IGAD a threat to the territorial integrity of Somaliland


Map of horn Africa

Somaliland sun – The meeting of some of the East African countries in Mogadishu this week left a bad taste to most Somaliland citizens who as far as they are concerned Amisom backed government of Somalia does not represent them nor does it exist in their mind. The question one then ask is that how can a rogue and a failed state like Somalia be promoted by IGAD and western donors while Somaliland with democratic credential get penalised, this is puzzling to say the least,however, the answer lies on geopolitics of the horn of Africa as part of the bigger picture to contain and choke off Somaliland both economically and politically in order to give up its sovereignty position. This is all premediated by AU, IGAD, Arab league and other oppressive European states who sees Somaliland existence in the region will tip the balance of power in favour of Somaliland and this will mean the billions spend in Somalia to prop up the western backed government as a slap in the face.

It is very clear that the legal and historical position of Somaliland as far as the recognition is concerned there is no a single argument that can be made to refute Somaliland legal right to re-recognition given that Somaliland was a country which earned its independence in 26 June 1960 from Great Britain. This is a fact which will be put in front of the International court of Arbitration at some point and Great Britain will be called upon as a key witness. However, this article is not about recognition of Somaliland but rather the violation of Somaliland territorial integrity by IGAD is the main focus here.

The recent meeting held in Mogadishu by IGAD that concluded with the press conference that affirms the territorial integrity of Somalia failed to define whether this applies only to former Italia Somalia presented day ruled bySomalia Federal Government in which case its boardersare well known since the AU follows the colonial boarders as part of their charter. However, the danger comes when mentioning Somalia territorial integrity to include Somaliland a former British protectorate which is a separate country on its own right like Djibouti and KenyaTherefore, the inclusion of Somaliland republic as part of the federation of Somalia raises tension in the region as IGAD statement gives Somaliland territory to Somalia knowing full well that this will lead to renewed armed conflict in the near future which will plunge the horn of Africa into new low.

It is clear that Ethiopia and Kenya are playing divide and conquer tactics knowing exactly Somaliland is a separate country with its own elected president and therefore its sovereignty is non-negotiableHowever, the motive of Kenya particularly to step on Somaliland toes comes amid that the Berbera port construction will generate more competition in the region and therefore the tide of trade will shift in favour of Somaliland given that Somaliland its closer to Ethiopia than Kenya is. Secondly, the recognition of Somaliland meansSomaliland cannot be politically and economically be ruled from Mogadishu and this gives greater independence to the people of Somaliland to shape their own future and set their own laws and foreign policy. Therefore, the idea of pushing Somaliland towards Somalia knowing exactly these two countries don’t see eye to eye given the two nations past history it is clear to most analyst that Kenya and Ethiopia are somewhat economically sabotaging Somaliland the former particularly with the motive to disrupt the maritime industry of Somaliland. By denying Somaliland to obtain recognition IGAD countriesbelieves it can control Somaliland via Mogadishu and therefore control all theSomalis in the process since IGAD already controls the leadership of Somali Federal Government in Mogadishu. 

IGAD heads in Mogadishus What Somaliland needs to do

Somaliland must in the near future suspend all talks with Somalia as this is merely a waste of time as Somali Federal Government is buying time in order to put itself in a position of power so that it can dictate the terms and conditions and eventually blockade Somaliland from Air control to cut off Somaliland from Air traffic. Also it is no doubt that once the Somali Federal Government is in a position of power it will be more hostile and even fund Somaliland none Isaaq tribes like DulbahanteWarsengeli and Gadhabursi communities so that Somaliland can engage in a civil war and make recognition all but impossible.

Also there is another angle where the leadership of Somaliland has often ignored which is the position of United Kingdomtowards the recognition of Somaliland whichhas been somewhat weak and lack commitment and even more worrying is that Mogadishu has more leverage on Britain now then Somaliland has, a position which Somaliland cannot and should not allow to sustain.

Currently the Arab league is silent on the issue of Somaliland recognition whilebusy funding the Somali Federal Government. For example, Turkey and Egypt are in the process of building military bases in Mogadishu a position which represent a threat to Somaliland existence. Countries like Turkey, Egypt and the Gulf countries all support the Somali Federal Government to the point that even the UN wants to lift the arms Embargo and arm Somali National Army without having a proper consultation with Somaliland government clearly ignoring the genocide committed by the Somali National Army in the 80’s. Therefore it is clear that Somaliland has no true friend in the region and it is slowly becoming self-evident that Somalia wants to contain and choke off Somaliland economy by using its allies in the region and beyond with an objective to stop Somaliland obtaining its sovereignty back.

The question is, how can Somaliland win in this game of strategic battle? Thenew Somaliland incoming president will have to have a clear plan for thecoming 5 years in which some of the policy might involve setting up compulsory national service program to all the youth in the countrythis will include bothmale and female as part of a broader military strategy to counter any aggression coming from Mogadishu and in the region at large. Also the new president must have a frank talk with the leadership of gulf countries and warned them if they will continue to support the Somali Federal Government on the military front than Somaliland will pull out of the Arab league. Somaliland must also stop the meaningless talk hosted by Turkey since Turkey lacks objectivity and seek advancingtheir own interest by pushing Somaliland brought back into the failed union so that its political and economic influence in Mogadishu can be extended to Hargeisa.

Somaliland must also establish a clear policy on how to contain KhatMiraathat enters in Somaliland via Ethiopia this is because the amount of money spent on this drug will be enough to protect the territorial integrity of Somaliland and meet its security needs.

lastly, Somaliland must engage fully with internal affairs of Mogadishu one way or the other to contain the Federal Government of Somalia from expanding to its territory and this will deter any grand ambition the Federal Government of Somalia has on Somaliland. 

Somaliland is a country in AfricaFinally, Somaliland must set up a special committee that can coordinate the recognition as well as the economic and military strategies as the enemy in the region is now applying a more aggressive approach to undermine Somaliland sovereignty and its democratic credentials by inviting institutions such as IGAD and foreign dignitaries and lie to them about Somaliland’s legal and historical position while completely disrespecting the people of Somaliland and their right to self-determination.

By: Omar Guleid