Somaliland: Could This Be another Sterile London Conference on Somalia?


By: Yusuf Dirir Ali

Somalilandsun – Speaking after President Silanyo & William Hague meeting, the Foreign Secretary said: “I am delighted to see President Silanyo in London for the Conference on Somalia. Somaliland has valuable lessons to share from its own experience of building stability and democracy. I welcome President Silanyo’s participation at the Conference and am grateful for Somaliland’s continued co-operation in the fight against piracy and terrorism.”

That was in February 22, 2012 and indeed, President Silanyo attended that conference and shared Somaliland’s own valuable lessons from its own experience of building stability and democracy. Now few weeks before another London conference on Somalia, Somalilanders are raising the following questions:

1. Did Somalia learn anything from the Somaliland lessons in stability and democracy building?

2. Did the International Community reward Somaliland for it achievements?

The short answers to both questions are NO!

Subsequent to that conference in London, Somalia had a new government that was appointed by closely selected warlords and bogus clan elders. The newly appointed Somalia Government has achieved nothing, but goes around the world and sings its own praises about achieving nonexistent democracy, security and economic successes. The Somalia appointed leaders’ forget to mention single and true achievement since they came to power, which is their frenziedly provocations and abusive threats to Somaliland.

Contrary to democratic values and norms, Somalia has evenhandedly picked some private and politically opportunistic individuals to become “the Somaliland representatives” in Somalia’s undemocratically and illegally appointed parliament and government -. that is Somalia’s understanding of transparency and fair democratic process.

Unlike its neighbor to the South – Somaliland government, parliament and local city and town councils are democratically elected, a fact that is internationally celebrated.

Very recently, the Somalia appointed Prime Minister wrote to US Secretary of state asking an amnesty and diplomatic immunity for General Mohamed Ali Samater, who is nicknamed “the Butcher of Somaliland”. Mr. Ali Samater has admitted to his role in the Sommaliland genocide of the 1980s in a civil lawsuit in USA court.

More inhumanly, the current Somalia Prime Minister visited the grave of General Siad Barre and praised him and General Mohamed Ali Samater for what he called “their great service to the Somali people”. Prime Minister Shardoon even went one step further in his provocations and threatened to forcefully bring Somaliland under the jurisdiction of Somalia’s appointed government.

The alleged perpetrator of Jaziira beach massacre General Maslah Mohamed Siad Barre (the son of the former Somalia dictator), is a frequent Mogadishu visitor from his permanent residence in Nairobi, Kenya and he even ran against the current appointed President of Somalia for the Somalia presidency appointment.

The International Community holds testimonials to the following facts: Instead of learning lessons from Somaliland’s stability, the terrorist activities in Somalia are in upwards drift; Somalia is becoming more divided with new illegal Somalia states mushrooming, like the one in Kismayo city and in other places. The rule of law in Somalia is at its lowest levels. The undisciplined and warlords-affiliated Somalia soldiers are committing more rape crimes and Mogadishu government fills its jails with rape victims and journalists that dare to speak out. Prisoners are taken out of government jails, slaughtered and their corpses dumped in Mogadishu streets for the dogs.

All these particulars attest to the fact that Somalia is way far from democracy and stability – Somalia did not learn what it was supposed to learn from Somaliland and certainly its political choices of action did not bring about a stable Somalia.

Here is what the International Community did and did not do to reward Somaliland for its stability, democracy and its continuous war against terrorism and sea piracy.

Since that London conference, the illegally appointed government in Somalia was not condemned and punished for illegally and undemocratically choosing unelected private individuals to represent Somaliland.

Additionally the International community did not condemn the callous and provocative actions of the Somalia government, but instead, Somalia’s appointed government was recognized to become the legal representative of both parties that formed the ex-Somali Republic. In this context, the International community is guilty of not morally and pragmatically giving real considerations to neither the history nor the facts on the ground in the current geopolitics in the Somali peninsula and in the Horn of Africa.

The other Somali inhabited regions in the Horn of Africa (Somali regions in Kenya, Ethiopia and both Somaliland and Djibouti) are economically, socially and security wise doing far better than Somalia. For that matter, Logic dictates, the more Somaliland stays away from Somalia problems the better it will do.

The United Nations imposed arms embargo on Somalia’s unstable and illegal government was lifted. This is a green light and a recipe for more anarchic turmoil for Somalia, Somaliland and the rest of the world. Certainly, those arms will go to different warlords, terrorists and will encourage the appointed Somalia government to attack Somaliland.

Somalilanders feel that they were let down by the current UK government and by the International Community as whole. Apart from the Somaliland-British historic connection – in the world wars, when thousands of Somalilanders lost their lives in the British wars against the Nazism and fascism. Somaliland should have at least been rewarded for its stability, democracy and friendly cooperation with the International Community and not visa versa.

In that case, there is no reason for Somaliland to attend another International conference that is rewarding Somalia for its illegal and undemocratic activities at the expense of Somaliland sovereignty, democracy and stability.

If the UK and the International Community are resolutely serious about the democracy, stability and winning the war on terrorism in the Horn of Africa, then the following steps must be taken:

1. Somalia must be condemned for its crimes against humanity in Somaliland and the living criminals must be brought to justice.

2. Somalia must respect the separate and peaceful co-existence with Somaliland and without further provocations.

3. Both Somaliland and Somalia must confine themselves to their respective colonial borders until a peace solution is reached.

4. The Somaliland and Somalia co-owned assets in foreign lands must be frozen immediately bending a bilaterally agreement for division of assets between the two co-owners.

5. All the ex-Somali Republic International organizations memberships must be frozen until such time a bilateral and legal agreement is reach.

6. Somalia must offer a public apology for its genocide in Somaliland and offer material compensation to the victims and the loved ones of the genocide victims.

7. Somalia must return all the looted Somaliland’s public and privately owned properties that were taken to Mogadishu and else where in Somalia.

8. The bodies of Jaziir beach in Mogadishu massacre victims must be repatriated by Somalia for dignified burial in Somaliland.

Like any democratic country in the world the agenda of the Somaliland government is set by its citizens and not by its leaders. Therefore, only if the international community meets and tables those minimum Somaliland conditions then it will be convinced to believe that the International Community means business and will in turn encourage President Silanyo to attend the up coming London conference for Somalia.

Otherwise, what is the point of wasting time on another sterile International London conference on Somalia? Why is the International community pressuring Somaliland to accept the unacceptable? What is the point of attending a conference were the culprit (Somalia) is being rewarded rather than the victim (Somaliland)?

And finally, what is the point of perusing an already tried and failed Somaliland and Somalia union that did not benefit and will not benefit Somaliland? Let us wait and see what Somalia brings to the talks in Turkey first and then go from there.

Yusuf Dirir Ali