We all are very sad to see the Somaliland government having to defend itself against attacks at Las Anod which have been mounted not just by disaffected local Clan militias in Sool province, but with the armed support and participation of the government of Somalia.
Worse yet, Somalia’s Government is shockingly supporting, and fighting side-by-side with, terror forces of the notorious al-Shabaab group, seeking a foothold in Somaliland after US drone attacks severely dented their Somalia bases.
Unlike Somalia itself, Somaliland has long actively resisted and successfully repelled al-Shabaab’s efforts to infiltrate its territory from Somalia. Somaliland’s Coast Guard’s assiduous monitoring of its 1,000 km of Coastline has also prevented any seaborne infiltration. Until these recent attacks, any such attempted al-Shabaab incursions were very rare – and all unsuccessful.
However, various factors have now provided an opportunity for al-Shabaab to get the support of the Somali government to infiltrate the Las Anod area. More importantly, this nefarious move is supported by China which for its own reasons wants to help destabilize Somaliland and hurt its warming relations with the United States. China has long sought to extend its influence throughout Africa via its Belt and Road initiative and has now found ways to win influence in Somalia.
Hodan Osman, Senior International Affairs Advisor to the current Somali government, and wife of the former Somali Minister of Planning has long pushed for closer ties with China. Having studied and worked for many years in China, Hodan is closely supported by China and has pushed very hard for Somalia to work with China and reduce its ties with the West. In fact, shortly before al-Shabaab and Somalia invaded Las Anod, Hodan met with the Chinese Ambassador to Ethiopia for private discussions that clearly green-lighted that invasion. No doubt China hopes its al-Shabaab and Somalia proxies can seize control of the entire Sool District.
China of course wants to disrupt US plans to expand our small military base in Berbera Port, which will become an even more powerful rival to the Chinese-owned and operated port in Djibouti. All interior African nations like Ethiopia, Kenya, etc. critically need a port for all their exports. With such better facilities, Berbera will easily overtake China’s port in Djibouti.
Moreover, China wants to disrupt the exploration by Taiwan firms of significant potential oil Reserves in Somaliland, in order to protect the oil exploration it is currently backing in Ethiopia. Any major oil discovered in Somaliland will be far easier for Western companies to help develop and profit from than one in Ethiopia. China naturally wants to stop any such activity.
It is also clearly unhappy that Somaliland’s successful development of its economic and political infrastructure is already a model for China’s disaffected provinces in Hong Kong, Xinjiang, Tibet, etc. That also boosts Taiwan’s ability to resist Chinese aggression and secure many Western nations’ support – a situation that would be as difficult for China as Ukraine now is for Russia.
It defies logic that America continues to support the Somalian government and provide military assistance and training for Somalia’s invasion and active fighting against the Democratic state of Somaliland. It is more astounding that Somali soldiers trained by the United States are now actively battling the only democratic government in the entire region, to stop any Recognition by the United States and its growing closer economic, business, and political ties with America.
The US Government is of course reluctant to recognize an independent Somaliland that was formerly part of another sovereign state. Yet history argues strongly for exactly such recognition. Somaliland was a former British protectorate, and Somalia an Italian colony. On Independence in 1961, Somaliland agreed to unite with Somalia to be a larger political unit.
However, Somalia never saw it as an equal partner but only as an inferior province. Years of mistreatment by dictator Siad Barre (who started Somalia’s descent into chaos), forced Somaliland to withdraw from that union and declare its independence in 1991.
Since then, it has been a solitary African success story with 5 peaceful changes of government that resulted from free and fair elections – which made it the envy of the rest of Africa.
Why then does the US State Dept continue to reward a corrupt and failed Government that supports terrorist groups that hate America, and that thumbs its nose at the world by attacking its democratic neighbor side-by-side with one of our most dangerous and implacable enemies?
Why does the US reject recognizing the only nation in East Africa that is a free democracy and wants closer ties with the USA and can offer huge opportunities for American business?
Why does the US Congress not demand that the time for change is NOW?
Somaliland must be free to become Africa’s most thriving and dynamic democracy!
Somaliland Strategic Advisory Group
USA Somaliland Community
USA Somaliland Chamber of Commerce
USA Somaliland Sisters Group