latter would risk such a gamble...

The first day was very tense as Muse Bihi wanted to only talk about recognition while Hassan Sheikh would talk about everything except recognition...

Eventually Ismaïl Omar Guelleh got Muse Bihi to appoint a technical team to discuss with another team in Mogadishu led by Abdikarim Hussein Guled...

Muse Bihi left Djibouti frustrated...

Neither Abiy nor Muse Bihi had a clear understanding of its implications...

Muse Bihi saw that announcing the deal with Addis Ababa would boost him politically (AC Vol 64 No 19 Muse Bihi's political headaches worsen)...

The main opposition party Waddani saw it as another ruse by Muse Bihi to extend his presidency further; it demanded that the text of the agreement be presented to Parliament for approval...

These quick-fire responses show Muse Bihi misjudged popular sentiment both on Somaliland's sovereignty and opposition to any Ethiopian presence...

After trying to maintain good relations with Muse Bihi Abdi and Abiy Ahmed it seems that Hassan Sheikh felt stabbed in the back...

He had refused to help the Daarood clan which stretches across the region and had been pushing him to endorse the Dhulbahante rebellion against Muse Bihi in Las Anod...


Floods put fighting on hold

Somaliland tensionAnother headache worsened in October when relations between the Federal Government and the Somaliland regional government soured after President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud welcomed a delegation from Las Anod thus officially recognising the new Sool Sanaag and Cayn (SSC) administration after two weeks of talks (AC Vol 64 No 19 Muse Bihi's political headaches worsen)...

The essence of the stalemate over Las Anod has not changed and international pressure has not shifted the Somaliland president Muse Bihi Abdi with the prospect that things will get worse before they get better...


Muse Bihi's political headaches worsen

President Muse Bihi Abdi is adding political problems to the military reverses he has suffered in his ill-judged confrontation with the Dhulbahante clan over Las Anod...

Instead of staying out of the internal arguments of the Dhulbahante Muse Bihi launched a furious armed assault late last year following up with indiscriminate shelling and the repercussions are multiplying (AC Vol 64 No 4 Hargeisa's bloody own goal & Vol 64 No 6 Uneasy peace at Las Anod)...

Even worse from Muse Bihi's point of view they are now promoting the creation of a new Somali federal member state Khatumo-SSC (Sool Sanaag and Cayn)...

To add insult to injury the SSC militias defending Las Anod went over to the offensive on 25 August and overran Muse Bihi's military base at Gojade the launching point for his offensives seizing trucks artillery pieces and masses of ammunition in a major humiliation for Somaliland's leader...

Such extreme propaganda which is not supported by any evidence only has traction with the few Isaq including Muse Bihi who blame the Dhulbahante for supporting former dictator President Siad Barre's 1987-1989 scorched earth policy in Somaliland dubbed the 'Isaq genocide' when tens of thousands of civilians were murdered and Hargeisa and Burao all but razed to the ground...

Low key supportMuse Bihi's hardline stance has drawn in other parties...

But Muse Bihi's military problems have been feeding into his political woes...

This new timeline although endorsed by the Gurti the upper house of the Somaliland Parliament was a major bone of contention with the international community and Muse Bihi's opponents...

But events on the ground became too serious and Muse Bihi suddenly had to compromise as the military confrontation shifted from a fight with the Dhulbahante or Darod to struggle within the Isaq who are the backbone of the Somaliland independence idea (see Box Angry youth head for the hills)...

Consequently in late August Muse Bihi decided to reschedule the selection of the political parties to take place at the same time as the presidential elections in November 2024...

Angry youth head for the hills Although only a skirmish compared to the battle over Las Anod a revolt by young Habr Yunis fighters is occupying much more of the attention of Somaliland President Muse Bihi Abdi...

They blame not only the Habr Awal – the influential sub-clan of the Isaq to which Muse Bihi belongs – but also another Isaq sub-clan the Habr Je'lo with whom they have territorial disputes and increasingly political ones...

