The Rebirth of Somaliland (20)
Somalia shows its true colour of jealousy and open hostility to Somaliland
(Dr Hussein Nur)
“… jealousy lets who is jealous of another’s position choke to envy” (China Achebe).
In 1991 Somaliland withdrew from a botched union with Somalia. Since then Somaliland made remarkable achievements, i.e., a relatively advanced peace and stability and democratic pluralism applauded by the world as the most democratic country in the Horn of Africa region, a region otherwise known for turbulence and political crisis).
In compliance with the Montevideo Convention, Somaliland fulfils all essential requirements and accoutrements of an independent state (a defined territory and established borders, a permanent population, a democratic government and the capacity to enter relations with other countries). With billions of dollars poured into Somalia to save it from political quagmire, Somalia still is the most failed state in the world. Having misled by the international recognition, Somalia is making use of every little bandwidth available to them to undermine Somaliland achievements, development as well as its independence and sovereignty.
Enmeshed with its dilemma, Somalia has recently made loud cries of the tripartite concession agreement between the UAE government-owned port operator, Republic of Somaliland and the government of Ethiopian federation to develop the port of Berbera. Somalia showed a fierce struggle to alienate the port of Berbera from development and, hence, to deprive Somaliland from investment projects. However, Somaliland took that as a meaningless joke and part of the usual political gimmicks of Somalia which normally have no impacts on investment projects and partners in Somaliland (Reuters, 15 March 2018). That boils down to one thing and only one thing – an open jealousy, aggression and creation of hostility directed to Somaliland. Instead of congratulating Somaliland for its achievements, Somalia politicians fire false empty canons and chose to wage diplomatic offensive on Somaliland territories and its people. Nevertheless, Somaliland people are on track by saying : “Waxba yaanu xeerkay i marin xoolana i siine, xaashaa nin libin kaa xistayay xumihi waa yaabe” (Salaan Carabay).
Somaliland government cancel his meeting with the president of Somalia, Mohamed
Abdillahi ‘Formajo’ of Somalia for this irrational behaviour and attitudes and claim on
Somaliland as region of Somalia indicating that Somalia leaders dare not to face
Somaliland. Somaliland leaders slam this senseless hostility as the primary concern
of the rest of the world and the international community is the search for peace,
security and stability of the Horn of Africa region. This constitutes a lack of
understanding international diplomacy on the part of Somalia president and his prime
minister as well as ill-informed parliamentarians and politicians followed
For Somaliland business is as usual and other development projects and investments are under way. GENEL ENERGY Plc. (GENEL.L), will soon start oil exploration in Somaliland which might start drilling in 2019.
The security of Somalia is in the hands of foreign forces (AMISOM troops). Indiscreet armed groups and mercenaries with liberty conduct operations as they wish and when they want without the knowledge of the Somalia politicians, parliament and the government. Control and security of the federal regions is not in the hands of the federal government. Forget about Somaliland territories and the port of Berbera. Somalia’s claim of the port of Berbera is seen as superfluous and redundant illusion. It is a deceitful act by a hallucinating unelected predatory state. Mogadishu is burning. Terrorist explosions are causing persistent disruptions of daily life of the ordinary people. Parliamentarians do not represent their regions and respective clans as they claim. Yet they have recently passed laws without promulgation to stop the development of the port of Berbera and investment in Somaliland overnight. The politicians in grey suits and those with camouflaged military uniforms do not have controls of or jurisdiction over Somaliland. Yet, they claim Somaliland territory as part of Federal Somalia. “Waabay lulataaye maxay leeftaa”. Therefore, Somalia utters is all about rhetoric and not the reality. It is a show of immorality, arrogance, aggression and ignorance of the direct foreign investment and related international protocols and portfolio. Without the appreciation and thoughtfulness of any implications of its actions Somalia is playing a dangerous card to create unnecessary animosity, conflict and insecurity in the region. Ever since Somaliland reclaimed its sovereignty, Somalia was determined to drag Somaliland into the shallow bit where Somalia is in.
DP World in Somaliland
In May 2016 DP World (a leading global mega port operator and enabler of global trade and integral part of supply chain) won a 30-year concession with an automatic 10-year extension for the management and development of a multi-purpose port project at Berbera with the Republic of Somaliland. The deal has been ratified by the Somaliland parliament in September 2016. DP world set the joint venture at 65% stake in the share for DP World and 35% share for Somaliland in an investment to the tune of US$442 million in phases. The project forms on management and not ownership of the port as Somalia politicians and minority oppositions in Somaliland retain. On 6 March 2018 Somaliland and DP World, an extension of the existing agreement, decided to sell their shares (4% and 15% respectively) to land-locked country of Ethiopia, the principal user of the port.
Under the Somaliland constitution, Somaliland has the right to buy, sell, rent or lease its property. Somaliland has the right to enter into international agreements. The DP World Berbera investment opens a door for further investments in Somaliland and opportunity to further engage with other countries without depending on the government of Somalia. ‘Somaliland has been independent for 28 years’ says the Chairman of DP World. This project brings Somaliland a step forward to recognition. Somaliland government and DP World have right to sell part of their stakes as shareholders such as Ethiopia for which it is an advantage.
Somaliland’s share in the total investment of the deal is on par with the levels of other (African) countries DP World had entered concessionary agreements with. For example, DP World has recently sealed a 30-year concessionary agreement with the Democratic Republic (DRC) to invest in the port of Banana with 70% stake control by DP World and a 30% share of by DRC with a total investment of more than a billion US dollar (more than Somaliland total investment) over four phases. This is a common international investment protocol that Somalia politicians are not able to grasp. Even some people in Somaliland misunderstand in terms of the share of Somaliland and argue that Somaliland should have had more (50% plus stake). The port is a national asset and the asset is not sold.
On the whole, the purpose of the agreement is to modernise and establish Berbera port a regional trading, commercial and maritime hub and to create a container Terminal with a capacity to handle up to 1.25 million TEUs a year. It is the largest investment since Somaliland has withdrawn from the union with Somalia in 1991. DP World’s involvement in Somaliland’s development leads the economic prosperity for Somaliland and for the greater of Horn of region including Somalia. Somalia’s purpose is: if Somalia cannot have it, let Somaliland does not have as well. In such situation the Somali saying ‘Cuni weydee ka ciidee’.
Immediately when the trilateral agreement was signed on 12 March 2018, the government of Somalia ludicrously described the deal as illegal and an invasion of the integrity and intervention in the Somali unity and integrity openly describing Ethiopia an arch enemy. Paradoxically the Ethiopian troops are known to be major contributors to safeguarding the security of Somalia as part of the six nations contributing to the AMISOM troops. Moreover with myopic political vision masquerades Somalia politicians forgot the Ethiopian contingent army present at Villa Somalia, the presidency headquarters for the security of the president and government. Was it not in that in Goofguduud village, near Baidoa (Southwest State of Federal Somalia) that the Ethiopian troops attacked Al-Shabab customs base helping out stranded Somali army soldiers. Nevertheless, ignoring that reality Somalia unashamedly voiced that Ethiopia should not have shares in the Berbera investment simply because it Somalis enemy.
The pertinent questions one could enquire and that Somalia to respond are: if Ethiopia is an enemy why did president Farmajo handed over the nationalist Somali veteran soldier, Abdikarim Qalibi-dhagax, to the enemy, Ethiopia, last year? And how come is that Ethiopia was described an enemy while it is participating in provision of
security to Somalia as a friend of Somalia?.
Somalia parliamentarians and politicians voiced the Berbera port deal as illegal Somalia just recently in 2018 as the agreement was made and known to them since May 2016 when Somaliland and DP World signed it and when Somaliland parliament did approve it in September 2016 to pave the way for the world’s fourth port operator, DP World, for the development of Berbera port. Somalia has escalated the situation of the agreement out of proportion. As a matter of fact, the tripartite agreement is only an extension of an already existing regulated deal. Under the terms of the agreement partners have the right to sell their shares to any other country or company.
President Formajo and his Prime Minister Kheyre of Somalia waged a diplomatic war sending offensive messages through the media to the people of Somaliland. That surely reminds Somaliland people of the past traumas, the merciless artillery shelling, the aerial bombardments and the genocide committed by the last Somali government under Siad Barre’s dictatorial regime. New sites of mass graves of civilian people of Somaliland massacred by the Somali government troops are recovered every day, the last were found in the Sinai settlement of Ahmed Dhagax district, Hargeisa. Despite Somaliland’s reclamation of sovereignty from Somalia, the Federal government of southern Somali regions still claim that Somaliland is part of Somalia and Berbera as their port while paradoxically it does not even have control of its federal regions. But Somalia could not do anything in Somaliland. Somali proverbs say: “Waabay lulataaye maxay leeftaa” and “Ninkii tiisaba daryeelaa tu kalena ku dara”. Mogadishu is burning. Somaliland is enjoying peace, security and stability. Neither the Somalia politicians and government officials nor the president and his prime minister dare not to walk in the streets of Mogadishu let alone visit the regions without the cover of AMISOM force whilst president Bihi of Somaliland, strolls in the streets of Hargeisa and can tea or coffee ‘bun’ with the ordinary citizens.
The Somalia envoy at the UN has recently waged diplomatic offensive to Somaliland, its territorial integrity and agreement on development of Berbera and claimed that a military base at Berbera by the UAE government negates the UN weapons embargo and sanctions on Somalia according to the UN resolution. The envoy shed crocodile tears to the Security Council. Unfortunately, the envoy did not hear himself by saying – that arms would flood through Berbera base despite the sanctions he argued. Firstly, he is not representing Somaliland and Somaliland does not recognise him as its envoy. Secondly, he overlooked the clandestine operations at the Turkish base in Mogadishu, the largest outside its country which was not even ratified by his parliament and which is not under is government’s control. The envoy hammers his country’s jaundiced political view about Somaliland.
President Farmajo’s derogatory statements include calling Somaliland ‘North-western region of Somalia’. That is exactly the expected talks are hinged on. It is an innate naivety for the president to be more responsible as he would expect talks with Somaliland. This causes only antagonism and no regard to mending fences and relations with Somaliland and does not create a conducive environment for talks in the future.
Both the sovereignty of Somaliland and its territorial integrity are guaranteed under the Somaliland constitution no matter whatever the war president Farmajo and his administration directly wage on Somaliland. Farmajo vowed necessary measures to defend the inviolability of its sovereignty and borders of Somalia will be taken. Implicit in his statement is the use of force. Formajo had so far not succeeded in improving relations with Somaliland.
Mogadishu has no control over its regions let alone Somaliland territories. In fact, some of the federal regions have been created by foreign countries merely to exploit Somalia’s clan politics so as their interests be reflected in the microcosm of Somalia’s ‘real politik’. For instance, Kenya had a helping hand in the formation of Jubaland state under Sh Ahmed Madobe so as to create a buffer zone from Somalia to minimise the infiltration of Al-Shabab from unruly parts of Somalia. Puntland acts as semi-autonomous state to a degree so much so it had made an agreement with DP World to develop and invest the port of Basaso.
Somalia’s opposition to the port of Berbera development and UAE’s military base exposed Somalia naked to the international community and regional organisations as politically weak, diplomatically feeble and lacking full understanding of the international relations, investment laws, procedures and policies. More importantly the Berbera concession agreement is not a political agreement. It is an economic, commercial and trading agreement.
This case brought Somalia government to its knees. The Deputy spokesman of the UN, Farhan Haq, referred Somalia’s complaint as a dispute to be resolved bilaterally between Somalia and UAE and not through a UN resolution (2448). Similarly the Arab League side-lined Somalia’s pleas and begging for intervention to stop UAE and Berbera agreement. Somalia did not get what it was expected. In addition, the Africa Union and IGAD have not taken the matter along Somalia’s line of argument and dealt the issue diplomatically with no special favour for Somalia as hoping for. Somalia government met a complete failure of diplomacy. Somalia is a weak country in the hands of the international community (financially) and security wise. African forces (through AMISOM) lead its security. The UAE Ambassador in Mogadishu who was summoned to the Foreign Affairs Office did not succumb to Somalia and dealt with minister with his diplomatic experiences that the minister was unable to read the fine diplomatic jargons of the Ambassador who simply played with the minister’s undefined terms – unity and territorial integrity of Somalia – by explaining UAE has no intention to be intervene. The authorities of Somalia are often unable to explain to the world what they mean by this unity they seem to boast and proud of. The government of Somalia never defines the Somali unity, an ambiguous term it is
obsessed with which they often quote as sacred. No question about how Somalia is sucked an elusive non-sense propaganda and how it is stuck and glued to Somaliland as they talk of unity of Somalis while they never mention the other three Somali areas which are now independent from Somalia (the fifth region of the Ethiopian federation, the Republic of Djibouti or and the northern region of Kenya) as they talks about unity.
The demise of Somali unity ‘Somaliweyn’ or greater Somalia has been described elsewhere (forthcoming book ‘Rebirth of Somaliland’ by the author).
Somaliland in its corner responded in robust fashion. The president, the parliament, the opposition parties especially the Chairman of UCID, the Foreign Minister and Somaliland’s envoy to the UN (Dr Mohamed Warsame) all slammed the door on the face of the Somalia politicians. The tripartite agreement on the investment of the port of Berbera by DP World and the military base stirred the emotions of Mogadishu administration causing them actual nightmares and hallucinations. Somalia displays an outright jealousy of the remarkable achievements of Somaliland. “Jealousy extinguishes love as ashes smother the flame” but the feeble blows from Somalia are extremely remote to extinguish the lights of the progress in Somaliland.
The loud cries from Somalia are not more than a deep-seated envy about Somaliland and its development and investments and as part of the politico-cum conspiracies of Somalia directed to Somaliland’s withdrawal from the failed union. Quite commonly, politicians from Somalia unruly function and habitually engage in bullying, intimidation and use of conspiratorial tactics against each other.
Parliamentarians (of Somalia) are always busy in pushing divisive motions, the latest of which is presently in process and pushed by the prime minister to impeach and dislodge Jawari from chairmanship for exchange money.
Somalia waged war on Somaliland when it is at the lowest ebb in security, diplomacy and political circumstances. Somalia government claims to Somaliland territories as part of Somalia when it has no control over its federal regions and parts of Mogadishu.
It is clear that the president of Somalia failed to consolidate and complete federalism system. The status of the regional federal states of Somalia is opaque and the majority of the western backers are impatiently losing faith. The one-person-one-vote in 2020 as planned is extremely remote and unachievable an ambition. Dominant inter-clan rivalries derail power sharing and even the popular, but shameful 4.5 clan code is in jeopardy. The power control situation in Somalia is complicated. Foreign countries’ interests are reflected from AMISOM troops contributing countries. A proxy wars between groups of countries inside Somalia is clearly observed. The western countries have already shown concerns of the security of Somalia.
For over 27 years Somaliland has been in control of its borders and developing its territories without foreign aid. Somaliland deals with other countries and the international community and enters into international economic and investment agreements in the same way as any independent state. Somalia has no jurisdiction over Somaliland and has no say in the affairs of Somaliland. The truth of the matter is that Somalia and Somaliland has never been legally united. Somaliland council’s Act of Union which consisted of 23 articles was never looked at while that of the South (of 2 articles only) was referred to as the agreed without ratification by the parliament (details of the related proceedings are covered by the author’s forthcoming book ‘Rebirth of Somaliland’). Somaliland’s withdrawal from the union has related precedents. A number of presently existing independent states dissolved their unions. The union of the United Arab Republic between Egypt and Syria failed and dissolved in 1961; the union between French Sudan and Senegal (the Malian Federation) was dissolved in 1960; the union of Senegambia (Gambia and Senegal) was dissolved in 1989. The chain of breakdown of federations of the former USSR and Yugoslavia and East Timor from Indonesia are relevant examples.
In their arguments against Somaliland independence, Somalia politician put forth only two propositions (no third one): 1) that Somalia is recognised internationally, Somaliland is not therefore the latter is part of Somalia; and 2) that Somalia’s ambition is Somali unity and Somaliland is also part of that Somali unity. Both arguments are easily demolished. The world is convinced of Somalia’s unnecessary oppositional stance to Berbera port development and unthoughtful interference in Somaliland territorial integrity as not being helpful. It creates a non-conducive environment for the Somaliland-Somalia dialogue. However, that has no bearing, whatsoever, on the commercial and investment agreement between Republic of Somaliland, DP World and the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia and the neighbouring countries according to a statement by the Government of the Republic of Somaliland.
The government of Somalia is a pretending predatory ineffective and weak state riven with its own infightings. Power issue in Somalia is complicated and multi-layered: The weak power of the government, the powers of (some) the federal states; the AMISOM power and the Al-Shabab power. The moral duty of the international community is keep an eye on Somalia’s arrogance and power maniac and its creation of insecurity and instability of the region.
Somalia’s lauded the trumpet to the UN, AU and Arab League without thinking of any serious implications the purpose of this exercise which boomeranged on it. In fact, this ad-hoc and emotional protest against the tripartite agreement of Berbera development and the military base to the UN has not responded with Somalia’s request and wishful thinking.
According to Africa Confidential Report (January 2018), Somalia has not made security improvement. Al-Shabab has increasingly prioritised to conduct asymmetrical attacks (three attacks in Mogadishu and its suburbs took place within in four days) but the deadliest in November 2017. The Al-Shabab controls large tracts of the country, Somalia. Somalia has also failed in improving relations with Somaliland as agreed in the talks (UK, House of Commons Briefing, CBP – 7928, March 2018).
Despite its recognition by the international community, Somalia proved to be a pseudo-government and a rented state a disposition for exploitation by foreigners.
Because of its geo-political significance and strategic positioning, the Horn of Africa region has been a cockpit for superpower rivalries in the cold war era and it still is a site for global proxy wars and it still is a factor of change for power dynamics in the region according (statement made by the newly- elected president of Ethiopia, Abiye Ahmed).
Finally the government of Somalia under president Farmajo is affected by a compulsive obsessive disorder named ‘jealousy’ (of Somaliland’s development and progress).