''Holding Somaliland hostage to failed efforts is counterproductive to peace and stability'': Mohamed
- In the two decades the International community has endeavored to stabilize Somalia, it has, on many occasions, placed Somaliland in a no-win situation. History will repeat itself on February 23rd when another “Somalia Conference” will convene in London. Intentionally or not, Somaliland is once again left with two undesirable options that essentially equate to being between a rock and a hard place!
The first is to attend the Conference and give legitimacy to a corrupt and unelected outfit from Somalia further depressing Somaliland’s prospects for Recognition. Attending this Conference could give credence to the fraudulent notion that Somaliland is part and parcel of Somalia. The international community’s posture has been to wait-out Somaliland until Somalia is settled. Why would the hosts of this Conference – who are seen sympathetic to Somaliland’s cause – hint Somaliland as a “region” in Somalia?
The second is to not attend the Conference and risk the international community prolonging its underhanded and retaliatory tactics. Somaliland will implicitly be defined as aimlessly a drift and will never be engaged in any meaningful way. Aid packages would be small, if at all, recognition would not be forthcoming and why would a friendly ear stay friendly when their “friendly request” to participate in these conferences is ignored by Somaliland?
It is easy to assume the simplistic view in these debates but its truly a dilemma the nation faces. In a world of self-interests, what are Somaliland’s short and long term interests? Did the current Administration receive private assurances that by attending this Conference Somaliland sovereignty would be looked upon kindly? And, what does Somaliland gain?
Short of any concrete assurances and commitment from some friendly nations, Somaliland should not attend this Conference. One could argue, Somaliland was ignored for 20 years so what difference would it make if they continue to ignore us? What do we have to lose? If the current Administration guarantees the public that it has indeed received assurances, it must be willing to demonstrate that to the public in a verifiable way. Somaliland has come a long way than to be held hostage to the politics of Somalia.
Somaliland sovereignty must be without equivocation and its leaders must be held accountable if its undermined in any way. Of course, it doesn’t help that Somaliland’s prospects for recognition is in constant limbo due to the mixed signals sent by Somaliland administrations and misguided politicians.
It is incumbent upon the international community that Somaliland not be grouped in with Somalia. Keeping Somaliland in ambiguity might be seen as some ingenious politicking but it only adds to the tensions in the area. Some in the international community argue that recognizing Somaliland would undercut the “building blocks” for peace in Somalia. Time has proven this position to be erroneous. After 20 years and nearly half a billion dollars later, Somalia emerges as more chaotic than before.
Yet, not even a fraction of one half of that is spent on Somaliland and it continues to progress. Holding Somaliland hostage to failed efforts is counterproductive to peace and stability. The international community has had the opportunity to show Somalia that achieving stability and democratization has its advantages by either recognizing Somaliland or engaging her openly in a meaningful way. Even though Somalia is to blame for its problem’s, the international community hasn’t helped.
This Conference presents the world an opportunity to send an assertive message to regressive nations that those who help themselves will receive unconditional support. Why not some outside the box studiousness since all else has failed?
By Mohamed A. A. Baranbaro
Somaliland American Guild
(Somaliland/American Guild is dedicated to the Constitution and democratization of Somaliland. Our mission is to tirelessly lobby for Somaliland’s recognition and to advance the hopes of the citizenry of Somaliland).