Muse Bihi sent a police unit to deal with the new band of rebels but it was ambushed with nine dead and 17 wounded...

What bothers Muse Bihi about all this is the crack in the façade of Isaq unity which has been the backbone of the Somaliland project for 30 years not the negligible military threat...

Muse Bihi's allies the Habr Ja'lo are clashing with Dhulbahante and Habr Yunis increasingly frequently...

In the wake of Muse Bihi's loss of the Gojade military base and this rebellion he needs Isaq to unite behind him...

He has embarked on a course of compromise to achieve this but the rebels in the hills say they won't consider altering their position until Muse Bihi is out of office...


Risks of Las Anod lull

International pressure on President Muse Bihi Abdi was strong enough eventually to result in a late March phone conversation with President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud which was followed by the assembling of a mediation team of clan elders in Mogadishu...

Muse Bihi welcomed the appointment which was criticised in Garowe but what Abdikarim Hussein will propose is unclear...

Muse Bihi is in no hurry...

For now like Muse Bihi he needs to buy time local analysts say...


Mogadishu weighs the ups and downs of its anti-jihadist fight

All sides agree that taking the town would be a Pyrrhic victory for President Muse Bihi Abdi because of the immense human cost it would entail...

But Muse Bihi may be leaving them no choice but to retaliate as he openly blames them for interfering...

The latest round of fighting underlines Muse Bihi's intransigence...

They treasure the self-government they have long enjoyed and the clan is torn between those who want to express solidarity with Las Anod and those who fear that this would draw Muse Bihi's anger on their heads...

Their silence hitherto indicates they are unwilling to risk all this which gives Muse Bihi an advantage...

Ethiopia's Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed is believed instinctively to side with those opposing Muse Bihi but a military intervention is out of the question and economic sanctions could hurt Ethiopia as much as Hargeisa...


Uneasy peace at Las Anod

Oblivious to the concerns of western countries and interested neighbours President Muse Bihi Abdi of Somaliland has now listened to envoys of Ethiopia and called off the all-out assault on the town of Las Anod which had earlier declared its desire to become a Federal Member State within the federation of Somalia (AC Vol 64 No 4 Hargeisa's bloody own goal)...

But fighting could break out again at any time since Muse Bihi has not softened his hard line against the would-be breakaway local sources say...

Muse Bihi's violent reaction to Las Anod's declaration saw his forces bombarding the town of 160 000 causing many deaths at least 150 000 internal refugees (including neighbouring villages) and massive destruction of the town's infrastructure (AC Vol 64 No 5 Las Anod still under fire)...

On 27 February three senior Ethiopian military officers arrived in Hargeisa for talks with Muse Bihi before going to Garowe capital of neighbouring Puntland to meet Las Anod's committee of 33 which had been appointed to speak for the town in negotiations as well as 13 leading figures of the Dhulbahante clan...

Muse Bihi is seen locally as the driver of the violence...

Pundits say Muse Bihi is blaming outsiders for the failure of his policy towards the Dhulbahante...

Muse Bihi has supported the Tigray People's Liberation Front (TPLF) in the past...

Blaming outsiders is helpful to Muse Bihi when countering the argument that he has damaged the Somaliland independence cause by inflicting disproportionate violence on Las Anod his opponents say...

In Burco a stronghold of the Somaliland opposition Waddani party about halfway between Las Anod and Hargeisa the Las Anod fighting is being used as evidence of the illegitimacy of Muse Bihi's presidency...

Waddani argues that Muse Bihi's extension of his presidency is illegitimate and wants a new election...

Muse Bihi has acted to forestall any further splits in Isaq unity...

The effect however is likely to polarise further the debate among the Isaq and weaken Muse Bihi's position in Hargeisa...

Staying outAs Ramadan approaches and with it the usual decline in political activity the 'outsiders' Muse Bihi is blaming for unrest in Somaliland – especially Puntland and the federal government in Mogadishu – have little stomach for it...


Displaying 1-10 out of 27 results.