Abdullahi Yusuf, president of the Somali “Transitional Federal Government,” has quit under pressure from the more moderate Prime Minister Nur Hussein Hassan. Funny thing is, just last week Yusuf’s people denied anything was wrong.
Yusuf was seen as an obstacle to the TFG signing a peace agreement with moderate Islamists. The U.S.- and U.N.-back peace plan, anchored by talks in Djibouti, does not include the mainline Islamic Courts or Al-Shabab groups that control a growing swath of southern Somalia. The ICU last week reached within five miles of Mogadishu (pictured). The TFG controls just its de-facto seat in the town of Baidoa plus small portions of Mogadishu.
While a new president is sought, the challenge for Hassan remains the same as when he took power a year ago. To quote my story in World Politics Review:
The … prime minister faces a daunting task — holding together a fragile and unpopular government (based for security reasons in the northern town of Baidoa) while organizing security forces to fight alongside Ethiopian troops that have occupied Mogadishu since routing the hard line Islamic Courts regime [in] December .
Add to that the problems with overseeing delicate peace talks that don’t even stand a chance of establishing true peace in Somalia, since the main combatants aren’t even at the table.