Somalilandsun: Over a fortnight now the federal government of Ethiopia has been engaged in military action against its northern Tigray regional state.
The war dubbed “operation restore law and order in Tigray” has not only resulted in massive displacement of Ethiopians but threatens security in the wider Born region as well with initial fears being from Eritrea which following launch of missiles to that country by the TPLF administration in Makele.
In its duration this military escalation in Ethiopia has been an international subject with several Government’s, the AU, EU and UN offering to mediate while urging caution.
In the Horn of Africa which might end up the first casualty of conflict spillage the Regional governments, Djibouti, Somalia and Uganda have spoken out about the ongoing fighting between Ethiopian Federal Government forces and the Tigrean People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), and called for an end to the fighting through a peacefully negotiated settlement.
Some of this comments especially those from Somalia has gone very badly within, resulting with President Farmajo firing his minster of foreign affairs Amb. Ahmed Issa Awed, a sign of the Federal Government of Ethiopia’s pressure on regional countries not to speak out on the issue.
In Somaliland which shares a long border with Ethiopia the administration in Hargeisa has not uttered a word be it in support of either of the warring parties or in condemnation, which continues to perplex many.
And in pursuit on why the Somaliland government appears to be quietly watching the situation in Ethiopia, efforts to elicit comment from foreign minister Prof Yasin Mahmud Faraton during an interview with Geeska Afrika paper in Hargeisa ended with bought.
Queried on the stance taken by the administration of his boss president Muse Bihi on the on-going war in Ethiopia, the foreign affairs minister declined to comment, saying he did not have time to dwell on other countries internal matters…
While we wait and see how long the government of Somaliland can remain Mum on the neighbouring Country’s war, poignantly undeniable is the fact that The Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed attack on Tigray and his push for a unitary state raises concerns about political autonomy in other regional administration of his country as well as within the wider Horn of Africa region.
That said let’s briefly examine why Operation ‘restore law and order’ in Tigray is a Setback for Ethiopia’s Regional Standing In lieu of the Abiy Ahmed’s push for a Horn of Africa Cooperation meant to replace IGAD a regional blocks encompassing several countries.
Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s involvement in negotiations over Sudan’s transitional government and bringing Somalia into the mooted Horn of Africa Cooperation body had promised to boost Ethiopia’s status in the region, but the Tigray conflict puts these initiatives at risk.
The Horn of Africa Cooperation was proposed as an addition to membership in the AU and the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (Comesa). It was designed as the fulcrum for regional integration revolving around Ethiopia. Abiy had brought Somali President Mohamed Abdullah Mohamed ‘Farmajo’ into the negotiations (AC Vol 61 No 16, clearing a path). Establishing the Horn of Africa Cooperation would require a peaceful, stable Ethiopia.
It would also require transparency over aims and policies, which has not been forthcoming from a secretive agreement between Abiy and Eritrean President Issayas Afewerki.
There was little enthusiasm in the region when it became apparent that Issayas saw the Horn of Africa Cooperation as a replacement for regional body the Intergovernmental Authority on Development.
Back in Somaliland where authorities who are seemingly in a watch and wait result game as pertains the conflict in Ethiopia, it is worthy mentioning that the pursuit of a Horn of Africa Cooperation by PM Abiy Ahmed is not viewed favourably.
This is because the cooperation encompasses a ONE SOMALIA POLICY, which enema to the sovereignty of Somaliland.
That said one would not to discern that former cordial relations between Somaliland and Ethiopia have deteriorate since Abiy Ahmed took over the helm in Addis Ababa mostly as a result of this One Somalia policy thus the deadening silence in Hargeisa