Prof Weinstein talks to Somalilandsun on the Ankara communique and 7th May London conference on Somalia.
By: Yusuf M Hasan
Somalilandsun) – “The key article of the accord is #4 in which the parties “Agreed to encourage and facilitate International aid and development provided to Somaliland.”
” Depending up how one reads that sentence, it is possible to conclude that Somaliland has submitted to the supremacy of the Somali Federal Government (S.F.G.) and has lost its claim to sovereignty, or that the S.F.G. has acquiesced in Somaliland’s claim to independence and, in consequence, has surrendered its sovereignty over Somaliland”
This is according to views expressed by Mr Michael Weinstein ‘Gamboole during an interview with Somalilandsun in which he also says that Somaliland’s sovereignty would be compromised if it participated in the 7th May London.
The Somalilandsun posted seven questions in which Prof Gamboole had this to say before providing his input.
“My responses to your questions appear below. I have responded to questions 1, 3, 4, 5, and 6. I have put responses to 1, 3 under the heading: Somaliland-S.F.G.; and responses to 4, 5, 6 under the heading: Somaliland-“Donor”-Powers. I did not answer 2 because I am not an expert on security policy, but I can say that a Federal body to facilitate the full implementation of the agreement in regard to security is not needed for cooperation. It could be done by meetings among the officials of the two governments without a special instrumentality.
To this effect we have rearranged our questions thus rhyme with the Weinstein responses.
Below are the verbatim excerpts of the interview
Is the Ankara Communique of advantage or disadvantage to Somaliland, Why?
1. It is not possible to determine whether the Ankara Communique is advantageous or disadvantageous to Somaliland, because the Communique is so vaguely worded that it lends itself to alternative constructions. The key article of the accord is #4 in which the parties “Agreed to encourage and facilitate International aid and development provided to Somaliland.” Depending up how one reads that sentence, it is possible to conclude that Somaliland has submitted to the supremacy of the Somali Federal Government (S.F.G.) and has lost its claim to sovereignty, or that the S.F.G. has acquiesced in Somaliland’s claim to independence and, in consequence, has surrendered its sovereignty over Somaliland. Indeed, both of those viewpoints have been advanced in the debates following the issuance of the Communique.
- What is your take on the assertions by Somalia MP Ali Khalif Galayd that by signing the Communique the Somalia president and his government recognized the existence of Somaliland as a sovereign country?
3. MP Ali Khalif Galayd is on one side of the debate over Article 4, holding that the S.F.G. “. “had already granted Somaliland full independence ” by signing on to Article 4, which in his view treats Somaliland as a separate entity from the S.F.G., by virtue of the words “…provided to Somaliland.”
In contrast, on the other side, Mohamud Hassan Arale has argued that Article 4 “closes the lid” on Somaliland’s independence because henceforth external aid would be “endorsed” by the S.F.G.
Actually, Article 4 is so vague that either Galayd’s or Arrale’s construction could be given to it. Perhaps Galayd is correct that by mentioning Somaliland as separate from the S.F.G., the former has been granted “full independence,” but it is just as plausible to argue that “Somaliland” is understood in the Communique as a regional state under the S.F.G.’s sovereignty (which is certainly the way the S.F.G. sees it). Similarly, perhaps Arrale is correct to substitute “endorse” for “endorse” for “encourage and facilitate ,” but it could just as plausibly be said that Somaliland is simply allowing that it will accept help and cooperation from the S.F.G. without any “endorsement” attached or implied.
Article 4 is so vaguely worded, because the issue of sovereignty has not yet been resolved.
- Is Somaliland justified in boycotting the 7th May London conference on Somalia? Why?
From the viewpoint of retaining its claim to independence, there is no benefit to Somaliland from attending the London conference. It is doubtful that the Western “donor”-power will act to alienate Somaliland by decreasing aid or by directing aid to Somaliland through the S.F.G. exclusively; Somaliland’s geo-strategic position and its relative stability limit the severity of pressure that the “donor”-powers would exert on it, even though it does appear that, for the moment, the “donor”-powers would prefer that Somaliland be absorbed into a single state, under the S.F.G., covering the territories of post-independence Somalia.
- What are the consequences, Negative & Positive of President Silanyo’s refusal to accede to both UK (Cameron) and USA (Ms Sherman) requests to attend the conference?
It is likely that the main consequence of Somaliland’s decision to opt out of the London Conference will be to freeze the status quo. Limited in their ability to punish Somaliland, the “donor”-powers surely will not reward it; that is, Somaliland cannot expect any help from the “donor”-powers in its bid for independence. Somaliland can expect to remain in international political limbo with no discernible prospect for change, and it will be subject to continuing pressure to bring it into a “united” Somalia, as the U.S. State Department puts it. That pressure on it to make concessions would only be greater if Somaliland attended the London Conference.
- Was the opening of the UK embassy a show of displeasure with Somaliland or a genuine diplomatic move?
In light of the “donor”-power preference for a “united” Somalia, the opening of the U.K. embassy in Mogadishu is a genuine diplomatic move and not at all a show of displeasure with Somaliland. The “donor”-powers have no animus against Somaliland; they simply want to bring Somaliland into their current program for “Somalia,” but they are aware of their limits.
- How will the two entities share Intelligence, Training and funds as per the communique? Doesn’t this necessitate the establishment of a Federal body to facilitate the full implementation of the same?
I shall not answer 2 because I am not an expert on security policy, but I can say that a Federal body to facilitate the full implementation of the agreement in regard to security is not needed for cooperation. It could be done by meetings among the officials of the two governments without a special instrumentality
- Should the Somaliland-Somalia dialogue continued to be hosted by foreign governments or shifted to alternate venues in the two countries?
I did not respond to 7 because I stick strictly to analysis and do not let myself fall into the temptation of entering the discourse of “should.
Finally Yusuf, First, I want to thank you for the opportunity to respond to your important questions. Second, I want to tell you (as I’m sure you assume) that I am a regular and appreciative reader of the Somaliland Sun, which is a major source of news and opinion on Somaliland for me.
THANKS AGAIN!!! Gamboole
Michael Weinstein is currently Professor of Political Science at the College of Liberal Arts in the Purdue University where he specializes in Political theory.
While interested in in general political science and the analysis of ideology Professor Weinstein has a special affinity to the Horn of Africa especially Somalia in which he has written profusely about and addressed the issue of in various occasions several
Sample som of Prof Weinstein’s publications on Somalia
Watch Prof Weinstein on Current Political/Security of Somalia