In 1905 Sayid Maxamed and the Darwiish forces signed a peace treaty that ceded the Nugaal to the Darwiish forces in return for a cessation of violence and a promise to stop interfering in the affairs of the British-protected tribes and their lands. Lee Cassaneli wrote that historians are unanimous in their view that the Sayid did not enter into this arrangement with honest intentions, but rather, that it was a ploy to gain time in order to regroup and re-establish his power. He cites the Sayid's clandestine relations with the Biyamaal to whom he provided a lot of weapons. This theory gains further credence when you take into account the Darwiish expansionist attitude towards the Kingdom of Cali Yuusuf and their aggressive stance towards him.
In February, 1905 the English received intelligence supplied by a Signor Olivo who relayed the distress of Suldaan Cali Yuusuf at reports that the Daraawiish had captured Garacad, with the Sayid himself settling there. The Darwiishes viewed Garacad as a useful coastal settlement with a natural harbour. It would facilitate Darwiish gun-running activities and trade. Signor Olivo wrote that Cavaliere Pestalozza was en route to Hobyo to consult with Suldaan Cali Yuusuf. There were further telegraphic reports relating the flight of Reer Mahad from Garacad as their stock was looted by the advancing Darwiishes.
Thus, after many years of trying, were the Daraawiish finally able to establish a strong and deep presence in Mudug. After the successes of 1905, they built forts at Garacad and Jarriiban. It was one of the main strategic objectives of the Darwiish movement to establish themselves along the Mudug coast for trade purposes; and to control the interior of Mudug that was rich in stock and traversed by many trade caravans. But the inhabitants Mudug proved very recalcitrant, partly out of loyalty to Suldaan Cali Yuusuf and partly out of fear of him.
As far back as 1902, Ismaaciil Mire was the spearhead of the Darwiish assault against many strongholds of Suldaan Cali Yuusuf in Mudug and to punish any tribes who were obstructing the Jihaad. In Sept 1902, The Darwiish forces attacked Suldaan Cali Yuusuf's fort at Gaalkacayo and occupied it. A report received by the English high command reads as follows: "in consequence of this success the prestige of the Mullah had considerably increased among southern and western tribes of the Mudug district". Col. Swayne believed that this was a serious reverse for Cali Yuusuf and proposed that a force of 600 Sudanese, with four guns, should be landed at Hobyo to buttress the Majeerteen King. The Darwiish occupation of interior Mudug was not a lasting one.
They were routed out of Mudug by General Manning's forces that landed at Hobyo at the start of the 3rd English Expedition. But by July, 1904 Cali Yuusuf's position at Gaalkacayo became untenable once more and Swayne sent a telegram that the Majeerteen King had already evacuated Gaalkacayo reasoning that he feared for Hobyo and would concentrate his defenses there. The King reiterated his need for more rifles. Swayne was of the opinion that he had enough already.
In 1905, the Darwiishes were increasingly assertive and were in the mood to punish any dissent against the liberation struggle. Majeerteen were attacked in Mudug when it was felt that they were dilatory in their support for the Daraawiish. In the north a breakaway sept of the Cali Geri was coming under pressure in Buuhoodle. Ismaaciil Mire was in the thick of the action and a detachment of Darwiishes under his command set off from the Xarun to Abqow, South of Eyl where the largest concentration of Darwiish ponies were being tended by the Sayid's brother Yuusuf Sheekh Cabdille.
Upon reaching Abqow, Ismaaciil Mire composed a poem addressed to Yuusuf Sheekh Cabdille spelling out his intentions for spreading Darwiish power in Mudug and to punish Suldaan Cali Yuusuf for his treachery in supporting the English by allowing General Manning to land at Hobyo during the 3rd English Expedition against the Darwiishes.
Taleex iyo Abqow, Yuusufow, waa tub kala dheere
Todobaan ka soo dhaxay halkay tiil dariiqaduye
Wixii aad tartiib igu ogayd tiicis baan ahaye
Tan inaan fadhiistaana waa tacaddi diimeede
Wax Jahaadku taawinahayaa tan iyo Ceelhuure
Tiirkii Hobyood waa la gubi taan niyaysnahaye
Abtow Togayar ii qabo adaan kuu tawaawacaye
Taleex and Abqow are separated by some distance
Seven days have I travelled from the land of the Tariiqa
The slow gait you see is from the wearying journey
But rest and relaxation would be an outrage against the Faith
The Jihaad will reach Ceelhuur without Delay
The Edifice at Hobyo will burn, as is my Intention
Give me Togayar, My nephew I beseech.
