Mareeg.com->OPINION:- Personally I am not surprised at the bellicose behavior of the current leaders of Somaliland, a secessionist enclave ruled..
and controlled by former members of one of the rebel movements that destroyed Somalia by using divisive clan sentiments. Some worked as intelligence officers until the last day of the meltdown but managed to fool the Somaliland public by portraying themselves born-again defenders of Somaliland statehood.
The leaders of this xenophobic enclave have brainwashed their youth to shun their Somali heritage and hate Somalis outside their enclave. Some of these leaders have publicly claimed as being closer to Ethiopians than to other Somalis with which they share a common language, religion, culture and eve n looks. One of their eldest leaders declared on more than occasion that the unionist clans in former British Somaliland have no choice but to either join them as second-class citizens or vacate the land and move South with the other Somalis, “Dhulku ma guure, Dadkaa Guura”. Another Nazi-sounding leader called publicly for the ethnic cleansing of unionist clans that are opposed to the dismemberment of Somalia.
Given this dark history, the recent press-release by the Foreign Minister of Somaliland comes as no surprise. He threatened to disrupt any conferences held by unionist clans and declared the intent of the Somaliland Administration to seal-off and harden the long defunct colonial borders between former British and Italian Somaliland.
These borders were administrative in nature and never stood for independent states inhabited by different ethnic groups as was the case in most African countries. Somali nomads never recognized these borders and freely grazed their livestock where the grass was greener on both sides of the imaginary border. Before the British arrived, the whole of Somalia could have been characterized as one state inhabited by the same ethnic group, the Somali. The freedom fighter, Sayid Mohamed Abdulla Hassan, had forts on both sides of the border and used them to stage his numerous battles against the colonial armies. For example, the Taleh Fort was in British Somaliland and the Daawad Fort was in Italian Somaliland.
The Foreign Minister, a former UN employee and with a Canadian passport, was emboldened by several illegal actions taken by Somaliland without any response from the International Community or the Federal Government of Somalia:
1. Somaliland got away with the invasion and occupation of Las Anod, the capital of the Sool, Eastern Sanaag and Ayn regions, SSC, where the residents are staunch supporters of Somali Unity and Integrity. It used millions of dollars received as development aid to woo some of the clans in the area to support their expansionist and secessionist agenda. International donors may have inadvertently bankrolled these expansionist and dangerous actions.
2. It also got away with causing the death of hundreds of innocent civilians after its failed attempt to invade and occupy the town of Buhodle in the Ayn Region where the inhabitants are again staunch supporters of Somali Unity and Integrity. This time however, they withdrew after tasting the first credible resistance by determined unionists who although outnumbered and out-gunned put on a strong fight.
3. It also got away with the invasion and occupation of Hudun, a town near an area known to the world as Block 19 which is rich in minerals and oil deposits. The only exploratory well drilled in Somalia by Conoco and gave promising results is located in this area. It even signed illegal deals with small oil companies in return for millions of dollars that will undoubtedly fund other expansionist policies.
4. Its latest expansionist policy took it to Taleh, the provisional capital of Khatumo State which was created to unite all the SSC regions to resist the expansionist and exploitative policies of Somaliland, and to shake-off the unfair designation as disputed territories shunned by aid agencies. This resulted in these regions becoming the least developed in Somalia when it comes to health, education, social and economic matters.
As a Canadian Citizen and a former UN employee, the Somaliland Foreign Minister was expected to uphold international law and support democratic principles. Instead of advising his administration against its illegal expansionist policies, he has sadly become a mouthpiece for such ill-fated policies that are doomed to fail because of their unjust nature. If Somalia were to disintegrate into clan-based enclaves, then each clan has the right to form its own enclave or voluntarily join enclaves of its choice. Clan-based enclaves can only lead to chaos and regional instability. Even if the matter were to be resolved through internationally monitored referendum, the scope of such a referendum would be a matter open to dispute.
The ultimate goal of Somaliland is to control by force all the territories of the former British Protectorate that became independent in 1960 and immediately united with Italian Somaliland to form the Somali Republic. However, it ignores the fact that unlike all the other regions in former British Somaliland, the SSC regions are known for their refusal to sign any protectorate agreements with the British. They opted instead for resisting foreign occupation which technically puts them outside the territories being claimed by Somaliland on the basis of a common colonial heritage that gives them the right to claim these regions as being part of their clan-based enclave.
When Hassan Sheikh was elected as the President of Somalia, he swore on the Quran to defend Somalia, its people and its religion. It seems that the country he swore to defend is former Italian Somaliland, and the people he swore to defend are the inhabitants of former Italian Somaliland. He has repeatedly failed to denounce the expansionist policies of Somaliland even though such expansion threatens the unity and integrity of the country he swore to defend.
Since the Somali government has failed to protect its people in the SSC regions, we appeal to the world community to come out strongly against the unwarranted aggression of Somaliland against the peace-loving and unity-loving inhabitants of these regions which are in the process of holding their third Conference in Taleh to create a credible Federal Administration that will cater to the security and development needs of its people.
We hope that the International community will dissuade Somaliland from acting upon the words of its Foreign Minister who threatened to disrupt the conference by using military force. Such action can only thwart the efforts of the International Community to pacify Somalia and extricate it from its failed state status.
Any military operations in the area can easily expand into a prolonged struggle that may involve other clans. Any insecurity may also invite the forces of darkness that already operate in the South. It is in the interest of the International community to preserve peace and stability in this strategic area that can play an important role in rebuilding the Somali State.
Ali H Abdulla