ABSTRACT

That July morning in Mogadishu, the shoes of convening elders piled up at the offices of Abdi Hassan Awale “Qaybdiid,” the warlord’s interior minister. In the second-floor entrance hall, before the carpeted conference room, the dust-and mud-covered shoes were of all types, like the elders themselves, who had gathered in one place to discuss the war between the UN and Aidid’s Habr Gedir clan. They were looking for a way to make peace: to somehow end the ruinous blood feud raging between their adamantine warlord and the UN “peacekeepers.” Aidid did not approve of this meeting, because his role as clan leader was being questioned. Just the day before, a handful of elders had met UN envoy Howe, who had asked them to look for a peaceful way out. This meeting was the result. These elders may have decided to make a separate appeal to the UN, effectively isolating the warlord. The meeting was publicized in the Somali newspapers as a peace gathering, so it was not a secret-at least not to Somalis.