.....(Hal-ku-dhigyo Dhaxal-gal Noqday) = ..... President, C/raxmaan A. Cali: ''Jamhuuriyadda Somaliland dib ayay ula soo Noqotay Qaran-nimadeedii sidaa awgeed, waa dal xor ah oo gooni u taagan maanta (18/05/1991) laga bilaabo''...>>>>> President, Maxamad I.Cigaal:''Jiritaanka Jamhuuriyadda Somaliland'' Waa mid waafaqsan xeerasha u-degsan Caalamka! Sidaa darteed, waa Qaran xaq u leh in Aduunku aqoonsado''...>>>>> President, Daahir R. Kaahin: ''Jamhuuriyadda Somaliland waa dal diimuqraadi ah oo caalamka ka sugaya Ictiraafkiisa''...>>>>> President, Axmed M. Siilaanyo: ''Jamhuuriyadda Somaliland, Boqol sano haday ku qaadanayso helista Ictiraafkeedu way Sugaysaa! Mar dambena la midoobi mayso Somalia-Italia''.....[***** Ha Jirto J.Somaliland Oo Ha Joogto Waligeed *****].....

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Somaliland: Going it Alone

Hundreds of kilometres from war-torn Mogadishu, the capital city of the nascent territory of Somaliland teems with life. Hargeisa’s heavy traffic and crowded markets show a city detached from the war-torn south of Somalia. The city has become the economic hub of the country, having grown from a dusty town to a sprawling metropolis of two million people since 1991.

After declaring its independence from Somalia twenty years ago, Somaliland has had four democratic elections, fostered a burgeoning economy, and maintained stability and rule of law even as the rest of the country descended into anarchy and rule by vicious warlords. Though unrecognized by the international community, Somaliland may be the long-awaited stable democracy both Somalis and the West have been praying for.

Following the collapse of the Somali Democratic Republic in 1991, the country became an ungovernable mess of warring clans, Islamic extremism and lawlessness. The level of anarchy in the south and eastern territories has been especially brutal, with the UN citing lack of government as a major factor in the worsening famine.

Though the official government of Somalia, called the Transitional Federal Government (TFG), is widely recognized by foreign governments, it has only recently regained control of its own capital.

The TFG has been unable to govern any territory outside of Mogadishu, and has proven incapable of providing basic services or rule of law. A suicide bombing two weeks ago at the TFG education ministry attests to the lack of governmental control over the region. The bombing killed more than a hundred people, many of whom were students applying for scholarships in Turkey.

As well, government troops themselves have become a threat to ordinary Somalis, as they recently looted an aid convoy that was attempting to distribute food at the Badbaado refugee camp. “Soldiers opened fire at [the civilians].

Then soldiers took the food and people fled from the camp.” said David Orr, a spokesman for the World Food Program. Attacks such as these are becoming disturbingly common, highlighting the inability of the current Somali government to keep its people safe from both militants, and even its own armed forces.

While the official government struggles to stop the famine in the south of Somalia, unrecognized Somaliland has sent its own relief mission to help alleviate the suffering. Though the territory is poor, and could only offer $700 000 worth of aid, Somaliland’s ability to help its southern countrymen hints at the significant progress it has made since declaring independence.

With a growing economy and flourishing livestock trade with Saudi Arabia and Yemen valued at $250 million, “the country’s economic centre of gravity has shifted to the Arab-facing north” (The Economist). Somaliland’s relative economic health is drawing the attention of neighbouring Ethiopia, and surrounding Arab countries such as the UAE, which last month sent a special envoy to assess trade between the two nations.

Despite its prosperity, Somaliland has been repeatedly frustrated in its pursuit to be recognized as a sovereign country separate from Somalia. The most influential powers in the region, the United States and African Union, are currently tied the TFG as both fear that supporting the secessionist Somaliland could further weaken the current Mogadishu government.

As well, many of the African governments that make up the AU are worried about the message that recognizing Somaliland would send to other prospective independence movements across the continent.

It has become clear that the Transitional Federal Government is not ready, and may never be ready to govern Somalia. Meanwhile, Somaliland struggles on unrecognized and ignored, even though it embodies many of the western values the TFG is supposed to embrace.

“Failure to recognize Somaliland is a failure to recognize democracy itself,” states Edna Adan, a retired senior UN official.

If the international community were to recognize Somaliland as a sovereign nation, not only would it aid Somalis, but also the greater fight against terrorism and piracy.

Until then Somaliland will continue alone, as the one patch of hope in the otherwise lawless Horn of Africa.

By Alex Leung

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