(Togayar, an infertile mare known for her speed)
In the middle of the year The darwiishes attacked the Majeerteen loyal to Cali Yuusuf at Xinduugan. The Majeerteen received warning of the impending Darwiish assault and drove their Camel herds south. When the Darwiish army came, there was no stock to loot and no army to engage. Ismaaciil Mire was disappointed and composed a playful poem about the incident where they ended up with a few fat-rumped sheep to cook for themselves!
Shilinkii Xinduugan haddaan shalay Jihaad geeyey
Shigta weerar guutadu hadday sheed walba u qaadday
Shaaruflaha Majeerteen hadday shidatay reerkiisa
Horweyn lagama soo shubo gunaan shucub u foofayne
Anoo shiiday baan helay wankii shirixa weynaaye
Shiilliinka ii keen Ilaah waw shukriyayaaye
Nin shahiida baa loo ogaa inuu shaf goostaaye
Nimcadaan Shareecada ku helay yaan ka shaabacaye
Ismaaciil Mire had occassion to wage war on another Majeerteen King, this time the Sultanate of Boqor Cismaan that was based in Boosaaso and whose relations with the Daraawiish were always fraught. in late 1915 the Cismaan Maxamuud looted a large and valuable stock from the Daraawiish(Miinanle) which caused consternation in the Darwiish camp. Ismaaciil Mire was put in charge of a Darwiish force tasked with recovering the stock with the proviso that they should set out on foot. The reasoning behind this was that the Majeerteen land was barren and without much natural cover. As a result a mounted force would be very conspicuous. Ismaaciil Mire rejected this rationale and argued that if the Darwiish horses were not away for grazing to Xaysimo the Miinanle stock would not have been lost. He explains the necessity for the speed and mobility provided by ponies. He composed this poem:
Xayow aabbahay baa i baray Xamar aan fuulaaye
Xiis baan ku meel mari jiriyo Xaya darmaaneede
Farduu Xaysimay naga jireen Xula dhaceediiye
Sengeyaasha xoogga leh haddii lagu xambaareeyo
Xadataa ma dhaafteen hashuu xaday Majeerteene
Lugi inay Xadaafiir tahaan soo xaqiiqsadaye
Welina Eebbahay iguma xadin laba xagaafoode
My father taught me to ride a Bay horse
I rode Xiis and Xaya, the choice of Mounts
The Horses were away, when they took Xula
If these powerful Stallions were nearby
The she-camel stolen by the thieving Majeerteen
Would not have gone very far from us
I know how taxing foot travel can be
But mercifulAllah has never obliged me
Ever to slog on a wearying foot travel
Ismaaciil and his force set out on their horses and were successful in recovering some of the looted stock.
By far one of the greatest successes of the Darwiish Armies was the conquest of the strategic Hiiraan region. In 1912 the Daraawiish received intelligence that the Italians were gradually expanding their presence in southern Somalia with the intent to capture Hiiraan, an area that was hitherto free from colonial influence. Their forward positions were as far afield as Mahaday. This was alarming news to the Daraawiish. Sayid Maxamed dispatched an army of 900 men commanded by Xaaji Maxamuud Macalin "Cagadhiig" towards Doh and Ceelgaab. Their instructions were to link up with the Darwiish forces based there under the command of the Sayid's brother Khaliif Sheekh Cabdille and proceed to Hiiraan with the aim of establishing Darwiish presence in Beledweyne, including the building of forts.
When the force reached Hiiraan they set up a bivouac at Qollad near Beledweyne. They started sending many messages and delegations to the Xawaadle inhabitants of the land urging them to join the holy Darwiish army and take their part in the liberation struggle for Somalia. The Xawaadle sent messages to the Daraawiish that they will not countenance Darwiish presence in Hiiraan. They were implacable in their stance despite many attempts by the Daraawiish to convince them of the danger posed by the Italians and the need for unity in opposing the colonial machinations. At long last, when it became evident that the Xawaadle were in no mood for compromise the Daraawiish decided that an all-out war to subdue the Xawaadle was inevitable. The Xawaadle were in bullish mood and confident that they could defend themselves from the Daraawiish. They had an able leader named Nimcade Dacaar who led a force named Hormadiid. In 1913, Daraawiish attacked the Xawaadle and routed them and captured the entire herds of the Xawaadle and Hiiraan was finally pacified and brought under the Darwiish Banner.
