Friday, March 6, 2009

Does Somaliland deserve international recognition?

The political landscape of Somalia is now changing, albeit slowly. An all inclusive government consisting of former supporters of Abdullahi Yusuf, moderate Islamists, secular nationalists and Somali émigrés is now in place. Our focus of attention then should bring us to question of Somaliland recognition by the international community. Does Somaliland deserve today? Especially at a time Somalia is moving towards a comprehensive peace building and reconciliation.

The diehard Somaliland supporters are at a forefront in trying to lobby governments around the world and use academics and lobby groups to further their aim of carving up Somalia along tribal lines. The clever use of diplomacy has backfired on Somaliland. As the only government willing to extend recognition is the long time foe of the Somali people, Ethiopia. Though a few other nations in Africa support the concept, but at the end of the day follow the African union position on this matter.
Coming back to the close ties Somaliland has with Ethiopia, though also shared surprisingly by Puntland as well. Both Puntland and Somaliland have been complicit in sharing intelligence with Ethiopia, their minders. The well known policy of handing over Somali freedom fighters, fighting Ethiopian colonialism continues to take place. The legitimacy Somaliland has is surely put into question by their close relationship with the criminal government of Ethiopia. The winner at the end of the day, from Somali territorial break up is Ethiopia and Kenya.

The President of Somaliland currently here in London on a diplomatic offensive, probably is begging their former colonial power for recognition. Our duty then as Somalis is to highlight our opposition to divide and rule our country from Addis Ababa and other foreign capitals of the world. Somaliland is known to use a lobby group run by a former British diplomat, to put across their case for an independent Somaliland. It is in our own interests that we counter lobby the ruling elite in Somaliland who support the division of our nation. This policy of divide and rule best serves the interests of our immediate enemies, hell bent on carving up our country into weak mini states.
One needs to get a closer look at the facts on the ground in Somaliland. Do all Somalis irrespective of being Darod, Dir or Isaaq all support the idea of Somaliland? The answer to this question has been well known for years. The case for Somaliland is propagated by one tribal group through the use of ruling elites, who have close to ties to the former dictatorship of the Late Mohammed Siad Barre. All the leaders of the political parties in Somaliland have been associated with a dictatorship, supposedly they were fighting against. This brings us back to the question of legitimacy. How legitimate are the political leaders in Somaliland? Surely they are only serving the interests of their foreign backers and also at the end of the day satisfying their own egos.

The disillusioned Awdalites, the uniting of the Dhuulbahante (NSPU) and the breakaway of the Warsangali into Maakhir regional state, strengthens the argument that Somaliland is an exclusive nation, serving the interests of the Isaaq tribe. Recent comments made by the Somaliland vice president, further undermines the Somaliland lobby groups in the Diaspora. An acknowledgement and applaud goes out to VP Ahmed Yusuf Yasin, who had the courage to speak his mind, regarding Somalia uniting under a federal union.

It is therefore high time that all Somalis form a united front, against any infringements on our territorial integrity and nation state. When one looks at the bigger picture, Somalis realise the actors that put a wall against any real movement in reconciling the Somalis, Ethiopia and any Somali willing to get paid millions to kill, spy on their Somali brethren. The time lost building our nation, developing our youth for a brighter future, ridding society of tribalism, strengthening our deen, culture, language must be reversed now before it is too late. Our unique place in Africa as one people, one language and one religion, will be lost for future generations. The cross roads Somalia is driving through will be a test for all Somalis, be it from Puntland, Somaliland or Somalia.

Mubarak Ahmed Salah

No comments: