Addis Ababa- This France25 Channel yesterday hostile remarks concluded with this “…. (Somaliland’s) recognition be undeniably hard to attain” and the negative portrayal perhaps resulted among others from Bollore French port operator loss of Berbera seaport global bid to lease to port operators worldwide perhaps. However, DP World secured Berbera port’s 30-years-old lease to run. The atypical barb from French-owned government media against democratic Somaliland with presidential elections in the next November coincided with French’s first Ambassador to Mogadishu amid political turmoil of three decades of Jihad, who submitted his credentials to Somalia’s president whose compound’s relies on foreign forces for military protection and his personal safety to go to the restroom and be right back.
This statement is an indicator of French indifference towards democratic Somaliland. It is true Somaliland which is written much about its richness of free mass media through five news sites were recently blocked : lively parliament and the rule of law so far failed to win the hearts of world major powers nonetheless the dream scripted in Somalilanders’ hearts of Somaliland being independent; free and it remains alive for the benefit of all: Somaliland’s strategic location and vital geopolitics at the Red Sea dictates maritime’s international commerce flow and its cessation and impacts merchant vessels transportation costs. Berbara at the mouth of the Bab El Mandeb, a narrow natural pathway of almost of the world’s oil supplies go through can put naval checkpoint to collect fees or…. Somaliland’s recognition benefits, not just Somalilanders adamant about their self-determination but the entire world.
Unlike the troubling Somalia whose militia ragtag army backs by the US air superiority, and AMISOM, African peacemakers failed to stabilize Somalia militarily since US Restore Hope Operation; Somaliland’s political stability is vital to the regional, and world’s businesses. Surely, without Somaliland’s political courage to protect the Babul Mandul, with naval forces from pirates and terrorist arms shipments in transit, there would no free pass-way in the natural canal. US oil tanker from Meccatan to Manhattan would take months causing disruptions in the industrial world rather the present few days. Yet Somaliland gets no appreciation from the user governments of the canal. The prolonging of the voyage would be the minimum damage done to global meltdown economies of the Western world.
Furthermore, Somaliland regularly holds elections and keeps the revolving door for power open and makes sisterly African countries rather ‘threatened’, yet it receives rhetorical admiration, not even moral support never mind global recognition it deserves! Therefore, there is growing uncertainty among Somaliland masses if the costly presidential election in this November will ever bring international semi-recognition or at the least open up foreign direct investment.
By the way, is it true then the democracy always preached by the world leaders to push their vested interest down the throats of states determine if a nation remains pariah or not? Rwanda is booming, but with little freedom of speech. China deals governments regardless of democracy.
The Washington Post remarkably stated this about Somaliland”
But when we interviewed two dozen Somaliland leaders in April and May as part of a research project on islands of stability in conflict zones, we came away with a picture of a vibrant polity in which local communities feel invested in the success of the state. According to Haroon Yusuf, director of the Social Research and Development Institute in Hargeisa, Somalilanders have united behind the common goal of establishing a government independent from Mogadishu. Somaliland today features all the hallmarks of an aspiring state, with its own currency, courts and coast guard. As a result, Yusuf said, Somalilanders are “happy to invest everything here.”
The majority became cynics in global standard of justice of Hague of International Tribunal and whether democracy has any value in American and British foreign policy when deciding whom to stand by. Many independent western analysts say greed guides the western judgment very often.
On June 26, 1960, Somaliland achieved independence from Great Britain, however, lost it in inconclusive search of unification of Somali-speaking people scattered across the East Africa under different leaderships. Few days after independence from Great Britain, the first attempt to restore the lost independent was done by elite military experts from Sunharts military college the likes of Hassan Kayd, Abdilaho Congo, and Amb. Awil but met with failure; those behind the plot languished behind bars but later released. In 1981, the second attempt succeeded to liberate Somaliland territory from communist military regime ran from Mogadishu.
The world too long has shown diplomatic reluctance to deal with Somaliland openly, as a result, the isolation undermined Somaliland’s economy leading to youth’s precarious exodus to the EU.
Ever since Bollore firm lost the bid, French mass media Africa Intelligence or Indian Ocean Newsletter both French press and they finally joined Arab media which wants Somaliland to fight their dirty water wars against Ethiopia for water greed, began concerted efforts to discredit Somaliland’s selfless achievement and disappoint Somalilanders who paid sacrifices in defending their homeland; French citizen of Somaliland origin Zahra Halgan (warrior in English )at the forefront singing for Somaliland’s recognition in Paris, London, and in Hargaysa. In their dream to achieve outright independence, global isolation, blockade, and rhetoric meant inhibition won’t discourage them but punishes only the vulnerable folks.
In decades, Saudi Arabia the largest destination market for Somaliland animals banned Somaliland’s livestock to subjugate Somaliland‘s die-hard proponents of all walks of life. In 27 years of terror policy by the kingdom failed to force Somaliland determined supporters to give up their dream of nationhood and statehood but harmed ordinary folks economically, starving millions of nomads to near-death; the ban made them vulnerable to recurrent famines. Somalilanders remained resilient and steadfast in the face of the danger holding their heads high in the hope they will win the hearts of their diplomatic enemies soon.
The UK’s historic ties
During Great Britain’s reign of Somaliland, the British clearly demarcated Somaliland’s colonial separating from Somalia—they remained intact— and it met most of the characteristics of statehood for instance viability, and a permanent population of not less 4m people despite the ongoing denial. Somaliland’s present generation can’t decipher why the UK the former military protector of Somaliland over two centuries isn’t pioneering lobbying for Somaliland’s global recognition. Somaliland has historic ties with the Great Britain since First and Second World Wars. Hundreds of forefathers from Somaliland died for British Empire fighting in distant places from their homeland during the Second World War. The last British governor of the protectorate said something similar “we are leaving British Somaliland but the friendship between here and the UK will flourish again” “one good turn deserves another” has never the case. Elders statesmen regret that their sacrifices seem gone in vain. The French Somaliland Djibouti ex-soldiers grandchildren still receive pensions on behalf of their late daddies while Somaliland ex-combatants beg to French handouts receivers. Although the UK government is number donor to Somaliland, however, the UK hosted Somali conferences One and Two in London ashamedly sided with Somalia former ally of fascist Italy during the Second World War by sending the second ambassador or so to Mogadishu to stand by Somalia. That was tantamount to stab in the back of Somaliland people by a strategic ally and it is a declaration of war by other means.
Anglophilia in Somaliland is vanishing for the UK’s ignorance of the close ties between the two nations. “They could stay neutral in Somalia and Somaliland affairs” a resident in Hargaysa spelt out. “I am horrified by the decision since my grandfather died for Great Britain” British native with Somaliland ancestry protested.
The UK government relocated Somaliland’s dialogue with Somalia to Turkey, impossible venue to let exit of the hanging on warring parties due to the sensitivity of the Kurdish separatists the PPK. The UK defaulted to its commitment to remain unfailing friend with Somaliland people whose governor stated during the last British withdrawal from Somaliland in the sixties. As a result, Somaliland took its business elsewhere granting military base to UAE.
Victim of double standards
African Union’s Act of Sacrosanctity of colonial borders didn’t apply to Sudan during the split since the Sudan had one European colonizer the UK. To this day, South Sudan has dotted border lines unsure. Somaliland proponents argue faith and politics entwined inform the decisions made by the western leaders with exception of Bosnia— being a white race might be playing a role. In the past two decades, the list recognized countries are many but topped the list by Christian led countries: Eritrea, East Timor, and South Sudan. Somaliland’s strong case for statehood has been out of global agenda. Somalilanders built their nation from scratch after the brutal military regime led by Siyad Barre destroyed cities. They argue their faith disadvantaged them like their peers from Kashmir crisis that has been unresolved since 1945 and more recently Rohingya Muslims from Myanmar and Chechnya returned to Russian Federation at the gunpoint. Somaliland’s rival swimming in an ocean of domestic challenges of Jihad and power bickering has no diplomatic weight over Somaliland’s recognition pursuit. Somaliland is a functional democracy, not handpicked leadership in congested hall like Somalia of which Turkey fell in love with to exploit their vast resources unbothered of their faith of Islam killing the same Muslim Kurds en masse with US F18 war jets and Israeli latest tanks. “ look (yourself) at the mirror” during world economic forum in Davos, Switzerland said Shimon Perez Israeli Prime Minister responding to Turkish stunt of Palestinians death by Israelis but many average Muslims didn’t understand the rhetoric and won’t.
Somaliland fledgeling democracy defies the odds, moves on to build a sustainable system that functions for the future generation and calls the UK to play the role it deserves in the independence restoration process. In Trump’s America of which Islam bashing is fashionable for western leaders to earn votes, Somaliland still turns to Republican Party for leadership to take pragmatic steps to make international arbitration between Somaliland and failed Somalia. In 2011, Somaliland sent high-level delegation led by the President Ahmed Silanyo to Jubba, the capital of the South Sudan in the eve of the declaration of the independence remembering the human loss they paid to achieve their dear price “I got goose bumps our peer finally reborn free!” said Somaliland woman whose parents killed during Siyad Barre’s onslaught on Somaliland. She saw tears flowing over the cheeks of the South Sudanese masses “will my dreams ever materialize like theirs? I can’t internalize my pain anymore. I want my Somaliland to be like others: a country without Somalia claiming over its territorial integrity to die together; I hate political marriages sans divorce”. But her dream to materialize or not only time will tell.
Dirye is Somaliland activist and media member of Wadani opposition Party, follow on his twitter @mrdirye or firstname.lastname@example.org