The Daraawiish built a base for themselves in Beledweyne. Immediately work began on a fort to defend the Darwiish realm in Hiiraan, designed and built by a man named Cali Jalax. Darwiish hero Xaaji Maxamuud Macalin "Cagadhiig", of the Cabdi Garaad(Qayaad), Dhulbahante, was named Commander of the Darwiish armies in Hiiraan.
This was a worrying development for the Italians and they reinforced their positions in Mahaday, fearful of a southern advance by the Daraawiish. They also established new positions in Tiyeeglow and Buqcaqable to safeguard their southern dominions. At the same time they held urgent talks with Suldaan Cali Yuusuf of the Majeerteen Mudug kingdom. It was agreed that Hobyo and the Italians should present a united front against the Daraawiish. They also drafted in Boqor Olol Diinle, the hereditary King of the ancient Ajuuraan dynastic lineage. These three powerful forces were yoked together in an unholy struggle against the Holy Daraawiish Warriors who were fighting for the liberation of Somalia.
On March 3, 1915, The triumvirate began their advance on Beledweyne from 6 directions:
1. The Italians advancing from:
2. Suldaan Cali Yuusuf provided 2 armies under the overall command of his legendary General, Godogodo. The armies were to advance from:
3. Boqor Olol Diinle leading an Ajuuraan army coming out of Qallaafe.
In a siege that lasted three and a half days amid heavy bombardment, the Darwiish forts did not suffer any major damage and when one of the heavy Italian cannons was knocked out, the attacking forces became demoralized and went into headlong flight.
Ismaaciil Mire was on an inspection and fact-finding mission to Beledweyne and delayed his departure when he received news of the impending battle. He took part in the defence of the forts and immortalized the battle in a Geeraar that he composed for Xaaji Khaliif Cabdille at Qalqallooc Darwiish base, which at the time was under Khaliif's command. It served as a comprehensive report of the battle situation and the identities of the various lineages and nations involved in the encounter:
War ninkii iga dooniyow
Anoo Doollo u jeeda
Deleb heensaha saaroo
Gooruu waagu dillaacay
Adduun saad ka damcaysiyo
Damdambaysi ma yeeshee
Waa dawaara sideede
Durba weerar na taabay
Maajoor doora qudhmuuniyo
Ina Diinle dhashiisa
Dulmi noogu heshiiyoo
Duulba maalin na beegay
Beryey Deex Ololaysay
Dundunku u rognaayoo
Daaqsin ayan u foofinoo
Rasaastii dam lahayd
Dagaal baan kula roorayoo
Baqihii ay dillaameen
Dabkii aanu ka reebnay
Derbibaan ku masaalloo
Daayimow mahadaa bay
Those of you who want news
As I was headed back to Doollo
Having saddled my horse
At the break of the dawn
Conferring with my Daraawiish
But my best laid plans
Upset by life's changing fortunes
We were suddenly attacked
The filthy Italian Major
And the Porcine Raxanweyn
And a kind of Majeerteen
And the weak Askaris
And the followers of Ina Diinle
United in wickedness and treachery
Each attacked us in turn
Many days passed, before
the penned camels grazed
confined by the din of battle
We rushed at them with courage
And they ran in headlong flight
The arms they left behind
Were as high as a wall
We filled our forts with them
O Eternal one, God
It is you we thank
For this great victory
After this historic triumph the Daraawiish expanded in Southern Somalia and Italy was forced to backpedal and abandon its plans to move into the Upper Shabeele Valleys. The Darwiishes consolidated their victory and solidified their hold on Hiiraan by building two new forts, Aammin and Laba Mataanood. They sent powerful raiding armies into Tiyeeglow and Baydhabo against the Italians and their supporters. They also harried the enemy as far south as Aw Dheegle and Ceel Garas. After the Beledweyne debacle the Italians never mounted an offensive against the Daraawiish. Ever afterwards it was the Daraawiish who were on the front foot attacking the Italians or their interests, while the colonials were ever on the defensive.
In our next installment of the history of Mujaahid Ismaaciil Mire, we will recount the destruction of the Camel Corps and the death of Richard Corfield as well as the attack on Berbera.
to be continued...